SpaceStrut™: fully integral, ultra-lightweight, and dimensionally stable CFRP struts

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Technology abstract

Space Structures GmbH is a German SME specialising in the development of carbon fibre composites for space and aerospace. For decades the use of CFRP struts has been limited by the need to add metal fittings, however Space Structures have now developed fully integral CFRP struts, including CFRP fittings. This innovation means that mass savings of up to 75% can be achieved, while dimensional stability is improved due to the single CTE of the strut, and environmental impact is reduced.

Technology Description

Composites such as CFRP (carbon fibre reinforced polymer) are being used to replace metal in components for industries such as aerospace and automotive, where significant mass savings or dimensional stability are crucial. The replacement of metal with CFRP for strut applications has been limited by the difficulties of manufacturing attachment fittings in CFRP, meaning that state-of-the-art is currently CFRP struts with bonded metal fittings.
 
Space Structures is using a tailored fibre placement (TFP) technique that enables the manufacturing of fully integral CFRP struts that do not require metal fittings. By optimising the carbon fibre orientation and removing the metal fittings, the company has been able to reduce the mass of the struts by up to 75%.

Innovations & Advantages

  • Weight reduction (of up to 75%)
  • Lower environmental impact of production
  • High dimensional stability (DoubleZero™ variant):
  • Zero coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE), tuneable
  • Zero moisture expansion coefficient (CME)

Further Information

Typical SpaceStrut™ mass performances:

  • 500mm strut, 3kN tension/compression: 40g
  • 1500mm strut, 30kN tension/compression: 580g

Current and Potential Domains of Application

Current:

  • Structural component for satellites and launchers

 
Potential:

  • Aerospace
  • Transport
  • Robotics