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Long-Term Missile Aging Assessment & Reliability Predictions for Polymer Materials and Electronic Parts


OBJECTIVE: The development of innovative methodologies, components, or subsystems that aide in long term reliability assessment of missile hardware. Methodologies are sought using the latest proven systematic approaches to age acceleration testing of typical missile and payload components that are maintained in inert modes for extended periods of time prior to launch. Further, advanced reliability assessment techniques are desired to complement the acceleration aging methodologies for application to these components. DESCRIPTION: The Missile Defense Agency is seeking technologies to support its Stockpile Reliability Program. These technologies must aid in the determination and prediction of system failures or potential failures. One method used to develop information on shelf life of systems, subsystems and parts is called accelerated aging testing. This method also documents system status and predicts expiration dates of subsystems and parts. Accelerated aging is a testing method used to estimate the useful lifespan of a product when actual lifespan data is unavailable. This occurs with products that have not existed long enough to have gone through their useful lifespan. Missile components may contain polymer materials that are age sensitive and stay in a dormant state for extended periods of time prior to use. Thus, elevated temperature aging is often used to accelerate chemical breakdown. Other industries, such as medical products and packing, have developed advanced techniques for application to accelerated life testing that may be applicable to aerospace missile and payload materials. An example of areas where advances are sought is in techniques for applying the Arrhenius time-temperature superposition equation to components with multiple age sensitive polymeric materials. Other areas where advances are sought are in electronic parts and printed wiring boards (PWBs). Electronic parts normally fail because of expected and predictable wear-out mechanisms. These most often are metal failures over time, oxide failures due to electrical stress, or issues associated with packaging techniques. Real time aging must be performed in conjunction with any accelerated aging study to correlate the results found during accelerated aging. The theory of reliability has greatly advanced in the past few years. The results of these theoretical advancements could be utilized to enhance methods used to predict potential failures of MDA missile stockpiles and other weapons. This theory coupled with the use of advances in accelerated aging testing could be use to provide an enhanced, robust methodology for predicting weapon stockpile reliability. PHASE I: Development of innovative systematic methodologies coupled with advanced techniques to assess the long term reliability of missile hardware. Investigate proven methodologies for age acceleration testing of typical missile and payload materials and components coupled with advanced reliability assessment techniques to develop a cost effective approach to predicting typical missile and payload materials/components shelf life. PHASE II: Based on the results/findings of phase I, demonstrate the methodology and techniques using a complex missile or payload component for verification of the approach. Robustness should be demonstrated by verification with naturally aged components and possibly with use of other materials/components. PHASE III: Verification of overall approach and finalize the methodology. The proposed methodology developed under this effort should advance the state-of-the-art in cost effective reliability performance monitoring, shelf life estimates, preventative and other maintenance. Demonstrate commercial scalability of the technology for use in commercial product development, reliability assessment and shelf life estimates. DUAL USE/COMMERCIALIZATION POTENTIAL: Demonstrate the commercial prospects of this technology through utilization of the methodology on development of complex commercial product. The envisioned solutions to this effort will have applications in both military and non-military markets to include commercial aircraft and satellite markets, and others. The military applications include various missile systems, Satellites, and UAVs. REFERENCES: 1)"HALT, HASS & HASA Explained, Accelerated Reliability Techniques, Revised Edition"by Harry W.McLean, ASQ ISBN 978-0-87389-766-2. 2)"Management & Technical Guidelines for the ESS Process"IEST-RP-PR001.1, published by the Institute of Environmental Sciences and Technology. 3)"Accelerated Testing"a Practitioners Guide to Accelerated and Reliability Testing, by Bryan Dodson and Harry Schwab. 4)"Accelerated Reliability Engineering", by Gregg Hobbs, ISBN 0-615-12833-5. 5) 6) 7)"Ballistic Missile Defense Review,"Office of the U. S. Secretary of Defense, February 2010. Available via internet at
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