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1/29/2018 | 1 MINUTE READ

Ascent Aerospace develops Invar-composite mold material

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Ascent Aerospace’s HyVarC is a patent-pending hybrid tooling material comprising Invar and composites.

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Ascent Aerospace (Santa Ana, CA, US) reported on Jan. 23 that it has developed HyVarC, a patent-pending hybrid material comprising Invar and composites. HyVarC layup tooling is said to offer a cost-effective, light weight, short lead time solution for prototype and development applications.

HyVarC combines a thin Invar backup structure and facesheet with a bonded, high-temperature composite working surface. The resulting tool is 50% lighter with a 20% shorter lead-time than a traditional Invar layup mold, while maintaining the same vacuum integrity and dimensional precision. Ascent says the hybrid mold capitalizes on the performance characteristics of Invar and composites to offer an ideal layup mold for prototype aerospace parts.

At half the thickness of a traditional Invar mold, the thin Invar backup structure takes less time to weld and manufacture. It serves as both the master mold and the deliverable mold, eliminating the time and cost of creating a second composite backup structure. Lead times are reduced by at least 20%, compared to an all-Invar or all-composite tool.

Ascent Aerospace says the machined composite working surface offers better dimensional accuracy than net-molded composite tooling, while the Invar structure provides vacuum integrity and durability. A part fabricated on a HyVarC mold is bagged to the Invar facesheet, which provides vacuum reliability that is independent of the composite surface and does not degrade with age or thermal cycling.

The composite working surface is easily remachined to support modifications for rapid prototyping and R&D applications. A damaged surface can be repaired with material add (layup) and subtract (remachine) operations. The base mold can be reused by burning off the composite working surface and laying up an entirely new surface.

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