Insulating Barriers for Softwall Shelters
Navy SBIR 2014.2 - Topic N142-088
MARCOR - Ms. Elizabeth Madden -
Opens: May 23, 2014 - Closes: June 25, 2014

N142-088 TITLE: Insulating Barriers for Softwall Shelters

TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Materials/Processes

ACQUISITION PROGRAM: PM Combat Support Systems (CSS), PdM Combat Support Equipment (CSE)

OBJECTIVE: Develop an improved insulating barrier system that provides increased insulation (R-value) to all softwall shelters, fielded by the Marine Corps, while reducing packed cube/size and weight over current insulating barrier designs.

DESCRIPTION: Marine Corps operational requirements now address the reduction of fossil fuel consumption and improvements to energy efficiency (Ref. 1, 2). One method of addressing the requirement is by reducing electrical power consumption, packed cube/size and weight of operational equipment, and insulation qualities of softwall shelters. The Marine Corps currently employs radiant (insulating) barriers in one line of softwall shelters (Expeditionary Shelter System, Medium) (Ref. 3, 4). The insulating barrier is a separate, interior liner installed inside softwall shelters and there is currently only one commercial source (Ref. 3). These barriers provide an additional insulation value of R-4 consisting of layered textiles that insulate radiant heat (interior) and reflect radiant heat (exterior). The increase in insulation lessens the thermal load required to maintain temperatures inside the shelter. However, the current barriers are thick (packed cube volume of 33.25 cu ft) and heavy (weight of 110 lbs). This, in turn, negates some of the energy savings because there is now a greater logistical burden associated with the transport storage of the current barriers due to the additional space and weight constraints. Fuel consumption could potentially be reduced by employing barriers that have greater R-value as well as decreased storage (packed cube size) and weight characteristics over the currently used technologies.

The Marine Corps seeks innovative approaches in the application of new material systems to improve upon the insulation capabilities (R-value) of softwall shelter insulating barrier systems while decreasing the packed cube/size and weight by a minimum of 25%. Proposed concepts should be man-portable by 2-4 personnel, durable, and capable of being deployed and stored for up to 15 years without degradation or damage. Proposers should be mindful that the R-value of proposed insulating barrier concepts should be no less than 4 with an objective of 8. The insulating barrier thickness shall be no more than 0.25"/6.35 mm with an objective of at least 0.125"/3.175 mm, when packed. Proposed concepts should weigh no more than 12 ounces per square yard with an objective of 8 ounces per square yard. Proposers should be mindful of the desire for insulation barrier concepts that exhibit material properties that promote a reduction in fossil fuel consumption, associated electrical power and packed physical size. Critical to the operational requirements of the Marine Corps is the ability to improve energy efficiency and reduce its logistical footprint to extend our expeditionary capabilities.

Any materials system concepts developed for this effort shall meet the following standards:

• AATCC 30 Antifungal Activity, Assessment of Textile Materials: Mildew Resistance of Textile Materials (Test Methods I & IV) (Ref. 5)
• CPAI-84, Specification for Flame-Resistant Materials Used in Camping Tentage (Ref. 6)
• ASTM D6413, Standard Test Method for Flame Resistance of Textiles (Ref. 7)

Proposed concepts shall be able to function in all climates and environments that may be encountered by USMC forces. To ensure this, the proposed solution will have to pass applicable tests outlined in MIL-STD 810F/G ( There shall be no significant degradation in the material system’s performance when ambient temperatures are between 125° F and -40° F, to the extent outlined in MIL-STD 810F/G. This is viewed as being one of the more challenging aspects in the development of a viable technology solution. The new technology shall be capable of being employed in all Marine Corps tactical soft shelters and shall have the ability to be transported in all tactical ground and air vehicles. Proposed concepts shall be required to meet associated industry safety standards.

The insulating barrier and associated components must be made with materials that are grown, reprocessed, reused, or produced in the United States, as per 10 U.S.C 2533A–Requirement to Buy Certain Articles from American Sources; Exceptions (Berry Amendment).

PHASE I: The small business will develop concepts for an insulating barrier system that meets the requirements described above. The company will demonstrate the feasibility of the concepts in meeting Marine Corps needs and will establish that the concepts can be developed into a useful product for the Marine Corps. Feasibility will be established by material testing and analytical modeling, as appropriate. The small business will provide a Phase II development plan with performance goals and key technical milestones, and will address technical risk reduction.

PHASE II: Based on the results of Phase I and the Phase II development plan, the small business will develop a scaled prototype for evaluation. The prototype will be evaluated to determine its capability in meeting the performance goals defined in the Phase II development plan and the Marine Corps requirements for the insulating barrier system. System performance will be demonstrated through prototype evaluation and modeling or analytical methods over the required range of parameters including numerous deployment cycles. Evaluation results will be used to refine the prototype into an initial design that will meet Marine Corps requirements. The company will prepare a Phase III development plan to transition the technology to Marine Corps use.

PHASE III: If Phase II is successful, the small business will provide support in transitioning the technology for Marine Corps use. The company will develop an insulating barrier system for evaluation to determine its effectiveness in an operationally relevant environment. The small business will support the Marine Corps with certifying and qualifying the system for Marine Corps use. As appropriate, the small business will focus on scaling up manufacturing capabilities and commercialization plans.

PRIVATE SECTOR COMMERCIAL POTENTIAL/DUAL-USE APPLICATIONS: The potential for commercial application and dual use is high. The insulating barrier system can be used in new building construction and renovations. Insulating barriers can be used in soft walled shelters employed by emergency management agencies, disaster aid and humanitarian aid agencies, and municipal public safety organizations.

1. Marine Corps Expeditionary Energy Office, Marine Corps Expeditionary Energy Strategy and Implementation Plan, March 2011,

2. "Panama City Engineers Develop Tools to Reduce Energy Consumption," Currents, Fall 2013,

3. HDT Engineered Technologies website, 28 Jan 2014,

4. RDECOM, "Department of Defense Standard Family of Tactical Shelters (rigid/soft/hybrid)," Joint Committee on Tactical Shelters (JOCOTAS), 17 May 2012,

5. American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists, AATCC 30 Antifungal Activity, Assessment of Textile Materials: Mildew Resistance of Textile Materials, 1946,

6. "A Specification for Flame-resistant Materials Used in Camping Tentage," Industrial Fabrics Association International,1995,

7. ASTM International. "Standard Test Method for Flame resistance of Textiles," 2013,

KEYWORDS: insulating barrier; radiant barrier; tents; softwall shelter; thermal insulation; energy efficient

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