Supersonic Technology Named Nasa Commercial Invention of 2008

The 2008 NASA Commercial Invention of the Year is a high temperature resin designed to create composites through low-cost manufacturing processes -- ideal for advanced aerospace vehicles.

Researchers at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., were able to create the unique material, which is ideal for the high temperatures of supersonic flight. The material, known as PETI-330, is used in the development of advanced composite fabrication technology for the agency's aeronautics supersonics program. PETI-330 is patented as "Composition of and Method for Making High Performance Resins for Infusion and Transfer Molding Processes."

In the late 1980s, NASA's High-Speed Research Program began to develop high performance, high temperature resins that could be used to fabricate carbon fiber reinforced composites. The resins potentially would be useful on advanced aerospace vehicle structures and aircraft engine components such as inlets and compressor vanes. A resin called PETI-5 was developed that met a number of the program's goals.

Continued research for a resin that would be useful for the fabrication of composites by low-cost manufacturing methods led to PETI-330. It is the first commercially available, off-the-shelf, high temperature resin that has processing characteristics useful for resin infusion, resin transfer molding and the vacuum-assisted resin transfer molding manufacturing processes.

The finished product of PETI-330 has the strength and high temperature properties ideal for large structures exposed to hot temperatures, offering a combination of processability, high temperature performance and toughness ideal for high performance aerospace vehicles. PETI-330 and the vacuum process are of interest to the aerospace industry because of a combination of weight reduction and manufacturing cost savings.

The inventors, John Connell, Joseph Smith, Jr., and Paul Hergenrother, all from Langley, will be honored at the 2010 NASA Project Management Challenge in Galveston, Texas. Ube America, a division of Ube Industries, Inc., licensed the technology from NASA.

NASA's general counsel selects the Invention of the Year Award with technical assistance from NASA's Inventions and Contributions Board. For more information about NASA's Inventions and Contributions Board, visit:

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