In the pursuit of supplying the highest quality 3D woven material, for Woven Thermal Protection Systems (W-TPS), Bally Ribbon Mills (BRM) is proposing a diagnostic tool to measure and monitor the motions of a 3D weaving loom. Current weaving techniques rely on the loom operator to see or hear variations in the weaving process and detect problems early so defective material is kept to a minimum. Many times, even for the most experienced weavers, when variations are identified a defect is already woven into the product. BRM is proposing to modify the typical loom motion on the 24-inch-wide NASA HEEET loom to incorporate measurement devices to monitor real time activities.
The specialized equipment used to weave 3D woven preforms is based on standard textile equipment that is substantially modified to allow hundreds of layers to be interwoven together. As these complex woven structures are scaled up, it is critical to understand the dynamics of the 3D weaving equipment and how interactions between different components will affect the unit cell of the woven structure and ultimately the material properties.
The Phase I work has confirmed, that monitoring the looms motions a closed loop system feasible. Monitoring was the first step to creating a “smart” loom. A “smart” loom capable of diagnosing variables and automatically adjust to ensure consistent high quality preforms are supplied, preforms with uniform and consistent unit cells and crimp levels.
BRM believes the material properties gathered during this SBIR work would be directly applicalbe to the NASA HEEET program. BRM also believe that the money invested on this SBIR would reduce material cost on future missions by providing the NASA enineers with another design option when developing Woven Thermal Protection Systems (W-TPS).
Potential hypersonic applications