NASA Takes on Aerospace Manufacturing With New Collaborative Partnership

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NASA has made an exciting announcement and it may be the start of something big for the aerospace industry. NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland has recently signed a non-exclusive license agreement with Imitec Inc., based in Schenectady, New York. The agreement will allow NASA to assist with the development, manufacturing and distribution of NASA’s resin transfer moldable RTM370 imide resin. The imide resin will be used to develop the next generation of high-performance aerospace polyimides.

The aerospace industry, just like any other manufacturing sector has been advancing at an incredible pace. NASA is one of the most technologically sophisticated government agencies and they are the perfect match to assist manufacturers in the development of the next generation of materials and designs for the aerospace industry. NASA has already been paving the way for innovative aircraft designs with the X-Plane program, but now they’re looking to not only build the future, but they want to improve today.

The RTM370 is a high-temperature material that can be used in a number of different aerospace applications such as improving current aircraft engines, space propulsion systems and missiles for the defense industry. This material can even be used to improve bushings and bearings for applications in oil drilling and rolling mills.

The inventor of RTM370 is Dr. Chun-Hua “Kathy” Chuang, who is a chemical engineer in the Materials Chemistry and Physics Branch at Glenn. “We are very happy to announce this partnership,- The collaboration between NASA and Imitec opens excellent opportunities for creating impact in the marketplace and benefits to the economy.” A statement made by Kim Dalgleish-Miller, chief of Technology Transfer Office at Glenn.<>

The entire aerospace industry, NASA included, has been searching for new materials to replace metal components on air and spacecraft. Components manufactured out of traditional materials like steel have a lot of strength but are also extremely heavy. Additional weight results in a less fuel efficient aircraft. The world has put a renewed focus on green technology and fuel efficiency. Aircraft require so much fuel and every pound that can be taken away from an aircraft will mean less fuel needed and an overall more sustainable aircraft. When it comes to space travel, each pound can add up to dozens of gallons of extra fuel. A journey to space is extremely costly and fuel requirements and weight limits are a huge factor in this cost. If NASA and Imitec can utilize RTM370, it will be a monumental breakthrough in the world of aerospace manufacturing.

“Imitec is pleased to work with NASA and welcomes the opportunity to develop the next generation of aerospace polyimides in cooperation with Glenn Research Center, – We are happy to be working with NASA again to deliver cutting-edge technologies.”<>

This collaborative effort was jumpstarted by NASA’s Technology Transfer Program and was put together in the hopes of finding new, innovative applications for the government agencies technology. NASA has provided the world with much of the modern technology we take advantage of today. Now, NASA’s program is focusing on improving a critical means of transportation and it could have a far reaching impact on passenger jetliners and the supply chain as well. The lighter the aircraft, the more cargo they will be able to hold and the cheaper each trip will be because less fuel will be required, all while having less of an impact on the environment. It will be exciting to see more of these incredible projects take shape over the next few years. Check back soon for the latest in aerospace trends, news and developments.