SITIS Archives - Topic Details
Program:  SBIR
Topic Num:  A10-123 (Army)
Title:  Ultrastrong Dual Use Nanocomposite Materials for Blast and Transparent Armor
Research & Technical Areas:  Materials/Processes

Acquisition Program:  PM Future Combat Systems Brigade Combat Team
  Objective:  Develop Ultrastrong composite materials, to be be manufactured into lightweight transparent armor to balance the “iron triangle” of payload, protection and performance for both new platforms (like JLTV) and current platforms like MRAP and HMMWV military vehicles. The goal of Ultrastrong composite material is the need beyond the existing material technologies for lighter weight, low cost materials with higher toughness and hardness, for application in ballistic and blast mitigation requirements. The baseline for Ultrastrong composite materials performance is RHA material.
  Description:  Current transparent armor formulations are an Achilles heel in tactical vehicles due to their high weight and thickness, which pose integration challenges and performance and payload penalties. These burdens often result in the minimization of windows, which decreases situational awareness and increases the platform’s vulnerability. This solicitation focus and objectives are to address those challenges by creating a lighter, and thinner transparent armor compare to the current technology used on vehicles.These technologies are needed to withstand the lethal effects of roadside explosions to a minimum injury levels.This solicitations focus is in the design and development of next-generation light weight blast resistance and transparent armor materials. Recently, high strength nano- to micro-scale composite materials have been developed by a new layer-by-layer (LBL) assembly approach [4]. The LBL composites from nano particles have demonstrated substantially better mechanical properties than the traditional composite or polymers. [1] significant progress has been made in demonstrating the high tensile strength, stiffness, and electrical conductivity of LBL composites reinforced with clay nanosheets and carbon nanotubes [5, 6]. This solicitation seeks to develop novel advanced materials that are based on hierarchical assembly of composite structures to be used to manufacture lightweight blast mitigating shields for military purposes. Current transparent armors have generated major set-backs. They are generally heavy and thick, thereby, exerting additional burden on the vehicle structure, increase in fuel consumption and decreased maneuverability [1]. The high performance aluminium oxynitride (AlON) and sapphire (Al2O3 single crystal) have demonstrated improved ballistic performance in comparison to other known transparent armor materials [2, 3]. However, laminated transparent sapphire and AlON armors are quite expensive to manufacture. They also have difficulties producing curved parts. Ultrastrong nanocomposite structure materials have been developed by the layer-by-layer (LBL) assembly [4]. This involves sequential dipping of a substrate in solution of positively and negatively charged polyelectrolytes or nanocolloids, depositing nanometer scale layers of the different components, one at a time [5]. The LBL composites, which are based on hierarchical organization of clay-polymer nanoplatelets, have demonstrated high stiffness, tensile strength, and optical transparency compared with existing technology . Based on the high level of ordering of the nanoscale building blocks and sufficient chemical bonding, it is now possible to realize effective stress transfer from a matrix to the individual high-strength components. LBL and similar composite materials can potentially be used in the design and development of next-generation lightweight blast resistance and transparent armor materials. However, due to the step-by-step fabrication approach, the LBL process is slow, hence, difficult to apply for large scale production of transparent armor shields. Innovative high-risk, high-gain approaches to manufacturing of ultrastrong transparent composites and acceleration of LBL manufacturing and without significant weight add-on are needed. The ability to manufacture curved shapes is highly desirable.

  PHASE I: 1) Demonstrate feasibility of manufacturing LBL-assembled materials with an approach to accelerate manufacture of ultrastrong LBL nanocomposite materials that incorporate high amounts of nanoscale building blocks.Investigate processes 2) Perform feasibility studies and develop an analytical methodology for the design and development and manufacturing of Ballistic and Blast Mitigation armor panels dimensions based on a given material properties ,threat levels and the occupants protection levels. 3) Demonstrate manufacturing of two prototype Transparent armor of lightweight LBL nanocomposites.measuring 60cm x 60cm x4 mm to be tested for ballistic and mine blast mitigation per light weight tactical vehicle requirements. 4) The Transparent Ballistic panels hardness and toughness shall defeat 30 caliber 7.62 mm bullet threat at 2800 feet per second. Transparency requirements are: with 80% transmission of the maximum solar emission of 550 nm. Refraction coefficient should be that similar to glass, that is 1.45.Dispersion characteristics in the Wavelength range 400-800 nm. Stability of the Index of Refraction should be in the range of -20 C to +40 C. The Blast mitigation panels shall be designed with toughness and hardness to meetthmeet the STANAG 4569 specifications for occupant protections 1) Perform proof of concept tests one each for armor and mine blas using two 60cm x 600cm panels with thicknesses calculated based on the developed analytical methodology.The ballistic and mine blast tests shall be based on the threat levels for light and medium weight tactical vehicles per NATO Ballistic STANAG 4569 specifications for occupant protections. 2) Develop detailed technical cost and cost savings analyzes for large scale manufacturing of ultrastrong LBL nanocomposite materials.
  PHASE II: Pending the positive outcome in Phase one. 1) Develop and demonstrate capabilities for large-scale manufacturing of both large area pieces and large 1000 quantities per hour for ballistic and blast panels of ultrastrong transparent LBL anocomposites materials. 2) Demonstrate six(6) coupons 122cmx122cm,two for mine blast and two for ballistic tests conducted by the contractor. remaining two panels to be Ballistic tested at TARDEC to verify contractor test performance. The Coupons thicknesses shall be calculated using the developed methodology meeting NATO Army STANEG 4569 requirements for occupan protection in light and medium weight tactical vehicles. The Ballistic panels hardness and toughness shall defeat 50 caliber 15 mm bullet threat at 3000 feet per second. 3) Develop and validate the computational algorithm per analytical methodologies developed in phase one for manufacturing of ballistics and Blast mitigation panels. 4) Validate the developed computational algorithm based on the four coupons tests 5) The additional Two (2) coupons shall be tested at TARDEC ballistic facilities confirming the contractor results.

  PHASE III: Provide cost analysis and affordability for fabrication of lightweight transparent armor,and blast deflector for military vehicles. Other areas of applications include military aircrafts, transparent shields for soldiers and law enforcement vehicles, Armor,windshields & Blast deflector, Protection Shields for fire fighter & Force protection applications GDLS, BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin, Boeing Armor and Blast Mitigating Deflectors. COMMERCIAL APPLICATION: LBL-based ultrastrong materials will have tremendous use for the airline industry and in civilian settings.The creation of this Alternative technologies will have a broad range of commercial applications. Not only will it directly impact military vehicle ballistic and structural blast resistance capabilities, it will also be applicable to civilian defense issues and automotive safety issues. Commercial applications can range form the aircraft industry to the auto and shipping industry. Military applications. can benefit light weight Tactical Vehicles enhancing the Agility, Survivability and mobility of vehicles. Reduced Fuel Consumptions and to increase the mobility and speed of deployment of our armed forces

  References:   1. http://www.military armor protection.com/ 2. Klement, R.; Rolc, S.; Mikulikova, J. K., Transparent Armor Materials, J. Eur. Chem. Soc. 2008, 28, 1091-1095. 3. McCauley, J, W.; Patel, P.; Chen, M.; Glide, G.; Strassburger, E.; Paliwal, B.; Ramesh, K. T.; Dandekar, D. P., Alon: A Brief History of Its Emergence and Evolution, J. Eur. Ceram. Soc. 2009, 29, 223-236. 4. Podsiadlo, P., Kaushik, A. K., Arruda, E. M., Waas, A. M., Shim, B. S., Xu, J., Nandivada, H., Pumplin, B. G., Lahann, J., Ramamoorthy, A., Kotov, N. A., Ultrastrong and Stiff Layered Polymer Nanocomposites, Science, 2007, 318, 80-83. 5. Mamedov, A. A., Kotov, N. A., Prato, M., Guldi, D., Wicksted, J. P., Hirsch, A., Molecular Design of Strong SWNT/Polyelectrolyte Multi layers Composites, Nature Materials, 2002, 1, 190–194.

Keywords:  Ultrastrong materials, Nanocomposites, Layer-by-Layer assembly, transparent armor materials, materials nanoclay Ultrastrong materials.

Questions and Answers:
Q: 1. Are you looking for composite coatings on existing window glasses? If so, what is the type/grade of glass being used?
2. Or do you have preference for developing windows formed of composite structures only?
3. Can processes other than conventional LBL involving dippings in solutions be used to develop composite structures?
A: 1. Are you looking for composite coatings on existing window glasses? If so, what is the type/grade of glass being used?
ANS: Absolutely NOT.

2. Or do you have preference for developing windows formed of composite structures only?
ANS:NO. We are not interested in stacking technology. The new armor panel shall cover curved surfaces around the vehicle. It shall have toughness and hardness to resists balletic and mine blast and IED threats. Shall be made of composites and NanoComposite materials. And be transparent as specified in the solicitation clearly.

3. Can processes other than conventional LBL involving dippings in solutions be used to develop composite structures?
ANS: YES : This solicitation is not for conventional method. The Army interest is on innovative technologies. Please read the solicitation more carefully.
Q: Additional information from TPOC in response to FAQs:
One of the Army interest in this solicitation beyond technical aspects is the element of cost affordability. The current approach is not cost effective for big fleet of vehicles.

#1 -- Using nano diamond coating on transparent materials for improving blast resistant/ballistic is not cost effective compared with the army current applied technology.

#2 -- Using layers of diamond and a suitable polymer with nanoclay on both sides of currently used transparent glassy materials is not innovative approach.

#3 -- The interest is to stay away from existing technologies. We need Light weight materials with hardness and toughness to mitigate the battlefield Threats.

#4 -- Currently used glassy materials are extremely heavy, and a burden to vehicle mobility.

#5 -- The idea of nanoclay used with substrate and other ingredient can be a thought.

#6 -- In addition the armor panel shall be transparent and can be formed to cover curved surfaces on vehicles. Likewise to be used as contoured light weight shield for force protection, or vehicle windshield.

#7 -- The layer-by-layer technology cannot be conventional stacking process.
A: o

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