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Extreme Cold Weather Resistant Gasket Material


OUSD (R&E) CRITICAL TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Advanced Materials OBJECTIVE: Develop an advanced, cold weather resistant gasket material capable of being used in a ship’s external gaskets. DESCRIPTION: The US Navy’s DDG-51 Class destroyers utilize many elastomer seals and gaskets throughout the ship with many exposed to the environment. As the Navy sails increasingly into Polar regions, seals and gaskets are exposed to extreme cold weather leading to performance degradation and premature seal failure resulting in a limited operating environment. Market research has not resulted in a Navy approved material that can survive in the Arctic environment across the spectrum of required seals and gaskets. A new cold weather resistant gasket is needed to replace the existing neoprene gaskets and seals. The development of a cold weather resistant gasket materials that meet the Navy need will require innovation to overcome technical challenges. The gasket material must meet the mechanical requirements of the Navy to include sustained heavy loads and other forces associated with ship motion, exposure to the harsh maritime environment, saltwater immersion, exposure to industrial chemicals, jet fuel, and fire resistance. Additionally, the gasket material must have excellent performance with minimal loss of mechanical properties at temperatures as low as -50°F while remaining a cost-effective solution for the Navy. Research into cold weather resistant gaskets has identified several materials that could potentially be developed to meet the Navy’s need. There are materials available which demonstrate the required temperature resistance; however, none of these materials have been demonstrated to meet the Navy’s full set of requirements. Additional innovation is required to produce a viable product for the Navy. PHASE I: Develop a concept for cold weather resistant gasket materials that meets the requirements described above. Demonstrate the feasibility of the concept in meeting Navy needs and establish that the concept can be developed into a useful product for the Navy. Feasibility will be established by coupon development and laboratory testing and demonstration of the manufacturability of the materials. The Phase I Option, if exercised, will include the initial design specifications and capabilities description to build a prototype solution in Phase II. PHASE II: Based on the results of Phase I and the Phase II Statement of Work (SOW), develop and deliver prototype louver gaskets for evaluation. The prototypes will be evaluated to determine capability in meeting the performance goals defined in the Phase II SOW. Product performance will be demonstrated through prototype evaluation, modeling, analytical methods, and demonstration over the required range of parameters including numerous cycles of various compressive loads. An extended test in a maritime environment will be used to refine the prototypes into a design that will meet Navy requirements. Prepare a Phase III manufacturing and development plan to transition the innovative new gasket material for Navy use. PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Support the Navy in transitioning the cold resistant elastomer to Navy use. Develop installation and maintenance manuals for the new gasket material to support transition to the fleet. Numerous potential private sector uses for cold weather resistant gaskets, with applications in the commercial shipping industries, as well as Arctic construction. Other commercial applications include commercial research and cryogenics. REFERENCES: 1. Liao, Shenglong. “An Ultra-Low-Temperature Elastomer with Excellent Mechanical Performance and Solvent Resistance.” Advanced Materials, September 2021. 2. Ashrafizedeh, H. et al. “Evaluation of the Effect of Temperature on Mechanical Properties and Wear Resistance of Polyurethane Elastomers.” Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, T6G 1H9, 2016. KEYWORDS: Cold Resistant Elastomers; Operational Temperature; Arctic Hardening; Gasket material in Polar regions; Polar operations; Environmental exposure
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