NASA and its partners are working together toward enabling the rapid production of lightweight, fuel-efficient airframe components through cooperative research teams sharing costs and knowledge.
To understand the full extent of the challenge, the Hi-Rate Composite Aircraft Manufacturing (HiCAM) project has defined production system requirements and developed a process to assess the potential impacts technologies can have on production efficiency.
HiCAM has completed early screening of concepts and is now in the technology development phase. As we evaluate manufacturing technologies, we expect to down-select concepts and tools for further evaluation. Areas under development include:
- Resin Infusion
- NextGen Thermosets
- Non-Destructive Evaluation
- Model-Based Engineering Tools
- Manufacturing Process Models
- Structural Sizing Tools
- Design for Manufacturing Tools
Model-based engineering tools are computer-based technologies that guide development and help compare potential improvements between different manufacturing approaches.
Once high-rate manufacturing technologies and processes are understood at a small, coupon level, the project will compete concepts at a panel level, and then down-select for further maturation and demonstration of a large-scale fuselage or wing component by 2026.