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Space Technology Research Grants

Design and Fabrication of Aerospace-Grade Digital Composite Materials

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Design and Fabrication of Aerospace-Grade Digital Composite Materials
This project aims to advance design rules and fabrication approaches to create aerospace-grade structures from digital composite materials. Digital materials are discrete building blocks that can be assembled in a scalable, rapid, and reversible manner. To date, however, demonstrated structures have primarily been restricted either in the use of high performance composite materials or in the topology of the assembled structure. We will address these shortcomings via computational and experimental investigation of 1-D fiber-reinforced struts that have increased specific stiffness and buckling resistance, and 2-D element populations to create structures with tunable and directional properties. The modular design of digital materials will be modeled and characterized in an effort to avoid costly and lengthy sub-component certification. Ultimately, the ability to repurpose defunct space structures through disassembly and subsequent assembly within a new, modular design will provide greater material efficiency and a more sustainable launch cost structure. More »

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A final report document may be available for this project. If you would like to request it, please contact us.

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