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Propulsion Materials

Reliable, high-temperature, propulsion materials are crucial to enable increased capabilities, improved engine efficiency, reduced fuel costs, and decreased maintenance/total life cycle costs. The useful life of a material in any application depends on diverse factors such as the marine environment, temperature and cyclic activities, and mechanical stress. Propulsion materials need to resist oxidation, various forms of corrosion, or alternating cycles of oxidation and corrosion.

This topic area involves, in part, the kinetics and thermodynamics of materials interactions and materials stability under marine operating environments and temperatures. In order to eventually provide optimal materials for high temperature applications, research is needed to develop models to assist in the creation and development of new materials; establish the mechanisms of simple and complex thermochemical and thermomechanical interactions of materials with the naval environment , such as hot corrosion and CMAS (calcium-magnesium-alumino-silicate) attack; and to advance life prediction of both existing and new materials under various environmental scenarios.

Research Concentration Areas

Basic research in this area should help ONR understand how to reduce and manage materials instabilities and degradation:

  • Computational approaches to creating new materials, evolving new and enhanced understanding of degradation mechanisms, developing optimal material processes, or improving the performance of current materials are encouraged.
  • Current materials include Ni-base single-crystal superalloys, ceramic matrix composites, multiple principal element alloys, complex concentrated alloys, ceramics, Mo-based superalloys, polymer matrix composites, bond coats, thermal barrier coatings, environmental barrier coatings, and overlay and diffusion coatings resistant to oxidation and corrosion environments.
  • Investigate mechanisms that lead to materials degradation, which should also explore how these mechanisms fundamentally relate to and/or depend on mechanics, diffusion, interdiffusion, interstitials, coatings, and materials chemistry, as well as the marine environmental effects by temperature, salt ingestion, pressure, and humidity.
  • Understand multivariable diffusion, portioning, and precipitation kinetics in single and multiphase complex alloys at high temperatures to predict surface passivation structure and kinetics.

Research Challenges and Opportunities

Advanced materials processing science:

  • CMAS, Ca-induced hot corrosion, S-related hot corrosion, etc. and mitigation strategies in a marine environment
  • Create overlay thermal/environmental barrier coatings, and explore and explore science of heat transfer at temperatures exceeding 1300 degrees Centigrade
  • Understand/quantify highly coupled degradation mechanisms as a function of numerous variables
  • Utilize computational methodologies, materials datasets and models, machine learning to evolve new materials with tailored properties (such as multiple principal element alloys), optimize materials processing, and advance materials life prediction

Applied Research:

  • Develop non-line-of-sight coating processes that avoid fatigue issues
  • Develop shipboard coatings, compatible with its alloy substrate that can promote higher temperature operations while avoiding inter-diffusion debits

UPDATED: November 2020

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.


Shifler, David Dr.
Program Officer
Code 332