Dielectric Materials and Films

Navy ships have finite space below deck. As power needs grow from being dominated by the propulsion system to including advanced radars and communication systems, there is increased need to distribute, condition and store power. Capacitors comprise a substantial portion of the volume in power conditioning systems. Increased energy storage density in wound film capacitors will help accommodate the ever increasing power demands on Navy ships.

The state-of-the-art dielectric in large wound film capacitors is biaxially oriented polypropylene. It can be processed into very thin films and the oriented semicrystalline morphology provides a high dielectric breakdown strength. The non-polar chemistry yields low dielectric losses but also a low permittivity and thus low energy storage density. Prior work in this program led to a number of approaches to dramatically increase the dielectric permittivity with fairly modest increases in dielectric loss. However, the combination of increased energy storage density and increased losses can exacerbate heat removal issues leading the program to revisit the balance between dielectric permittivity and losses and thermal stability.

Research Concentration Areas

  • Current dielectric films have a limited use temperature which can threaten reliability and safety factors
  • Polymer-based wound film dielectric capacitors are a scalable and cost effective energy storage approach, designable with graceful failure modes
  • Research is needed to better understand and mitigate the decreases in the performance of polymer dielectric films under high electrical loading at higher temperatures

Research Challenges and Opportunities

  • Basic studies of dielectric aging and breakdown
  • Processable dielectric films that maintain performance to 150 degrees Celsius or higher
  • Studies to develop accelerated testing on research films to yield predictions of long term wound capacitor behavior (dielectric again and breakdown)
  • Study of charge transport in high band gap polymers and approaches to reduce it at high temperatures
  • Understanding and mitigating charge injection under high voltage

Updated: November 2020

Program Contact Information

Name: Dr. Paul Armistead

Title: Program Officer

Department: Code 332

Email for Questions: paul.armistead@navy.mil

Name: Dr. Michele Anderson

Title: Program Officer

Department: Code 332

Email for Questions: michele.anderson1@navy.mil

How to Submit

For detailed application and submission information for this research topic, please see our Funding Opportunities page and refer to broad agency announcement (BAA) No. N00014-21-S-B001.

  • Contracts: All white papers and full proposals for contracts must be submitted through FedConnect; instructions are included in the BAA.
  • Grants: All white papers for grants must be submitted through FedConnect, and full proposals for grants must be submitted through grants.gov; instructions are included in the BAA.

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