Carbon Foam Composite Material Systems for Ship EM Shielding

Period of Performance: 01/08/2004 - 01/08/2006


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Touchstone Research Laboratory, Ltd.
The Millennium Centre Array
Triadelphia, WV 26059
Principal Investigator


The Navy's new ship classes, CV(N) and DD(X), require low Radar Cross Section (RCS) composite structures that provide: corrosion resistance; excellent (>60dB) EM shielding effectiveness in the 100kHz to 20Ghz frequency range; fulfillment of Navy requirements of Fire, Toxicity, and Smoke (FST); and integration into ship's composite and steel structures. Touchstone's Phase II effort will develop and test design techniques established in Phase I, including a demonstration of shielding effectiveness in the 100 kHz to 20 GHz range, RCS, resistance to corrosion when subjected to severe marine environment, and the ability to assist in achieving a low radar cross section. Touchstone's coal-based carbon foam material, CFOAM , can be tailored to be a high-performance absorber and perfect electrical conductor (PEC) of wide-band frequency and wide-angle incidence for electromagnetic shielding structures. CFOAM is produced by the thermal decomposition ("coking") of a coal-based precursor under controlled conditions. Its properties are tailorable on both micro- and macroscopic scales through raw material, foaming process, and heat treatment conditions. It offers nearly limitless design potential and is being considered for a variety of applications, including lightweight, fire-resistant structures for naval vessels and commercial construction, electromagnetic (EMI) and radar-selective shielding, thermal protection systems, and noise reduction. Through an actual EDM case study, the DDX program will have demonstrated low Radar Cross Section (RCS) CFOAM composite structures that are corrosion-resistant, which provide excellent (>60dB) EM shielding effectiveness in the 100kHz to 20Ghz frequency range, and which meet Navy Fire, Toxicity, and Smoke (FST) requirements. Through the SBIR program and matching funds, the DDX program will be able to benefit from a parallel technology development program. Results may correlate over to other DDX ship structure requirements and also to CVN. There is already a constant dialogue and sharing of information between PEO Ships, PEO Carriers, NGSS, and Newport News Shipbuilding.