AFRL and Compass Technology Group collaborate on specialty material techniques Published July 15, 2020 By Donna Lindner Air Force Research Laboratory Public Affairs WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – The Air Force Research Laboratory and Compass Technology Group signed a cooperative agreement for two projects that have direct impact on Air Force programs in advanced specialty materials. These projects provide much-needed diagnostic capability to be used in manufacturing and/or field measurements and maintenance. These technologies are key in developing novel inspection devices with high payback to the government. The first of these projects, the Rectangular Coaxial Transmission Line (R-Coax 17), is a unique nondestructive evaluation technique which provides a critical quality assurance tool during thin material production. It ensures that materials that are out of specification aren’t incorporated into critical aircraft components. It also serves as a quality assurance device for the manufacturing of materials used on advanced weapon systems that does not presently exist. The R-Coax 17 has the potential to eliminate $50,000 per incident of costly rework/repair, additional labor and inspection time. The second project is the Traveling Wave Backscatter Probe, which identifies issues in the advanced aircraft coatings, notifying the maintainer of required maintenance. TWBP technology development provides a new hand-held method for detecting coating defects within structures (edges). It will significantly improve field-measurements that establish the mission readiness of an aircraft. Reliable information on the flight-line about a material’s or structure’s health will reduce the need for depot-level maintenance. AFRL’s Materials State Awareness Branch’s mission is to develop and transition innovative nondestructive characterization technologies in support of both the aging and modern aircraft fleet to meet Air Force safety, cost and mission availability needs. Compass Technology Group is a women-owned small business that specializes in characterizing microwave materials, and solving customers’ complex microwave radio frequency problems. “Working together with AFRL gives us the opportunity to see the critical needs of our customers,” said Dr. Ren Geryak, Research Engineer at Compass Technology Group. “With this agreement, we are able to rapidly mature our new technologies.” “With the cooperative agreement in place, AFRL can continue to work with a quality company and support the warfighter with limited funding constraints, said Capt. James O’Keefe, AFRL project manager. “This enables the opportunity for Compass Technology Group to internally invest time and resources to develop a state of the art product that can be brought into the commercial market.” Through this cooperative agreement, AFRL will provide the government-owned property developed through small business contracts to CTG with no fee. This allows CTG to continue development of the prototypes without additional expensive rebuilding costs. Upon completion, CTG plans to market the final products to commercial and military industries. U.S. Air Force programs benefit from advances in nondestructive evaluation, inspection and measurement capabilities. These systems reduce cost via elimination of labor and early detection of defective materials. This agreement will allow CTG to support ongoing and future Air Force nondestructive techniques.