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Center Innovation Fund: JSC CIF

Inside-Out Manufacturing of Composite Structures

Completed Technology Project

Project Description

Project Image   Inside-Out Manufacturing of Composite Structures

Tooling for the manufacture of large structures from composite materials often costs much more than individual parts, rendering the processes unattractive for prototype designs.  A new design for manufacturing philosphy for multifunctional composite structures is suggested that does not require the use of hard tooling to form large complex shapes.  By utilizing a thin rigid and form-able pre-form such as a metal screen or foam core, fiber reinforcement may be tacked into place and vacuum bagged on both sides to perform resin infusion without the need for any tooling.  The process is expected to be scalable and capable of forming large structures including most shapes envisioned for launch vehicles, exploration vehicles, and habitats. The process will also be applicable to architecture and commercial industrial process equipment such as cooling towers and offshore platforms.  The process could reduce the cost of manufacturing composite prototype structures by more than one-half by eliminating the need for hard tooling.

Demonstrate the inside-out manufacturing process by manufacturing a complex shaped composite structure with imbedded wiring and fluid handling without the use of a tooling form. Utilize the core as the tool and build parts from the inside-out, placing utilities before composite structure.  

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This is a historic project that was completed before the creation of TechPort on October 1, 2012. Available data has been included. This record may contain less data than currently active projects.