DEVELOPMENT OF POLYMER COMPOSITE SONAR TRANSDUCER MOUNTING BRACKETS
Small Business Information
Texas Research Institute
9063 Bee Caves Road, Austin, TX, 78733
Alan V Bray
AbstractSonar transducer mounting hardware installed on current U.S. Navy submarines is constructed from metallic materials that have been found to have costly corrosion problems. Metallic transducer mounting brackets are heavy, are constructed from expensive corrosion resistant metals, use expensive corrosion resistant surface treatments and incur high maintenance costs due to replacement in as little as two years of service. High corrosion rates in mounting hardware also reduces sonar system availability and reliability. TRI/Austin is presently developing high performance polymer composite sonar transducer brackets to replace the current metallic TR-317 and DT-276 transducer brackets. The prototype brackets are injection molded using advanced polymer resin systems highly loaded (40% to 60%) with long glass fibers and mineral fillers. Cost analyses have shown that the TR-317 composite brackets cost under $10 to manufacture at low volume mold runs (100 parts) and cost under $5 at high volume mold runs (10,000 parts). Current metallic TR-317 brackets cost the U.S. Navy $19 per part. Laboratory and field tests have shown these composite brackets to be a viable low cost, light weight, high strength and corrosion free replacement for their metallic counterparts. Recent MIL-S-901-D explosive shock testing has qualified the brackets for Fleet development. TRI/Austin will utilize the expertise and composite material technology advances gained from its current development effort to develop polymer composite replacement brackets for the metallic DT-537 and DT-538 hydrophone assembly brackets.
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