Innovative Approaches in Design and Fabrication of 3D Braided Ceramic Matrix Composites (CMC) Fasteners

Navy SBIR 20.2 - Topic N202-128

Office of Naval Research (ONR) - Ms. Lore-Anne Ponirakis [email protected]

Opens: June 3, 2020 - Closes: July 2, 2020 (12:00 pm ET)



N202-128       TITLE: Innovative Approaches in Design and Fabrication of 3D Braided Ceramic Matrix Composites (CMC) Fasteners


RT&L FOCUS AREA(S): General Warfighting Requirements (GWR)

TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Air Platform, Materials


The technology within this topic is restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), 22 CFR Parts 120-130, which controls the export and import of defense-related material and services, including export of sensitive technical data, or the Export Administration Regulation (EAR), 15 CFR Parts 730-774, which controls dual use items. Offerors must disclose any proposed use of foreign nationals (FNs), their country(ies) of origin, the type of visa or work permit possessed, and the statement of work (SOW) tasks intended for accomplishment by the FN(s) in accordance with section 3.5 of the Announcement. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws.


OBJECTIVE: Develop technologies to design and fabricate 3D CMC fasteners for mechanically attaching CMC Propulsion and/or Structural components to metals.


DESCRIPTION: Ceramic Matrix Composites (CMCs) are attractive for propulsion applications due to their potential for higher temperature capability, weight reduction, and durability improvements. However, CMCs present design challenges due to their anisotropic properties, generally low interlaminar shear strength, low bearing strength, limited strain tolerance, and their reaction with alloy components at CMC/alloy interfaces [Ref 1]. Currently the prevalent mode of joining CMC to metals is to use metallic fasteners. Since the CMC component has lower Coefficient of Thermal Expansion (CTE), and bearing strength, it is desirable to use CMC fasteners for the attachments.

The current baseline for a CMC fastener is the Miller fastener [Ref 2], which is a 2D, laminated CMC design with a rectangular cross-section. It is susceptible to stress concentrations at the corners and failure due to delamination. As such, it has not found wide acceptance in the industry. In this topic a 3D braided solution is sought which can be fabricated to near net-shape. This will eliminate delamination as a potential failure mode and reduce scrap during production.


Proposers to this topic have to address two areas in their response. The first is to make a textile preform without over braiding over an insert as is typically done for non-uniform cross-section. Use of inserts is not desirable even if it is removed prior to consolidation as it may result in unacceptable porosity in the fastener during Pyrolysis and Infiltration Process (PIP) to consolidate the fastener.


The second area that proposers must address is the interfacial coating of the 3D fastener preform. Typical fiber coating for SiC/SiC CMC is a two layer BN/Si3N4, it is usually applied through Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) or Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD). The coating protects the CMC fibers during high temperature CMC consolidation. Applying it to a 3D preform could pose a challenge due to the tortuous path the gases have to take through the preform and there is a risk some portions of the preform may not be coated. It is important that the proposers articulate their approach.


Successful completion of the program will result in an enabling technology to join CMC components to metals. This technology is targeted for future platforms but can provide retrofit solutions for existing platforms.


PHASE I: Develop an innovative attachment concept for a realistic propulsion component that would benefit from a CMC application, but where a joining approach to an alloy is required as a critical enabler. Determine feasibility through analysis, fabrication, and testing of sub-element samples under thermal and mechanical environments.


To evaluate the proposed technologies, the successful Phase I companies will fabricate SiC/SiC CMC fasteners that are 2 in. long, 0.375 in. diameter with a 45 degree countersink angle at the head. To prove feasibility the performers will provide: (1) Braid architecture design and estimate of the mechanical strengths, (2) evidence of successful coating through appropriate testing using SEM and/or FTIR, (3) evidence of matrix infiltration through porosity measurements, and (4) mechanical, wear, and recession data for fastener strengths under tension and shear which will be compared against their initial predictions. Finally, since CMC fasteners are not typically threaded, the performer will demonstrate using a flat CMC panel and metal plate the attachment scheme for securing the CMC panel to metal plate.


PHASE II: Design, fabricate, and test prototype samples to a specific component to thoroughly validate the capability of the approach. Test an engine component employing the joining methodology in a representative rig or engine environment to validate the approach.


PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Optimize the attachment/restraint methodology. Productionize and qualify the improved component.�


The commercial airline industry, military aircraft, aerospace industry, and high-performance automobile industry seek CMC joining as a critical enabler for reducing weight and increasing efficiencies.



1. Evans, Anthony G, �Implementation Challenges for High-Temperature Composites.� International Science Lecture Series, Fifth Lecture. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. National Research Council (U.S.). Naval Studies Board, and United States. Office of Naval Research. 1997.


2. Miller, et al., �Composite Fastener for Use in High Temperature Environments�, US Patent 6045310, Apr 4 2000.


3. Kyosev, Y, �Advances in Braiding Technology: Specialized Techniques and Applications�, Elsevier, Cambridge, 2016


KEYWORDS: Ceramic Matrix Composite (CMC), Joining, Fastening, Attachments, 3D preforming



The Navy Topic above is an "unofficial" copy from the overall DoD 20.2 SBIR BAA. Please see the official DoD DSIP Topic website at for any updates. The DoD issued its 20.2 SBIR BAA on May 6, 2020, which opens to receive proposals on June 3, 2020, and closes July 2, 2020 at 12:00 noon ET.

Direct Contact with Topic Authors. During the pre-release period (May 6 to June 2, 2020) proposing firms have an opportunity to directly contact the Technical Point of Contact (TPOC) to ask technical questions about the specific BAA topic.

Questions should be limited to specific information related to improving the understanding of a particular topic�s requirements. Proposing firms may not ask for advice or guidance on solution approach and you may not submit additional material to the topic author. If information provided during an exchange with the topic author is deemed necessary for proposal preparation, that information will be made available to all parties through SITIS (SBIR/STTR Interactive Topic Information System). After the pre-release period, questions must be asked through the SITIS on-line system as described below.

SITIS Q&A System. Once DoD begins accepting proposals on June 3, 2020 no further direct contact between proposers and topic authors is allowed unless the Topic Author is responding to a question submitted during the Pre-release period. However, proposers may submit written questions through SITIS at, login and follow instructions. In SITIS, the questioner and respondent remain anonymous but all questions and answers are posted for general viewing.

Topics Search Engine: Visit the DoD Topic Search Tool at to find topics by keyword across all DoD Components participating in this BAA.

Help: If you have general questions about DoD SBIR program, please contact the DoD SBIR Help Desk at 703-214-1333 or via email at [email protected]