DOD STTR 24.A BAA

Active
No
Status
Closed
Release Date
November 29th, 2023
Open Date
January 3rd, 2024
Due Date(s)
February 21st, 2024
Close Date
February 21st, 2024
Topic No.
N24A-T002

Topic

In-situ AM-2 Aluminum Mat Repair

Agency

Department of DefenseN/A

Program

Type: STTRPhase: Phase IYear: 2024

Summary

The Department of Defense (DOD) is seeking proposals for the topic of "In-situ AM-2 Aluminum Mat Repair" as part of their Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I program. The objective is to evaluate the implementation of a novel repair technique for AM-2 aluminum matting in-situ. The research aims to analyze the repair effectiveness by comparing virgin AM-2 specimens to artificially damaged and repaired specimens in terms of mechanical performance. Rapid deployment of Expeditionary Airfields (EAF) is crucial for military transportation and sustained presence across multiple theaters worldwide. The use of aluminum matting, specifically EAF AM-2 matting, is essential for successful landings in various soil environments. However, significant structural damage often requires the matting to be shipped back to a refurbishment facility. The goal of this research is to enhance the repair and refurbishment capability of EAF AM-2 aluminum matting, with a focus on on-site repair of holes and cracks. The research should consider factors such as fuel/power consumption, time to repair, and comparable mechanical properties to undamaged AM-2 matting. The Phase I effort involves providing a conceptual design for the repair process, proving feasibility through analysis and lab demonstrations, and optimizing processing parameters for different hole and crack sizes. Phase II includes demonstrating prototype performance with full-scale AM-2 matting, estimating costs, and conducting failure analysis and service life assessment. Phase III focuses on assessing repair/refurbishment costs and logistics for fielding. The potential impacts of this research extend beyond military applications. Any aluminum paneling or matting used in commercial systems, such as train stiffener walls, aircraft fuselage paneling, and building materials, can be repaired without having to replace or remove the part from the structure or system. The solicitation is closed, and more information can be found on the Defense SBIR/STTR website.

Description

OUSD (R&E) CRITICAL TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Sustainment

 

OBJECTIVE: Evaluate the implementation of a novel repair technique for AM-2 aluminum matting repair in-situ. The idea is to analyze the repair effectiveness by comparing virgin AM-2 specimens to specimens artificially damaged and repaired, in terms of mechanical performance.

 

DESCRIPTION: Rapid deployment of Expeditionary Airfields (EAF) is critical to expedited military transportation and sustained presence across multiple military theaters around the world. At the core of EAF, utilization of aluminum matting, referred to as EAF AM-2 matting, is essential to lay down for air vehicles to successfully land in a variety of soil environments. Maintenance of such a system ensures prevention of premature structural failure, thereby preventing in-service landing failures and loss of life. However, AM-2 matting is often shipped back to a refurbishment facility for various reasons, one of which includes significant structural damage.

 

The decision to repair is influenced by the type of damage and the defect size encountered when the matting is damaged. Guidance will be provided to awardees. Damage due to forklift tines are also taken into account, where the maximum allowable hole dimensions for repair are 1.5 in. (3.81 cm) wide by 10 in. (25.4 cm) long. If the matting is damaged, the EAF Marines have to pull up and remove all of the surrounding mat to be able to remove and replace the affected piece. Depending on where the damaged mat is in the airfield the current process of removal and replacement can take a substantial amount of time and labor to complete both while downing that portion of the airfield. With the ability to rapidly repair in situ, the mean time to repair (MTTR) will be greatly decreased, thus improving the Operational Availability.

 

The EAF Marines are an expeditionary force, therefore a premium is placed on weight, size, and maneuverability of materials, which imposes constraints on any solution. The EAF Marines must be prepared to operate in any feasible climate, a requirement that extends to their equipment as well. AM-2 matting is manufactured in either 6 ft (1.83 m) or 12 ft (3.66 m) by 1.5 in. (3.81 cm) by 2 ft (.61 m) pieces of aluminum and weigh 75 lbs (34.02 kg) or 150 lbs (68.04 kg) respectively. AM2 mats are additionally treated with nonskid coating.

 

The aim of this STTR topic is to enhance the repair and refurbishment capability of EAF AM-2 aluminum matting. Ultimately, an ideal application would involve on-site repair of holes and cracks that form on AM-2 matting while installed on an airfield. Areas of consideration for a potential solution should include fuel/power consumption (if needed), time to repair, and comparable mechanical properties to undamaged AM-2. The threshold for this effort is to repair the damaged aluminum AM-2 matting utilizing a preferred repair technique or method. The objective is to repair the damaged matting and provide some semblance of a friction surface for the repaired surface area.

 

PHASE I: Provide a conceptual design for a process for the repair and refurbishment of EAF AM-2 aluminum matting. Prove the engineering and economic feasibility of meeting the stated requirements through analysis and lab demonstrations. Identify specific strategies for meeting performance and reliability goals. Optimize the processing parameters for application to various hole and crack sizes on AM-2 matting specimens. Assess representative macrostructural matting specimens under flexure loading is recommended in this phase. Sustainment or improvement of mechanical properties is to be evaluated with use of the chosen repair method/technique. The Phase I effort will include prototype plans to be developed under Phase II.

 

PHASE II: Demonstrate prototype performance with AM-2 matting. Provide an estimate of costs including manufacturing. Provide a failure analysis, service life estimate, and assessment of meeting requirements. Using optimized parameters evaluated in Phase I, repairs would ideally be conducted on full-scale AM-2 matting structures (6 ft–12 ft) (1.83 m–3.66 m), and full-scale mechanical testing is to be conducted. Data sets are to be obtained and compared to existing data on AM-2 mechanical analyses.

 

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: In partnership with the PMA and the Arresting Gear IPT, new repair/refurbishment cost and logistics estimates are to be assessed given the optimal materials and parameters established in the previous phases. This will ultimately prepare the repair method for fielding.

Any aluminum paneling or matting that is utilized in commercial systems (e.g., stiffener walls for a train, aircraft fuselage paneling and floorboard repair, building materials and building structures) can be repaired with relative ease without having to replace or even remove the part from the rest of the structure or system.

 

REFERENCES:

Widener, C. A.; Ozdemir, O. C. and Carter, M. “Structural repair using cold spray technology for enhanced sustainability of high value assets.” Procedia Manufacturing, 21, 2018, pp. 361-368. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.promfg.2018.02.132
Chaudhary, B.;, Jain, N. K. and Murugesan, J. “Development of friction stir powder deposition process for repairing of aerospace-grade aluminum alloys.” CIRP Journal of Manufacturing Science and Technology, 38, 2022, pp. 252-267. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cirpj.2022.04.016

 

KEYWORDS: aluminum; matting; in-situ; repair; expeditionary; airfield