SURVICE Helicopter Driveshaft Work Featured in CompositesWorld

Posted on 02/23/2016

Thermoplastic composites

February 2016 – Some of SURVICE’s innovative composites research and development (R&D) efforts were recently featured in CompositesWorld magazine’s February OOA Supplement 2016.  Written by magazine Editor-in-Chief Jeff Sloan, the article highlights the recent collaboration between SURVICE, Automated Dynamics Corporation (ADC), and UTC Aerospace Systems on a U.S. Navy Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II grant.  The goal of the grant was to develop a thermoplastic helicopter driveshaft that offers distinct performance improvements over current driveshafts.  And the results thus far have been extremely promising.  The new driveshaft, which is composed of carbon fiber/polyetheretherketone (PEEK) prepeg, provides a 35% weight reduction over the traditional aluminum driveshaft, with 150% post-ballistic torque to failure.  In addition, the driveshaft is able to accomplish this with 4% porosity (void content), which dispels the long-held myth that composites must have <1% porosity to be tough enough to be used for aerostructures.  The most important performance metric, as the article points out, is the way in which the driveshaft performs in a ballistic environment.  SURVICE-led testing has simulated some of the worst-case ballistic damage scenarios a driveshaft could encounter, including a direct impact from a high-speed projectile, and the new driveshaft has performed extremely well.  The next step is for the shaft to be extensively tested in an operational environment.

To read the full CompositesWorld article, visit  For more information on SURVICE’s composites R&D efforts, please contact Mr. Rick Luzetsky at 410-273-7722, x 107 or visit