Instantaneous Self-Sealing Protection for Fuel Tanks

Period of Performance: 08/13/2012 - 03/15/2013


Phase 1 STTR

Recipient Firm

ADA Technologies, Inc.
8100 Shaffer Parkway Array
Littleton, CO 80127
Principal Investigator
Firm POC

Research Institution

University of Delaware
210 Hullihen Hall
Newark, DE 19716
Institution POC


Aircraft are susceptible to ballistic and other projectile damage. They are particularly vulnerable to damage to their fuel tanks. As a result, most jet fighters and all U.S. military rotary wing aircraft employ some type of seal-sealing fuel tank technology. Unfortunately, the existing self-sealing fuel tank technologies are heavy and offer unreliable reproducibility in the self-sealing layer resulting in poor ballistic wound closure and additional fuel loss. Thus, the U.S. Navy is interested in the development of alternative self-sealing fuel tank system that is durable, functional and lightweight for introduction into the naval air fleet. An appropriate solution must perform in the temperature range of operation; -40 °F to ambient (approximately +130 °F) and possess a reasonable attachment mechanism for integration into existing air frame wing structures. Further, it must be compatible with commercial jet fuels and not interfere with fuel purity, fuel transfer and surrounding aircraft solution or equipment. To address these needs, ADA Technologies, Inc. (ADA) proposes the development of an instantaneous self-healing technology based on a thermoplastic composite. The thermoplastic composite provides a self-repair response following ballistic puncture that is more rapid than the human eye can detect based upon a kinetic-to-thermal energy transfer mechanism.