| • "Fuzzy fiber" hybrid material brings electrical and thermal conductivity to large-scale composite sheets
Goodrich Corporation will work with the University of Dayton Research Institute
(UDRI) to produce an innovative nanomaterial with metal-like conductive properties
in 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 nanomaterial – known as "fuzzy fiber" – and
resin composite sheets up to 60 inches wide. 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.
Fuzzy fiber allows a composite to provide multiple functionalities - such
as those associated with 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 buildup 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. Up until now, similar substances
have only been grown on small substrates in a lab environment.
Harry Arnold, vice president, enterprise technology at Goodrich, said, "UDRI's 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 $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 Center in Brecksville, Ohio will lead the company's effort. The company has been working with UDRI on nano-enhanced composites since 2006.