May 2015: Composites Automation LLC wins navy SBIR Phase I award

06.05.20 05:44 PM By Dirk

The U.S. Navy is moving towards higher utilization of composites to reduce weight and improve structural properties, while meeting other requirements including cost, maintenance and signature control. Structures fabricated from unidirectional prepreg laminae processed using autoclave exhibit the highest mechanical performance due to the superior quality of the laminate in terms of fiber volume fraction and void content, and show the best fatigue resistance due to the complete straightness of the fiber layup. Nevertheless, this process and material forms are often too expensive for most naval applications. Alternatively, low-cost and scalable processing approaches such as Vacuum Assisted Resin Transfer Molding (VARTM) meet cost and most structural targets but typically exhibit reduced fatigue performance due to fiber undulation even when using non-crimp (NCF) fabric.