NASA SBIR 2015 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 15-1 A1.01-9853
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Structural Efficiency-Hybrid Nanocomposites
PROPOSAL TITLE: Benefit Analysis of Hybrid CNT/CFRP Composites in Future Aircraft Structures

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Aurora Flight Sciences Corporation
90 Broadway 11th Floor
Cambridge, MA 02142 - 1050
(617) 229-6818

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Dr. Konstantine Fetfatsidis
90 Broadway, 11th Floor
Cambridge, MA 02142 - 1050
(617) 229-6818

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Mr. Scott Hart
90 Broadway, 11th Floor
Cambridge, MA 02142 - 1050
(617) 500-4892

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 4
End: 4

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
Structural Efficiency-Hybrid Nanocomposites is a Technology Available (TAV) subtopic that includes NASA Intellectual Property (IP). Do you plan to use the NASA IP under the award?

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
During Phase I, Aurora Flight Sciences and N12 Technologies propose to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the benefits of hybrid composites in future aircraft structures by leveraging analytical model and experimental results that Aurora has gathered during the development of its indigenous Orion unmanned aircraft system, which utilizes CFRP composites in the majority of its structure. Target areas that are critically loaded and/or include features such as embedded sensors and de-icing mechanisms, will be used to evaluate improvements in weight, lifecycle costs, performance, and reliability that CNTs can provide as a result of their multifunctionality. The analysis will be extended during Phase II to study the effect of hybrid composite utility on commercial aircraft (e.g. Boeing 737) using codes such as TASOPT that redesigns aircraft to optimize parameters including fuel efficiency and emissions. Phase II will also involve the design, build, and testing of hybrid composite specimens to prove out the benefits identified during Phase I. Relevant CNT data will be provided by N12 to ensure the greatest amount of accuracy in the benefit analysis. N12 is a spin-off from MIT Professor Brian Wardle's laboratory, that is capable of directly integrating vertically aligned CNTs with common aerospace-grade carbon prepreg materials and conventional processes used to manufacture primary aerospace structures (e.g. hand layup, automated fiber placement (AFP), automated tape layup (ATL)). N12 grows CNTs with controlled morphology and top-to-bottom alignment using an IP-protected continuous, high throughput process that is 1,000 times faster than common batch processes. These CNTs can similarly be transferred onto the surface of carbon prepreg materials in a continuous process that enables a seamless, low cost integration of CNT-reinforced CFRP prepreg with common manufacturing processes to enable future lightweight, multifunctional composite aircraft structures.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The proposed system analysis in this Phase I SBIR effort will quantify the benefits of hybrid CNT/CFRP composite materials that will enable future aircraft designs with improved performance, safety, and environmental impact. These outcomes will directly support NASA's Advanced Air Vehicles Program (AAVP), which includes various projects that seek to optimize materials, aircraft designs, and manufacturing processes for next generation aircraft. Some of these projects, which involve players such as Aurora and Boeing, include investigations of high aspect-ratio wings for improved fuel efficiency and tailored aeroelastic properties. In addition to aircraft, there are various other NASA applications that can benefit from hybrid CNT/CFRP designs. These applications include vehicle and habitat module structures that support NASA's Space Exploration program. Structures such as the Orion crew module and large cryogenic pressure vessels are mass and cost constrained and will benefit from a lightweight, damage tolerant, multifunctional material system.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Aurora and other manufacturers, including Boeing, are working on next generation aircraft for commercial transport. One such aircraft is the D8 "double-bubble" concept that Aurora and MIT have studied as part of NASA's N+3 program. The D8 configuration, which assumes a mostly-CFRP composite structure, can provide significant improvements in fuel burn, noise levels, and NOx emissions relative to a best-in-class Boeing 737-800 narrow-body aircraft. Integrating a hybrid composite design can improve the strength of certain areas of the D8 with a reduction of CFRP plies, thus reducing weight and improving fuel efficiency. CNTs can also strengthen joints to improve safety while simultaneously reducing weight through minimized number of CFRP plies and mechanical fasteners. Furthermore, large wind turbine blades can also benefit from a hybrid CNT/CFRP material system capable of being laid down by AFP in a low-cost, reliable manner. As wind turbine blades increase in size to produce more energy, a larger quantity of CFRP is being used. The performance of these large wind turbine blades can be improved by CNT reinforcement and conductivity that helps to reduce weight through fewer plies, and minimize downtime of the overall wind turbine that might occur due to cracking, severe icing, and/or lightning strike damage. Minimizing wind turbine downtime will help to keep the cost of an environmentally energy source down.

TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY MAPPING (NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.)
Air Transportation & Safety
Nondestructive Evaluation (NDE; NDT)
Processing Methods
Smart/Multifunctional Materials
Thermal Imaging (see also Testing & Evaluation)

Form Generated on 04-23-15 15:37