Non-Contact Cure State Measurement
Navy SBIR FY2008.2

Sol No.: Navy SBIR FY2008.2
Topic No.: N08-127
Topic Title: Non-Contact Cure State Measurement
Proposal No.: N082-127-1039
Firm: Galt Technologies, LLC
2009 Still Water Lane
Knoxville, Tennessee 37922
Contact: Walt Fisher
Phone: (865) 661-3416
Abstract: Manufacturing processes are typically delayed from several minutes to several hours while coatings, sealants, and adhesives sufficiently cure to allow subsequent operations. Local environmental conditions can accelerate or decelerate cure depending on the chemistry of the materials, which makes degree of cure a variable over time and ultimately results in built-in down-time to assure sufficient cure is achieved. A technology for determining the relative state of cure for a variety of known coatings, sealants, and adhesives, without compromising the integrity of the applied material, would be a manufacturing enhancement and production time reduction factor. The technology must ultimately be able to accommodate slight variations of chemistry within the chemical classes such as exist among different vendors or due to effects of various fillers and must be measured on substrates consistent with aircraft manufacture. In this SBIR we will develop a design concept for a non-contact cure state measurement instrument that is based on Laser-Induced Fluorescence (LIF) Spectroscopy. Develop a protocol for defining the state of cure for each application category (coating, sealant, adhesive). Demonstrate the proposed approach on the coating (epoxy or urethane), sealant (polythioether or polysulfide), or adhesive (epoxy, acrylic, urethane).
Benefits: In this SBIR we intend to build upon the past success of the LIF technology by developing a non-contact cure state measurement instrument for use on polymeric coatings, sealants, and adhesives. This will allow manufacturing and repair personnel to identify an appropriate time when further layers of the same material or other operations (i.e., primer, paint, thermal or chemical processing, etc.) can proceed on the applied product, thereby reducing the down-time associated with these processes. Applications of this technology will include cure state measurement and quality control of materials that are used in the aerospace and automotives industries.