The National Shipbuilding Research Program (NSRP) Expanded Adhesive Outfitting Applications Research Announcement project was selected for funding in June 2014 and awarded in September 2014. It was an effort to build on two prior NSRP Panel projects dealing with the use of adhesives for late stage outfitting, those being Cost Reduction Measures for Local Cable Hanger Installation and Cost Reduction Measures for Late Stage Outfitting. The project participants included Huntington Ingalls Industries – Ingalls Shipbuilding (the prime contractor), Bollinger Shipyards LLC, and National Technical Systems.
The goal of this project was to expand applications for adhesive outfitting beyond specifically tested and approved items and their associated configurations by developing a set of design rules for adhesively bonded studs that are more widely applicable. The rules will follow Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) criteria for the use of adhesives on surface ships and will be based on tests conducted by this project that establish maximum allowable loads based on failure modes. Initial consideration was given to lightweight items weighing less than 100 pounds using adhesives and mounting hardware with documented performance. The design rules consider all applicable NAVSEA requirements and identify changes to ship specifications required for implementation. The use of adhesive outfitting for lightweight outfitting applications has a favorable business case, particularly for late stage outfitting as hot work and its associated added costs are eliminated. The project was broken up into two phases. The first phase included a review of applicable requirements, a review of the adhesive bonding process and an investigation of potential improvements to that process, and development of test plans for environmental testing and survivability testing. This was completed in June 2015. The second phase of the project dealt with fabrication of test articles for environmental testing and survivability testing, execution of the test plans, interpretation of test results, execution of a final project workshop, and preparation of a final project report. This was recently completed, and the presentation will summarize test results and next steps for applying this technology.