Carbon Foam Self-Heated Tooling for Out-of-Autoclave Composites Manufacturing

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: NNX09CC58P
Agency Tracking Number: 084527
Amount: $99,999.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: X4.06
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: 2008
Award Year: 2009
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2009-01-22
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2009-07-22
Small Business Information
The Millenium Centre, RR 1, Box 100B, Triadelphia, WV, 26059-9707
DUNS: 101582922
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: Y
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Rick Lucas
 Principal Investigator
 (304) 547-5800
Business Contact
 Brian Joseph
Title: Business Official
Phone: (304) 547-5800
Research Institution
This proposal addresses NASA's need for non-autoclave composites manufacture. The Constellation program, including the Ares V launch vehicle, will require very large-scale structures and conventional autoclave-based composites which are very costly and suffer from logistical problems. Out of autoclave (OOA) composite manufacturing technology has the potential to solve the constraint issues of autoclave processes without suffering performance issues. However, several critical issues remain a technical challenge, and further development is required to bring OOA into the mainstream of composites manufacturing. Touchstone proposes to demonstrate that a composite tool made from its carbon foam materials can be self-heated by passing an electric current through the tool body, thereby heating only the tool and part and not requiring an autoclave or oven for curing. In Phase 1, a small prototype tool will be built and tested for self-heating performance in comparison to a conventional autoclave cure cycle on the same tool. Specific resin systems suited for OOA processing will be utilized, and performance properties of composite samples produced by both the self-heated carbon foam tool and a conventional carbon foam autoclave tool will be characterized. At the end of Phase 1, the TRL will be 4, and by the conclusion of Phase 2, the TRL will reach 6.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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