Polymer Matrix Composites (PMC)
The U.S. Navy has been increasing the use of polymer matrix composite (PMC) materials on ships and aircraft for the last 40 years. This is in part due to their outstanding mechanical properties, light weight and durability, corrosion and fatigue resistance, and ability to conform to many complex shapes with reduced part count. Some of the limitations of these materials include the relative weakness of their out-of-plane properties, numerous and complex failure modes that are difficult to predict, their restricted high temperature performance (in particular related to fire, smoke and toxicity issues) and finally their high manufacturing cost. This program has invested significantly in developing new structural fibers with better thermo-oxidative resistance, new non-toxic resins systems and sandwich cores with enhanced resistance to fire and its propagation, new additives to improve PMC inter-laminar properties, and new resin infusion models and processing tools for improving product quality and lowering manufacturing costs.
Research Concentration Areas
After a number of successful technology demonstrations in several of the areas mentioned above, and after a long and concentrated R&D effort in nanocomposites (particularly in the area of carbon nanotube growth), the program is now exploring new opportunities in PMC materials and processes that could further enhance the performance of naval platforms in terms of speed, agility, range, durability, manufacturability, survivability and reparability. Research concentration areas include: new materials (fiber, resins, additives and cores), processes and manufacturing technologies that further enhance the mechanical properties, lower the weight, add multi-functionality and improve tailor-ability, while lowering total ownership costs.
Research Challenges and Opportunities
- Functionally graded composite designs (hybrid fibers, cores)
- Advanced joints and interfaces. Adhesives with tailorable properties
- Integrating multi-functionalities into PMC (fire protection, thermal management, acoustic damping, energy harvesting, sensing, actuation, communication)
- Advanced manufacturing concepts with continuous fiber reinforcement
Type of Funding Available
- Basic Research
- Applied Research
Program Contact Information
Submit white papers, QUAD charts and full proposals for contracts to this email address: ONR Code 33 Research Submissions
Follow instructions within BAA for submission of grant proposals to grants.gov website.