Innovative Composite Cores Utilizing High Strength Carbon Foam
Small Business Information
TOUCHSTONE RESEARCH LABORATORY, LTD.
The Millennium Centre, R.R. 1, Box 100B, Triadelphia, WV, 26059
Richard Andrew Guth
AbstractTouchstone Research Laboratory and its partner, Alliant Aerospace Company (ATK), propose to investigate the utilization of lightweight carbon foam cores in composite load-bearing structures. CFOAMr has the potential to be a revolutionary material inaerospace structures, significantly reducing costs and improving mission capabilities. Aluminum Honeycomb is the targeted material for replacement. The study will address three focus areas: design, manufacturing, and life cycle costs. Current techniqueswill be analyzed to show a manufacturing payoff of carbon foam utilization, especially in bonding operations to proven facesheet materials. Carbon foams developed from bituminous coal at Touchstone Research Laboratory are the basis for this improvementeffort. The Phase I effort will produce a sample sandwich composite system for evaluation of fabrication feasibility, material property requirements, and manufacturing process cost benefits. Phase II work will examine the replacement of a rocket honeycombcomposite or satellite bus structural system. This effort will produce a prototype component through methods determined in Phase I. Manufacturing costs will be reduced as panel joining operations, bonding material selection and implementation areimproved. Integration into current systems would be imperceptible. After being demonstrated in rocket or satellite applications, the structures can be adapted to many other aerospace applications. The carbon foam composite panel research will result in a lower cost and higher performance structures than those that are currently available, such as aluminum honeycomb cored composite panels. Lower life cycle costs through the introduction of carbonfoam technology will be enabled through reduced operational and maintenance expenditures. The technology will lend itself to improved aerospace composite structures in line with Lean Manufacturing Principles.The proposal directly supports aerospace structures, such as satellite busses, solar panel arrays, rocket structural and control surfaces. The technology can easily be adapted to aircraft structures such as flaps, speedbrakes, spoilers, and stabilizers.The technology can also be used to support aircraft auxiliary systems including: aircraft structural bulkheads, insulation, inlet ducts, avionics bay doors, weapons housings, access doors, and APU inlets.
* information listed above is at the time of submission.