11, August 2017

ESA Open Invitation to Tender AO9024
Open Date: 26/07/2017
Closing Date: 29/09/2017 13:00:00


Status: ISSUED
Reference Nr.: 17.1QC.01
Prog. Ref.: GSTP Element 1 Dev
Budget Ref.: E/0904-611 – GSTP Element 1 Dev
Special Prov.: DE+CZ
Tender Type: C
Price Range: > 500 KEURO
Products: Launchers / Materials / Composite Materials / Matrix Structure: Epoxy
Techology Domains: Materials and Processes / Materials Processes / Advanced Materials Manufacture
Establishment: ESTEC
Directorate: Directorate of Tech, Eng. & Quality
Department: Product Assurance and Safety Department
Division: Materials & Components Technology Divisi
Contract Officer: Magne-Lie, Karine
Industrial Policy Measure: N/A – Not apply
Last Update Date: 26/07/2017
Update Reason: Tender issue

Composite and adhesive resin systems form a cornerstone for the manufacture of any modern spacecraft however both the manufacturingand procurement processes are often limited by the pot and/or shelf life of the prepreg/resin materials. A longer shelf life could mean a reduction of the amount of scrappage which occurs from any typical spacecraft composite system manufacturing line.Typically,it can be necessary to scrap and re-procure significant quantities of unused prepreg or resin materials simply because the shelf lifeis shorter than anyrecurrent manufacturing. Improved shelf life could significantly reduce both the cost of manufacture and the environmental footprint of composite processes.Secondly, the extension of pot life for resin systems could allow for extended manufacturing cycles for both larger and more complex smaller composite artefactsparticularly seen as part of out of autoclave processing.A brief review of available literature indicates some interest in approaches to extend both the pot and shelf life of commonly usedresin systems.The use of CFRP out-of-autoclave technologies is utilised for increasing number of applications for improved automation, either for large structures or smaller complex geometries. The production of large structures require long layup times at room temperature that can reach the order of a week. But also smaller structures can require significant out-time of the prepreg, many ofwhich are required to be stored in low temperature freezers to prevent curing. The limitation of prepreg resins is therefore more fundamental, depending on required layup time and ultimate curing temperature. Extended processing times at room temperature can limit the spectrum of possible applications or compromise the final mechanicalperformance of the CFRP.The objective is to develop resin systems exhibiting extended shelf/pot-life to enable wider utilisation of the out of autoclave process for large or complex parts.This shall be an optimisation between extended pot-life as well as minimisation of curing temperature for a variety of target applications.

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