DIRECT TO PHASE II Novel, High Strength, High Temperature Silicon Carbide Fiber-reinforced Silicon Carbide (SiC/SiC) Ceramic Matrix Composite (CMC) Manufacturing Process for Hypersonic Applications

Navy SBIR 23.1 - Topic N231-D02
SSP - Strategic Systems Programs
Pre-release 1/11/23   Opens to accept proposals 2/08/23   Closes 3/08/23 12:00pm ET

N231-D02 TITLE: DIRECT TO PHASE II Novel, High Strength, High Temperature Silicon Carbide Fiber-reinforced Silicon Carbide (SiC/SiC) Ceramic Matrix Composite (CMC) Manufacturing Process for Hypersonic Applications


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 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 an agile manufacturing process (including fiber production, preform development, interphase coating, matrix densification, and final machining) to produce high strength and high temperature randomly oriented short-fiber silicon carbide fiber-reinforced silicon carbide (SiC/SiC) ceramic matrix composites (CMCs).

DESCRIPTION: The Navy relies on CMCs for thermal protection systems (TPS), flight bodies, propulsion systems, and hypersonic applications. While carbon fiber-reinforced carbon (C/C) composites are the most commonly employed CMC, demand for increased speed and maneuverability requires high strength materials with the ability to survive at higher temperatures in oxidizing environments. One material of particular interest is silicon carbide fiber-reinforced silicon carbide (SiC/SiC). It is well suited to provide the mechanical strength, fracture toughness, and strength to weigh ratio needed for TPS applications, even when exposed to temperature in excess of 1500C and highly corrosive environments.

Production of these CMCs is often lengthy due the many steps involved in the manufacturing process, the fact that multiple vendors are often needed to complete these steps, and a limited supply chain. Additionally, some of the steps involved in the production of CMCs, such as the manufacturing of the fibers, are structured around a large process that requires significant overhaul to modify the material properties or produce new state-of-the-art materials. There is a need to develop a more agile CMC manufacturing process and supply chain that can produce CMCs and quickly adapt to ever-changing material demands.

This SBIR topic aims to develop a manufacturing process for discontinuous, short-fiber SiC/SiC CMCs. To reduce supply chain risks and lead times, this process (including fiber production, preform development, interphase coating, matrix densification, and final machining) should be able to be self-contained and provided by a single vendor to the furthest extent possible. The CMCs produced by this process should be composed of high purity constituents, as residual impurities or phases can result in reduced high temperature performance.

Work produced in Phase II may become classified. 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 Security Agency (DCSA). The selected contractor 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: For a Direct to Phase II topic, the Government expects that the small business would have accomplished the following in a Phase I-type effort and developed a concept for a workable prototype or design to address, at a minimum, the basic requirements of the stated objective above. The below actions would be required in order to satisfy the requirements of Phase I:

Designed a manufacturing process capable of producing randomly oriented short-fiber SiC/SiC CMCs.

Determined the feasibility of the chosen manufacturing route.

Demonstrated the capability to meet Phase II goals, including carrying out the manufacturing process, executing testing, and characterizing the final sample.


FEASIBILITY DOCUMENTATION: Offerors interested in participating in Direct to Phase II must include in their response to this topic Phase I feasibility documentation that substantiates the scientific and technical merit and Phase I feasibility described in Phase I above has been met (i.e., the small business must have performed Phase I-type research and development related to the topic NOT solely based on work performed under prior or ongoing federally funded SBIR/STTR work) and describe the potential commercialization applications. The documentation provided must validate that the proposer has completed development of technology as stated in Phase I above. Documentation should include all relevant information including, but not limited to: technical reports, test data, prototype designs/models, and performance goals/results. Work submitted within the feasibility documentation must have been substantially performed by the offeror and/or the principal investigator (PI). Read and follow all of the DON SBIR 23.1 Direct to Phase II Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) Instructions. Phase I proposals will NOT be accepted for this topic.

PHASE II: The contractor is expected to complete the following Phase II:

Design, develop, and demonstrate a manufacturing process capable of producing randomly oriented short-fiber SiC/SiC CMCs.

Produce CMC samples for material characterization and testing in a high temperature and ablative environment.

Ensure samples meet the needs communicated in the topic description. Document the process and materials.


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: In Phase III the contractor is expected to finalize development, based on Phase II results, and aid in supplying the Navy with material needed to perform testing under representative flight conditions. The need for additional domestic sources of high temperature CMCs exists within other branches of the DoD, and potential uses for this technology exist in the commercial and aftermarket composite industry as well.


1.       Katsumi Yoshida, Masamitsu Imai, Toyohiko Yano. Improvement of the mechanical properties of hot-pressed silicon-carbide-fiber-reinforced silicon carbide composites by polycarbosilane impregnation. Composites Science and Technology, Volume 61, Issue 9, 2001, Pages 1323-1329, ISSN 0266-3538.

2.       Katsumi Yoshida. Development of silicon carbide fiber-reinforced silicon carbide matrix composites with high performance based on interfacial and microstructure control. Journal of the Ceramic Society of Japan, 2010, p. 82-90, 02/01/2010, Online ISSN 1348-6535, Print ISSN 1882-0743.

3.       U. Papenburg, S. Walter, M. Selzer, S. Beyer, H. Laube, G. Langel, U. Papenburg, S. Walter, M. Selzer, S. Beyer, H. Laube and G. Langel. Advanced ceramic matrix composites (CMC's) for space propulsion systems. American Institue of Aeronautise and Astronautics, Inc. 33rd Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit, Seattle, WA, 06 July 1997 09 July 1997.

4.       S. Schmidt, S. Beyer, H. Knabe, H. Immich, R. Meistring, A. Gessler. Advanced ceramic matrix composite materials for current and future propulsion technology applications. Acta Astronautica, Volume 55, Issues 39, 2004, Pages 409-420, ISSN 0094-5765.


KEYWORDS: Hypersonics; silicon carbide; ceramic matrix composites; manufacturing; fiber production; thermal protection system

Communication with SSP TPOCs will be coordinated through the SSP SBIR Program Manager.


Email: [email protected]


The Navy Topic above is an "unofficial" copy from the Navy Topics in the DoD 23.1 SBIR BAA. Please see the official DoD Topic website at for any updates.

The DoD issued its Navy 23.1 SBIR Topics pre-release on January 11, 2023 which opens to receive proposals on February 8, 2023, and closes March 8, 2023 (12:00pm ET).

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