Anti-Tamper Nanocomposite Phase Change Coatings for Military Electronic Systems

Period of Performance: 11/27/2006 - 08/27/2007

$70K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Nanosonic, Inc.
158 Wheatland Drive Array
Pembroke, VA 24136
Principal Investigator

Research Topics

Abstract

This Navy SBIR program would develop and demonstrate conformal Metal Rubber thin film sensor materials and interconnects for the measurement of near-wall skin friction and turbulence at the surface of underwater structural components. Metal Rubber is a self-assembled electrically conducting, elastomeric nanocomposite that incorporates electrically conducting nanoclusters and specialty polymers. It may be formed as either a conformal two-dimensional coating or a free-standing appliqué that may be adhered to a structural surface. By controlling the relative volume percentages of polymer and nanoclusters in the material, the electrical conductivity percolation behavior may be modified. For materials near the percolation threshold, compressive pressure causes a local change in the conducting nanocluster density, and a corresponding very sensitive change in electrical resistance. Conversely, for materials far from the percolation threshold, pressure does not affect conductivity. These two different formulations of material may be spatially patterned across a surface to create interconnected arrays of sensitive conformal skin friction sensors. During the Phase I program, NanoSonic would work with a major Navy systems integrator to 1) design and fabricate sensor elements, 2) evaluate minimum detectable signal and dynamic range, 3) test prototype sensor elements in an underwater flow tank, and 4) evaluate spatial multiplexing methods.