Cleveland, OH, United States
Cleveland, OH, United States
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Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 750.00K | Year: 2015

ABSTRACT:The proposal aims to incorporate previously demonstrated Phase I SBIR technology to create layered, polymer laminate NLO GRIN optics into NVG relevant optics and device designs. Optical redesigns of a PVS14 Objective imager will be completed utilizing laminate, polymer GRIN optics to reduce device optic count and optic weight while maintaining or improving device optical performance. SWaP optimization will be conducted for a down-selected PVS14 Objective design that will be fabricated, assembled, and characterized against a current glass filled commercial device. Additionally, polymeric laminate optics doped with non-linear, optical limiting molecules/materials will be developed, fabricated, and characterized for optical shielding behavior at relevant wavelengths. Optical limiting design and test activities will include: evaluation of the optical limiting efficiency of different NLO molecules/additives in polymer films/laminates and creating parts with NLO gradient concentration distributions/spacing within an optic. NLO failure testing will be performed to establish maximum shielding levels/exposers. It is anticipated that achievements of the above objectives would demonstrate polymer laminate optic performance in military and civilian imaging applications including NVG systems of all configurations, tactical riflescopes, spotting scopes and binoculars, NLO ship/vehicle reflectors warfighter tactical eyewear, helmet visors, and a broad range of additive protective windows for sensor optics.BENEFIT:PolymerPlus will lead efforts improve NVG optic functionality and SWAP to reduce soldier fatigue and sensor failure by: (1) redesigning and fabricating lightweight NVG PVS14 objective system with polymer GRIN laminate optical components, (2) build and characterize customizable GRIN NLO/optical limiting optics constructed from 30 micron films of highly ordered and well dispersed dyes (PbPc(CP)4) or particles (CdTe or quantum dots), and (3) utilize the previous results to report on feasibility of integrating NLO/GRIN custom designed optics into commercial or military relevant products and/or devices. The NLO laminate polymer optic technology is designed to help preventing high-fluence offensive optical radiation blinding attacks. Additionally, the laminates can also be used to prevent the damages to the sensor components of the optical systems. The proposed NLO components will serve as protective elements for NVGs, tactical goggles, spotting scopes, binoculars, rifle scopes, and pilot helmet visors.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Navy | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 730.98K | Year: 2014

Current state-of-the-art biaxially oriented polypropylene (BOPP) polymer film capacitors exhibit excellent room temperature performance, but show significant deterioration in properties above 85 C. In Phase I, poly(vinylidene fluoride) (PVDF) and polycarbonate (PC) multilayer films were found to demonstrate excellent room temperature and high temperature performance. The viability of the technology for large-scale film process development on a near commercial coextrusion facility was also demonstrated in Phase I. In Phase II, PolymerPlus LLC will optimize these PVDF/PC films by studying the effect of processing variables on film morphology and dielectric properties, downselect and process multilayered films for prototype capacitor fabrication, fabricate demonstrative prototype capacitors, and develop a manufacturing process which is ready for scale up to commercial operation. The specific goal of Phase II is to deliver several 10-joule capacitors with 1 kHz discharge time, high temperature performance (up to 120 C) and a wound capacitor energy density of 2 J/cc. Other high temperature polymers will also be investigated to expand the film storage capability of the technology, which will allow for broader acceptance in capacitor applications.


Grant
Agency: National Science Foundation | Branch: | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 651.97K | Year: 2015

The broader impact/commercial potential of this Small Business Technology Transfer Phase II project is to demonstrate a low cost, environmentally friendly co-extrusion fabrication method for producing high surface area micro- and nanofiber based nonwoven fuel filter sheets. The micro-/nanofiber nonwoven structures are fabricated from two different hydrophilic and hydrophobic polymers in a melt co-extrusion and subsequent exfoliation processing step. The resulting porous filtration media sheets have been shown to possess superior strength, tailorable pore sizes, and fuel filtration efficiency on par with currently utilized commercial fuel filter products. These accomplishments signify a path forward to a highly scalable manufacturing process for producing low cost thermoplastic filter products in addressing the increasingly stringent EPA regulation of ppm level water contaminant. The reduced manufacturing process complexity in melt co-extrusion is estimated to provide up to 60% reduced production costs when scaled to commercial production quantities. Additionally, a significant environmental impact will be realized through adoption of this novel production technology over competitive processes owing to its ?greener? solvent-free manufacturing aspects that eliminates the annual need for millions of gallons of organic solvents and supporting reclamation equipment currently utilized by the filtration industry in creating elctrospun and wet-laid composite nonwoven filtration media. The objectives of this Phase II research project are to fabricate nano/micro scale nonwoven fibrous filter mats for fuel filters via a novel melt co-extrusion approach, with high fuel/water filtration efficiency and superior mechanical properties, in a commercially relevant production scale, towards addressing the stringent EPA 2010 filtration regulations and its upcoming revisions in 2015. The first generation filter prototypes fabricated in Phase I STTR program exhibited up to a ten-fold increase in surface area, up to a two-fold increase in porosity and up to a six-fold the deformation strength of the commercial filters. The coextruded microporous filter fiber size distribution was comparable to a commercial melt-blown process sample and superior to the leading wet-laid technology samples. Preliminary filtration efficiency experiments on the coextruded micro-fiber filtration media prototypes exhibited 60 to greater than 80 % separation of water from ultra-low sulfur diesel as compared to 80 % water separation using commercial filter under same testing conditions. The commercial interest for the new multilayered, coextruded filtration media processing technique is centered on identification of new filtration media film polymer materials, achieving nano-sized pore distributions for improved filtration efficiency and achieving scale-up production cost savings through the improved filter film processing technique.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: STTR PHASE II | Award Amount: 737.97K | Year: 2015

The broader impact/commercial potential of this Small Business Technology Transfer Phase II project is to demonstrate a low cost, environmentally friendly co-extrusion fabrication method for producing high surface area micro- and nanofiber based nonwoven fuel filter sheets. The micro-/nanofiber nonwoven structures are fabricated from two different hydrophilic and hydrophobic polymers in a melt co-extrusion and subsequent exfoliation processing step. The resulting porous filtration media sheets have been shown to possess superior strength, tailorable pore sizes, and fuel filtration efficiency on par with currently utilized commercial fuel filter products. These accomplishments signify a path forward to a highly scalable manufacturing process for producing low cost thermoplastic filter products in addressing the increasingly stringent EPA regulation of ppm level water contaminant. The reduced manufacturing process complexity in melt co-extrusion is estimated to provide up to 60% reduced production costs when scaled to commercial production quantities. Additionally, a significant environmental impact will be realized through adoption of this novel production technology over competitive processes owing to its ?greener? solvent-free manufacturing aspects that eliminates the annual need for millions of gallons of organic solvents and supporting reclamation equipment currently utilized by the filtration industry in creating elctrospun and wet-laid composite nonwoven filtration media.

The objectives of this Phase II research project are to fabricate nano/micro scale nonwoven fibrous filter mats for fuel filters via a novel melt co-extrusion approach, with high fuel/water filtration efficiency and superior mechanical properties, in a commercially relevant production scale, towards addressing the stringent EPA 2010 filtration regulations and its upcoming revisions in 2015. The first generation filter prototypes fabricated in Phase I STTR program exhibited up to a ten-fold increase in surface area, up to a two-fold increase in porosity and up to a six-fold the deformation strength of the commercial filters. The coextruded microporous filter fiber size distribution was comparable to a commercial melt-blown process sample and superior to the leading wet-laid technology samples. Preliminary filtration efficiency experiments on the coextruded micro-fiber filtration media prototypes exhibited 60 to greater than 80 % separation of water from ultra-low sulfur diesel as compared to 80 % water separation using commercial filter under same testing conditions. The commercial interest for the new multilayered, coextruded filtration media processing technique is centered on identification of new filtration media film polymer materials, achieving nano-sized pore distributions for improved filtration efficiency and achieving scale-up production cost savings through the improved filter film processing technique.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Navy | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 150.00K | Year: 2012

Current state-of-the-art biaxial oriented polypropylene (BOPP) polymer film capacitors exhibit excellent room temperature performance, however, possesses at least two major drawbacks. Wound BOPP capacitors usually occupy one-third to one-half of the volume of pulsed power and power conditioning units, and their performance above 85 degrees C significantly decreases. These problems can be alleviated by increasing the energy storage while maintaining low losses at both ambient and elevated temperatures. The objectives of this Phase I SBIR proposal are to develop further and to optimize the dielectric performance of poly(vinylidene fluoride) (PVDF)-based multilayer films discovered at the National Science Foundation Center for Layered Polymeric Systems (CLiPS) which meet these goals and to demonstrate their viability for large-scale film production, utilizing the multilayer film coextrusion technology developed at Case Western Reserve University and PolymerPlus LLC. The film performance will be optimized in terms of ferroelectric/dielectric polymer pairs, composition, layer thickness and number of layers, temperature, and biaxial stretching. Detailed technical goals are to achieve energy density>10 J/cm3 at electric breakdown, dielectric loss (tan delta) 500 MV/m) and at high temperatures (e.g., 125 degrees C) to meet Navy"s needs for all electric ships.


Grant
Agency: National Science Foundation | Branch: | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 225.00K | Year: 2014

This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project is geared toward the production of previously unprocessible polymer composite fiber materials aimed at improving performance in membrane and fuel filtering applications through environmentally friendly melt coextrusion processing of polymer fibers. This melt process strategy offers a unique opportunity to fabricate nanofibers that is typically processed by many solvent-based techniques. This proposed STTR program will demonstrate processing of novel composite, micro- and nanolayered fiber materials via a solvent-free fabrication process capable of continuous mass production and membrane formation at a potentially lower production cost than the current state-of-the art manufacturing methods. The unique ability of the polymer layering coextrusion process enables the combination of dissimilar polymer materials, creating composite multifibers of specific size and aspect ratio, hydrophobicity and hydrophilicity. Through proof-of-concept fabrication and optimization trials to melt process the polymer fibers, this project will demonstrate the ability of these materials to fill the void of easily processible, tailorable hydrophobic/hydrophilic fiber materials that are suitable for use in the $12.5 billion/year membrane market, specifically for fuel filter membranes. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project includes initial applications in the membrane and filtration industry. Other applications expected in the field of medicine and biology are scaffolds for cell culture, tissue engineering, and drug delivery platform. Mechanically robust, highly oriented fibrous systems can also be used for clothing and packaging. Novel nanofiber fabrication approach will create a scalable process, which has a potential to create jobs in the United States. Because it is a solvent-free process, this technology is environmentally friendly and, therefore, will reduce carbon footprint and product cost. This program will also contribute to the education of engineering college students through the extensive use of co-op conducting research. The students will be hired from universities for varied duration of 4 to 12 months for this project. In addition, this STTR program also offers a unique opportunity to graduate students from area Universities to work with R & D companies and earn valuable experience. This strongly supports the NSF mission of developing the U.S. science and engineering workforce.


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

PolymerPlus proposes a SBIR program to develop and commercialize multilayered polymer films with shape memory properties, as a tamper-proof low-cost bolt seal and plastic seal anti-tamper device. The technological foundation for this innovation includes using two or more commercial polymers to produce multilayered films with thermal, humidity, or optical shape memory properties capable of undergoing a stimuli induced shape change (such as embossed shapes, structures or messages) over large areas. The conventional bolt seal materials offer very limited tamper-proof capability allowing illicit entry into cargo containers leading to contraband and counterfeit products. The existing bolt seals are fairly easy to counterfeit due to presence of obvious markers/information on the seals. Development of SMPs at PolymerPlus will demonstrate embedding invisible, custom printable messages on the bolt seals or plastic seals. The encoded information will only be revealed under specific external stimulus conditions with exposure to temperature, light or moisture. Revealed information can easily be scanned by electronic scanner or a smartphone.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 150.00K | Year: 2014

ABSTRACT: PolymerPlus proposes to fabricate nonlinear optical (NLO) material by stacking NLO dye doped polycarbonate (PC) films to achieve aberration-free gradient index (GRIN). The current NLO GRIN optics fabrication proposal leverages advances, understanding, and facilities developed in these previous programs (DARPA and ONR) which will enable the rapid evaluation and development of NLO materials and protoypes requested in the AF141-163. In proposed efforts, NLO optic element is designed by Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) with a parabolic radial nonlinear index gradient with nonlinear optical susceptibility at the center>1000x that of silica. PolymerPlus will utilize its expertise in extrusion and GRIN fabrication process to produce the NLO element. To fabricate NLO GRIN lens, multiple films of PC with varying Lead(II) tetrakis(4-cumylphenoxy)phthalocyanine (PbPc) concentration, ranging from 0 to 10 wt%, will be produced by extrusion processing at PolymerPlus. PbPc blended PC films will be stacked to achieve PbPc concentration gradient as per NLO design. Film stack will be consolidated into a sheet and shaped into a curved surface ("preform") using metallic molds under heat and pressure. Final cylindrical solid state GRIN lens will be cut from the preform. NLO performance of the optic will be measured at PolymerPlus and NRL. BENEFIT: Proposed development in NLO GRIN optics will allow the designers additional freedom to achieve system integration in NLO optics. The successful demonstration of the NLO doped PC laminated film technology should lead to a flexible, process-ready (fast to prototype/production) technology for production of NLO GRIN optics. Due to its versatility in material selection, processing and fabrication; PolymerPlus"s technology will help creating optical elements for many applications such as waveguides, optical interconnects, tailor-made optical elements with 3D control over the optic design, management of thermal lensing and optimizing the focal volume. PolymerPlus is also uniquely positioned to take advantage of the in-house GRIN materials manufacturing and metrology capabilities, approaching an MRL type 4 readiness level.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 225.00K | Year: 2014

This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project is geared toward the production of previously unprocessible polymer composite fiber materials aimed at improving performance in membrane and fuel filtering applications through environmentally friendly melt coextrusion processing of polymer fibers. This melt process strategy offers a unique opportunity to fabricate nanofibers that is typically processed by many solvent-based techniques. This proposed STTR program will demonstrate processing of novel composite, micro- and nanolayered fiber materials via a solvent-free fabrication process capable of continuous mass production and membrane formation at a potentially lower production cost than the current state-of-the art manufacturing methods. The unique ability of the polymer layering coextrusion process enables the combination of dissimilar polymer materials, creating composite multifibers of specific size and aspect ratio, hydrophobicity and hydrophilicity. Through proof-of-concept fabrication and optimization trials to melt process the polymer fibers, this project will demonstrate the ability of these materials to fill the void of easily processible, tailorable hydrophobic/hydrophilic fiber materials that are suitable for use in the $12.5 billion/year membrane market, specifically for fuel filter membranes.

The broader impact/commercial potential of this project includes initial applications in the membrane and filtration industry. Other applications expected in the field of medicine and biology are scaffolds for cell culture, tissue engineering, and drug delivery platform. Mechanically robust, highly oriented fibrous systems can also be used for clothing and packaging. Novel nanofiber fabrication approach will create a scalable process, which has a potential to create jobs in the United States. Because it is a solvent-free process, this technology is environmentally friendly and, therefore, will reduce carbon footprint and product cost. This program will also contribute to the education of engineering college students through the extensive use of co-op conducting research. The students will be hired from universities for varied duration of 4 to 12 months for this project. In addition, this STTR program also offers a unique opportunity to graduate students from area Universities to work with R&D companies and earn valuable experience. This strongly supports the NSF mission of developing the U.S. science and engineering workforce.


A consolidated multilayered GRIN optical material includes a multilayered composite GRIN sheet that includes a plurality of consolidated coextruded multilayered polymer films. Each of the multilayered polymer films includes a plurality of at least two alternating layers (A) and (B). Layer (A) includes a first blend of polymer components and layer (B) includes a second blend of polymer components. The multilayered composite GRIN sheet has an external optical transmission of at least 80% at a wavelength of 633 nm measured using UV-VIS spectroscopy and is free of intralayer polymer domains at least 1 micron size scale in any dimension.

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