Bally Ribbon Mills receives award from NASA for 3D Material
Bally Ribbon Mills has received a Space Technology Award from NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate for weaving the 3D material used to support the Heat-shield for Extreme Entry Environment Technology team.
Bally Ribbon Mills (BRM, Los Angeles, CA, US), manufacturer of specialized engineered woven fabrics, announced June 11 that it has received a Space Technology Award from NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) for weaving the three-dimensional (3D) material used to support the Heat-shield for Extreme Entry Environment Technology (HEEET) team. The team is developing a new thermal protection system (TPS) that leverages the way weaving is used to manufacture aircraft parts made of carbon composite materials.
To manufacture TPS materials with the desired properties, fibers of different compositions and variable yarn densities are accurately placed in a 3D structure. Three-dimensional weaving extends the traditional two dimensional (2D) weaving by interconnecting woven material in the third direction, enabling the manufacturing of materials that are more robust to the entry environment than traditional 2D woven materials. The panels are then infused with resins and cured to lock the fibers in place.
Using advanced modeling, design and manufacturing tools to optimize the weave for overall improved performance, the HEEET project has manufactured a new family of TPS materials and tested them for a wide variety of entry conditions.
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Compared to legacy materials like steel, aluminum, iron and titanium, composites are still coming of age, and only just now are being better understood by design and manufacturing engineers. However, composites’ physical properties — combined with unbeatable light weight — make them undeniably attractive.
Yes, advanced forms are in development, but has the technology progressed enough to make the business case?