Continuous Composites Selected by NASA for Additive Manufacturing of Low CTE Open Isogrid Composite Structure
Press release from: Continuous Composites
Posted: Wednesday June 15th 2022
Continuous Composites, a pioneer in Advanced Composite® 3D printing technology, has been chosen by NASA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program to additively fabricate low coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) open isogrid composite structures ) for space applications, using its patented continuous fiber. 3D printing technology, CF3D®.
“This contract builds on the work we have done in the DoD and commercial aerospace sector, and we are excited to introduce our unique capabilities to the space industry.”
In space, objects orbiting the Earth experience drastic temperature changes when they are on the dark side of the Earth compared to the light side. Therefore, precision objects such as satellites and optical benches require low to zero CTE to avoid warping or distortion due to expansion and contraction due to large temperature variations.
This NASA award will demonstrate CF3D’s advanced robotic steering of individual continuous carbon fiber cables to print and test a 1.6′ by 3.3′ flat open isogrid rib structure, which will have a low CTE. CF3D printed isogrid structures can be deposited on a support surface in many different shapes, including flat, cylindrical, spherical, conical, etc. The resulting part can be optimized for the desired strength and stiffness based on launch and space loads.
CF3D enables the fabrication of composite structures that are not practical to produce with traditional fabrication methods. One such structure is this open isogrid rib structure which has applications in many industries including space and aerospace. By using continuous fiber reinforcement, instant-cure photopolymers, and advanced robotics, CF3D can dramatically reduce the time and cost of creating open isogrid composite structures.
“Given my experience in composite design for space applications, I am excited to demonstrate our unique fiber steering capabilities for this NASA project. This printed isogrid will have a very low to zero CTE, which is the goal for these types of space structures,” says John Brendel, application engineer and technical POC on this NASA SBIR. “This contract builds on the work we have done in the DoD and commercial aerospace sector, and we are excited to introduce our unique capabilities to the space industry.”
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