Advanced Rail Materials for Electromagnetic Launchers

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Navy
Contract: N00014-10-M-0206
Agency Tracking Number: N101-086-0357
Amount: $99,880.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2010
Solicitation Year: 2010
Solicitation Topic Code: N101-086
Solicitation Number: 2010.1
Small Business Information
2200 Kraft Drive, Suite 1475, Blacksburg, VA, 24060
DUNS: 125953559
HUBZone Owned: Y
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Jeff Schultz
 Chief Technology Officer
 (540) 443-9215
Business Contact
 Nanci Hardwick
Title: Chief Executive Officer
Phone: (540) 443-9215
Research Institution
Improving the useful rail life is major technical barrier to developing a fleet-deployable electromagnetic (EM) launcher. Current copper alloy rails, while having excellent electrical conductivity, are highly susceptible to hypervelocity gouging, galling, and attack by liquid aluminum transferred from the armature. Without a solution for these rail wear problems, the utility of EM launchers may be greatly limited due to high costs (resulting from a limited number of firings between scheduled rail replacements). Metal matrix composite coatings with refractory metal reinforcement, such as tungsten, molybdenum or tantalum, have been identified by NSWCDD as candidate coating materials for improving rail life. A revolutionary wrought metal deposition method, based on friction stir technology, is being developed through ONR funding by Schultz-Creehan to deposit coatings, including MMC coatings, that are metallurgically bonded with the substrate. This wrought metal deposition technology is referred to as friction stir fabrication (FSF). The application of this technology to the EM rail problem would be a straightforward extrapolation of current research and development efforts. As such, herein, Schultz-Creehan presents a novel but realistic approach to improve EM rail life through the application of MMC coatings using FSF.

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

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