Innovative, Low Cost, Highly Durable Fuel Bladder for Naval Applications
Navy SBIR 2015.1 - Topic N151-008
NAVAIR - Ms. Donna Moore - email@example.com
Opens: January 15, 2015 - Closes: February 25, 2015 6:00am ET
N151-008 TITLE: Innovative, Low Cost, Highly Durable Fuel Bladder for Naval Applications
TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Air Platform, Materials/Processes
ACQUISITION PROGRAM: PMA 265
OBJECTIVE: Develop an innovative, low cost, lightweight, highly durable fuel bladder for naval applications through a quicker, more repeatable manufacturing process.
DESCRIPTION: A fuel bladder is a flexible internal aircraft structure containing fuel to be provided to the engine(s). The fuel bladder must be foldable so that it can be installed through small cavity openings on the aircraft. Metal fittings are incorporated into the fuel bladder to allow interface to the aircraft fuel system. The bladder must also be durable enough to prevent a rupture of the bladder and fuel leakage from flight or maintenance induced stresses. Quality fuel bladders are imperative for the safety of our warfighters. Any fuel leaks during operational flight lead to a risk of fire, which could result in the loss of aircraft and crew. On many platforms, the Navy’s demand for fuel bladders is higher than the rate that the current fuel bladder manufacturer is able to supply. Additionally, the state of the art in fuel bladder manufacturing is a handmade artisan dependent process that can take up to 60 days to complete. This process is subject to human error, often requiring significant rework of the finished product, which results in expensive end products and long build times. This rework can include, but is not limited to, repairs such as patches, buffing, and fitting replacement.
An innovative, lightweight fuel bladder material and/or process that will decrease fuel bladder costs and improve product quality is needed. The result should be a quicker, more repeatable manufacturing process, and should increase fuel bladder durability by allowing for high puncture resistance, abrasion resistance and tensile strength, while maintaining the required flexibility. Proposed designs must be compatible with any fuel used by the Navy, including JP-5, commercial Jet A (with military additives) and a 50/50 blend of current jet fuel and bio-derived fuel. Proposed designs must also have self-sealing capability. A production representative fuel bladder must be constructed from the proposed materials. A more consistent material and process will yield higher quality fuel bladders, which will help reduce the downtime of aircraft, thus improving the capability of the warfighter.
PHASE I: Develop novel approaches for an innovative, low cost, lightweight fuel bladder materials and manufacturing process that are highly durable and acceptable for naval applications. Identify concepts and methods to be used to manufacture this new technology and demonstrate the feasibility of the recommended approach through the fabrication of a simple coupon or tank element. Modeling & simulation and/or coupon testing should address the ability of the material to meet the strength and performance requirements as specified in either MIL-DTL-5578 or MIL-DTL-27422.
PHASE II: Develop and demonstrate prototype fuel bladders using materials and processes developed under the first phase of this program. Validate, through testing, that the processes and materials can meet the "Phase I" of the qualification requirements of either MIL-DTL-5578 or MIL-DTL-27422. Demonstrate that the material and process can be modified to meet the requirements of MIL-DTL-6396 and either MIL-DTL-5578 or MIL-DTL-27422. Develop a production representative fuel bladder.
PHASE III: Validate and verify that the developed technology can reliably contain fuel in a low-cost, durable, lightweight, aircraft representative fuel bladder. Validate, through testing, that the processes and materials can meet the "Phase II" of the qualification requirements of MIL-DTL-5578 or MIL-DTL-27422. Demonstrate that the material and process can be modified to meet the "Phase II" of the requirements of MIL-DTL-6396 and either MIL-DTL-5578 or MIL-DTL-27422. Transition technology for implementation on existing fixed or rotary wing aircraft.
PRIVATE SECTOR COMMERCIAL POTENTIAL/DUAL-USE APPLICATIONS: Fuel bladders are utilized on a majority of Navy, Marine, Army, and Air Force aviation platforms, as well as throughout the commercial industry. This topic has the potential for interoperability, since the same material lay-up and manufacturing process can be utilized for fuel bladders across many military and commercial platforms.
2. MIL-DTL-5624V (2013). DETAIL SPECIFICATION: TURBINE FUEL, AVIATION, GRADES JP-4 and JP-5 <http://www.everyspec.com/MIL-SPECS/MIL+SPECS+(MIL-DTL)/MIL-DTL-5624U_5535/>
3. MIL-DTL-5578D (2008). DETAIL SPECIFICATION: TANKS, FUEL, AIRCRAFT, SELF-SEALING. <http://www.everyspec.com/MIL-SPECS/MIL-SPECS-MIL-DTL/MIL-DTL-5578D_13567/>
4. MIL-DTL-27422F (2014). DETAIL SPECIFICATION: TANK, FUEL, CRASH-RESISTANT, BALLISTIC-TOLERANT, AIRCRAFT <http://www.everyspec.com/MIL-SPECS/MIL-SPECS-MIL-DTL/MIL-DTL-27422F_49706/>
KEYWORDS: Bladder; Durability; Fuel Cell; Fuel tank; leakage; fuel containment
Offical DoD SBIR FY-2015.1 Solicitation Site: