DRIFT ProcessThermoplastic Composites Materials & Innovative Manufacturing Process for Thin Wall, High Pressure Hydraulic Tubing for Navy Aircraft

Period of Performance: 01/10/2008 - 07/10/2008


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Great Lakes Composites
12061 West Lakeshore Drive
Brimley, MI 48715
Principal Investigator


Great Lakes Composites will utilize its extensive background in thermoplastic composites materials to provide an innovative solution to develop a high pressure, thin-walled hydraulic tubing for Navy aircraft. GLC will utilize the patented Direct Re-Inforced Fiber Technology (DRIFT) process to heat fuse thermoplastic resin to continuous fibers, to efficiently and thoroughly impregnate the fibers without damage, improving the reliability and safety of hydraulic tubing. GLC anticipates that thermoplastic composites tape-form materials, wrapped to form the tubing, will exceed the Navy s expectations, as well as significantly reduce failures. The additional benefits of cost and weight reduction, along with re-formability in the field will further contribute value-added benefits for both the Navy and potential commercial markets. The resulting properties of the thermoplastic composites materials tubing will include a minimum of 5000 psi, a continuous use temperature of greater than 400◦ F, an outside diameter of 0.25 to 0.75 with a wall thickness of 0.022 to 0.065 respectively, and a minimum of 10 feet to 30 feet or more in length. It is anticipated that the resulting thermoplastic composites materials tubing will have zero degradation of properties under continuous exposure to hot hydraulic fluids and be resistant to chafing of the outer surface.