Ultra Sharp Fiber Architectures for Ceramic Composites
Navy SBIR 2014.2 - Topic N142-119
ONR - Ms. Lore-Anne Ponirakis - loreanne.ponirakis@navy.mil
Opens: May 23, 2014 - Closes: June 25, 2014

N142-119 TITLE: Ultra Sharp Fiber Architectures for Ceramic Composites

TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Air Platform, Materials/Processes, Weapons

ACQUISITION PROGRAM: Navy Strategic Systems Program Office; DARPA Tactical Technology Office

RESTRICTION ON PERFORMANCE BY FOREIGN NATIONALS: This topic is "ITAR Restricted". The information and materials provided pursuant to or resulting from this topic are restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), 22 CFR Parts 120-130, which control the export of defense-related material and services, including the export of sensitive technical data. Foreign nationals may perform work under an award resulting from this topic only if they hold the "Permanent Resident Card", or are designated as "Protected Individuals" as defined by 8 U.S.C. 1324b(a)(3). If a proposal for this topic contains participation by a foreign national who is not in one of the above two categories, the proposal may be rejected.

OBJECTIVE: This project will seek to develop high-temperature ceramic composite materials for hypersonic wing leading edges, wing sections and nose sections. Project goals are erosion-free response of nose tips and leading edges at 4500F.

DESCRIPTION: Key challenges are the need to provide erosion free sharp leading edges and nose tips capable of 30 minute operation at temperature of 4500F. Fiber materials and fiber architectures are sought with capability of providing leading edge radius goal of 0.04 inches to support efficient hypersonic flight. The state of the art in ceramic matrix composites is nose tip and leading edge radii of approximately 0.5 inches by using 1 2k fiber tows. Woven, braided or needled 3D or pseudo 3D fiber are sought to support the sharp leading edge requirement. Phase I goals include identification of fiber architectures and processing methods required to produce the needed cell sizes and fiber placement for the leading edge shape and cross section. Fiber sources and strategies for processing/infiltration of precursors for producing ceramic composite structures need to be identified. The fiber size, chemistry, and architecture, along with processing methodologies, shall be demonstrated with mechanical and thermal testing of coupon size samples. Phase II goals should include fabrication and testing of 6" scale wing leading edges, wing sections and/or nose tips.

PHASE I: Assess legacy processing technologies and develop novel fiber architecture fabrication concepts for sharp radius of curvature (0.04" goal) fiber preforms with appropriate cell size, towards the goal of producing continuous reinforcement for ceramic composites. As the approach is developed, feasibility should be shown through proof of concept demonstrations of small scale preform processing, and initial composite processing studies.

PHASE II: Optimize and scale up the preform manufacturing process developed in Phase I to 6" length wing shapes with sharp radius leading edge. Prototype ceramic composite fabrication shall demonstrate the approach by producing relevant shape subscale parts, and then comparing key performance data obtained from legacy and improved materials systems in severe thermal testing, such as arc-jet tests. Potential ITAR/classification restrictions for technology will likely need to be in place when putting together materials concepts into relevant shaped subcomponent tests.

PHASE III: Build upon the knowledge gained in Phase II to integrate the sharp leading edge capable fiber architectures with Ultra High Temperature Ceramic Composite matrix precursors. The resulting ultra-high temperature sharp wing leading edge prototypes will be built and demonstrated. Following certification testing, design documentation will be provided to the missile prime contractors funded under the DARPA Hypersonic flight demonstration programs. Full scale wing leading edges design disclosures will be provided leading to full scale leading edge fabrication for the demonstration flight program. Potential ITAR/classification restrictions for technology will need to be in place when putting together materials concepts into relevant shaped subcomponent tests.

PRIVATE SECTOR COMMERCIAL POTENTIAL/DUAL-USE APPLICATIONS: Future military high speed and hypersonic propulsion components have a great potential to transition to the civilian rocket and related aeroengine and aerostructure applications such as low cost access to space and high speed jet engines. The materials resulting from these studies also have the potential for significant cost saving if they outperform existing state of the art materials systems. Further, these new materials may utilize revised fabrication methods, which allow advanced component designs.

1. L. Hubbard, Hypersonic Materials Summary; Requirements and Properties, U.S. DoD Research and Engineering, July, 2008.

2. M. Opeka, Journal of Materials. Science, 39 (2004), 5887-5904.

KEYWORDS: Ceramics, Fiber Reinforced Composites, Fiber Architectures, Materials, Ceramic Composites, textile engineering

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