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MTM45-1 prepreg material from Advanced Composites Group (ACG) has been used to build a fleet of Meridian unmanned air vehicles (UAV) destined to monitor the flow of ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica.
The project, run by Kansas University’s school of Aerospace Engineering (KUAE), selected ACG’s MTM45-1 for the Meridian’s wings, empennage and fuselage structure because the properties suited out-of-autoclave (OoA) production of aircraft primary structures. ACG explain that it is suitable because it has a flexible curing temperature, high performance and toughened epoxy matrix system optimised for low pressure vacuum bag processing, and it is designed to be cured at temperatures as low as 80°C (176°F), to allow low cost tooling for prototypes and short production runs.
Under a 5-year, $19 million research grant from the National Science Foundation to Kansas University’s Centre for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets (CReSIS), KUAE’s mission was to provide an aerial platform for ultra-sensitive ice-penetrating radar developed in Kansas University’s Electrical Engineering and Computer Science department. KUAE are deriving information on the morphology of the ice, especially the condition of the ice where it meets bedrock, from radar data, which is improving glaciologist’s predictions of the flow of ice sheets into the oceans.
The Meridian UAV is expected to operate in Greenland between July and August 2011 and then in Antarctica between December 2011 and January 2012.
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