We are constantly engaged in a number of interesting projects. We are a small company, but the topics we study have wide-ranging implications. We are grateful for our clients who challenge us with a variety of interesting projects.
Energy and Environmental Studies
Energy is a global business, and as such, everything and everyone involved in energy resource extraction, transportation, distribution, and end-use are interconnected. We have been studying impacts of national energy and environmental policies on global energy trade, and identified unintended consequences of strict environmental protection that causes an increase in greenhouse gas emissions on a global scale.
Underground Infrastructure Analysis
Since the days of Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse, use of electricity and industrialization of a nation created a synergistic effect. Now, we only think of such basic services as light, water, and clean toilets when these utilities fail. Many of our utilities were buried underground and difficult to access, making it almost impossible to assess the well-being of the critical utility network. We have developed a tool to assess these “hard-to-access” facilities and provide repair and upgrade advice to our customers before they fail.
Aerospace and International Trade
As energy and environmental science have a global implication, the growth of the aerospace industry has brought nations and peoples closer together. We have been studying the growth of this industry and development of global supply chains to support aircraft and satellite production. We got into this business from the energy side as airplanes, satellites, and airports have their own special energy needs. Having cultivated a network of clients in the aerospace industry, we have been creating beneficial business partnerships and advising gaps in parts supply-and-demand to identify niche markets for small businesses.
Carbon Composite Research
Infra Innovations is involved in a research and development program to create a new way to improve repair methods for thermoset carbon composites in aerospace applications. As carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP) are gaining wide acceptance, it is becoming more and more important to develop fast and efficient repair techniques for structures made of such materials. In our development, we addressed the issues surrounding CFRP repair methods, such as (1) reduction of heating time, (2) reduction of curing time, (3) more precise control of temperature, location, and heating time for thermal curing, and (4) a conceptual design of a robotic system to assist repair technicians to assure uniform quality and to facilitate automation. The pictures on the right show the result of our heating method. The CFRP workpiece was heated to 120℃ in 120 seconds on both pictures. The picture on the top shows hotspots that are typical when a single heat source is used. The picture on the bottom shows a more uniform temperature distribution just by tweaking a little with our method, indicating that a precise temperature control is possible.
With our heating method, we can heat workpieces of complicated shapes and curvatures precisely. We can even heat the carbon surfaces only and accommodate either lower or higher temperature bands in the precise shape of metal parts that might need to be bonded to the CFRP piece. This method can be employed for bonding CFRP to metal spars and stringers in structural parts of aircraft. Also, other areas of application will be to heat and cure curved materials, such as radar domes, nose cones, etc., for which thermal curing and uniform bonding along curved surfaces may pose technical challenges.