Honors Gallery

Material Test Fixtures Northeast

Award: Excellence in Technology Transfer

Year: 2014

Award Type:

Region: Northeast

Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) - Division Newport

One of the most critical needs of today's military is the development of new materials.

The harsh conditions of the battlefield require new materials that are strong, lightweight, and resistant to corrosion and other environmental effects. The materials developed to meet these demands have many commercial applications as well.

Due to the efforts of Dr. Paul Cavallaro, a recognized expert in materials testing at Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Newport (NUWC Newport) and Dr. Ali M. Sadegh from the City College of the City University of New York, NUWC Newport has become an important Department of Defense center for the development of novel materials. Drs. Cavallaro and Sadegh developed a suite of patented advanced and versatile test fixtures for characterizing the mechanical properties of a wide variety of materials, including fabrics, composites, elastomers, metals and biological tissues.

Both the Navy and the Army have used the base fixture to successfully test fabrics used in air-inflatable composite structures.

These fixtures enable more accurate determination of strength and stiffness properties for materials subjected to combined stress states such as biaxial tension and shear important factors for materials such as those used in inflatable structures and unavailable from other measurement systems. The experimental results from the fixtures provide key inputs to structural behavior models so that prototype concepts can be developed and optimized in the virtual space, enhancing the fidelity of numerical structural models used as efficient alternatives to expensive full-scale physical structural tests. Both the Navy and the Army have used the base fixture to successfully test fabrics used in air-inflatable composite structures.

Through two Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs), one with a Canadian university and one with an American company that specializes in the design of high-performance boat hulls, the material test fixtures developed at NUWC Newport have been employed in the design, test, and fabrication of novel materials and structures for bridge decking and rigid inflatable boats. In addition to the development of new materials, physical prototype costs were minimized and development lead times reduced through application of the fixtures. As a result, the transportation and boat building industries have high performance alternatives for construction materials that were not previously available.