SITIS Archives - Topic Details
Program:  SBIR
Topic Num:  A10-060 (Army)
Title:  Fabrication of High-Strength, Lightweight Metals for Armor and Structural Applications
Research & Technical Areas:  Materials/Processes, Weapons

Acquisition Program:  PM Future Combat Systems Brigade Combat Team
  Objective:  Development a manufacturing methodology to produce large-scale lightweight, high-strength ultrafine-grained (UFG) alloys for potential armor and structural applications.
  Description:  With recent global developments has come the increased recognition of the need to develop and implement lightweighting strategies for the full range of weapons platforms (land, sea, and air) without a loss in platform functionality. Lightweight ultrafine-grained (UFG) alloys have shown tremendous increases in strength and ductility over conventional coarse-grained, conventionally process materials, but have primarily been researched at laboratory (cm) scales. Furthermore, the typical scales at which the materials have been produced have excluded the possibility of ballistic evaluation. This proposal aims to fill this void by soliciting optimized UFG materials for likely armor applications, and also, investigating the scale-up and prospective commercialization of the methods used to manufacture such a material. The ability to achieve the desired mechanical properties on a large scale through novel processing approaches has the potential for high-impact and near-term applications. These significant improvements in the mechanical and physical properties of UFG lightweight metals will drive design of lightweight metal structures and armor components in military vehicles, thus reducing large logistical burdens, minimizing operational constraints and liabilities, and reducing vulnerabilities.

  PHASE I: The results of Phase I will be five (5) lightweight alloy and/or composite plates for metallurgical, mechanical and ballistic characterization. Innovative equipment and processing methodologies may need to be developed to achieve plates with the following criteria: specific density less than 3 g/cm^3, average grain size less than 0.500 micrometers, ultimate tensile strength greater than 450 MPa, relative tensile elongation greater than 8%, minimum plate size of 300 mm x 300 mm x 25 mm.
  PHASE II: Phase II will culminate in the research and development of processing methodologies to provide scaled-up plates with a minimum size 1.25 m wide x 3.5 m long x 25 mm thick which meet or exceed the same standards as determined by Phase I. Some of these panels will be rolled out into wider panels or sheet products. This will be paralleled by continued metallurgical and mechanical testing, and assessment of commercial scalability. Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 5 should be attained by the end of Phase II and continued funding should be at 6.3/6.4 levels.

  PHASE III: The production of high strength sheet and plate product could see an abundance of applications in both military and civilian realms. The probable military applications span from lightweight personnel protection (e.g. E-SAPI vest back-plates) to large armor packages. High-strength, lightweight sheet product would find its way into the civilian market as preform for sheet-formed items or perhaps vehicle body panels. The transitions to operational capability to achieve these prospective applications will be based on a transition between the Phase I research and development to achieve property goals, to the scale-up feasibility in Phase II, and then commercial production in Phase III. At the end of Phase II, program managers responsible for manufacturing and armor materials specification in military vehicles will evaluate the potential for transition.

  References:   1. Ruslan Z. Valiev, Rinat K. Islamgaliev, Igor V. Alexandrov, Bulk nanostructured materials from severe plastic deformation, Progress in Materials Science, v.45, p. 103-189, 2000. 2. Terry C. Lowe and Yuntian Zhu, Commercialization of nanostructured metals produced by severe plastic deformation processing, Advanced Engineering Materials, v.5, p. 373-378, 2003. 3. Yuntian Zhu, Terry C. Lowe and Terence G. Langdon, Performance and applications of nanostructured materials produced by severe plastic deformation, Scripta Materialia, v.51, p.825-830, 2004. 4. Vladimir M. Segal, Engineering and commercialization of equal channel angular extrusion (ECAE)”, Materials Science and Engineering, A., v.386, p. 269-276, 2004. 5. Stephane Ferrasse, Vladimir M. Segal, Frank Alford, Janine Kardokus and Susan Strothers, “Scale-up and application of equal channel angular extrusion for the electronics and aerospace industries“, Materials Science and Engineering, A., v.493, p.130-140, 2008.

Keywords:  Ultrafine Grained Material, Aluminum, Magnesium, Strength, Armor, Manufacturing Processes

Questions and Answers:
Q: 1. Are you interested in powder metallurgy route?
2. Do you need 5 rod of same composition?
A: 1. We are not excluding powder metallurgy routes.
2. Not all samples must be of the same composition, but we specified the geometry as plates, not rods.

As long as you believe that you can meet the stipulations enumerated in the solicitation, by all means go ahead a submit a proposal. To us, it does not matter what methodology was used to fabricate the end deliverables (five 12X12X1 inch plates). But, the deliverables must be plates, not rods. Thank you for your interest.
Q: From the solicitation: "Phase II will culminate in the research and development of processing methodologies to provide scaled-up plates with a minimum size 1.25 m wide x 3.5 m long x 25 mm thick..."

For the proposal Commercialization section, I need to know the quantity of such plates the military might purchase, per year?
A: The number of plates the Army would need per year isn't known at this time.

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