Sensor Embedding Procedures in Candidate Hypersonic Material Specimens

Navy SBIR 20.2 - Topic N202-137

Strategic Systems Programs (SSP)- Mr. Michael Pyryt [email protected]

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



N202-137       TITLE: Sensor Embedding Procedures in Candidate Hypersonic Material Specimens


RT&L FOCUS AREA(S): Hypersonics



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 noncontact measurement techniques, or sensor embedding procedures in candidate hypersonic material specimens whose size scale is on the order of millimeters, and high throughput (100s of test per day) measurement protocols under candidate hypersonic ablative shock boundary conditions.


DESCRIPTION: Hypersonic materials operate in extreme environments of pressure and temperature. Design of new materials and structures for hypersonic applications, as well as testing of existing materials and structures requires detailed examination of critical feature effects as a function of environmental variables. Per test cost for current materials runs into millions, with throughputs of approximately 5-10 specimen per day (e.g., Arc Jet tests). Such large-scale tests also fail to capture the effect of material specific, small scale features.  Having a capability to understand/examine key feature effects as a function of these extreme environments utilizing extremely low volume sample sizes would allow for high throughput material testing (~300 tests per day) at low cost enabling more rapid material development. This research will increase mission capability and performance, while decreasing lifecycle costs by allowing for accurate and rapid evaluation of new and existing hypersonic/extreme environment materials and designs.


The desired outcome of this work is the development of a system to measure material surface pressure, stress, and temperature under shock loading and at laser ablation temperatures to examine effectiveness of hypersonic materials under realistic plasma, flow, and thermal shock conditions with micrometer scale resolution. This can be accomplished via noncontact or embedded, preferably passive, sensors embedded in hypersonic materials to predict material surface pressure in realistic flight conditions. The developed system must have a robust calibration technique and small scale spatial and temporal resolution, preferably down to the micrometer and microsecond scale. Ultimately, the sensors and materials to be examined must be evaluated in realistic flow conditions.


 The outcomes of the proposed work are:

1)    Non-contact or passive (wireless) embedded sensors, which are inexpensive for remote monitoring of surface pressure, temperature, and stress in hypersonic materials subjected to realistic flow conditions;

2)    Calibration of sensors for predicting surface pressure during in-situ measurements; and

3)    Wind-tunnel measurements to put calibrated sensors in realistic flow conditions for evaluating sensor performance at various flow conditions that are appropriate to the hypersonic regime.


Work produced in Phase II may become classified. Note: The prospective contractor(s) must be U.S. owned and operated with no foreign influence as defined by DoD 5220.22-M, National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual, unless acceptable mitigating procedures can and have been implemented and approved by the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA). The selected contractor and/or subcontractor must be able to acquire and maintain a secret level facility and Personnel Security Clearances, in order to perform on advanced phases of this project as set forth by DCSA and SSP in order to gain access to classified information pertaining to the national defense of the United States and its allies; this will be an inherent requirement. The selected company will be required to safeguard classified material IAW DoD 5220.22-M during the advanced phases of this contract.


PHASE I: Conduct a feasibility study, focusing on non-contact and/or embedded passive sensors. Demonstrate proof of concept of the measurement system in a laboratory environment using laser ablation or other means of generating representative temperatures, stress, etc. High throughput capability should be demonstrated (order of magnitude increase over state-of-the-art) with a clear path to increase the number of tests per day by approximately two orders of magnitude over the current state-of-the-art, while also demonstrating the improved spatial and temporal measurement resolution. The Phase I Option, if exercised, will include the initial design specifications and capabilities description to build a prototype solution in Phase II. Prepare a Phase II plan.


PHASE II: Produce a prototype system capable of high throughput (approximately two orders of magnitude increase over current state of the art) measurements, which is achieved via a non-contact or embedded passive sensor array, including improved spatial and temporal resolution. Demonstrate the prototype in a hypersonic flow environment. Correlate the results with current state-of-the-art test results. Prepare a Phase III development plan to transition the technology for Navy use and potential commercial use.  


It is probable that the work under this effort will be classified under Phase II (see Description section for details).


PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: High throughput, high fidelity testing of high temperature materials will allow for materials and structures to be evaluated more rapidly and at lower cost. Other systems, such as those associated with space propulsion could benefit from this type of high throughput testing.



1. Olokun, T., Prakash, C., Men, Z., Dlott, DD, and Tomar, V. “Examination of Local Microscale-Microsecond Temperature Rise in HMX-HTPB Energetic Material Under Impact Loading.” JOM, October 2019, Volume 71, Issue 10, pp. 3531-3535. DOI: 10.1007/s11837-019-03709-z


2. Dhiman, A., Sharma, A., Shashurin, A., and Tomar, V. “Strontium Titanate Composites for Microwave-Based Stress Sensing.” The Journal of the Metals, Minerals, and Materials Society, Vol 70(9), pp. 1811-1815.


3. “Hypervelocity testing at 600 shots/year.” NASA.


KEYWORDS: High Throughput Testing, Hypersonic Materials, Embedded Sensing, Non-contact Sensing, Extreme Temperature Environments, Ablative Shock Boundary Conditions



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