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Affordable Composite Fan Case with Damage-Tolerant Braided Fiber Architecture

Scientists at NASA Glenn Research Center have partnered with A&P Technology in Cincinnati, Ohio, to establish a cost-effective manufacturing approach to fabricate damage-tolerant composite fan case designs that enable greater than 30% weight reduction in the largest structure within a high bypass aircraft engine.

Accomplishments

  • Demonstrated that composite structures using the braided composite architecture have toughness superior to the baseline aluminum structure.
  • Demonstrated a new low-cost composite manufacturing technique for the fabrication of braided composite fan cases.

Commercialization

  • A&P Technology is partnered with three U.S. engine manufacturers for application of technology to product lines.
  • Braided composite fan cases enable weight savings up to 400 lbs./engine (800 lbs./aircraft), yielding significant reductions in weight and fuel consumption.
  • Braided composites produced on A&P Technology's 800 carrier machine (the world's largest braiding machine) are to be used in GE's GEnx engine fan case structure.
  • Advanced manufacturing approach contributed to the Turning Goals into Reality (TGIR) award for the Jet Engine Containment Concepts and Blade-out Simulation Team.
  • Collaboration and in-kind contributions among large and small businesses, government, and universities (Ohio State University and University of Akron) enabled development and delivery of production-capable engine hardware and fabrication tooling.

Government/Science Applications

  • Due to strong interest by the NASA Aviation Safety and Security Program, a $260K Phase III is being funded to explore further improvements in the design of composite sandwich structures.
  • Computational methods developed by NASA have been validated through testing and analysis of realistic fan case structures supplied by the SBIR effort.

For more information, visit http://sbir.gsfc.nasa.gov/SBIR/video/A&P.html.