23, July 2021

ESA Open Invitation to Tender: 1-10749
Open Date: 22/07/2021 10:02 CEST
Closing Date: 24/09/2021 13:00 CEST

Carbon fiber Reinforced Plastic (CFRP) material is one of the best material for numerous space applications due to its light weight and excellent and tunable mechanical performance. However, raw material is expensive, process qualification is expensive and any mistake during process, integration or handling can be critical leading to the loss on the entire part. In addition repair is delicate and limited.The discovery of a new class of polymer called vitrimers having self-healing capabilities due to their intrinsic dynamic molecular bonding capabilities, overcomes these issues. The production of vitrimer based CFRP and their advantages are already demonstrated (TRL 2). Implementation of this technology in the manufacturing chain of CFRP for space applications could drastically change the paradigm on the qualification philosophy and production cost leading to cheaper product with shorter lead time while keeping the high end performance.In addition this material can be REACH compliant and unique in Europe. This new class of material willallow self-bonding capability, easy repair and composite recyclingMain benefits are:- To decrease the qualification/manufacturing costs and increase processing capabilities- To allow self-bonding / welding between CFRP based component and other parts like metal (no need ofadhesive anymore)- To allow easy repair, in situ modification and recycling of any CFRP based parts- High level of demisability compared to a classical thermoset based CFRPThe activity encompasses the following tasks:- Vitrimer matrix formulation andoptimization regarding space environment needs and compatibility withcarbon fibers- Demonstration of the vitrimer based CFRP suitability to existing process (i.e. Automatic Tape Placement,hand-layup, winding, infusion…)- Evaluation of the vitrimer basedRP properties toward space environment (ATOX, Radiation, thermalvacuum cycling…)- Definition of service boundaries for space application- Design, Produce and Test a demonstrator to demonstrate the functionality as well as repair, welding and recycling capabilities.

Directorate: Directorate of Tech, Eng. Quality
Estabilishment: ESTEC
ECOS Required: No
Classified: No
Price Range: 200-500 KEURO
Authorised Contact Person: Roman Karpov
Initiating Service: TEC-QEE
IP Measure: N/A
Prog. Reference: E/0901-01 – Technology Developme
Tender Type: Open Competition
Technology Keywords: 20-J-I-Design and Verification Technologies / 24-A-I-Material Assessment / 24-D-I-Interaction of Materials with the Space Environment
Products Keywords: 1-D-2-Non-metallic / 1-D-3-l-Matrix Structure: Others / 2-C-2-Non-metallic / 2-C-3-l-Matrix Structure: Others / 2-N-all.1-b-Plates panels and bearing walls

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