NTRS - NASA Technical Reports Server

Back to Results
Characterization of Composite Fan Case ResinsThe majority of commercial turbine engines that power today s aircraft use a large fan driven by the engine core to generate thrust which dramatically increases the engine s efficiency. However, if one of these fan blades fails during flight, it becomes high energy shrapnel, potentially impacting the engine or puncturing the aircraft itself and thus risking the lives of passengers. To solve this problem, the fan case must be capable of containing a fan blade should it break off during flight. Currently, all commercial fan cases are made of either just a thick metal barrier or a thinner metal wall surrounded by Kevlar-an ultra strong fiber that elastically catches the blade. My summer 2004 project was to characterize the resins for a composite fan case that will be lighter and more efficient than the current metal. The composite fan case is created by braiding carbon fibers and injecting a polymer resin into the braid. The resin holds the fibers together, so at first using the strongest polymer appears to logically lead to the strongest fan case. Unfortunately, the stronger polymers are too viscous when melted. This makes the manufacturing process more difficult because the polymer does not flow as freely through the braid, and the final product is less dense. With all of this in mind, it is important to remember that the strength of the polymer is still imperative; the case must still contain blades with high impact energy. The research identified which polymer had the right balance of properties, including ease of fabrication, toughness, and ability to transfer the load to the carbon fibers. Resin deformation was studied to better understand the composite response during high speed impact. My role in this research was the testing of polymers using dynamic mechanical analysis and tensile, compression, and torsion testing. Dynamic mechanical analysis examines the response of materials under cyclic loading. Two techniques were used for dynamic mechanical analysis. The ARES Instrument analyzed the material through torsion. The second machine, TA Instruments apparatus, applied a bending force to the specimen. These experiments were used to explore the effects of temperature and strain rate on the stiffness and strength of the resins. The two different types of loading allowed us to verify our results. An axial-torsional load frame, manufactured by MTS Systems, Inc., was used to conduct the tensile, compression, and torsional testing. These tests were used to determine the stress-strain curves for the resins. The elastic and plastic deformation data was provided to another team member for characterization of high fidelity material property predictions. This information was useful in having a better understanding of the polymers so that the fan cases could be as sturdy as possible. Deformation studies are the foundation for the computational modeling that provides the structural design of a composite engine case as well as detailed analysis of the blade impact event.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Dvoracek, Charlene M. (Rose-Hulman Inst. of Tech. Terre Haute, IN, United States)
Date Acquired
August 23, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2004
Publication Information
Publication: Research Symposium II
Subject Category
Aircraft Design, Testing and Performance
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

Related Records

IDRelationTitle20050186580Analytic PrimaryResearch Symposium II