Available Technologies

Microwave Curable Composite Repair

UAH-P-14013-Microwave Curable Composite Repair

Docket: UAH-P-14013

Technology

Currently, the only way to cure thick sections of composites is by radiation or conduction, usually from heating blankets or an oven. It takes a long time for the heat from the surface to reach the core of thick structures because epoxies are somewhat insulating. This is a major problem in remote repair of composites.

Researchers at UAH have developed a new use for ionic liquid (IL) epoxy that employs microwaves. This technology mixes IL epoxy with other common epoxies and takes advantage of the IL epoxy absorbing the microwaves to heat and cure the blended epoxies. Microwave has the capability of evenly heating any structure; it promotes a uniform cure through all sections of the structure regardless of size and thickness, resulting in a faster and higher quality repair.

This new technology allows the use of microwave beams in an open environment. One can beam microwaves into a structure and heat/cure locally by scanning the microwave source robotically. The epoxy blend is the only part of the structure to absorb heat from microwaves. Therefore, the process is environmentally friendly because less energy is used to heat the repair in a specific area compared to the usual process of heating the whole structure in a microwave oven.

Applications

  • Industrial environments
  • Space technologies
  • Military vehicle repairs

Advantages

  • Saves energy/environmentally friendly
  • Rapid turnaround of repairs
  • Curing without heating substrate
  • Not limited to thin panel structures
  • Novel and unique
  • Reliable

Status

  • State of Development: Proof of concept
  • Licensing Status: Available for licensing
  • Patent Status: Proprietary