Design and Manufacture of Lower Cost Composite Structures for Launch Vehicles (MSC P0B38-011)

Period of Performance: 05/19/2000 - 02/19/2001


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Materials Sciences Corp.
135 Rock Road Array
Horsham, PA 19044
Principal Investigator


The opportunity presented in this proposal is to develop and demonstrate innovative damping treatments for noise isolation and vibration control that are integral with launch vehicle fairings, and hence do not add significant weight to the vehicle system. The emphasis of the proposed research program is on development of new structural configurations and lower cost manufacturing techniques for our innovative approach for producing high levels of material damping in composite structures. Design concepts for stiffened plate and shell structures will be developed. An unstiffened flat panel will be fabricated and tested to validate vibro-acoustic performance predictions. Because we have data from previous research to show that our damping concepts out-perform traditional constrained layer treatments, there is a high probability that we will be successful in reducing vibration levels in launch vehicle components using this lower cost technology. Launch vehicles have significant vibration levels induced by the propulsion engines and boundary layer turbulence. These vibration levels limit the performance and reliability of on-board hardware. Launch vehicle manufacturers are actively seeking innovative solutions. The damping treatment proposed here will meet these companies' performance requirements. Targeted applications include payload fairings and equipment mounting brackets. Other applications include those in industry and commercial sectors where vibration is problematic and the high performance of advanced materials is required.