CRG and Spintech work with AFRL to improve fabrication of aircraft engine inlet ducts

The Air Force Research Laboratory’s (AFRL’s) Manufacturing and Industrial Technologies Division and the contractor team of Cornerstone Research Group, A&P Technology and CRG’s affiliate, Spintech LLC, conducted research to quantify the benefits of replacing legacy manufacturing processes with novel processes for the fabrication of an 11-foot long, S-shaped engine inlet duct.

The approach replaces the hand applied composite prepreg with an automated overbraid process which applies dry fiber to a mandrel. The very heavy multi-piece steel mandrel was replaced with a light-weight single-piece shape-memory polymer mandrel and the dry braided carbon fiber was processed with a low cost epoxy resin using a vacuum assisted resin transfer molding process.  The team completed analysis of the overbraid architecture, fabrication of a shape memory polymer (SMP) forming tool and construction of the SMP mandrel that will serve as the tool during the preform overbraid process.

One of the primary goals of this program is to understand part cost and production time benefits from introducing the new tooling and processing solutions. The final inlet duct will be delivered to the government for further integration into the Aerospace System’s Directorate’s complementary airframe design and manufacturing program. Personnel at the Aerospace Vehicles Division will conduct static ground testing of the integrated braided fuselage and inlet duct structure. Read full article here.

CRG brings aircraft development back to Dayton

CAD rendering of an unmanned aircraft

For the last decade, CRG has been developing unique subsystem technologies to bring aircraft design and manufacturing back to the Dayton area. Through the hard work of CRG’s newly formed Aerospace Systems Center, they now have multiple aircraft under development. In the past three months, CRG designed and tested two different aircraft platforms, both produced here in Dayton with support from outstanding regional partners.

These aircraft vary in weight from 50 to 1200 pounds and range in size up to a 30-foot wingspan. CRG intends to establish full-fledged aircraft production facilities as the systems currently under development are matured and transitioned.

Aerospace Systems Center created

Cornerstone Research Group’s Aerospace Systems Center (ASC), officially formed in January 2020, is focused on rapidly advancing state-of-the-art aerospace capabilities. Some of these capabilities include advanced aircraft design, concepts and optimization, electric propulsion technologies, rapid development and fielding and production. The center’s partnership with CRG’s Advanced Manufacturing Center gives them the capability to take advantage of advanced manufacturing techniques for agile and affordable aircraft development and production.

Cornerstone is a leader in quiet electric propulsor technologies and supports multiple aircraft programs. The ASC team has developed, built and successfully tested unmanned aircraft which range in size from 15 pounds with a five-foot wingspan to 1200 pounds with a 30-foot wingspan.

In the next six or seven months the center plans to test a manned aircraft that weighs about 2800 lbs, with a 30-ft wingspan. They have done ground testing of the aircraft.

The ASC team consists of aerospace engineers, advanced flight control engineers, RF physicists, electrical engineers, advanced materials engineers and manufacturing engineers. The team is led by the ASC Vice President, Bryan Pelley.