SITIS Archives - Topic Details
Program:  SBIR
Topic Num:  A10-062 (Army)
Title:  Inexpensive Large Scale Manufacturing of High Specific Modulus and Strength Ceramic Fibers
Research & Technical Areas:  Materials/Processes

Acquisition Program:  
 The technology within this topic is restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), which controls the export and import of defense-related material and services. Offerors must disclose any proposed use of foreign nationals, their country of origin, and what tasks each would accomplish in the statement of work in accordance with section 3.5.b.(7) of the solicitation.
  Objective:  Develop and demonstrate an inexpensive large scale high output manufacturing process to fabricate high specific modulus and high specific strength continuous ceramic fibers. The continuous ceramic fiber must be suitable to be used in a variety of existing conventional textile weaving processes without a modification for downstream aluminum (Al) and/or magnesium (Mg) based metal matrix composites (armor) fabrications.
  Description:  Continuous ceramic fibers have a wide range of potential engineering applications in civil and military sectors. However, their limited processability and high cost hampers their utilizations in such applications. Currently, extremely limited commercially viable continuous ceramic fiber processing techniques exist. The focus of the current SBIR is to design, develop, and demonstrate an inexpensive and highly scalable manufacturing system suitable to process high specific modulus and high specific strength continuous ceramic fibers. The output continuous ceramic fibers must be suitable to be directly fed into a variety of existing conventional fiber textile weaving processes without significant modifications for downstream lightweight Al and/or Mg metal matrix composites (armor) applications. Orders of selection criteria of this SBIR topic are (1) specific modulus, (2) specific strength, (3) batch quantity, (4) cost, and (5) all others.

  PHASE I: Design and develop one or more continuous ceramic fiber synthesis methodologies, demonstrate its comparability with Al and/or Mg based metals, and demonstrate its manufacturing feasibility by producing ceramic fibers with the following characteristics as minimum requirements: specific modulus > (larger than) 135 GPa/g/cc; specific strength > (larger than) 140 GPa/g/cc; fiber (single fiber or filament) diameter = (less than or equal to) 25 micrometer; fiber length to diameter ratio > (larger than) 1000; batch quantity > (larger than) 0.5 lb; and cost analysis < (less than) $1000/lb.
  PHASE II: Scale up the ceramic fiber synthesis methodologies demonstrated during the Phase I without degrading the comparability with Al and/or Mg based metals. Build one or more prototype semi-continuous ceramic fiber manufacturing system; demonstrate its effectiveness by producing ceramic fibers with the following characteristics as minimum requirements: specific modulus > (larger than) 135 GPa/g/cc; specific strength > (larger than) 140 GPa/g/cc; fiber (single fiber or filament) diameter = (less than or equal to) 15 micrometer; semi-continuous in fiber (single fiber or filament) length suitable to form commercial size spools of 5000 (+/- 2500) denier strands; batch quantity = (equal to or larger than) 25 lb in commercial size spools of 5000 (+/- 2500) denier strands ; and cost analysis < (less than) $100/lb.

  PHASE III: Transition the manufacturing technology to civil and military sector applications. The manufacturing technology transition to military applications includes partnerships with major MMC armor plate manufacturers, armor integrators, and/or DoD prime vehicle integrators. Deliverables and technical data packages resulted from this SBIR will support a variety of ATOs, MTOs, and Army PMs and Army PEOs for Army warfighters and vehicle survivability.

  References:   1. B. Moser, A. Rossoll, L. Weber, O. Beffort, and A. Mortensen, "Damage Evolution of Nextel 610™ Alumina Fibre Reinforced Aluminium", Acta Materialia 52 (2004) 573-581. 2. D.M. Wilson, "Statistical Tensile Strength of Nextel™ 610 and Nextel ™ 720 fibers", Journal of materials Science (1997) 2535-2542. 3. H.J. Dudek, R. Leucht, and J. Hemptenmacher, "Thermal Stability of SiC-SCS-6 Fiber-Reinforced IMI834 Alloys", Metallurgical and Materials Transactions A (1996) 1403-1405. 4. X. Ning, P. Pirouz, and S.C. Farmer, "Microchemical Analysis of the SCS-6 Silicon Fiber", Journal of the American Ceramic Society (1993) 2033-2041.

Keywords:  Continuous ceramic fibers, high specific modulus, high specific strength, large scale manufacturing, metal matrix composites armor applications

Questions and Answers:
Q: Q: Would "special interfaces put on to carbon fibers that will be incorporated in aluminum and magnesium types of alloy matrices" be consider in response to the topic?
A: A: Ceramic fibers are preferred as the first choice for the topic. In general, a technical (or engineering) ceramic is defined as a material made out of oxides, carbides, borides, nitrides, silicides, or composites material made out of combination(s) of oxides, carbides, borides, nitrides, and silicides. However, if the interfaces are made out of ceramics and able to completely encapsulate the carbon fibers; and the interfaced carbon fibers meet or exceed the topic minimum requirements, then it would be
considered as a second or an alternate choice.

Q: Q: Would continuous yarn made up of discontinuous fibers be considered?

A: A: All novel ideas relevant to the current SBIR topic would be considered. However ranking preferences would be based on meeting or exceeding the topic requirements. All potential proposers should consider how effective load transfer and stiffening capabilities of yarns or fibers as metal matrix composites reinforcements.

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