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Hydrodynamic, Structural, Vibration, and Production Analysis to Build a Torpedo Propeller


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Ground Sea, Weapons

OBJECTIVE: Confirm or refine the existing propeller geometric design.Find alternative methods to produce these propellers at high quality and low cost, while meeting structural, hydrodynamic powering and quiet performance.

DESCRIPTION: The Navy has need for a new production stream to deliver high-speed propellers for a long-standing existing weapon.Although functional, the current design has limitations in producible quality and, to an uncertain degree, in the design margins (optimality) of final performance.

PHASE I: Not Required.The vendor must demonstrate Proof of Concept via a technical volume not to exceed 20 pages.This volume is included as part of the Phase II Technical volume (Volume 2)FEASIBILITY DOCUMENTATION: Offerors interested in participating in Direct to Phase II must include in their response to this topic Phase I feasibility documentation that substantiates the scientific and technical merit and Phase I feasibility described in Phase I above has been met (i.e. the small business must have performed Phase I-type research and development related to the topic, but from non-SBIR funding sources) and describe the potential commercialization applications.The documentation provided must validate that the proposer has completed development of technology as stated in Phase I above.Documentation should include all relevant information including, but not limited to: technical reports, test data, prototype designs/models, and performance goals/results.Work submitted within the feasibility documentation must have been substantially performed by the offeror and/or the principal investigator (PI).This task would include an initial analysis of two existing propellers, which are manufactured in both aluminum and in GRP composite structure, with slight variances in geometry between the fabrication materials.A successful proposal should include descriptions of prior propeller or other equivalent propulsive composite design achievements and capabilities and methods intended to complete analysis, fabricate, and test concept models to achieve equivalent performance of current parts. Drawings are not required for a responsive proposal. Upon award, drawings and part samples will be provided as needed.FSC NIINPart NumberNomenclatureEnd Item Application 2010 01-137-20135268342Composite Forward PropellerTorpedo 2010 01-137-46815268343Composite Aft PropellerTorpedo 1355 00-977-27762526749Aluminum Forward PropellerTorpedo 1355 00-977-27732526749Aluminum Aft PropellerTorpedo

PHASE II: Based on the results of the vendors Proof of Concept, and in coordination with DLA and industry manufacturers, the Phase II expectation is to develop a prototype solution.The proposed work should include engineering, and fabricating development of Prototype propellers and completing water tunnel, in-water, and other testing to prove the performance capability meets the developed specification and/or identify variations where they occur.Expectations include: • capture as-built designs via 3D imaging and compare ‘as-built’ component geometry to design drawings to validate ‘as-built’ accuracy and/or quantify ‘design’ vs ‘as-built’ variances;• affirm the geometry or estimate adjustments, based on fabrication material for one or more propeller variants,• complete CFD analysis performance estimates in structural strength, structural vibration, powering, and radiated noise of the propeller(s),• use this analysis to validate design and/or recommend design adjustmentsPhase II would culminate in trial open water runs to prove performance on a navy platform.Complete initial analysis will be manifest in a solid model propeller geometry, which defines the potentially viable replacement propeller(s), along with a comprehensive report of performance estimates, as developed in the above analysis.

PHASE III: Dual Use Applications: Program sponsor has a planned purchase of new propellers.Quantity is anticipated to be 100-400 propellers per year.Progress made in Phase I and Phase II should result in a vendor’s qualification as an approved source for UAS support enabling participation in future procurements.COMMERCIALIZATION:The manufacturer will pursue commercialization of the various UAS technologies and processes developed in prior phases as well as potential commercial sales of manufactured mechanical parts or other items.

KEYWORDS: Thermoplastic composites, carbon fiber propellers, injection-molded parts, thrust vs propeller blade structural strength, low cost manufacturing structurally equivalent parts


1. Ductility and plasticity of nanostructured metals: differences and issues, Y.T. Zhu, X.L. Wu, d 2. Size effects on material yield strength/deformation/fracturing properties, Ronald W. Armstrong,Journal of Materials Research,Volume 34, Issue 13: 15 July 2019 , pp. 2161-2176: DOI:, Published online by Cambridge University Press:30 January 2019 3. 4. Marine Propeller Design Method based on Lifting Line Theory and Lifting Surface Correction Factors, Ataur Rahmana,∗, Md Refayet Ullahb, Md. Mashud Karimb, 10th International Conference on Marine Technology, MARTEC 2016 5. 6.

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