Innovative Weight Reduction Concepts for Unmanned Surface Vehicles (USVs)

Period of Performance: 06/17/2009 - 12/24/2009


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Kubota Research Associates
100 Hobson Drive
Hockessin, DE 19707
Principal Investigator


This SBIR Phase I project will develop and innovative sandwich composite material used to manufacture component parts and/or the hull for an Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV) to reduce the weight and increase operational effectiveness. The composite structure includes an inner layer of high tenacity polyarylate LCP long fiber reinforced ionomer. The reinforced resin is extrusion molded directly into a monocoque hull structural shape using an open sheet flow molding process. The middle layer is a lightweight PVC foam core with carbon fabric face sheets for rigidity and high mechanical performance. The outer layer is consolidated plies of polyarylate LCP fabric reinforcement ionomer composite that are highly abrasion and chemical resistant. The outer layer greatly increases the impact resistance of the sandwich. The multiple layers are injection molded with vinyl ester resin under vacuum to consolidate the lightweight dual skin composite sandwich. The Phase I program will produce test coupons and measure the mechanical performance of the sandwich compared to current USV materials for weight reduction, cost and manufacturability. The Phase I Option will calculate the optimum composite sandwich construction for mechanical, physical, weight, cost and manufacturing to prepare for Phase II scaleup.