Fluids for Dielectric Switch Applications

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Air Force
Contract: FA8650-10-M-5102
Agency Tracking Number: F093-128-1788
Amount: $99,270.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2010
Solicitation Year: 2009
Solicitation Topic Code: AF093-128
Solicitation Number: 2009.3
Small Business Information
300 Westdale Avenue, Westerville, OH, 43082
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Richard Sapienza
 Senior Scientist
 (614) 797-2200
Business Contact
 Kenneth Heater
Title: COO
Phone: (614) 797-2200
Email: kheater@metss.com
Research Institution
The Air Force has developed a fluid-filled high power dielectric switch for pulsed power applications. For optimum operation, a switch should have a nearly constant breakdown voltage or low jitter. Many factors affect the jitter, and much effort has gone into switch design to eliminate vortices and static regions in the fluid. The best fill fluid was found to be MIL-PRF-87252 polyalphaolefin (PAO) coolant. When the discharge or shot occurs; the PAO fluid breaks down into carbon and hydrogen. Reducing moisture in the fluid has been found to have a strong influence on jitter, as dramatic improvements in dielectric breakdown voltage and standard deviation happen when the fluid is sparged with dry nitrogen. Infrared analysis of used fluid that had seen 2 million shots revealed oxidation products in the C=O region, 1752.5 cm-1, and the fluid had a corresponding reduction in dielectric strength. METSS proposes to develop an improved fluid that exhibits reduced jitter based upon the mechanisms of dielectric breakdown. New materials and longer life through the incorporation of chemical additives are key approaches. The proposed program will also address additional issues related to material compatibility, personnel safety, environmental impact and use costs. BENEFIT: The development of new, successful, switch fluids will have both military and commercial uses. Military applications include modulators for high peak power electrical systems for manned and unmanned air vehicles, military radar drive circuits, directed energy systems. Commercial applications include modulators for high peak power electrical systems for high-speed rail traction, utility power distribution substations, power modulators for particle accelerators, and uninterruptible power supplies. METSS has identified potential partners to support the SBIR program development work and commercialization activities.

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

Agency Micro-sites

SBA logo
Department of Agriculture logo
Department of Commerce logo
Department of Defense logo
Department of Education logo
Department of Energy logo
Department of Health and Human Services logo
Department of Homeland Security logo
Department of Transportation logo
Environmental Protection Agency logo
National Aeronautics and Space Administration logo
National Science Foundation logo
US Flag An Official Website of the United States Government