NASA’s Langley Research Center has developed a composite joint connector that is more structurally efficient than joints currently on the market. Traditionally, composite joints can bear heavy loads along their length but tend to fail when stress is applied along multiple axes. This joint is designed to minimize stress concentrations, leading to overall increased structural efficiency when compared to traditional joints.

The joint assembly showing a four-lobed connector and single tube element.

The joint connector is for application between two or more tubular parts, or to connect one or more tubular parts to a fixed structure. This attachment technology is more structurally efficient and reduces failure characteristics due to the uniformity of composite material across the joint. In comparison to a typical joint, this technology reduces weight while minimizing stress variations that lead to structural failure. Moreover, typical joints must be bonded or screwed together, which further reduces efficiency. This joint, however, is designed so that it is both bonded and mechanically locked by design rather than relying on separate mechanical fasteners. The result is a design that mitigates failure of a structural joint.

The technology can be formulated to fit a variety of joint shapes, and is corrosion resistant, lightweight, and electrically insulated. Potential applications include use in aerospace and automotive designs, outdoor structures, and sporting goods.

NASA is actively seeking licensees to commercialize this technology. Please contact The Technology Gateway 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: http://technology.nasa.gov/patent/TB2016/LAR-TOPS-198 .


NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the October, 2016 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

Read more articles from this issue here.

Read more articles from the archives here.