Monday, August 30, 2010

CST Composites Produces First Airframe Tube

CST Composites an innovator in the production of filament wound composite profiles has completed production of its first airframe set for ASLI. The 156mm diameter tubing designed specifically for the Pathfinder 1B rocket by University of New South Wales (UNSW) undergraduate student Jendi Kepple, underwent a rigorous design phase including the use of software finite analysis to optimise the laminate structure. This process combined with CST’s unique ability to precisely control fibre orientation during manufacture, have resulted in an airframe significantly lighter & stronger than current commercially available products.

CST Composites is a major contributor to our program; by utilising their knowhow in advanced composites we have being able to exceed the original design goals for the Pathfinder 1B rocket, realising a much lighter & stronger airframe with increased reusability over our first generation rocket. Jamie Anderson ASLI Program Manager

The airframe set consist of a carbon/epoxy filament wound lower airframe & a glass/ epoxy filament wound payload compartment fairing, which will be used to construct the first rocket for launch by January 2011.

UNSW Student Jendi Kepple & Carbon Fiber Aiframe Winding

Saturday, February 13, 2010

UNSW Student Project Report

Two forms of analysis were carried out in order to ensure that the Pathfinder 1B Rocket airframe would withstand the specified loading. The first was hand calculations and the second was by building a model in Patran. Once the hand calculations ensured that the airframe laminate was capable of withstanding the loading criteria, a second opinion was sought from Patran.
To start off, a geometrical model of the rocket was created and 71 different coordinate systems added in order to align the fibres in the appropriate direction. Patran then enveloped the model in an adequate mesh using a total of 4220 nodes to completely encase the structure. Thirdly, the forces acting on the rocket (such as drag, weight, thrust and internal pressure force) were multiplied by a factor of 2 (to ensure an appropriate factor of safety was reached) and added to the model. The properties of carbon fibre/epoxy and fibreglass/epoxy materials (such as transverse and longitudinal modulus) were added into Patran and a three layer composite laminate was designed. A simulation was run and results for deformation and maximum stress emerged.

The simulation successfully calculated that the rocket would not deform extensively or fracture under the given loading. The design of the 1.8mm-thick three ply laminate would be able to withstand the calculated flight path of the rocket.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Pathfinder 1B

Pathfinder 01-B Launch Vehicle
Several key technical improvements have been identified in the first generation rocket design, and so a revision has been designed with the purpose of increasing the reusability of the rocket airframe. The Improved design has been designated Pathfinder 1B and makes more extensive use of composite materials, and greater modularity allowing for in-field replacement of critical components such as the fins.

The Pathfinder rocket provides a unique and completely safe platform for student and academic researchers, seeking a true “hands on experience” of space mission style operations. Being 100% free of any explosive propellants, toxic chemicals, electric matches & other pyrotechnic devices commonly used in rockets. Payload user teams are allowed unprecedented access to the rocket all the way up final propellant loading, and commencement of launch operations. Which are managed by ASLI team members, further insuring risk free participation for student & academic researchers.

Illustration of baseline trajectory using the ASLI H100N hybrid rocket motor.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

ASLI announces new partnership for composite airframe materials.

ALSI is relaunched in 2010 with the formation of a new partnership with NSW Company CST Composites, the University New South Wales (UNSW) & the Co-operative Research Center for Advanced Composites Structures (CRC-ACS).

Under this partnership new airframe materials for the Pathfinder 1B will be designed for ASLI by UNSW undergraduate student Jendi Kepple from UNSW, and manufactured using CST advanced filament winding technology.

The formation of this new partnership allows ALSI to aggressively target a launch of the completed Pathfinder 1B rocket for 2010, paving the way toward solicitation of new student payload programs in 2011.

About CST

CST composites or ‘Composite Spars and Tube’ as it was originally known was founded in 1995. From its inception the company has focused on the design and manufacture of cost effective yet high quality filament wound tubing to service the Marine, industrial and high-tech markets.
In the early days activities were focused in the marine market where CST worked closely with development classes such as the 12’ skiffs to produce carbon spars that were strong, responsive, light and reliable. Since then the company has grown consistently year upon year, broadening its applications into the industrial and high tech Sectors. The company employs 24+ staff in a 1000sq M high tech facility in Kurnell, Sydney Australia. To date more than 1200 spars have been supplied and over 15,000 tubes have been manufactured.
The strength of CST lies with its unique filament winding technology which has been developed and evolved since 1995. Today the company now runs three filament winding machines and two pultrusion machines giving a production capacity capability of more than 20 tonnes of composite per year. CST is now the largest user of carbon tow in Australia and New Zealand. Our tubes and profiles are exported worldwide with significant markets in Europe, USA, China and Asia.

About CRC-CS

The primary aim of the Cooperative Research Centre for Advanced Composite Structures (CRC-ACS), or Composites CRC, is to provide a focus for the development of advanced technologies which foster the growth of an efficient, globally-competitive, Australian composite industry.

This is achieved by conducting research and development programs into the design, manufacture, testing, durability and supportability of advanced composite structures.

The Composites CRC brings together skills from some of Australia's leading research providers to support its own core staff of thirty research engineers, scientists and technicians.

These highly skilled experts work with industry to develop new technologies to improve the cost-competitiveness and structural performance of composite materials in an ever expanding market place.