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A Novel, Low Cost and Handheld Metal Sorting Sensor for Chemical Cleaning and Stripping Process

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Air Force
Contract: FA8100-17-C-0015
Agency Tracking Number: F161-009-0823
Amount: $141,822.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: AF161-009
Solicitation Number: 2016.1
Solicitation Year: 2016
Award Year: 2017
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2016-12-20
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2017-10-02
Small Business Information
510 Philadelphia Pike, Wilmington, DE, 19809
DUNS: 808480086
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: Y
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Pengcheng Lv
 Senior Scientist
 (302) 998-1116
Business Contact
 Xin Zhang
Phone: (302) 468-0548
Research Institution
ABSTRACT: After a certain amount of service time, many aircraft components need to be cleaned and the coatings on those parts need to be stripped. Prior to the chemical cleaning and stripping processes, those parts are routinely examined by inspectors to locate the part numbers and find their matches on a list. Such a visual inspection process is not only time consuming, but also prone to human errors. Additionally, visual inspection is often plagued by the fact that the part numbers may not be visible as the fielded parts are typically covered by coatings, oxides, and surface contaminations. When the incorrectly assigned alloys are subjected to the caustic chemicals during the stripping processes, it could lead to collateral damages, which may render the parts useless. In this proposal, AlphaSense details the development of a novel, low cost and handheld sensor for metal identification in fielded aerospace parts. If successful, the merits of the proposed sensor and its advantages over existing techniques include the following: a) Compact, handheld and low cost, b) Sensitive for metal alloy identification, c) Capable of interrogating parts without the need for surface preparations, d) High throughput measurement process, and f)Easy and safe to the operators.; BENEFIT: The outcome of this research is coupled to a very clear commercialization path. The proposed sensor can be used for many military and civilian applications. The most straightforward military application of the proposed sensor is to be used in various Air Force and DoD maintenance and repair facilities to quickly and accurately identify different metal alloys prior to the chemical stripping/cleaning processes. The deployment of the proposed sensor can replace existing visual inspection process to dramatically reduce the inspection time and enhance the identification accuracy. Therefore, not only can it lead to significant time and cost savings in the metal alloy identification process, but also minimize/eliminate the collateral damages in subsequent chemical cleaning/stripping process due to incorrectly assigned alloys. Consequently, the parts can be repaired in a timely manner to enhance the mission readiness of various aircrafts and ground vehicles. In addition to metal alloy identification, the proposed sensor may also be used by DoD to detect sensitization in both aerospace and marine aluminum alloys, which is a precursor for intergranular corrosion and stress corrosion cracking. For civilian applications, the proposed sensor can be used by commercial aerospace and aviation OEMs to identify, sort and recycle metal alloys. Additionally, the sensor may be used to detect defects present in a wide variety of materials and platforms. Consequently, defects including corrosion, material degradation, aging and sensitization present in polymer, metal, composite and ceramic material system can be potentially detected with the proposed sensor technology.

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

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