Aerospace Structures and Materials

Aerospace Structures and Materials is central to all naval aviation aircraft and weapons systems. It is the underlying enabling technology for the air vehicle and weapons for both manned and unmanned operations. Requirements for naval aviation platforms and weapons are often unique and more stringent than land- and sea- based systems. The need for efficient structure and materials is pervasive throughout naval air platforms and weapons systems. It is an exciting time to work in structures and materials focus area. Recent developments in experimental techniques and high-resolution imaging provides a means to relate micro-structure to performance. Understanding these relationships can lead to more efficient structures that are resistant to damage and can sustain fatigue, impact and ballistic loading. Similarly leveraging developments in multifunctional materials and structures has the potential of reducing parasitic weight in air vehicles and weapons making it more lethal. Advances in science of automation, artificial intelligence and machine learning can be used to tailor structure and fabricate it with reduced defects. Micro-manufacturing techniques can be used to design interfaces to meet targeted requirements. Enhanced analysis capabilities enable high fidelity design tools for upgraded and new guidance for efficiently sustaining the naval fleet. The program goal is to leverage these advances and develop technologies for lightweight survivable and sustainable structures that can meet the demands of the current and future needs of Navy and Marine Corp air vehicles and weapons. Concurrent to the technology objectives an equally important goal is to develop an eager and engaged workforce trained in structures and materials technologies aligned to Navy and Marine Corp needs.

Research Concentration Areas

The program has the following thrust areas: Corrosion and Fatigue of Metallic Airframe; Advanced Composites; Multifunctional Structures and Lightweight Armor. These are primarily concerned with light weighting the structure and increasing structural efficiency, survivability and sustainability. The structures and materials focus area will also support the infrastructure necessary to maintain technology superiority, while serving as a pipeline of future scientists and engineers.

Research Challenges and Opportunities

  • Corrosion and Fatigue: Topics in combined loading mechanics; environmentally assisted cracking; test methods; electrochemical stress; localized damage evolution; structural remediation; low-, high- and giga- cycle fatigue.
  • Advanced Composites. Topics in characterization of structural response, damage initiation, environmental effects, under static-, dynamic- and fatigue- loading; durability and constituent materials development; handling-processing-property relationships; near net-shape and out-of-autoclave fabrication of composites; thermoplastics; manufacturing automation; use of AI/ML in reducing defects; repair of composite structures.
  • Multifunctional Structures: Topics in structural batteries; energy storage; embedded and conformal antennas; EMI shielding.
  • Light-weight Armor: Topics in fundamental relationships between structure and ballistic response; high strain rate testing and modeling for ballistic performance; extremely lightweight flight armor; lightweight transparent armor.

Program Contact Information

Name: Anisur Rahman

Title: Program Officer

Department: Code 351

Email for Questions: anisur.rahman@navy.mil


How to Submit

Submitting a white paper is the first step in working with us. It should not exceed four pages in length. White papers are accepted on a rolling basis, however, priority is given to submissions received by December 31 for funding consideration for the following fiscal year.

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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