NASA has issued $50 million in awards to 14 organizations to develop manufacturing processes and advanced composites materials for aircraft structures. These green technologies hold the potential to help reduce aviation carbon emissions.
The awards are from NASA’s Hi-Rate Composite Aircraft Manufacturing (HiCAM) project, which seeks to reduce the cost and increase the production rate of composite structures made in the U.S. With more lightweight, composite airframes in service, airlines will save fuel and reduce emissions, making commercial aviation more sustainable. Sustainability, cost, and aircraft production rate drive U.S. competitiveness in the commercial aircraft industry.
For its contribution to the Sustainable Flight National Partnership, HiCAM works with a public-private partnership, the Advanced Composites Consortium, which allows partners to take advantage of each other’s expertise and increase the likelihood of the U.S. aviation industry adopting results. Organizations within the consortium that received funding through these latest awards will match NASA’s funding.
When NASA launched HiCAM, the project considered multiple materials and manufacturing techniques. HiCAM established three manufacturing concepts: next-generation thermosets, resin-infused composites, and thermoplastic composites. The new awards will support the evaluation and development of these concepts at small scales, including experiments in material processing, assembly techniques, inspection, and structural performance.