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MATERIAL AND PROCESS DEVELOPMENT

Structures made for astronautics must fulfil highly demanding specifications. Fibre-reinforced plastics such as CFRP and GFRP are increasingly being used for space applications besides special aluminium alloys, titanium and invar. Thanks to a flexible selection of composite materials and corresponding manufacturing processes, INVENT is able to directly model the desired thermal and mechanical component properties.

Structural components for Sentinel 1 / CCORE honeycomb / Carbon nano tube model

The material spectrum comprises standard combinations such as HT fibres (e.g. T300) with epoxy resin and progresses through to ultra-high modulus pitch-based carbon fibres (e.g. K13D2U) with cyanate-ester resins. These materials are processed in specifically adapted processes such as injection, winding or prepreg. INVENT also develops new technologies, materials and material combinations. These include CCORE carbon fibre honeycomb and CNT-reinforced polymers.

Example CCORE honeycomb

CCORE honeycomb
Application example: STANT (Image © HPS)

As part of a national ESA development programme, INVENT developed the open-pore CFRP honeycomb named CCORE. CCORE has a very high temperature stability as well as a low volumetric weight and high stiffness. These material properties are key to the main application of the CFRP honeycomb: in optical structures or reflector antennas for space.

INVENT, as a manufacturer of composite structures, is in an optimal position to deliver complete sandwich structures made of CCORE and matching CFRP face sheets. The materials and processes are identical for manufacturing either the honeycomb or the face sheet. This allows homogenous fibre composite structures to be produced.

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