S2MARTS Research OTA Releases Inaugural Project Aimed at Advancing Materials Research 

August 16, 2023

Aug 16, 2023 – The Department of the Navy (DoN) has embarked on a groundbreaking research endeavor under the S2MARTS Research OTA (Other Transaction Authority), with the announcement of the OTs inaugural project: Characterization and Improvement of Boron Nitride Nanotubes and Their Composites. 

S²MARTS Research is uniquely situated under The Strategic & Spectrum Missions Advanced Resilient Trusted Systems (S²MARTS) 10 U.S.C. 4021 agreement created by The Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC), Crane Division to effectively bridge the gap between research and prototyping. By expanding the Navy’s capabilities in material design, processing, characterization, and testing, Boron Nitride will provide a solid foundation for future innovations in defense technologies.  

This initiative aims to enhance capabilities in designing, processing, characterizing, and testing materials for research and development. This materials research opportunity ensures that the Navy remains at the cutting edge of material science, fostering advancements that can enhance mission success and bolster national security. 

With a particular focus on boron nitride nanotubes (BNNTs), this project seeks to delve into the unique properties of this emerging material. Leaning into the opportunity a research OT provides, this project encourages exploration of other materials with similar properties and their synergistic combinations to optimize performance and expand the Navy’s material portfolio. 

Boron Nitride Nanotubes (BNNTs): A Promising Material 

 BNNTs are continuously gaining attention in the scientific community. These nanotubes exhibit exotic properties of  thermal conductivity, high strength, and electrical resistivity, making them attractive for further exploration. As manufacturing techniques continue to advance, BNNTs are becoming more accessible, necessitating further research to characterize, enhance, and optimize their properties. The DoN recognizes the importance of staying at the forefront of material science, which is why this project focuses on BNNTs as a key area of exploration. 

Characterization, Form Factors, and Processing Methods 

The challenge statement extends beyond the characterization of BNNTs alone, encompassing a comprehensive study of their potential form factors and processing methods. By investigating various form factors, such as films, fibers, and composites, researchers can uncover the full spectrum of BNNT applications. Additionally, understanding the most effective processing techniques will enable the Navy to harness the full potential of BNNTs in diverse environments and scenarios. 

Expanding the Research Scope 

While BNNTs serve as the primary focus, it is important to note that the project does not limit its exploration to this material alone. Instead, this research opportunity encourages the inclusion of materials with similar properties and those that can synergistically enhance the performance of BNNTs or enable novel use cases. By adopting a broader perspective, the Navy aims to capitalize on the collective potential of multiple materials systems, promoting innovation and addressing a wider array of research challenges. 

Get Involved with S2MARTS Research 

The announcement of this project further positions the Navy at the forefront of research and development, ensuring its readiness to leverage cutting-edge materials for future defense applications. The project’s anticipated duration of 12 months, with the possibility of a 24-month extension, aims to yield significant advancements in material science.  

 S²MARTS Research was designed to open the door for new innovators who previously would not have been able to support projects in an academic or research-focused capacity. Under NSTXL’s open consortium model, current members already have immediate access to this opportunity. Innovators who wish to only operate under the S²MARTS Research program will be offered free membership. 

About S²MARTS Research  

S²MARTS Research is creating a more connected and streamlined Other Transaction Agreement (OTA) ecosystem, uniquely positioned to better establish the relationship between research and prototyping. Operating under the 10 U.S.C 4021 authority, the S²MARTS Research consortium can carry out research projects that meet the needs and requirements of the government at any stage, allowing for a natural transition from research to prototype development.  

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