Improved Bearing Material for Aircraft Carrier Arresting Gear Components

Period of Performance: 10/09/2012 - 04/09/2013


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

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


Current phenolic-based composites used for the slippers of the MK 7 arresting gear system have insufficient wear resistance to ensure an extended service life, and are subject to swelling when exposed to shipboard fluids. The resulting unscheduled maintenance repairs are costly, and the Navy seeks new technologies that will replace the current slipper composite material and have higher durability. Texas Research Institute Austin Inc. (TRI/Austin) proposes a novel composite material that will provide enhanced wear resistance, excellent mechanical and environmental properties, and will serve as a drop-in replacement for the current material while remaining in service for a minimum of 20,000 landings. Preliminary abrasion resistance tests show a Taber wear index of only 37 after 25,000 revolutions, and similar materials developed by TRI/Austin have been virtually unaffected by exposure to hydraulic fluid and other shipboard challenges. During Phase I, compressive, tensile, impact, fluid and environmental resistance, temperature tolerance, and tribological testing will demonstrate the resilience, wear resistance, and high lubricity of the composite material. Formulation and materials optimization will be conducted and samples will be delivered to the Navy. Prototype arresting gear components will be developed and tested in Phase II, setting the stage for rapid Phase III transition.