NASA's Glenn Research Center invites companies to license or establish partnerships to develop its patented high-temperature, low-melt imide resins for fabrication of automotive components. Produced by a solvent-free melt process, these resins exhibit high glass transition temperatures (Tg = 370 to 400 °C), low melt viscosities (10 to 30 poise), long pot-life (1 to 2 hours), and can be easily processed by low-cost RTM and vacuum-assisted resin transfer molding (VARTM). These RTM resins melt at 260 to 280 °C, and can be cured at 340 to 370 °C in 2 hours without releasing any harmful volatile compounds.

This technology was developed to make polyimide resins from novel asymmetric dianhydrides (a-dianhydrides) and kinked diamines to achieve low melt viscosities that are amenable to low-cost RTM and VARTM, while retaining high-temperature finished product performance above 300 °C. The RTM imide resins can be injected into fiber preforms under pressure (200 psi) or vacuum (VARTM). The resins also can be made into powder prepregs with lengthy out-time by melting the resin powders so that they fuse onto fibers.

RTM imide resins display high softening temperatures (370 to 400 °C) and excellent toughness, as evidenced by the RTM370 resins’ open-hole compression strength. The resins also possess significant thermo-oxidative stability by long-term isothermal aging at 288 °C (550 °F) for 1,000 hours. The unique melt process without a solvent provides a manufacturing advantage over the expensive high-boiling solvents previously needed to produce oligomers. This process also eliminates the need for tedious and high-cost solvent removal.

NASA is actively seeking licensees to commercialize this technology. Please contact the Technology Transfer Office at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to initiate licensing discussions. Follow this link for more information: here .

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NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the May, 2017 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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