Single Vacuum Bag Process for Rapid, On-Site Repair of Composites

Period of Performance: 05/31/2016 - 11/29/2016

$80K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Luna Innovations, Inc.
301 1st St Suite 200
Roanoke, VA 24011
Firm POC
Principal Investigator

Abstract

Organic-matrix composites are increasingly replacing traditional metallic materials in aerospace platforms due to their high strength to weight ratios, manipulative properties, and corrosion resistance. However, repair methods for these materials are considerably more complicated. Typically, a composite laminate repair patch must be manually fabricated on-site from dry fabric and resin and then bonded to the damaged structure. Prior to the bonding or co-curing, a Double Vacuum Debulk (DVD) process is performed on the lay-up, requiring a separate piece of support equipment. The procedure requires dedicated equipment and is time consuming, costly, and size limited. In addition, the repaired structure is not brought back to full strength. A more efficient and effective on-aircraft process is required. To meet the Navys needs, Luna will develop a single vacuum bag process utilizing advanced bagging materials which will achieve high quality aerospace laminates while eliminating the DVD process tooling and size restrictions. Furthermore, Luna will offer enhanced versions of the standard resins and adhesives to enable cure on-demand systems for quick repairs that can be readily accomplished on-site. Luna will consult with Bell Helicopter to ensure that the technology is relevant to aerospace systems.