Manufacturing and Assembly Technology for Low-Cost Pultruded Composites (2008-396)
- Ingalls Shipbuilding
- Material Sciences Corporation
- Kazak Composites
- West Virginia University
April 2008 - June 2012
NSRP ASE Investment: $1.1M
Industry Investment: $1.1M
Apply new joining methodology to four joint configurations (flat, “L”, “T”, and cruciform), plus develop a panel edge feature, designed to mate with any joint configuration.
This project responds to Navy interest in researching and adapting advanced materials and designs to reduce weight, realize greater fuel economy, and increase lifespan in future naval ships. To realize the reduced maintenance cost and weight savings associated with composites, this effort will build on the promising results of the previous NSRP pultrusion joining project which demonstrated the rapid assembly of flat panels with integrated edge joints. This follow-on effort will apply the same labor saving methodology to other joints needed in complex structures, including four joints (flat, “L”, “T”, and cruciform), plus a panel edge feature, designed to mate with any of the four joint configurations. Standardized pultruded joints will essentially permit the manufacturing process to more closely resemble snapping the panels together to make the structure. Finite Element Analysis will be performed and each joint will be compared to the corresponding joint constructed using the current standard Vacuum Assisted Resin Transfer Molding (VARTM) process. Pultrusion is a mature technology that is routinely used to produce high quality, very low-cost composite parts in a reliable, continuous operation. In the pultrusion process the fiber or mat is coated with the resin, and then drawn through a heated die that forms the part and cures the resin. The fully cured part is then cut to form the final product. The process is readily automated, significantly reducing the labor cost. Pultrusion technology has been shown to be well suited to the manufacture of flat sandwich panels at significantly lower production costs. Extension of pultrusion technology to produce interchangeable joining parts has the potential to transform the materials for composite structures into low cost commodity parts. These standardized parts can then be rapidly joined into complex structures using operations that are analogous to metal shipbuilding practices.
Request Final Report from NSRP – Limited Distribution authorized to project participants and NSRP ASE Program representatives
Point of Contact:
Mark Losset, Ingalls Shipbuilding