SBIR Topic AF131-113
ABSTRACT: Surface traveling waves consist of electromagnetic energy where the propagation of that energy is exactly parallel or grazing to the plane of the surface. This is in contrast to the phenomena of specular reflection, where incident energy is at some other angle besides grazing and the surface than reflects the incident energy into a complimentary angle determined by Snell”s law. While sensors exist to determine specular performance on aircraft, currently a useful field inspection capability to assess coating performance for traveling wave does not. Compass Technology Group (CTG) proposes to develop a new concept in microwave nondestructive evaluation (NDE) of specialized coatings in support of the Air Force”s requirement for in-situ microwave traveling wave testing. The offered design specifically addresses the need for high-fidelity measurements of aircraft surface coatings in a field environment and is based on a wide-band probe technology that can operate over the whole 2 to 18 GHz range. Additionally, the proposed concept is conducive to being compact and lightweight. BENEFIT: By the end of Phase I, a detailed methodology and design for the inspection tool will affirm the feasibility of the approach for determining traveling wave performance of specialty coatings. If successful, this program will fulfill a critical Air Force need in manufacturing and maintenance of the next generation of specialty coatings for advanced aircraft. Such a development could also strongly impact other DoD services as well, since similar technologies are used across the DoD. Furthermore, other materials in use on DoD platforms require QA methodologies during manufacture and after deployment, so the technology developed in this effort could very well be adapted to other similar material.