Intelligent Sealant Application

Period of Performance: 10/03/2012 - 10/03/2014


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Systems and Materials Research Corporation
11525 Stonehollow Drive Suite A120
Austin, TX 78758
Principal Investigator


ABSTRACT: Modern military and commercial aircraft utilize empty areas within the aircraft structure to store fuel. As such, fasteners and joints within these "wet areas" must be sealed with fuel-resistant sealant to prevent leak paths. Systems and Materials Research Corporation (SMRC) proposes their Intelligent Sealant Application System (ISAS) to assist technicians with inverted sealing, dome sealing, and fillet sealing over exposed fasteners, nutplates, and fay surfaces, respectively. Currently, fuel resistant sealant is hand applied to wet areas within the F-35 using manual sealant dispensers and spatulas to shape the sealant over the application areas, a time-consuming, operator-dependent process that frequently results in over-application of sealant. This adds unnecessary weight to the aircraft, and its over-use is fundamentally incompatible with the JSF program's ESH mission. Likewise, under-application of sealant can produce detrimental fuel leak paths. ISAS uses custom SealKap pre-formed molds and Joint Sealing nozzles to apply sealant to these areas - exactly the right amount and placement every time. ISAS will benefit the aircraft industry by saving time, weight, and cost all while delivering a higher quality seal. BENEFIT: SMRC's ISAS solution is simple, faster, and more accurate. It requires minimal user expertise and training to correctly install sealant on fillet, domed, and inverted sealing areas throughout the F-35, even in tight, difficult-to-access areas. ISAS can save significant amounts of touch labor time as compared to other sealant dispensing solutions such as the PSDS or Semco gun. It can increase manufacturing consistency and reduce aircraft weight by eliminating excess sealant usage. The ISAS solution covers both fillet sealing with Joint Sealing nozzles and domed/inverted sealing with SealKap pre-formed molds. The monetary benefit of a successful ISAS implementation is approximated at $2.7Billion over 27-year with a positive return on investment. SMRC's preliminary analysis shows ISAS as a high value investment for the Aerospace and Defense industry.