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Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 999.99K | Year: 2014

Among the factors that inhibit the use of composite materials in both general aviation aircraft and DoD platforms are the relatively high cost of engineering and certification. Unless manufacturers control risk when introducing new or advanced materials and processes for aircraft, the potential benefits will be lost to the industry. For small commercial applications the problem is compounded by the desire to use low-cost fabrication processes that cannot rely on the existing experience base for autoclave cured graphite/epoxy pre-pregs and the lack of engineering resources that exist at larger major transport manufacturers. This project addresses these problems by demonstrating a standardization methodology which will enable creation of a parametric design catalog for structural elements which facilitates pre-approval, or conditional approval, from the Federal Aviation Administration or other certifying agency for a bounded design space. Probabilistic design tools will be used to isolate and quantify uncertainty in the structural component materials, processing, and design. Surrogate models of these quantities will then be constructed, and validated by experiments. The resulting response surfaces allow for the combined failure probability of the parametric standardized structural element to be efficiently calculated for any design permutation using Monte Carlo sampling. All parametric modeling surrogate data used to account for geometric, material, and process induced statistical variability will be part of an open extensible database which will be continuously updated thus allowing for a significant reduction in the number of tests required for certification of new aircraft designs.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Army | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 959.48K | Year: 2014

Advanced composite material systems are vital to the development of lightweight, multi-functional Army missile systems. In addition to reducing the weight of the structure, composite materials provide the ability to expand the function of the structure by tailoring stiffness and strength characteristics for numerous applications such as solid rocket motor cases, missile airframes, missile guidance housings, as well as many launch tubes and launcher primary structures. The AMRDEC Weapons Development and Integration Directorate has identified a need to understand the operational fitness of such structures following impact events from a wide range of energy levels. The objective of the proposed Phase II research program is to develop and demonstrate an analysis tool that allows designers to evaluate post impact residual strength of composite structures. A user element (UEL) subroutine for use with commercially available analysis codes is proposed. A new shell element that offers advantages in both the economy and reliability of computations is to be demonstrated. This approach will link the UEL subroutine to a nonlinear material model to evaluate progressive damage and a shear correction model that accurately predicts the transverse response of impacted composite structures. Concurrently, material characterization and database development will be conducted to support implementation.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Navy | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 750.00K | Year: 2014

In this proposal, Materials Sciences Corporation (MSC) and its manufacturing partner Seemann Composites Inc. (SCI) have defined several synergistic material science innovations that have the potential to lower the cost, or increase the performance at the current cost, of surface combatant sonar domes. Material configurations (lamination sequence and thickness) that are sufficiently acoustically transparent in the frequency range of interest for the sonar system will be evaluated simultaneously with mechanical (structural) properties required to resist operational loads. The SBIR team will complete design studies, assemble a technical data package to show that design requirements are met, and fabricate tooling necessary to manufacture and deliver a surface combatant sonar dome.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Navy | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 749.99K | Year: 2014

The current welded aluminum ramps on the Navys Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) hovercraft are prone to damage related to extreme vehicle and seaway load requirements in combination with corrosion and erosion due to the harsh salt-laden marine environment in which they operate. Improving durability, corrosion resistance and life cycle cost of the air cushioned vehicle (ACV) ramps at minimum weight is paramount to achieving operational goals of future platforms such as the Ship-to-Shore Connector (SSC). The innovation and opportunity offered in this proposal is an approach for simultaneously reducing the weight, while improving the durability and corrosion resistance of ACV ramps using fiber reinforced composite materials. To accomplish this objective, an Integrated Product Team (IPT) of composite designers and fabricators has been assembled to develop lightweight, advanced material solutions and structural designs for typical ACV ramp configurations.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 749.99K | Year: 2014

ABSTRACT: Development and use of new composite materials is imperative for continued advancement of airframe and engine systems. In order to facilitate the accelerated insertion of new composite materials, there is a need for an improved analysis methodology that allows designers to reduce the time and cost associated with material and structural development and test programs. The goal of the proposed research is to develop, demonstrate, and validate a linked knowledge-base-type set of analysis tools that facilitate development of material design data for composite structures. The composite analysis methodology will include important mechanical behaviors of the material in a form that can be used as a stand-alone engineering tool, or linked to a comprehensive set of analysis tools, that reside at major airframe and engine design organizations, for filling out and extending the property trends. BENEFIT: The product of this SBIR program will be a set of computational tools for quickly and reliably predicting the fundamental mechanical properties and strengths of fiber reinforced composite materials. It is expected that accelerated insertion of materials will be facilitated through development of linked engineered material databases, which are capable of conducting quick virtual testing of laminates, i.e., supplemented by limited physical testing, rather than proceeding directly to complete experimental characterization. This toolset is expected to include property correlation, trends, and factors. Key tests required to characterize a new material system will be documented. Development, validation, and commercialization of this tool-set for both military and commercial aircraft and engine systems are the ultimate goals of this program.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 743.05K | Year: 2014

ABSTRACT: Composite materials often represent the most weight efficient and lowest cost solutions for airframe structures. Many of these structures are in areas that are susceptible to incidental impact damage and require adequate residual strength after impact for specified periods of service. Current design methodologies require designers to predict the residual response of full-scale composite structures based on costly and time consuming small-scale tests. Methods for translating the response of standard damage tolerance characterization tests to reliable predictions of the damage tolerance of full-scale composite structures have not been demonstrated. Under this program, Materials Sciences Corporation (MSC) and The Boeing Corporation will collaborate to demonstrate the feasibility of using progressive damage models developed at MSC to predict the impact and residual strength response of full-scale multi-bay composite airframe structures. Data generated under the Phase II program will be used to mature the unified test and modeling methodologies established during the prior effort by MSC, leading to the publication of a new proposed damage tolerance test standard. This standardization effort will be led by Dr. Dan Adams of Alveus Engineering, acting as subcontractor to MSC. Dr. Dan Adams and MSC will brief the ASTM D30 committee and the Federal Aviation Administration over the course of the program to obtain feedback on the implementation of the standard, and make improvements accordingly. This proposed standard will be validated via round-robin testing at MSC and the Boeing Company. BENEFIT: Materials Sciences Corporation expects that this SBIR program will yield a methodology for simulating the damage tolerance responses of composite structures that has been validated through comparison with experimental data. This validated methodology will enable a reduction in time and funding resources required to demonstrate that damage tolerance requirements have been met for military and commercial aircraft components.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Army | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 99.99K | Year: 2014

Missile modernization and future missile designs are utilizing more sophisticated and higher powered electronics in the pursuit of extended missile range, improved accuracy and precision targeting for striking enemy threats. Tight packaging and sophistication of these electronic systems can generate significant heat loads, which needs to be dissipated efficiently in order to maintain functionality and survivability. This program proposes to develop a cost-effective composite airframe with integrated, interlaminar heat spreaders that will provide high in-plane conductivity for thermal management without structural degradation. To seek a balance among cost, thermal capabilities, and structural properties, the program will perform trade studies among commercially available heat spreaders (e.g., flexible graphite sheets currently being employed in cell phone and laptop industry) as well as explore hybrid pitch-pan fabrics, spread tow carbon nanotube composite sheets, and metalized coated carbon fabrics. In addition to material evaluation, this program will evaluate design and processing methodologies to efficiently integrate the heat spreader into airframe type composite structures with minimal retrofitting of current fabrication procedures (e.g., filament winding). This research will directly support the Army"s need for improved thermal management to protect high value, sensitive guidance and control electronics.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Army | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 999.99K | Year: 2015

Missile modernization and future missile designs are utilizing more sophisticated and higher powered electronics in the pursuit of extended missile range, improved accuracy and precision targeting for striking enemy threats. Tight packaging and sophistication of these electronic systems can generate significant heat loads, which needs to be dissipated efficiently in order to maintain functionality and survivability. This program proposes to develop cost-effective composite airframes and enclosures with integrated, interlaminar heat spreaders that will provide high in-plane conductivity for thermal management without structural degradation. To seek a balance among cost, thermal capabilities, and structural properties, the program will perform trade studies among commercially available heat spreaders (e.g., flexible graphite sheets currently being employed in cell phone and laptop industry). In addition to material evaluation, this program will explore design and processing methodologies to efficiently integrate the heat spreader into composite structures with minimal retrofitting of current fabrication procedures (e.g., filament winding, autoclave, etc.). This research will directly support the Armys need for improved thermal management to protect high value, sensitive guidance and control electronics.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Army | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 98.80K | Year: 2015

Guidance and navigation components within missile systems are vulnerable to performance degradation as a result of vibrations generated by neighboring components. Conventional methods to alleviate this degradation include installing passive vibration-damping materials or adding additional material to shift resonance frequencies. Both of these approaches add parasitic weight to the system. With recent advances in additive manufacturing technologies, components and structures that can benefit from cellular design and optimization are now being realized. Materials Sciences Corporation (MSC) will team with the University of Pittsburgh (PITT) to develop analysis tools for determining cellular architectures, frequency based topology optimization codes that make use of cellular architectures, and design tools to develop cellular structures. The overall objective of the Phase I effort will be to demonstrate the proposed cellular optimization procedure via analysis and validate by experiment.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Army | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 100.00K | Year: 2015

There is a critical need for replacement of viscose processed rayon-based carbon fibers for use in Solid Rocket Motor (SRM) nozzle designs. Rayon based fibers have unique thermal-structural properties which makes them an excellent ablative material in nozzle liners; but, due to undesirable processing conditions, there is no longer a domestic commercial supplier of these fibers. This proposal presents an opportunity to develop a PAN-based fiber that has been specifically processed (doped, spun, stabilized, and carbonized) to achieve the required ablative properties need for SRM nozzles. The approach will offer drop-in processing with existing acrylic precursor and conversion for minimal retrofitting of current fiber production. The carbon fiber will possess three key characteristics (1) low thermal conductivity for insulation, (2) crenulated fiber shapes for interlaminar strength, and (3) sustainability by using PAN based precursor. To accelerate the transition of this technology, the program will utilize a 100 foot pilot spin line, housed at the University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research, for producing of meaningful research quantities of precursor tow (up to 1 lb/working day) and generating near full-scale fiber spinning procedures at commercial fiber plants.

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