Improved Manufacturing Technologies for Polymer Matrix Composite Engine Components

Period of Performance: 04/27/2006 - 08/27/2007


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Maverick Corp.
11379 Grooms Road
Blue Ash, OH 45242
Principal Investigator


The recent development of AFR-PE-4E polyimide composites has increased the high-temperature performance of military engine structures due to weight reduction. But, to take full advantage of this new composite system, and to compete against titanium, low-cost manufacture of AFR-PE-4E resin and prepreg must be achieved. Current F135 and F136 engines slated for the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) require three ducts that total up to 300 pounds per engine. AFR-PE-4E composite has currently been selected for these structures which will require continuous service temperatures in excess of 316ºC (600ºF) while retaining maximum physical strength. The high cost of AFR-PE-4 resin is primarily driven by the high cost of the 4-PEPA and 6FDA monomers. Reducing the AFR-PE-4E resin cost can be realized through obtaining alternate sources for these monomer components, so the major goal of the Phase I SBIR program is to jump-start work to identify a combination of lower cost monomer suppliers and demonstrate their suitability through fabrication of carbon uni-tape prepreg trial lots. Chemical characterization testing is planned to provide a thorough assessment of batch-to-batch reproducibility, storage stability, and reactive behavior. The thermal performance, processing characteristics, and cost benefits will be determined and compared to the baseline AFR-PE-4E material.