The contract will enable Third Wave to expand its machining modeling technology to composite materials used on the under development F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter (JSF) aircraft, while allowing the company to develop, evaluate and implement a physics-based machining model of the Cycom 5250-4 bismaleimides (BMI) composite material, in collaboration with F-35 suppliers, including GKN Aerospace.

In addition to this, the company will work with airframe builders Triumph Group and Northrop Grumman, and F-35 composite machining supplier Janicki Industries, to perform similar activities for resin systems Cycom 977-3 and AFR-PE-4.

According to Airforce Technology, funds for the contract are being allocated by the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Rapid Innovation Fund (RIF). Third Wave chief technical officer Troy Marusich said that the RIF project will result in full-scale composite machining modeling software, allowing reduced costs and manufacturing times, while enhancing component quality.

“Working closely with GKN and other F-35 suppliers will result in the development, demonstration and transition of this technology into the DoD supply base,” Marusich said.

The company’s project, “High Productivity Composite Machining for F135 Fan Inlet Case,” is a direct response to the DoD’s requirement to reduce risk at every stage of composite manufacturing, in addition to improving machined composite component quality to accelerate insertion.

Third Wave claims that its transition machining modeling technology will reduce composite machining times by 20 to 35% and tooling costs by 20%, which will eventually minimize composite machining risks and increase insertion of organic matrix composites into military systems. Source: Airforce Technology.

Learn about more composites developments within the aerospace/aircraft markets. Did you know that ACMA’s High Performance Council (HPC) provides a forum for companies to network with end users, while focusing on growth markets for high performance composites, such as offshore oil and gas, wind, aircraft, aerospace and chemical hardening? Contact Andrew Huber to learn more about the HPC and how you can get involved.