Hybrid Ceramic Matrix Composite/Polymer Matrix Composite (CMC-PMC) Skin Materials
Navy STTR 2018.A - Topic N18A-T024
ONR - Mr. Steve Sullivan - steven.sullivan@navy.mil
Opens: January 8, 2018 - Closes: February 7, 2018 (8:00 PM ET)


TITLE: Hybrid Ceramic Matrix Composite/Polymer Matrix Composite (CMC-PMC) Skin Materials


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Air Platform, Materials/Processes

ACQUISITION PROGRAM: Research Topic – Potential future use for PEOU&W platforms.

OBJECTIVE: Develop a hybrid multifunctional composite material that is an improvement upon the thermal and chemical stability, and surface durability of traditional carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) composites.

DESCRIPTION: Carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) composites (also known as polymer matrix composites (PMC)) are a type of strong and lightweight composite material that is commonly used in the aerospace, automotive, and civil engineering fields.  For example, the Boeing 787 aircraft fuselage, wing, and other key airframe components are made from CFRP composite material.  However, these materials have two inherent drawbacks that limit the breadth of usefulness in naval applications: (1) The operating temperature is not high enough in terms of the thermal durability of the material in structural applications.  For example, the most common matrix materials for CFRP composites are epoxy and bismaleimides (BMI), whose glass transition temperatures are about 75°C and 260°C, respectively.  Such polymer matrices do not perform as desired in higher temperatures due to thermal softening and other degradation effects.  Cracks and fracture phenomenon may develop as well after long duration exposures to higher temperatures or exhaust impingement. (2) Chemical stability is not sufficient for long lifespans. Especially for aerospace applications, the lifespan for CFRP material is limited under UV light radiation and harsh weather conditions (e.g., the salty and high moisture atmosphere in Naval operations).  These weaknesses constrain CFRP composite applications to certain limited working environments.

Additional research is needed in order to refine the CFRP material properties to be better suited for harsher situations.  Properties such as increased thermal conductivity for flame resistance, low water absorption, and electromagnetic interference (EMI) shielding capability make CFRP components more attractive for use in Naval aircraft and ship components if the aforementioned limitations can be overcome.  Under such circumstances, a hybrid multifunctional composite material is desired that improves the thermal, chemical and/or surface durability, of traditional polymer composites.  Minimizing the associated manufacturing procedure and cost is also desired.

PHASE I: Define and determine the feasibility of a multifunctional composite material system and an associated manufacturing process.  Target the durability properties of interest (e.g., thermal, EMI, etc.).  Develop a Phase II plan.

PHASE II: Develop and demonstrate a prototype of concept with a coupon-sized sample for mechanical, thermal, and chemical testing.  Demonstrate the prototype’s material property maintained under simulated aforementioned environmental conditions (temperature, humidity, pH).

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: A material state awareness system of this nature could be installed in many DoD or commercial platforms such as UAV’s and commercial airframes.  The contractor will need to identify a skin/component target to integrate the material solution; and demonstrate that the material system is fully functional and capable of surviving the ship or aircraft operational environment and determine the system’s compatibility with legacy and future applications.


1. Soutis, C. “Carbon fiber reinforced plastics in aircraft applications.” Mater. Sci. Eng., A, 412:171 (2005).

2. Hollaway, L.C. “The evolution of and the way forward for advanced polymer composites in the civil infrastructure.” Construct. Build. Mater., 17:365 (2003).

3. Parry, Daniel (POC). “Navy Develops High Impact, High Integrity Polymer for Air, Sea, and Domestic Applications” Naval Research Laboratory News Releases 2013. http://www.nrl.navy.mil/media/news-releases/2013/navy-develops-high-impact-high-integrity-polymer-for-air-sea-and-domestic-applications

4. Parry, Daniel (POC). “NRL Licenses New Polymer Resin for Commercial Applications.” Naval Research Laboratory News Releases 2015. http://www.nrl.navy.mil/media/news-releases/2015/nrl-licenses-new-polymer-resin-for-commercial-applications

KEYWORDS: Polymers; Ceramics; PMC; CMC; Skin; Materials


These Navy Topics are part of the overall DoD 2018.A STTR BAA. The DoD issued its 2018.A BAA SBIR pre-release on November 29, 2017, which opens to receive proposals on January 8, 2018, and closes February 7, 2018 at 8:00 PM ET.

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