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Alternative Materials and Fabrication Processes for US Navy Propulsor Shafting


OUSD (R&E) CRITICAL TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Advanced Materials The technology within this topic is restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), 22 CFR Parts 120-130, which controls the export and import of defense-related material and services, including export of sensitive technical data, or the Export Administration Regulation (EAR), 15 CFR Parts 730-774, which controls dual use items. Offerors must disclose any proposed use of foreign nationals (FNs), their country(ies) of origin, the type of visa or work permit possessed, and the statement of work (SOW) tasks intended for accomplishment by the FN(s) in accordance with the Announcement. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws. OBJECTIVE: Develop low-cost non-traditional materials and repeatable, reliable, efficient, and robust manufacturing processes suitable for large, thick, waterborne propulsor shafting subjected to long-duration complex stress states. DESCRIPTION: The primary application for this technology is to identify, investigate, demonstrate, and validate non-traditional, non-metallic materials and associated manufacturing technology for the fabrication of submarine propulsor shafting to address design demand signals in support of future submarine platform development. Such materials may include, but are not limited to, carbon fiber reinforced polymer and glass fiber reinforced polymer. Such manufacturing processes may include, but are not limited to, wet filament winding, towpreg winding, and dry fiber infusion. Traditional metallic submarine propulsor shafts are at the limit of their capability due to weight and industrial base. While non-metallic propulsor shafting is already in-service in the surface ship fleet (Littoral Combat Ship), the current scale/size is insufficient for meeting targeted performance metrics of both current (e.g., Virginia-Class) and future (e.g., SSNX) submarine platforms. The technology introduced by the effort described herein will facilitate increased usage of non-traditional materials in US Navy propulsor shafting to enable broadened design trade space and arrangement options for existing propulsor components (e.g., shaft-line light-weighting, increased propulsor weight, increased payload, etc.), improved performance (e.g., increased torque capacity), improved fatigue life (i.e., may be possible to design for life of ship or reduced frequency of shaft change-outs), and decreased lifecycle/maintenance cost (i.e., improved corrosion performance reduces need for refurbishment/repair). The proposed research will investigate alternative materials and efficient fabrication processes that produce repeatable, reliable, and robust large, thick, cylindrical structures capable of interfacing with existing metallic structure and providing, at a minimum, equivalent performance relative to legacy submarine propulsor shafting. Material(s) and fabrication process(es) proposed in support of this effort will be demonstrated and verified at full scale to provide adequate structural properties and characteristics, efficient, robust and repeatable processes, and appropriate quality assurance. Material and fabrication process evaluation, selection, and demonstration will include a combination of coupon, sub-element, and prototype design, fabrication, and testing. A key challenge will be understanding the effect of scaling from coupons to full scale articles on material properties and material quality. Structural design calculations and numerical analysis (where applicable) may be used in support of design and development. Work produced in Phase II may become classified. Note: The prospective contractor(s) must be U.S. Owned and Operated with no Foreign Influence as defined by DOD 5220.22-M, National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual, unless acceptable mitigating procedures can and have been implemented and approved by the Defense Counterintelligence Security Agency (DCSA), formerly the Defense Security Service (DSS). The selected contractor must be able to acquire and maintain a secret level facility and Personnel Security Clearances, in order to perform on advanced phases of this contract as set forth by DSS and NAVSEA in order to gain access to classified information pertaining to the national defense of the United States and its allies; this will be an inherent requirement. The selected company will be required to safeguard classified material IAW DoD 5220.22-M during the advance phases of this contract. All DoD Information Systems (IS) and Platform Information Technology (PIT) systems will be categorized in accordance with Committee on National Security Systems Instruction (CNSSI) 1253, implemented using a corresponding set of security controls from National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Special Publication (SP) 800-53, and evaluated using assessment procedures from NIST SP 800-53A and DoD-specific (KS) (Information Assurance Technical Authority (IATA) Standards and Tools). The Contractor shall support the Assessment and Authorization (A&A) of the system. The Contractor shall support the Government’s efforts to obtain an Authorization to Operate (ATO) in accordance with DoDI 8500.01 Cybersecurity, DoDI 8510.01 Risk Management Framework (RMF) for DoD Information Technology (IT), NIST SP 800-53, NAVSEA 9400.2-M (October 2016), and business rules set by the NAVSEA Echelon II and the Functional Authorizing Official (FAO). The Contractor shall design the tool to their proposed RMF Security Controls necessary to obtain A&A. The Contractor shall provide technical support and design material for RMF assessment and authorization in accordance with NAVSEA Instruction 9400.2-M by delivering OQE and documentation to support assessment and authorization package development. Contractor Information Systems Security Requirements. The Contractor shall implement the security requirements set forth in the clause entitled DFARS 252.204-7012, “Safeguarding Covered Defense Information and Cyber Incident Reporting,” and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Special Publication 800-171. PHASE I: Identify suitable candidate material systems, an associated manufacturing approach, and conceptual design of a representative shaft-like cylindrical structure of sufficient fidelity to serve as a basis for preliminary structural analyses. Perform initial feasibility demonstration of fabrication efficiency and structural performance via a series of static and fatigue coupon tests using selected materials and corresponding fabrication processes. Two areas of focus will be understanding how coupon properties and quality relate to full scale material, and on exercising/refining existing and/or developing new test methods suitable for accurate and representative characterization of cylindrical structures. It is expected that coupons will be of sufficient size to support characterization of material-level response and interrogation of relevant composite material failure modes. The Phase I Option, if exercised, will include the definition, development, and documentation of a proposed non-metallic shaft design, including an approach for structural validation testing, to be further developed in Phase II. PHASE II: Develop a plan for, execute selected fabrication on, and conduct initial testing in support of a building block test program for the proposed material system and corresponding manufacturing process to develop innovative propulsor shafting. The building block test program should include the generation of needed material property information in support of design and analyses, to include elastic constants, strengths, and fatigue data. The proposed material system and manufacturing process may be verified via fabrication and subsequent testing of representative curved and/or cylindrical test articles, to be defined by the contractor, subjected to static and fatigue testing. It is recommended that data generated be compared to legacy information, if applicable/available, to verify structural adequacy. Refine preliminary shaft design, proposed structural validation approach, and corresponding documentation developed under Phase I Option. Work with NAVSEA to identify structural requirements in support of shaft design. It is probable that the work under this effort will be classified under Phase II (see Description section for details). PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Work with the Navy to transition the technology for Navy use and mature the proposed technologies for transition to platform application, including use on the SSN(X) platform. Validate the proposed materials and corresponding manufacturing approach via definition and development of a full-scale article to be subjected to a combination of non-destructive and destructive inspection in support of quality assurance verification. Validate the proposed design via mechanical testing of scale article(s), including long-term, high-cycle, fatigue verification testing, for which governing load conditions of interest will be provided by NAVSEA. Validation of the proposed design and manufacturing approach should include definition and exercising of critical design details under high-cycle fatigue loading. Technology developed under this effort is directly applicable to other US maritime Navy applications, including large, unmanned, deep-sea submersibles, which offer the ability to enhance mission operability while minimizing risk to fleet personnel. In addition, technology developed under this effort is not relegated to US maritime Navy use and is applicable to commercial (and non-Defense US Government sectors) use of composites in similar applications. While the technology for designing and fabricating composite cylindrical structures currently exists both in the defense and commercial markets, the ability to fabricate high-quality, large-diameter, thick-walled, cylindrical structures to be subjected to high-cycle complex stress states with consistency and repeatability while maintaining both fiscal and schedule efficiency is currently lacking. Non-defense and/or commercial applications that may benefit from the developed technology may include wind energy, rocket motor casings, oil and gas piping, and submersibles targeting deep-sea scientific exploration. REFERENCES: 1. Det Norske Veritas. “Composite Drive Shafts and Flexible Couplings.” DNVGL-CP-0093, April 2016. 2. Henry, T.C., Riddick, J. C., Mills, B. T., and Habtour, E. M. “Composite Driveshaft Prototype Design and Survivability Testing.” Journal of Composite Materials, Vol. 51 (16), pp. 2377-2386, July 2017. 3. Jaure. “Carbon Fiber Shaftlines.” 8 March 2022. 4. Luzetsky, H. R., Phifer, E., and Michasiow, J. “Lightweight, Low-Cost, Damage-Tolerant, Highly Survivable Composite Drive Shaft for Helicopter Application.” Presented at the AHS International 73rd Annual Forum & Technology Display: Fort Worth, TX. May 8, 2017. 5. Vulkan. “Composite Shafting.” 8 March 2022. KEYWORDS: Propulsor Shafts; Fiber-Reinforced Polymer Composite; Non-Metallic Materials; Wet Filament Winding; Towpreg Winding; Dry Fiber Infusion.
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