The selection and development process to fabricate composite structures is completed within the CVRC. It will offer the industry safe and affordable techniques for the manufacturing of light-weight, durable and safe vehicles. To achieve this, extensive use of science-based process simulation models, and design by experiment is employed.
The models relate the applied temperatures and pressures, and the properties of the constituent materials to the thermal, chemical, physical, and mechanical processes that occur during fabrication. The benefits include simulation models that provide a better understanding as a basis for optimization.
A manufacturing facility is being constructed to fabricate composite structures using low-cost, non-autoclave methods such as vacuum assisted resin transfer molding (VARTM). In the VARTM process, dry, net-shape fibrous textile reinforcements are infused with a liquid resin and cured in a single step to produce a structural part. Instrumented tools are being designed and fabricated for model verification and the manufacture of prototype composite structures.
The issues associated with practical designs and their manufacture are being pursued and will involve both technology transfer from other groups around the world and original research.