Missile Part Is a First For Vacuum Infusion

The annual JEC composites show in Paris highlighted the first application of vacuum infusion to a cylindrical part made of continuous carbon-fiber tapes.

The annual JEC composites show in Paris highlighted the first application of vacuum infusion to a cylindrical part made of continuous carbon-fiber tapes. MAN Technologie in Augsburg, Germany (U.S. office in N.Y.C.), displayed for the first time the domed first section of a prototype booster rocket case for the European Ariane rocket program. MAN has built two since 2003. The part, infused with one-component epoxy, is 40% lighter than the current steel booster rocket case. Continuous tape presents risks of creating wrinkles or waves in the fibers. Wrinkles can be smoothed out if the tapes are cut into sections, or if the part is flat or half-round like a boat hull, not cylindrical like the rocket case. A patent is pending on MAN’s solution to wrinkling.