SBIR Phase I: Development of a Continuous One-Step Manufacturing Technique for Structural Insulating Composite Cores

Period of Performance: 01/01/2005 - 12/31/2005


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

The Madison Group
Madison, WI 53719
Principal Investigator
Firm POC


This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project aims to develop an innovative manufacturing process for the continuous manufacture of structural insulating composite cores. Current continuously manufactured cores are extruded foams with good insulating properties but generally low structural properties. To effectively manufacture a core with good combined structural and insulating properties necessitates multiple noncontinuous processing technologies. There exists a unique opportunity to develop a manufacturing process where structural insulating cores can be extruded in a one-step process. This project will use a manufacturing process that utilizes an extruder to produce a core with controlled varying densities throughout the thickness without the need for any secondary processing. The controlled density variations can range between highly foamed to solid non-foamed polymers. This combination of densities results in a core with excellent structural and insulating properties while remaining lightweight. It is anticipated that the innovativeness of the project could have significant cost benefits while exhibiting comparable structural and insulating properties to existing products. The broader impacts from this technology would be to the transportation and construction sectors. Current trends across the transportation and construction sectors create the demand for composite cores that offer both structural and insulating properties. The possibility of significantly reducing the manufacturing costs of these cores creates an opportunity to expand its use and applications. The expanded use of composite cores as a structural and insulating component in the transportation sector allows for weight reduction, which in turn greatly reduces fuel consumption and pollution. The impact of this manufacturing technique is not only limited to structural insulating cores. The successful completion of this project opens the doors to manufacturing integrated sandwich composites in one process, as well as the combination of cushioning, impact absorption, sound dampening, and barrier properties within core composites.