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Game Changing Development

Ultralight Micro-truss Cores for Space Launch Systems

Completed Technology Project
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Project Description

Ultralight Micro-truss Cores for Space Launch Systems
HRL Laboratories, LLC, proposes a 12 month effort to develop an ultra-lightweight core material that has half or less the density of state-of-the-art honeycomb cores, while exceeding their mechanical properties. By combining our team's unique capability to manufacture ultralight micro-truss materials with our ability to design and optimize cellular architectures, we will achieve groundbreaking 40% mass reduction for sandwich structures for future aerospace vehicles. Our approach combines mechanically efficient, architected micro-truss templates with high-strength, nanocrystalline metal coatings. Both manufacturing steps involved, HRL's polymer micro-truss fabrication and electroplating of nanocrystalline coatings, are inherently scalable and cost-effective, ensuring that scale-up to large structures can be achieved, while meeting NASA's challenging cost target. We have already fabricated 12"x12"x0.5" ultralight micro-truss cores with a density of 2 lb/ft3 and superior properties to SOA honeycomb as well as curved micro-truss sandwich panels for ongoing development efforts. Under the proposed effort, we will mature and scale-up nanocrystalline metallic micro-truss cores for the next-generation of NASA's ultra-lightweight sandwich panels. More »

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