Novel Turning Control Devices Via Smart Materials Technology

Period of Performance: 08/01/2001 - 07/31/2003


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Continuum Dynamics, Inc.
34 Lexington Avenue Array
Ewing, NJ 08618
Principal Investigator


Rapidly maturing smart materials technology can enable a new generation of turning devices for naval surface vessels. The proposed effort will develop a new "Smart Duct" concept which employs Shape Memory Alloy (SMA)-actuated devices for shape control of a ducted propulsor, bypassing the need for conventional rudders and leading to major reductions in radiated noise, vibration, and cavitation, as well as, potential increases in propulsive efficiencies and maneuvering capabilities over the full range of ship operations. Preliminary sizing and concept assessment during Phase I has shown that the variable geometry Smart Duct concept is feasible for full scale naval surface combatants using current SMA technologies. The proposed Phase II effort will design, fabricate, and water-tunnel test a 1/10th to 1/15th scale Smart Duct technology demonstrator. The proposed tasking will demonstrate the feasibility of the Smart Duct concept and the application of SMA-actuator technology for marine systems, as well as providing the design database and tools necessary for full-scale device development and testing in Phase III. This Smart Duct device directly supports future naval surface combatants for stealthy littoral operations (e.g., DD-21) and would be extendable to enhancing low-speed submarine maneuvering capabilities (e.g., the recent NAVSEA Design Innovations Initiative).