The proposed advanced hybrid STF composites are of value for a range of space and ground-based applications. NASA commercial applications of the STF composites include use in the hard upper torso (HUT) of advanced exploration suits. Impact-resistant, damage-tolerant STF hybrid composite materials are directly applicable to the development of a planetary exploration suit (Z-2) that can withstand a variety of operational mishaps, including falling onto rocks or other accidental impact. Additional NASA applications could include use as advanced composites to improve the durability and damage tolerance of storage tanks on vehicles or surface habitats, vehicle components, helmets, or other hard components that can benefit from the combination of lightweight, impact-resistance with the potential leak mitigation mode provided by STF.
The growing market for carbon fiber and fiberglass composites represents a substantial market opportunity for STF composite materials offering improved impact resistance and damage tolerance. The overall glass fiber reinforced panel market is expected to grow to $84 billion globally by 2026 (MarketsAndMarkets, 2015). The carbon fiber reinforced composite market is projected at $20 billion+ in 2024 (Sinha, 2016). Applications include: 1.Automotive: an all composite B-pillar was recently demonstrated by researchers at UD CCM under a collaboration with BMW. Carbon fiber composites are also seeing increased demand in automotive due to the desire for increased fuel economy and growing demand for electric vehicles. 2.Storage tanks for water, chemical process, oil and gas industries 3.Marine 4.Aerospace 5.Consumer sporting goods -a $2.6 billion dollar market (Grand View Research, 2016) for reinforced composites that includes a number of products that can potentially benefit from improved impact and damage tolerance, such as skis, snowboards, surfboards, bicycle frames, tennis rackets, hockey and lacrosse sticks, helmets, and protective equipment 6.Power generation - increasing demand for wind turbine blades is major driver of growth in the fiberglass and carbon fiber reinforced composite market. Composite materials with damage tolerance and tunable damping properties have applications in large- and small-scale generation infrastructure. 7.Construction and building materials