February 2016 – Some of SURVICE’s innovative composites research and development (R&D) efforts were recently featured in CompositesWorld magazine’s February OOA Supplement 2016.  Written by magazine Editor-in-Chief Jeff Sloan, the article highlights the recent collaboration between SURVICE, Automated Dynamics Corporation (ADC), and UTC Aerospace Systems on a U.S. Navy Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II grant.  The goal of the grant was to develop a thermoplastic helicopter driveshaft that offers distinct performance improvements over current driveshafts.  And the results thus far have been extremely promising.  The new driveshaft, which is composed of carbon fiber/polyetheretherketone (PEEK) prepeg, provides a 35% weight reduction over the traditional aluminum driveshaft, with 150% post-ballistic torque to failure.  In addition, the driveshaft is able to accomplish this with 4% porosity (void content), which dispels the long-held myth that composites must have <1% porosity to be tough enough to be used for aerostructures.  The most important performance metric, as the article points out, is the way in which the driveshaft performs in a ballistic environment.  SURVICE-led testing has simulated some of the worst-case ballistic damage scenarios a driveshaft could encounter, including a direct impact from a high-speed projectile, and the new driveshaft has performed extremely well.  The next step is for the shaft to be extensively tested in an operational environment.

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