Activities at CEM involve both basic research of composite materials and application of its developed technology to ongoing programs. CEM’s involvement with advanced composite materials began in the early 1980’s with the need for more robust, higher strength armature winding structures for compulsators. Work has continued in this area including improved fabrication methods for a variety of applications, in-house analytics, and material property validation techniques.
Primary structure for newer compulsators consists of multiple, high strength graphite composite cylinders which are press fit together. Additional applications of composite rotors include high speed energy storage devices for electric vehicles and locomotives.
Commercial finite element codes and in-house codes are maintained to support analytical and fabrication needs for composite materials research. Composite testing is primarily conducted in-house with arrangements for contract testing if necessary. Existing facilities permit fabrication and assembly of small to large structures.
Research continues at the Center into new materials. Nanostructures are being investigated for improved strength and energy storage performance. In addition, teams are developing composite fabrication techniques that no longer require curing. If possible, non-curing fabrication has the potential to drastically lower production costs in the future.