A Low Cost Rapid Manufacturing Process for Advanced Composite and Functionally Graded Structures

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Navy
Contract: N00014-03-M-0272
Agency Tracking Number: N033-0332
Amount: $70,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Awards Year: 2003
Solicitation Year: N/A
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
Materials & Electrochemical Research (Mer) Co
7960 S. Kolb Rd., Tucson, AZ, 85706
DUNS: 147518286
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Roger Storm
 Principal Investigator
 (520) 574-1980
 rstorm@mercorp.com
Business Contact
 James Withers
Title: CEO
Phone: (520) 574-1980
Email: jcwithers@mercorp.com
Research Institution
 PENN STATE
 Eric J Whitney
 ARL Penn State, P.O. Box 30
State College, PA, 16804
 (814) 865-3916
 Nonprofit college or university
Abstract
The development of 3D rapid prototyping processes have demonstrated their value in reducing the time required to transition from a design to prototype components. Another significant benefit of the rapid prototyping processes is their capability toproduce tailored microstructures and obtain excellent mechanical properties relative to standard manufacturing techniques. Production of composite microstructures as well as functionally graded layers offers the potential for a dramatic revolution incomponent performance. However the 3D rapid prototyping processes, which generally employ lasers as the energy source, have been found lacking in terms of scale up to manufacturing due to the very high cost of purchasing and operating the laser basedsystems coupled with low build rates. This program will demonstrate plasma transferred arc solid free form fabrication (PTA SFFF) as a rapid manufacturing process that addresses the concerns of high operating cost and low build rates through the teaming ofMER Corporation and Penn State. New composite and functionally graded structures will be demonstrated and characterized. A SPU stator vane will be produced utilizing the PTA SFFF process and its enhanced properties and substantially lower cost will beverified in comparison to the laser forming system. MER has the PTA SFFF equipment and facilities in place to transition from prototype development to rapid manufacturing of advanced composite structures. The low capital and operating cost of thismanufacturing technology has placed MER in a unique position to commercialize component manufacture for both defense and commercial applications.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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