Pepin Associates, Inc. has been developing aligned discontinuous materials
for composite reinforcement for several years. An aligned discontinuous
reinforcing fabric stretches in its reinforcement directions allowing complex
shapes to be formed without cutting and darting the fabric. DOE SBIR
programs began to evaluate the concept for fabrication of thermoplastic
composites in automotive applications. With DARPA, Air Force and Navy
SBIR funding beginning in 2001 Pepin Associates, Inc. developed an aligned
discontinuous fabric for use with thermoset resins for aerospace
applications. This fabric has the registered trademark DiscoTex®. In this
program Pepin Associates, Inc. fabricated a carbon/epoxy keel designed by
Boeing St. Louis. Due to its complex shape this large part would have been
very difficult to fabricate with currently available continuous fiber materials. In
2005 Pepin Associates, Inc. was awarded a Defense Acquisition Challenge
Program to qualify this fabric to a Boeing Material Specification. This
program was completed in December 2008. In 2008 Pepin Associates, Inc.
was awarded an Office of Naval Research Program to develop versions of
the DiscoTex® material for Navy platforms. This program focused only on
epoxy (thermoset) matrices.
Description of Facilities
Pepin Associates 2,500 square foot facility at 15 Log Home Road in Greenville,
Maine houses patented “CD Tow Machines,” an industrial 54-inch Dornier textile
loom, and a machine shop. Equipment includes a 3’x7’ autoclave, a 50 ton hot
press, a 20kip mechanical test machine, and forming and stretching chambers.
small chemistry lab, specimen polishing wheel and other standard equipment
support ongoing programs.
PAI’s high-speed industrial loom used to make DiscoTex® fabric.
3ft x 7ft, 550˚F, 100psi autoclave used to cure thermoset composites