Cost-effective aerocomposites: Dry fiber AFP and resin infusion
Working on Phase II of a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program for NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (Huntsville, AL, US), NONA Composites (Dayton, OH, US) and parent company Cornerstone Research Group (Dayton, OH, US), have subcontracted Aurora Flight Sciences (Manassas, VA, US) to demonstrate automated fiber placement (AFP) of dry tape and dry tape/prepreg hybrids for vacuum infusion processing.
“The combination of NONA’s room temperature infusion and flexible curing epoxy resins with dry tape reinforcements allows for lower cost raw materials and curing compared to prepreg,” says NONA Composites president Ben Dietsch. He adds that automated fiber placement imparts significant control on the fiber preform prior to infusion. “The infusion preform has traditionally been a key source of part variability,” notes Dietsch. AFP also automates fabrication of large-scale structures. “Our goal is to demonstrate the combination of these technologies, and their ability to cut costs and improve repeatability in large out of autoclave composites.”