Low Cost, Low Weight Composite Structure using Out-Of-Autoclave (OOA) Technology

Period of Performance: 04/25/2008 - 08/27/2009


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Aurora Flight Sciences Corp.
9950 Wakeman Drive Array
Manassas, VA 20110
Principal Investigator


The increased use of composite materials in aircraft structures has provided airframe manufacturers with greater design flexibility for the production of large highly-loaded structural members with complex geometries. The main constraint on the ability to fabricate large composite aircraft structures is the size of the available autoclave to cure the components. The development of out-of-autoclave (OOA) materials decreases the cost of entry into composites manufacturing programs and allows new opportunities for aircraft designers. The development of new generations of out-of-autoclave materials has enabled the fabrication of large composite structures with nearly identical properties to their autoclave-cured counterparts. The goal of the Phase I Base Program is to develop processing techniques and tooling methods for state-of-the-market out-of-autoclave materials and fabricate a Demonstration Article using the developed process. Both destructive and non-destructive testing shall be performed on the Base Program Demonstration Article and an initial qualification and scalability plan shall be developed based on the resulting data. During the Phase I Option Program, processing techniques shall be developed for an emerging OOA material and those techniques shall be used to fabricate two large-scale Demonstration Articles to demonstrate the repeatability and scalability of the process.