Nano-reinforced Low Density Structural Composites

Period of Performance: 12/22/2010 - 06/21/2011


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

EIC Laboratories, Inc.
Principal Investigator


The development of a nano-reinforced metal matrix composite as a low-density, high-strength, replacement for existing metal alloys and composites used in lightweight structures, vehicles, and advanced weapons systems is proposed. The composites are expected to have exceptional mechanical properties that derive from the use of a nano-structured reinforcing phase. In Phase I, aluminum matrix composites will be fabricated and tested as part of a proof-of-concept demonstration. The physical properties expected for the aluminum matrix composites are the following: tensile strength 700 MPa (~100 ksi); elongation to failure >5%; compressive strength 1100 MPa (~160 ksi); density 1.5-2 g/cm3 (~90-125 lb/ft3). These mechanical properties will be achieved through innovations in nano-materials design and fabrication methods that promote high tensile and compressive mechanical strength and stiffness in composites with exceptionally low density. The Phase I program is a collaborative effort between EIC Laboratories and a company with appropriate composite manufacturing capabilities. In Phase II, the fabrication technology would be scaled-up using a near-net-shape process to produce components for Army applications. An extensive characterization and optimization of the composite structure-property relations and evaluation of toughness, corrosion resistance, and shielding properties would also be conducted.