Carbon Foam Composite Material Systems for Ship EM Shielding

Period of Performance: 12/12/2002 - 06/12/2003


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Touchstone Research Laboratory, Ltd.
The Millennium Centre Array
Triadelphia, WV 26059
Principal Investigator


The Navy is planning to integrate composite structures into the new CV(X) and DD(X) ship class designs. The structures and components will provide an inherent weight savings and are more corrosion-resistant than current steel structures. Currently, composite structures do not provide the same electromagnetic (EM) shielding effectiveness without being designed into the structure as steel or aluminum. EM shielding effectiveness of 60 dB and greater for 1 GHz and above has been achieved with composite materials; shielding effectiveness in the 100 kHz to 1 GHz ranges are much less. In the proposed effort, Touchstone Research Laboratory (TRL) will work with the University of Delaware (UD), whose previous work with the Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock (NSWCC) has shown that Touchstone's coal-based carbon foam material, labeled CFOAM , can be tailored to be a high-performance absorber and perfect electrical conductor (PEC) of wide-band frequency and wide-angle incidence for electromagnetic shielding structures. Touchstone will also work with Newport News Ships Systems and ATK to develop techniques for joining composite-to-composite and composite-to-metal structures and components using carbon foam. The radar-absorbing and EM shielding material system concepts created by this research will be lighter, stronger and more absorptive than those currently available. Structures, whether on land, sea, or that fly requiring weight reduction though using composites and effective RCS and EM shielding, will benefit.