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Development of Prepreg and Out-of-Autoclave Process for Z-Aligned Carbon Nanofiber Toughened Lightweight Composites


University of South Alabama/NASA Human Exploration & Operations Mission Directorate

The stated goals for the research project regarding the Z-aligned-nanofibers toughened fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) lightweight composite materials included a higher survival rate against impact damage, interlaminar crack growth, and fatigue failure, a higher stability against varying environmental temperature (high/medium/low) and a lower cost than industrial state-of-the-art prepreg/autoclaveprocessed composites. The advent of these novel materials and methods has drawn significant attention from industry. After announcement of the discovery of the new CFRP composites, the Science-I (Hsiao) and the University Administrators were joined by the mayor of Mobile, Alabama in discussions with Airbus Group. On November 7, 2014, Airbus Group took the action to donate a 28 ft by 6 ft, 200 lb A330 composites elevator for Hsiao’s group and the university to do research and education. This donation indicates Airbus’ interest in investing in the University of South Alabama and the Mobile City area’s composites science and technology development in both research and education. Future collaboration in research of applying the z-aligned-nanofibers stitched FRP in aero-structures looks promising. In addition, other discussions of collaboration with companies and government labs developed during this project. The meaningful collaboration in this cutting edge composites technology may transform the education, workforce development, and high tech driven economics in the south Alabama region.

Comparison of side-view microscope pictures of the z-aligned CNF-stitched CFRP laminate with unaligned CNF-modified CFRP laminate. NASA Technical Monitor: Dr. Brian W. Steinert, Marshall Space Flight Center

Researchers of Dr. Kuang-Ting Hsiao’s Composites Research Lab at the University of South Alabama are examining the A330 elevator donated by Airbus. From left to right: Dr. Kuang-Ting Hsiao, Capt. John Brewer, USFA (mechanical engineering graduate student), and Mr. Kendrick Henderson (electrical engineering undergraduate student).

Prof. Kuang-Ting Hsiao, Ph.D., Science PI, University of South Alabama

NASA EPSCoR Stimuli 2014-15



EPSCoR Stimuli 2014-15  

NASA Office of Education’s Aerospace Research & Career Development (ARCD) is pleased to release NASA EPSCoR Stimuli, a collection of univers...

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