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Navy Project to Spy Hidden Corrosion

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

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High-speed, nondestructive imaging that can detect corrosion under marine coatings has taken a million-dollar step forward, under a new U.S. Navy contract.

Advanced Photonix Inc., of Ann Arbor, MI, will develop Phase II Terahertz Imaging for Detection of Corrosion and Defects Under Hull Coatings, the company announced Friday (June 27).

The Small Business Innovation Research contract is with the Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC), a shore command of the U.S. Navy within the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Warfare Center Enterprise, which engineers, builds and supports the country's fleet of ships and combat systems.

Naval Undersea Warfare Center
NUWC

Under a $1 million contract from the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, Advance Photonix will develop a prototype for a corrosion detection system based on terahertz imaging technology.

"This is another example of our long and continuing partnership with the Department of Defense," said Richard Kurtz, president and CEO of Advanced Photonix.

Submarine Testing

The non-contact, time-domain terahertz imaging system is being designed for in-situ defect detection of commonly used ship hull coatings and rapid, non-destructive detection of:

  • Corrosion,
  • Hull coating delamination, and
  • Hull surface gouges recessed into the hull metal through still-attached hull coatings.

Terahertz radiation consists of electromagnetic waves with a range that falls between microwaves and infrared light waves.

Phase I (the proof-of-concept phase) was successful, leading to the award for the second phase to develop a prototype suitable for evaluation.

The prototype will be tested on submarine hulls or "representative structures." Advanced Photonix said it also expected to oversee Phase III of the program, which entails a development plan to transition the technology into a system that can be deployed by the Navy.

Accelerating Technologies

"In keeping with their tradition of accelerating the adoption of advanced non-destructive testing technologies, NUWC has invested with us since 2003 to develop terahertz solutions for various applications," Kurtz said.

Advanced Photonix
Advanced Photonix

Advanced Photonix has also developed terahertz technology for the U.S. Air Force's F-35 joint striker program. The instrument (pictured) uses a robot to measure cured coatings.

"The high-speed imaging system developed under this contract will allow the Navy to save maintenance costs in its dockside operations."

During a business update conference call, Kurtz explained that the terahertz non-destructive evaluation scanning system would be able to acquire subsurface images of submarine acoustic hull coatings.

Terahertz Technology for Coatings

Advanced Photonix supplies optoelectronic sensors, devices and instruments used by the homeland security, process control, test and measurement, medical and telecommunication markets.

The company's terahertz sensor product line targets non-destructive testing for the homeland security market and quality control for the process control market.

Under other SBIR contracts with the U.S. Air Force, Advanced Photonix has developed terahertz process control instrumentation to measure cured specialty stealth coatings via robot during F-35 joint strike fighter production.

   

Tagged categories: Corrosion; Department of Defense (DOD); Government contracts; Marine Coatings; U.S. Navy

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