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NASA Composite Materials Development: Lessons Learned and Future ChallengesComposite materials have emerged as the materials of choice for increasing the performance and reducing the weight and cost of military, general aviation, and transport aircraft and space launch vehicles. Major advancements have been made in the ability to design, fabricate, and analyze large complex aerospace structures. The recent efforts by Boeing and Airbus to incorporate composite into primary load carrying structures of large commercial transports and to certify the airworthiness of these structures is evidence of the significant advancements made in understanding and use of these materials in real world aircraft. NASA has been engaged in research on composites since the late 1960 s and has worked to address many development issues with these materials in an effort to ensure safety, improve performance, and improve affordability of air travel for the public good. This research has ranged from synthesis of advanced resin chemistries to development of mathematical analyses tools to reliably predict the response of built-up structures under combined load conditions. The lessons learned from this research are highlighted with specific examples to illustrate the problems encountered and solutions to these problems. Examples include specific technologies related to environmental effects, processing science, fabrication technologies, nondestructive inspection, damage tolerance, micromechanics, structural mechanics, and residual life prediction. The current state of the technology is reviewed and key issues requiring additional research identified. Also, grand challenges to be solved for expanded use of composites in aero structures are identified.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Tenney, Darrel R.
(Analytical Services and Materials, Inc. Hampton, VA, United States)
Davis, John G., Jr.
(Analytical Services and Materials, Inc. Hampton, VA, United States)
Pipes, R. Byron
(Purdue Univ. West Lafayette, IN, United States)
Johnston, Norman
(Johnston (Norman) Buena Vista, CO, United States)
Date Acquired
August 24, 2013
Publication Date
October 19, 2009
Subject Category
Composite Materials
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
NATO RTO AVT-164 Workshop on Support of Composite Systems(Bonn)
Funding Number(s)
WBS: WBS 698259.02.07.07
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.
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