Project to reinforce European composites production for space application is lead by INEGI

06-09-2019
SpaceCarbon
The SpaceCarbon project was featured at the 9th EASN (European Aeronautics Science Network) International Conference on “Innovation in Aviation & Space” in Athens (Greece). INEGI researchers Nuno Rocha and Marta Martins led the space research and development session, which is totally dedicated to this project.

SpaceCarbon is being developed by an European consortium led by INEGI and aims to leverage the European capacity to produce carbon fibre reinforced composites and pre-impregnated materials for launchers and satellite applications, until 2021.

To this end, according to Nuno Rocha, “manufacturing processes for Intermediate Modulus Carbon Fibres (IMCF), suitable for launcher applications, and High Modulus Carbon Fibres (HMCF), suitable for satellite applications, will be developed and implemented on a semi-industrial scale; and novel pre-impregnated formulations for future Spacecraft structural composites with enhanced performance will be developed”.

The capacity to test and validate these materials in space-relevant conditions and the implementation of semi-industrial scale pre-impregnation process, tailored to the Space needs, are also being worked on.

The work to be done is expected to result in four subcomponent demonstrators – two for launchers and two for satellites – and in the and in the “industrial and research and development (R&D) facilities capacity building, helping to reduce the European space sectors reliance on non-European sources for of these materials”.

INEGIs contribution to the project, in addition to the coordination in line with what has been done in this area, focuses on the development of new formulations for prepregs and the development of the process to obtain pre-impregnated suited to the demanding requirements for this sector. In Athens, Marta Martins addressed in particular the topic of the application of carbon fibre reinforced composite materials in the Space sector, outlining the current market and associated technologies, and pointing out some of the ongoing innovations within SpaceCarbon.

During the same session, other partner entities also presented the project aspects for which they are responsible. The consortium includes the companies SGL Carbon (formerly FISIPE), Airbus Defence and Space, AVIO and AAC (Aerospace & Advanced Composites GmbH), and the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA). The initiative is co-financed by the European programme Horizon 2020 and have started in 2018.

The EASN International Conference is one of the leading European events dedicated to applied research in the aerospace sector. This years edition was organized by the EASN Association, with the support of Patras University and the National Technical University of Athens. It sought to be a forum for dissemination and discussion of current and future trends in this sector.

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