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Nondestructive Evaluator for Polymer Ablatives (NEPAL)

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Navy
Contract: N68335-20-C-0155
Agency Tracking Number: N18A-011-0232
Amount: $1,499,975.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: N18A-T011
Solicitation Number: 18.A
Solicitation Year: 2018
Award Year: 2020
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2019-10-31
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2022-09-15
Small Business Information
15400 Calhoun Drive Suite 190
Rockville, MD 20855
United States
DUNS: 161911532
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: Yes
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Banibrata Poddar
 Research Scientist
 (301) 294-5204
Business Contact
 Mark James
Phone: (301) 294-5200
Research Institution
 University of Nebraska, Lincoln
 Dr. Joseph Turner Dr. Joseph Turner
151 Prem S. Paul Research Center, 2200 Vine Street, P.O. Box 830861
Lincoln, NE 68583
United States

 (402) 472-8856
 Nonprofit College or University

Materials for thermal protection are required to protect structural components of missile launching systems, space vehicles during the re-entry stage, and solid rocket motors (SRMs). Polymer resins that have high char retention (e.g., phenolic resins) are the most common matrices in the composite materials for rigid thermal protection systems (TPSs) due to their tunable density, lower cost, and higher heat-shock resistance. One such application of the polymer TPS is in protection of missile launch systems from extremely hot exhaust gases. Missile launch systems integrated with a ship structures, such as the Mk 41 vertical launch system (VLS), need the rocket exhaust to be diverted vertically upwards through the plenum and the uptake. These sections are lined with ablative polymers of varying thicknesses to protect the structure from intense heat from rocket exhaust. The erosion of the ablative panels determines the life of the module structure. Currently, life prediction of these ablative materials are based on pre-determined in lab tests. However, as these multipurpose VLSs launch a variety of increasingly powerful rockets, the predetermined life estimations are inaccurate. A new non-destructive examination technique is needed for in situ determination of the remaining useful life of ablative lining.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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