Arresting Cracks in Aluminum Ship Structure While at Sea Using Composite Patch Kits

Period of Performance: 07/11/2016 - 05/10/2017


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

4 Constitution Road Array
Lexington, MA 02421
Firm POC
Principal Investigator


ZKxKZ will develop a system for repairing cracks in sensitized aluminum ship structure optimized for use by minimally trained crew while underway. The proposed approach takes advantage of experience with in-port composite repairs of damage to CG-47s. Current repair technology, developed by proposal team members, is technically successful, but requires trained experts to successfully apply, and is therefore not useful for repairing damage discovered while at sea.The proposed system addresses current issues by providing ships with prepackaged composite patches, impregnated with resin, that use simplified methods for application of pressure, and cure at low temperature to avoid additional sensitization damage. In Phase I resin, fiber and user-friendly curing methods will be selected, a generically applicable laminate designed, and a kitted system that can be applied by ships crew demonstrated. Phase I will include hardware tests showing a return of damaged aluminum structure to original strength and stiffness. Patch design and testing results will be supported by 3D FEA. A sailor-friendly repair catalog will be developed to guide at sea repairs by minimally trained crew. Commercialization path is patch kit, plus simple instructions, allowing crack growth and water intrusion to interior spaces to be halted without affecting a ships mission.