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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Heated Thermoplastic Fiber Placement Head for NASA Langley Research Center, Phase II

Completed Technology Project

Project Description

Heated Thermoplastic Fiber Placement Head for NASA Langley Research Center, Phase II
Reduced-mass polymer composite materials are crucial to the success of aerospace systems for reducing vehicle weight. But, composite material adoption is inhibited because the autoclave consolidation required is prohibitively expensive for the large tanks and skins contemplated in the Next Generation Launch Technology (NGLT) Program. To remedy this, NASA-LaRC has been developing cost-effective, lightweight, high-performance thermoplastic composite materials for years. These materials have the potential to dramatically reduce the cost of large aerospace structures, because they allow processing without resorting to hugely expensive autoclaves. Unfortunately, NASA lacks a robust, cost-effective fabrication process to tape-place these emerging materials into laminates and to build contoured structure, and thus can't evaluate usefulness of NASA materials. This SBIR II program fabricates for NASA-LaRC the automated deposition head successfully designed in the recent SBIR I to complete the tape placement process and in situ consolidation without an autoclave. The composite deposition head, creel, and associated machine and process control system Accudyne will build in Phase II is designed to operate on NASA-LaRC's tape layer. Automated deposition heads can later be sold to industrial companies for existing tape layers and placement machines so that industry can benefit from NASA composite materials by using out-of-the-autoclave thermoplastic tape placement. More »

Primary U.S. Work Locations and Key Partners

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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.