Design, Fabrication and Testing of a Versatile Outfitting Attachment System Kit for Naval Sandwich Panels

Period of Performance: 12/04/2002 - 09/30/2004


Phase 2 STTR

Recipient Firm

Kazak Composites, Inc.
Woburn, MA 01801
Principal Investigator
Firm POC

Research Institution

University of Massachusetts Lowell
1 University Ave.
Lowell, MA 01854
Institution POC


KaZaK Composites and UMass-Lowell will extend a successful Phase I analytical and experimental investigation of outfitting attachment hardware optimized for composite sandwich panels used as shipboard structures. The KCI/UML team will work with Bath Iron Works to ensure that attachment system solutions developed during the program are compatible with demanding and diverse needs associated with Naval fleet service. Phase I demonstrated several attachment configurations meeting static load requirements. Phase II will focus on design refinement, culminating in shock testing of attachments on full scale composite panel structures. Work will fall into the following general categories: 1) Extension of Phase I classical and finite element analysis of candidate inserts, including evaluation of effects of likely installation errors such as poor back surface attachment or misalignment, on strength of the installed attachment, 2) Fabrication of full-scale sandwich test panels made by VARTM and pultrusion processes, 3) Testing candidate systems statically for in-plane and out-of-plane failure loads, 4) Subjecting final attachment hardware to shock testing, followed by measurement of strength after shock, and 5) Definition of a generally-applicable, pre-kitted panel insert system and User's Manual for use by shipbuilders and maintenance personnel, and 6) Delivery of prototype ready-to-use kits to the Navy. KaZaK Composites is actively involved in the development of numerous products that make use of our unique capability to pultrude sandwich panel structures up to10 feet wide, 2 feet thick and of unlimited length. Current KCI programs include use of these pultruded sandwich panels in large deployable military buildings, Navy pier structures (with skins as thick as 3 inches) and various transportation systems. We plan to use our own developmental hardware as the first "customer" for the kitted attachment system proposed for development here. Once proven by STTR and KCI's own internal applications, we expect to find a wide range of potential customers in infrastructure, transportation and construction applications that are making increasing use of composite sandwich panel technology. Attachment to sandwich panels is one of the major technology barriers to use of this lightweight construction configuration. A proven, documented and readily-available kit should be a popular convenience and easily-marketable product as the use of this type of structure becomes more widely accepted by industries with less technical sophistication that current aerospace, marine and transportation fabricators.