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Special Tooling and Processes for Repeatable Adhesive Application



TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Materials/Processes, Space Platforms, Weapons

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 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation.

OBJECTIVE: Develop application process(es) for applying Liquid Locking Compounds (LLCs) used in missile production and deliver a process solution along with associated tooling to enable reproducible application of LLC for missile components.

DESCRIPTION: This topic seeks to develop innovative, reliable, and repeatable volumetric dispensing processes for applying liquid LLCs or equivalent fluids. The use of adhesive locking features or LLCs as a means of providing a secondary locking feature has been used for decades across many missile defense programs. These compounds are intended to augment preload in the resistance to vibration-induced loosening; however, where there are a number of specifications for prevailing torque locking features depending on the type of design (e.g., nut, bolt, helicoil, insert, etc.), few quantitative process specifications and/or specialized tooling solutions exist for the application of LLCs. As such, variability in application quantity and location exists between production floor operators, resulting in a corresponding variability in the application and robustness of the threaded fastening system. The issue of variability is of primary concern in many threaded fastening systems used in aerospace applications that incorporate locking features that do not depend on fastener preload to function as a resistance to fastener rotation. The primary desire of this topic is to reduce this variability and develop highly reproducible applications of liquid locking compounds through robust processes and/or tooling solutions to aid in the application. Potential solutions of interest include, but are not limited to, enhancements to industry applications that leverage current methods/tools such as micro-pipetting devices and techniques that afford dispensing of controlled, reproducible liquid volumes.

PHASE I: Characterize the LLCs to identify processing sensitivities, determine proper cure time, and the minimum amount of LLC that is required to achieve optimum breakaway torque values. Develop process(es) for application of the LLC and deliver an initial concept/tool for reproducible application.

PHASE II: Deliver a comprehensive Phase II test, verification, and validation plan that would support Phase II demonstration, test, and implementation activities. Develop and demonstrate the prototype application process(es) as well as the design for associated tooling for the application of the LLC.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Automate the LLC application process(es) and implement the solution as part of a pilot program in collaboration with select Original Equipment Manufacturers on programs of interest to the government. Further commercialize the capability to benefit other DoD Agencies, NASA, and other potential commercial partners.


  • Johnny L. Golden, et. al. September 2012. “Process Sensitivity, Performance, and Direct Verification Testing of Adhesive Locking Features.” NASA. Landley Research Center, Hampton, VA.
  • Patrick J. Courtney and Mike Shannahan. October 2002. "Assembly Adhesives." Henkel Loctite Corporation.

KEYWORDS: Loctite, liquid locking compounds


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