Who are we:SciFi Innovations and OSU present a technology for joining carbon fiber reinforced polymers (CFRP) to metals with integrated sensing. This hybrid technology, termed smart carbon fiber integration (S-CFI, pronounced “sci fi”), provides multi-material aircraft structures that are more durable, inspectable, and maintainable than current alternatives. The key to S-CFI is that sensors and dry fibers are embedded in metal using a low temperature, solid state process. Mechanical interlocking of the fibers within the metal produces strong joints without damaging fibers as is the case with traditional through-thickness fasteners. Embedded devices such as fiber Bragg grating (FBG) sensors or electronic components provide prognostic and early damage detection data for both the joint and the CFRP structure. Fibers are embedded dry, enabling the layup of arbitrary CFRP parts with integrated metal tabs, ribs, or attachment points that can be joined to other metal or S-CFI structures using traditional metal-to-metal joining methods. OSU's CFRP-metal joining technology is currently at TRL 6, having been proto-typed as a vehicle roof stiffener. The metal-CFRP joints are shown to meet or exceed automotive standards for metal-to-metal resistive spot weld (RSW) attachments and to be immune to galvanic corrosion based on automotive-grade accelerated corrosion tests.
Click to enlarge
What do we build:CFRP-metal joining and integral sensing technologies are combined in S-CFI to provide a complete multi-material joining and structural health monitoring solution to reduce the lifetime maintenance of aircraft and rotorcraft. Even if the embedded sensing capability isn’t used with the joining technology in production air vehicles, it provides a valuable tool for development engineers. In later commercialization stages, S-CFI technology will help enable the increased use of fiber reinforced composites in mass production vehicles. This lightweighting will result in reduced fuel consumption or increased range for electric vehicles. By enabling the rapid assembly of CFRP components with existing resistance spot welding robots, it will save the auto industry billions of dollars in equipment and retraining.
Click to enlarge