Goodrich Corporation (NYSE:GR) will work with the University of Dayton Research Institute (UDRI) to produce an innovative nanomaterial with metal-like conductive properties into a rugged composite structure, in sizes suitable for large-scale commercial aerospace applications.
Under a recently-announced award from the state of Ohio's Third Frontier initiative, UDRI will collaborate with Goodrich and two other companies, Renegade Materials and Owens-Corning, to build and equip a facility capable of producing the "fuzzy fiber" nanomaterial - known as NAHF-X(TM) - and resin composite sheets up to 60 inches wide. The NAHF-X material was originally developed at UDRI, and Goodrich intends to use the hybrid composite material in new-generation nacelles, as well as explore other applications including aircraft structural health monitoring, wheels and brakes, and electrical de-icing.
NAHF-X fuzzy fiber allows a composite to provide multiple functionalities - such as structural, electrical and thermal properties - in the composite structure. Potential aerospace applications include producing a single rugged composite structure that not only withstands lightning and hail, but could also provide protection from ice buildup on nacelles. This would allow for reduced weight and complexity along with increased efficiency over current hot-air-ducting ice removal systems. The technological breakthrough, resulting from collaboration between researchers and engineers at Goodrich and UDRI, has been in precisely controlling the growth of the nanotubes to create a very uniform yet large structure with tailored properties suitable for a massive product like an engine nacelle. At this time, UDRI has demonstrated the capability to produce the materials in continuous sheets 12 inches wide.
Harry Arnold, vice president, enterprise technology at Goodrich, said, "UDRI's NAHF-X fuzzy fiber is truly a game-changer, and Goodrich recognizes its potential in bringing affordable capability to composite production. This effort is an excellent example of how industry and universities can work together to advance the state-of-the-art in a very competitive environment."
Goodrich has committed $1 million in funding to the effort. The company's role in the program will include evaluating emerging business opportunities for the material. Goodrich's Aerostructures team in Chula Vista, Calif. along with its Materials and Simulation Technical Center in Brecksville, Ohio will lead the company's effort. The company has been working with UDRI on nano-enhanced composites since 2006.