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Rapid Development of Weapon Payloads via Additive Manufacturing

Description:

TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Weapons

The technology within this topic is restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), which controls the export and import of defense-related material and services. Offerors must disclose any proposed use of foreign nationals, their country of origin, and what tasks each would accomplish in the statement of work in accordance with section 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation.

The technology within this topic is restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), which controls the export and import of defense-related material and services. Offerors must disclose any proposed use of foreign nationals, their country of origin, and what tasks each would accomplish in the statement of work in accordance with section 5.4.c.(8) of the solicitation.

OBJECTIVE: Adapt emerging additive manufacturing techniques, e.g., so-called 3-D Printing, for use with both traditional (e.g., high explosives) and emerging (e.g., reactive structural materials) energetic material systems, develop and demonstrate capability using these additive manufacturing techniques to rapidly and/or remotely fabricate energetic material payloads and munitions.

DESCRIPTION: The Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) desires to enhance the effectiveness of conventional high-explosive munitions across a broad range of ordinance platforms, for use against an array of potential targets ranging from chemical and biological threat materials to WMD targets in deeply buried/hardened tunnels and multi-chamber bunkers. In this STTR, the approach is to explore use of emerging Additive Manufacturing (AM) techniques for improving the complexity, reducing the manufacturing cycle time, and increasing manufacturing flexibility, to provide more effective munition warheads. While some techniques for additive manufacturing (AM) are long established state-of-art fabrication technologies, the AM field has more recently been undergoing rapid innovation, with new capabilities in particular for so-called 3D printing; these have resulted in very high quality-low cost AM capabilities. AM is now a rapidly developing materials processing technology which could hold substantial promise for making components of advanced munitions, including the energetic materials that go into these systems. These AM approaches offer new possibilities in design complexity, in speed of manufacture, and in providing capability of remote or distributed manufacture For instance, bulk metal parts and components can be replaced with those using reactive structural materials for penetrators, liners, and other components of munitions. Reactive structural materials of interest that could be fabricated in new, more complex ways through AM techniques include composites capable of highly exothermic reactions, such as thermites, intermetallic, and metal-metalloid systems. Currently, use of organic binders and other low-density polymer components often needs to be minimized to maintain structural strength and density of the prepared components. AM fabrication techniques could help to further reduce or eliminate need for such components from complex munition designs. Recently, enhancements to weapon energy-density have been achieved through use of reactive composites prepared using individual material components, sometimes mixed on the submicron-scale. These applications may be amenable to further enhancement, to more complex design, and to more rapid manufacture if they can be adapted to emerging AM fabrication technologies. The focus of this topic is the adaptation and enhancement of emerging AM techniques and capabilities in 3-D printing to enhance the efficacy of weapons and munitions through new ability for more complex warhead designs, more rapid prototyping and production, and ability to remotely manufacture integrated weapon systems using AM technologies.

PHASE I: Phase I will explore one particular AM methodology suitable for preparation of inorganic reactive materials, namely so-called 3-D printing technology. Identify and explore the various 3-D printing techniques and identify candidate 3-D printing technology suitable for manufacture of structural components from inorganic reactive materials. This study will include exploration of modifications or improvements needed to address the safety and unique material properties of the energetic materials to be processed. A feasibility demonstration of safely preparing a 3-D printed part or component with at least one reactive material is desired. The material must remain reactive following the 3-D printing. Phase I deliverable is a final report documenting the effort and results, and should include a recommendation for AM techniques to be further investigated and developed in Phase II. It is understood that the analytical and experimental efforts will be conducted in full partnership between a small business and a university or other eligible collaborator, with details of the work breakdown at the discretion of the partners.

PHASE II: Expand the scope of the Phase I exploration to study AM technologies suitable for manufacture of warhead components from starting organic energetic materials such as high explosives and oxidizers, technologies suitable for manufacture of warhead components from inorganic reactive structural materials, and technologies suitable for manufacture of warhead components from new materials which are composite organic-inorganic energetic materials. Working with DTRA, design and fabricate, using suitable AM technologies, a conceptual warhead with suitable design complexity, to include both a high explosive payload component and a reactive reactive structural material component that also acts as the warhead case. Measure and characterize the sensitivity and energetic performance of sample materials fabricated using these AM techniques, and compare to energetic performance and sensitivity of similar materials fabricated by traditional techniques. Demonstrate fabrication feasibility and scalability by fabricating and delivery to DTRA three test items of sufficient size and mass for testing at the DTRA Chestnut test range (detailed drawings for these test cases will be provided to performer by DTRA; rough size of these test items is 5.5 inch inner-diameter cylinder, wall thickness determined by material density, case weight approximately 12 pounds mass, length approximately 9 inches.) Phase II deliverables include the 3 test cases and a detailed final report describing the testing implementation and results, and scale-up observations. The report must also contain detailed procedures for casing material synthesis/fabrication and scaling.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: A successful Phase II demonstration will motivate several commercial applications, including the development of new explosive devices for mining and drilling operations. Additional commercial applications for these materials may be as energetic shaped charge liners for use in well stimulation, bore case perforation, and mining applications. A successful Phase II demonstration will encourage DTRA and Department of Defense use across a wide range of weapon platforms to improve weapon performance and utility.

REFERENCES:

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    • Committee F42 on Additive Manufacturing Technologies of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) Active Standard F2792-12a "Standard Terminology for Additive Manufacturing Technologies”

 

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    • Hartke, K., AFRL-RX-WP-TR-2011-4322, MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGY SUPPORT (MATES) Task Order 0021: Air Force Technology and Industrial Base Research, and Analysis, Subtask Order 06: Direct Digital Manufacturing, Final Report, AUGUST 2011

 

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    • http://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=86865; 2015 Naval Additive Manufacturing Technical Interchange (NAMTI) meeting at Naval Surface Warfare Center – Carderock.

 

    • Tappan, A. S., Cesarano III, J., & Stuecker, J. N. (2011). U.S. Patent No. 8,048,242. Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

 

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    • Ihnen, A., Lee, W., Fuchs, B., Petrock, A., Samuels, P., Stepanov, A., and Di Stasio, A., Inkjet Printing of Nanocomposite High-Explosive Materials for Direct Write Fuzing, 54th Fuze Conference, 13 May 2010, Kansas City, MO., http://www.dtic.mil/ndia/2010fuze/VAStec.pdf

 

  • Defense Acquisition University (DAU) Web Portal for Additive Manufacturing: https://acc.dau.mil/AM

KEYWORDS: Additive manufacturing, energetic materials, 3-D printing, reactive material, ordinance, explosive, casing

  • TPOC-1: William H. Wilson
  • Phone: 703-767-4216
  • Email: william.h.wilson6.civ@mail.mil
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