Low-Cost Field-Installable Fiber Optic Cable Restoration (post splicing)

Period of Performance: 10/31/2005 - 05/01/2006

$79.3K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Texas Research Institute Austin, Inc.
9063 Bee Caves Road Array
Austin, TX 78733
Principal Investigator

Abstract

Fiber optic cables are increasingly being used for advanced avionics on aircraft such as the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. Innovative repair techniques and materials are needed for restoration of fiber optic cables that become fractured or severed during operations. Matching the original strength and durability of the fiber optic cable will be required. This will be achieved through the use of a new class of fluorinated elastomers for encapsulation of the reinforced repair section. Innovative reinforcement materials will also be employed. Current simplex cable jackets are typically composed of fluorinated thermoplastics such as FEP or ETFE, which have outstanding moisture and chemical resistance. The new splice system will be designed to withstand the full range of environmental exposures that are encountered by military aircraft. These include extreme temperature and humidity, salt spray, particulate, and pressure cycling. An additional issue that will be addressed is related to the amount of space that repair technicians are confined to when making repairs. The developed systems will be required to be adaptable to these confined space repair scenarios. Also, no specialized equipment will be appropriate for field repair situations, and this constraint will also be addressed during Phase I.