Innovative Concepts for Low Cost, Light Weight, Highly Durable, Tooling for Composite Structural Component Fabrication
Small Business Information
Materials Innovation Technologies, LLC
320 Rutledge Road, Fletcher, NC, -
AbstractThis project will develop a low-cost tooling system for prepreg composite molding capable of processing epoxy-and BMI- matrix composites at temperatures of 400F (205C). Such a tooling system would be applicable to advanced airframe components including both military applications and commercial applications. We have identified a family of composite materials based on Ultra High Performance Fiber Reinforced Concrete (UHPFRC) that has the potential to fulfill all of the requirements of a tooling system form molding epoxy-and BMI- matrix composites. Most importantly, the cost of the raw materials and of the processing that goes into the fabrication of near-net-shape tools made from UHPFRC is very low compared with the costs for Invar or for carbon fiber composite tooling. We estimate that the cost of UHPFRC composite tooling could be 10 to 20% the cost of Invar and carbon fiber composite tooling. We are confident that once acceptable formulations (based on their strength, stiffness, thermal expansion, durability, and achievable tolerances) are developed, the cost of making UHPFRC tools will be low enough to be a"game changer"regarding how air vehicle composite parts made by lay-up and autoclave curing are developed and fabricated.
* information listed above is at the time of submission.