Microwave Processed Multifunctional Polymer Matrix Composites
NASA has identified polymer matrix composites (PMCs) as a critical need for launch and in-space vehicles, but the significant costs of such materials limits their use. This proposal addresses the need for lower cost PMCs through the development of discontinuous fiber reinforced polymer composites with an in-situ grown carbon nanotube 3-D network that will translate to less expensive components with properties approaching those of continuous fiber reinforced polymers. The use of microwave processing will further reduce costs and improve the properties such that the Phase I and 2 efforts could lead to the implementation of these composites for a multitude of applications for which they are currently deemed too expensive. Ceralink will team with Florida International University, who will perform the in-situ growth of carbon nanotubes, and HITCO Carbon Composites, who will evaluate the developed materials and provide an assessment of technical and commercial viability. It is anticipated that a technology readiness level of 4 will be achieved by the end of the Phase I program.
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