Spintech awarded two U.S. STTR program contracts
Spintech partners with UDRI, an eVTOL OEM and Aurora Flight Sciences to explore manufacturing methods and materials for optimized eVTOL aircraft components and production.
Photo Credit: Spintech Holdings Inc.
It was reported on Feb. 8 that Spintech Holdings, Inc. (Dayton, Ohio, U.S.) has been awarded two United States Air Force Research Laboratory Small Business Technology Transfer (STRR) Program contracts totaling $300,000 with the University of Dayton Research Institute (UDRI, Dayton, Ohio, U.S.), Aurora Flight Sciences (a Boeing company, Manassas, Va., U.S.) and a leading electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) OEM as part of AFWERX’s Agility Prime Initiative.
The first contract with UDRI and a leading eVTOL OEM will begin work on phase 1 of the project, “Advanced Manufacturing of Propeller Blades.” The project team will explore novel methods of manufacture and materials leading to improved manufacturing, reduced cost and increased structural efficiency of propeller blades for electric eVTOL-type aircraft.
According to Spintech, phase 1 of 3 of the STTR program will provide a detailed compilation of information surrounding the propeller blade and dictate which direction to go in Phase 2. The team will investigate dry fiber application techniques using automation, possibly braiding, filament winding and others, as well as methods to apply Smart Tooling for the co-molding of propeller blades to improve quality, reduce cost and increase throughput.
The second contract with UDRI and Aurora Flight Sciences will begin work on phase 1 of the project, “Topology-optimized structure to replace core-stiffened composites.” The team plans to replace core stiffened composite structures with topology-optimized reinforced structures manufactured using tailored fiber placement (TFP), resin infusion and Smart Tooling, with a target to reduce weight, cost, and manufacturing time of eVTOL aircraft. Phase 1 of 3 of this program will produce analytical results of a topology-optimized structure as compared to a cored laminate baseline, as well as a relevant physical article demonstration that incorporates the organic topology-optimized load paths co-infused and cured with laminate skins that will replace the baseline cored composite design.
“These projects will leverage UDRI’s expertise in topology optimization to design lightweight components that are structurally equivalent to cored composite baselines; Spintech Holdings’ expertise in designing and fabricating complex composite structures using Smart Tooling solutions; and Aurora’s expertise in air vehicle design and fabrication,” says Tom Margraf, president of Spintech Holdings Inc.
Baillie Gifford’s $35 million investment increases to $375 million the total raised to date for Munich-based Lilium.
The approval from the Civil Aviation Administration of China enables commercial operation of the EHang 216 passenger-grade plane for cargo transport.
In the not too distant future, point-to-point, limited-distance, piloted and autonomous air travel for people and cargo will be the norm. Composites will make it possible.