Composites for Science and Research Applications

Out of This World Applications

Expertise in wide range of space-qualified materials ◾Maintain critical dimensions in challenging environments ◾ Balance affordability with precision◾Collaborate with research institutions

Our engineers have extensive experience in the design and manufacture of structures that need to maintain critical dimensions through a range of temperatures and/or moisture conditions. By utilizing carbon fiber composites and other advanced materials, we can work with you in all phases of development including system design, component design, and manufacture of the finished product. Our team has worked with laboratories, universities, and other research institutions to help these organizations maximize material usage to meet and beat the most advanced requirements. We can also save on project costs by incorporating off-the-shelf products we offer, such as plates and tubing, including our ZTE Carbon Tubing, which has near zero CTE properties. If you have questions, call our San Diego office at 858-537-6260 or request a quote.

Carbon Fiber Benefits for Scientific or Space Applications

For features that you may need, carbon fiber is an ideal material to help reach your requirements.

  • Light weight
  • Strength
  • Adjustable stiffness and torsion properties
  • Extremely precise
  • Near zero Coefficient of Thermal Expansion (CTE)

We work with high modulus pan fibers such as M55J as well as pitch-based fibers. We also work with cyanate esters and other resins, that we keep in stock, that qualify as low-outgassing per NASA requirements. By keeping these materials in stock at Rock West, it helps avoid high minimum order quantities for these “exotic” materials, as well as avoiding long lead times.

Affordability vs Precision

Rock West Composites balances affordability and precision by taking a commercial approach. For example, we can provide a cost-effective composite design with 20X less distortion than its aluminum counterpart. While you could reduce that distortion by another factor of 10X, it would be at substantially higher cost and may not be necessary for your final application. Factors to consider:

  • Precision equipment that must work through a range of temperature and/or moisture conditions
  • Sensor support structures requiring high stiffness or precision adjustability

Potential applications for dimensionally stable composite structures

  • Optical benches
  • Microwave towers
  • Optical telescopes
  • Radio telescopes
  • Instrument structures
  • Test fixtures


Centers of Excellence

Precision Structures

Our San Diego facility and team specializes in projects with strict engineering requirements. With an agile manufacturing team and engineers experienced with the demanding requirements of space and aerospace programs, this is the place for building structures that demand tight tolerances and high performance results. Whether it's high-speed broadband antennas, truss structures, reflectors, or near zero CTE structures, we can build it here.

Precision Structures
Multidisciplinary Projects

Multidisciplinary Projects

We let the experts do their thing. Our team works across facilities to make sure programs are executed in a timely and cost effective manner using the right people for the right part of the job. For example, we've had programs with low CTE and extremely tight structural requirements. Our San Diego engineers designed the structure and incorporated several products from our Utah store. Our manufacturing team back in San Diego constructed the final product using both off-the-shelf and custom solutions. This enabled lower cost and faster delivery for a customer who could not afford aerospace prime pricing. This was not an exception. It's how we model our business.


Case Studies