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Materials for Thermal and Chemical Extremes

The Materials for Thermal and Chemical Extremes program aims to develop materials, structures and computational tools that enable systems to operate at high temperature/stress in the chemically active environments encountered in hypersonic flight and during friction stir welding of steel. This program uses an interdisciplinary approach to evaluate principles of physics, chemistry, mechanics and environmental response, exploring materials with promise for satisfying the demanding requirements of future naval weapons systems and advancing joining technologies. The goal of this program is to enable the affordable production of new and improved materials, processing and joining technologies, as well as property characterization for design optimization. The development of novel processing techniques will help enable the introduction of new materials and manufacturing processes. Design methodologies will support single-use materials used in extreme environments, such as hypersonic leading edges and control surfaces, as well as longer-life tooling for friction stir weld (FSW) tools for naval steel joining and repair.

This program seeks to develop a fundamental understanding of relationships between temperature capability, thermal properties, thermochemical response and structural behavior. Specific interests include: relating understanding the bonding nature and crystal structure relating to melting temperature, thermal and mechanical behavior, and phase stability in order to enable new compounds with improved properties, as well as relating thermally-activated events under operational conditions, including diffusion mechanisms, microstructure evolution, phase transformations, and thermally-induced chemistries.

Research Concentration Areas

The Materials for Thermal & Chemical Extremes Program seeks to develop materials, structures and computational tools leading to new materials for applications exposed to temperatures over 2000°C in oxidizing environments, novel precursor chemistries and processing technologies leading to thermal-shock resistant materials, lower cost and extended life of higher temperature tool materials used for FSW joining, repair technology for steel structures, and new processing technologies leading to improved/cheaper polycrystalline cubic boron nitride (cBN) tool materials to lower the “activation barrier” for FSW in shipbuilding and Marine Corps vehicle repair.

Research Challenges and Opportunities

The current program is focused on a variety of technologies that will deepen the understanding of these physical and chemical phenomena. Current programs include:

  • The effects of purity on electronic and photonic conduction at high temperature in the zirconium boride-hafnium boride (ZrB2-HfB2) system
  • The engineering of configurational entropy versus high enthalpy to lead to the discovery of new compounds with extremely high melting points
  • Understanding and controlling interphase formation during HfC oxidation to lower oxidation rates
  • Novel precursor materials to allow lower-pressure formation of the cubic phase of BN
  • Innovative processing technologies for improved tool life and lower tool costs

Examples of new topics of interest include:

  • New organnometallic precursors for chemical vapor deposition of Hf-based nonoxide coatings and matrices
  • Improving high temperature oxidation of ultrahigh temperature ceramics (UHTCs)
  • Understanding and controlling materials response in transient thermal gradients in high heat flux environments
  • C/C composites processing modelling & simulation

For More Information

Read more about Hypersonics Technology.

How to Submit

For detailed application and submission information for this research topic, please refer to our broad agency announcement (BAA) No. N00014-22-S-B001.

Contracts: All white papers and full proposals for contracts must be submitted through FedConnect; instructions are included in the BAA.

Grants: All white papers for grants must be submitted through FedConnect, and full proposals for grants must be submitted through; instructions are included in the BAA.


Wuchina, Eric Dr.
Program Officer
Code 332