The University of Dayton Research Institute (UDRI) has secured a contract from the US Air Force (USAF) to develop non-metallic materials for use on the airforce's air, space and ground vehicles.
UDRI researchers will create and optimise non-metallic materials for the maintenance, repair and production of USAF equipment under the $43m deal.
The seven-year contract was awarded with an initial $40,000 task order, and will support the Air Force Research Laboratory's systems support division.
UDRI aerospace materials sustainment group leader Dan McCray said: "Our goal is to provide research, development and expertise in non-metallic materials, processes and new technologies designed to improve systems performance and capability, while reducing risk, cost and environmental impact.
"We work closely with AFRL engineers to identify, evaluate and even develop new materials and application processes for legacy and future aircraft.
"We also provide assistance in transitioning those new technologies into practical application."
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The UDRI researchers have been developing adhesives, sealants, elastomers, textiles, composites and other materials used on USAF vehicles as part of a series of contracts.
Non-metallic materials such as sealants and elastomers can be used in a variety of applications, including fluid barriers, gap fillers, vibration suppression and other situations that require non-structural materials.
McCray added: "Non-metallic materials are incorporated into an aircraft during manufacture under very controlled conditions, meaning that the temperature, humidity and other ambient conditions in the factory are ideal for the processes.
"But when repairs are needed to aircraft, they're made 'in the field' at one of the Air Force bases, where environmental conditions for repair are not as easily controlled, so we look for the best materials to use and determine the optimal processes needed for good repairs in the environment in which they are made."
Researchers will also work on ways to decrease the weight of aircraft as part of the arrangement.