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SBIR/STTR

Efficient Composite Repair Methods for Launch Vehicles, Phase I

Active Technology Project

Project Introduction

Polymer matrix composites are increasingly replacing traditional metallic materials in NASA launch vehicles. However, the repair and subsequent inspection methods for these materials are considerably more complicated. Typically, a composite laminate patch must be manually fabricated and bonded or co-cured to the damaged structure. To ensure high quality patches with sufficient compaction and low void content, significant time, preparation and equipment is required. Current surface preparations require time consuming labor and can be a risk for further damage. The ideal repair methodology would allow for a rapid structural repair to be performed on-site in locations with minimal access and without the need for extensive tooling, surface prep, cure times and complicated inspection techniques. Engineers at Luna have developed a number of technologies that have the potential to enable high performance composite repair and inspection during pre-launch ground processing. Luna's comprehensive system will realize improvements via facile surface preparation, reduction of specialized fabrication equipment, rapid-on-demand curing resins and utilization of Luna's unique fiber optic measurement capability for monitoring repair state. This Phase I program will focus on developing these methods for composite damage that can be performed during ground processing of the launch vehicle without the need for full replacement More »

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