19/7/10 – Nanomaterials go fuzzy for aerospace applications
19 July 2010
Production capabilities for an advanced nanomaterials with application potential is being developed by Goodrich Corporation and the University of Dayton Research Institute (UDRI). The new nanomaterial has metal-like conductive properties can has the potential to be built into a rugged composite structure, in sizes suitable for large-scale commercial aerospace applications. Under a recently-announced award from the state of Ohio’s Third Frontier initiative, UDRI will collaborate with Goodrich and two other companies, Renegade Materials and Owens-Corning, to build and equip a facility capable of producing the "fuzzy fiber" nanomaterial – known as NAHF-X(TM) – and resin composite sheets up to 60 inches wide.
The NAHF-X material was originally developed at UDRI, and Goodrich intends to use the hybrid composite material in new-generation nacelles, as well as explore other applications including aircraft structural health monitoring, wheels and brakes, and electrical de-icing.
NAHF-X is a fuzzy fibre that allows a composite to provide multiple functionalities – such as structural, electrical and thermal properties – in the composite structure. Potential aerospace applications include producing a single rugged composite structure that not only withstands lightning and hail, but could also provide protection from ice build up on nacelles. This would allow for reduced weight and complexity along with increased efficiency over current hot-air-ducting ice removal systems.
The technological breakthrough, resulting from collaboration between researchers and engineers at Goodrich and UDRI, has been in precisely controlling the growth of the nanotubes to create a very uniform yet large structure with tailored properties suitable for a massive product like an engine nacelle. At this time, UDRI has demonstrated the capability to produce the materials in continuous sheets 12 inches wide.
Harry Arnold, vice president, enterprise technology at Goodrich say,"UDRI’s NAHF-X fuzzy fiber is truly a game-changer, and Goodrich recognizes its potential in bringing affordable capability to composite production. This effort is an excellent example of how industry and universities can work together to advance the state-of-the-art in a very competitive environment."
Goodrich has committed US$1 million in funding to the effort. The company’s role in the program will include evaluating emerging business opportunities for the material. Goodrich’s Aerostructures team in Chula Vista, Calif. along with its Materials and Simulation Technical Centre in Brecksville, Ohio will lead the company’s effort. The company has been working with UDRI on nano-enhanced composites since 2006.
Goodrich Corporation, a Fortune 500 company, is a global supplier of systems and services to aerospace, defense and homeland security markets. With one of the most strategically diversified portfolios of products in the industry, Goodrich serves a global customer base with significant worldwide manufacturing and service facilities.