Formable Reactive Metal Composites with Tailorable Energy Release Properties
Navy SBIR 2019.2 - Topic N192-130
ONR - Ms. Lore-Anne Ponirakis -
Opens: May 31, 2019 - Closes: July 1, 2019 (8:00 PM ET)


TITLE: Formable Reactive Metal Composites with Tailorable Energy Release Properties


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Materials/Processes, Weapons



The technology within this topic is restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), 22 CFR Parts 120-130, which controls the export and import of defense-related material and services, including export of sensitive technical data, or the Export Administration Regulation (EAR), 15 CFR Parts 730-774, which controls dual use items. Offerors must disclose any proposed use of foreign nationals (FNs), their country(ies) of origin, the type of visa or work permit possessed, and the statement of work (SOW) tasks intended for accomplishment by the FN(s) in accordance with section 3.5 of the Announcement. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws.


OBJECTIVE: Develop a class of formable (plastically deformable), metal-based, combustible, composite materials with tailorable ignition and thermal energy release characteristics.


DESCRIPTION: Reactive materials/metal (RM) composites are materials that do not detonate but are still capable of releasing large amounts of chemical energy through combustion or similar exothermic chemical reactions.

Commonly, these materials are composed of one or more fine metal powders and binders that are blended and then pressed, sintered, or bonded by other means into a compact mass, generally with tailorable density. The final product is chemically and mechanically homogeneous with highly tailorable exotherms and/or combustion properties.

However, the resulting composites are often quite brittle and cannot be re-shaped by common metal working/tooling methods. What is missing in these materials is formability, the ability of a material (metal) to undergo plastic deformation without damage or fracture. The current goal of this SBIR topic is to create a class of reactive materials with tailorable exothermic, ignition and burn rate (energy release) characteristics that can be tooled and shaped using methods typically associated with metal processing: drawing, casting, pressing, extrusion, etc.


Because current reactive materials/metal composites tailored for high (combustion) energy release cannot be reshaped after they have been created, they have found only limited use in applications of interest to the Department of Navy (DoN) and Department of Defense (DoD). The U.S. Navy would like to remedy this problem and is seeking an innovative solution to develop novel reactive materials that can be specifically designed with variable exothermic/pyrotechnic and/or combustion characteristics and formability properties.


Work produced in Phase II may become classified. Note: The prospective contractor(s) must be U.S. owned and operated with no foreign influence as defined by DoD 5220.22-M, National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual, unless acceptable mitigating procedures can and have been implemented and approved by the Defense Security Service (DSS). The selected contractor and/or subcontractor must be able to acquire and maintain a secret level facility and Personnel Security Clearances, in order to perform on advanced phases of this project as set forth by DSS and ONR in order to gain access to classified information pertaining to the national defense of the United States and its allies; this will be an inherent requirement. The selected company will be required to safeguard classified material IAW DoD 5220.22-M during the advanced phases of this contract.


PHASE I: Demonstrate the capability to design and create formable reactive composites. Develop several candidate materials with varied exothermic/combustion characteristics such as heat release/exotherm, ignition thresholds, flame temperatures, burn rates. Demonstrate of formability (plastic deformation) of these materials. Show that they can be rolled into sheets and/or drawn into wires and/or other novel conformations.


Assess standard thermal properties by methods such as Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC) and Thermo- gravimetric Analysis (TGA), standard mechanical properties by Instron stress/strain measurements, and multi- ingredient compatibility by Vacuum Thermal Stability testing (VTS) as outlined in MIL-STD-286C or equivalent, with common warhead and rocket motor ingredients including nitramine explosives, common polymeric binders, metal fuels, and strong oxidizers such as ammonium dinitramide and ammonium perchlorate. Develop a Phase II plan.


PHASE II: Choose the materials with the most promise; create sheets and wires with tailorable and predictable ignition thresholds and heat release/burn rates, amenable for use in warhead and propulsion system applications identified by the Navy TPOC; and show measurements of such combustion properties.

Demonstrate an affordable, scalable manufacturing process for creating and forming such materials into wires and sheets. Specific testing will be defined prior to Phase II depending on success of Phase I efforts and which type of metallic compositions are chosen for Phase II scale up, evaluation, and performance assessment activities. Pursue efforts to partner with appropriate DoD points of contact (POCs) for weapon system insertion.


It is likely that work and information exchanges during Phase II will become classified, leading to actual Navy applications of interest (see Description section for details).


PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Integrate the most promising combustible wire composite into a tactical energetic subsystem as identified by the Navy TPOC, and demonstrate its capability to provide the desired system- level response. The demonstration will use energetic materials that have been shown to be compatible and ignitable in earlier phases of the program.



1.   Dreizin, E.L. “Metal-Based Reactive Nanomaterials”, Progress in Energy and Combustion Science, vol. 35(2): 141-167, 2009.


2.   Zhang, F., Gauthier, M., and Cojocaru, C.V., “Dynamic Fragmentation and Blast from a Reactive Material Solid.” Propellants, Explosives, and Pyrotechnics, vol. 42:9, 2017.




KEYWORDS: Reactive Material; Formability; Combustible Metals; Metal Combustion; Energetic Materials; Pyrotechnics



Chad Stoltz




Matthew Beyard




Jerome Kong




NOTICE: The data above is for casual reference only. The official DoD/Navy topic description and BAA information is available on FedBizOpps at

These Navy Topics are part of the overall DoD 2019.2 SBIR BAA. The DoD issued its 2019.2 BAA SBIR pre-release on May 2, 2019, which opens to receive proposals on May 31, 2019, and closes July 1, 2019 at 8:00 PM ET.

Between May 2, 2019 and May 30, 2019 you may communicate directly with the Topic Authors (TPOC) to ask technical questions about the topics. During these dates, their contact information is listed above. For reasons of competitive fairness, direct communication between proposers and topic authors is not allowed starting May 31, 2019
when DoD begins accepting proposals for this BAA.

Help: If you have general questions about DoD SBIR program, please contact the DoD SBIR Help Desk at 800-348-0787 or via email at