Samuel J. Dastin, FSAMPE
During his 30 years at Grumman Aerospace (now Northrup Grumman), Sam Dastin as the Director of Advanced Composites Research and Development led his team in the development of significant projects that were ground-breaking in the design and manufacture of composite structures for military aircraft. Many of these technologies were also applied to commercial aircraft.
In the 1960’s, he was responsible for expanding the scope of fiberglass/epoxy composite materials and design technologies for radomes and empennage structures for early-warning aircraft such as the E-2C Hawkeye.
In the 1970’s, Dastin pioneered the development of boron filament/epoxy composites resulting in the first production application for flight hardware – the horizontal stabilizer of the F-14A Tomcat fighter.
Building on this technology, during the 1970’s and 1980’s, he led his team in the first application of hybrid composites combining boron filaments and graphite fibers with an epoxy matrix within the same structure to enhance performance. The hybrid fiber composite technology was used in the B-1A horizontal stabilizer. It was the first large composite structure developed using boron/epoxy with damage tolerance approval to MIL-STD-1530.
During the 1990’s, Dastin was responsible for the development of 3-D carbon fiber/epoxy composites. This allowed for a resin film infusing process to produce thick laminates and structures for aircraft wings and fuselages. Two of the most important benefits of this work was improved toughness and reduced manufacturing costs.
After retiring from Northrup Grumman, he formed Dastin Associates providing expertise in developing composite structures and solving M&P problems for fighter aircraft, large cargo aircraft and advance helicopters.
Among his technical contributions were weight savings by combining sandwich construction and solid laminate within the same structure; integral flame-sprayed composite laminates for lightning strike protection; energy-absorbing laminates which led to the concept of multi-purpose composite structures; tooling concepts for large, weight-efficient, hat-stiffened structures; hybrid composites for ballistic damage tolerant, post-buckled, aircraft fuselage structures, BMI composites for VSTOL Aircraft fuselages; design of fire-resistant, energy absorbing composite structures for helicopter roof structures; and the evaluation of anisotropic carbon fiber/epoxy composite wing skins the X-29 Forward Swept Wing demonstrator.
According to Dr. Leslie Cohen, FSAMPE, Vice President of Hitco Carbon Composites, “Sam Dastin is the man who made boron/epoxy a reality for the industry by leading, innovation and producing the horizontal stabilizer for the F-14. This was the biggest and most important boron/epoxy part ever built and demonstrated that flight-critical structure for a U.S. Navy carrier airplane was ready for production. His leadership brought the field to a new level for composites applications in military aircraft. Dastin kicked off the age of design for composites rather than design for substitution. With the F-14 application of boron/epoxy, we no longer designed ‘black aluminum’ but rather designed to maximize the performance of the material and fabricated the system to meet the customer’s requirements.”