ML-RCP Opportunities

ML-RCP Opportunities

The AFRL publishes research topics through a Project Opportunity Announcement (POA). Faculty participants respond with a white paper submission. If a white paper is selected, the AFRL invites the faculty participant to submit additional information through a Request for Project Proposal (RFPP). AFRL independently reviews and selects all projects.

Faculty participants receive complete instructions to assist them with the submission process. Selected proposals receive funding through a subaward agreement between the ML-RCP member institution and program facilitator The Ohio State University (Ohio State).

Project Opportunity Announcements (POAs)

Anyone may submit a white paper against a currently open Project Opportunity Announcement (POA). However, your institution must join the ML-RCP consortium to receive project funds.

Below are the currently open AFRL ML-RCP POAs.

Use the ML-RCP White Paper Template for your submission. Submit your white paper using the submit button below.

Currently Open POAs

As of May 24, 2022, there are no currently open POAs but please continue to check back for updates.

CLOSED POAs

POA-21-RV-001: Leveraging Microgravity for Military/Commercial Applications & Products


Closed: submissions under review

Description
The recent explosive growth in the satellite and launch industries has led to a corresponding increase in microgravity processing interest and opportunities (e.g. Virgin Galactic, Space Station commercial opportunities, etc.). A host of commercial entities are now actively exploring uses of the microgravity environment in near-Earth orbit for commercial product applications, many of which have joint military applications. This topic will explore both potential dual use commercial/military microgravity products, as well as the fundamental science underpinning the microgravity processing environment.


POA-21-RX-003: Predicting Infiltration Efficiency in Structures with Hierarchical Complexity

Closed: submissions under review

Description
Efficient manufacturing and consistent properties are the two greatest obstacles preventing ceramic and carbon composites from integration into supply chain and system design hierarchies. These challenges stem from the intricacies of infiltration and re-infiltration of a liquid precursor into a fibrous preform, and its subsequent pyrolysis to form the composite matrix.

POA-22-RI-003: Developing Modular Neural Network for Intelligent Edge Computing

Closed: submissions under review

Description
As a powerful component of future computing systems, Deep Neural Networks (DNNs) are the next generation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) that intently emulates the neural structure and operation of the biological nervous system, representing the integration of neuroscience, computational architecture/circuitry, and algorithms. Overall however, DNNs still have limited architecture design perspectives in the following aspects: (1) The inefficient processing pipeline for a large-scale network structure; (2) The costly training operation with the increasing demand of data density; (3) The improper network behavior and diminished resultant accuracy with unknown objects.

POA-22-RI-001: Evaluating Assurance of AI-enabled Code


Closed: submissions under review

Description
BACKGROUND: This project will examine approaches across context spaces of: Problem-Definition Context (e.g. modeling, quantifying, and analyzing threats), Solution Definition Context (secure development, (semi-) formal, static, and dynamic analysis for vulnerabilities), and Requirements Context (trust assessment – was the correct system designed and built correctly) to reduce the introduction and/or exploitation of vulnerabilities in modern AI and AI-enabled systems.


OBJECTIVE: Collaborate with AFRL Assured Software researcher(s) to develop and validate new methodologies, techniques and tools to model and test against vulnerabilities in systems which include AI-enabled software.

POA-22-RY-001: Characterization of Defects in GeSiSn Thin Films and Developing Methods to Improve Material Quality for IR Applications


Closed: submissions under review


Description

For high enough concentrations of Sn incorporation, alloys of GeSiSn are the only group-IV materials which exhibit a direct band gap, making them attractive for potential integrated Si photonics applications in the IR. However, the large lattice mismatch between GeSiSn alloys and Si substrates results in significant levels of strain and the formation of defects to reduce this strain. To date, there have been few detailed investigations of defects in GeSiSn, their fundamental nature and their impact on devices fabricated from these alloys.

POA-22-RX-002: In Situ Micromechanical Study of Damage Evolution in CMCs

Closed: submissions under review

Description
Ceramic matrix composites (CMCs) are state of the art ceramic materials for high temperature applications. Continuous fibers embedded within a ceramic matrix allow for improved toughness capabilities compared to their monolithic counterparts. The mechanical behavior of these materials is strongly dependent on their microstructural features including fibers distribution, fiber coatings, and matrix porosity. In order to improve upon and understand the relationship between the CMC microstructure and overall performance, in situ microscale testing techniques can be utilized. In-situ microscale testing techniques, for these materials will focus on tensile testing and include in situ loading in the scanning electron microscope (SEM) (Figure 1a), in situ loading under an optical microscope (Figure 1b), and lastly in situ loading with micro computed tomography (CT) (Figure 1c). All of these capabilities at AFRL have different length scales with which to measure microstructural features. Each piece of equipment comes with their own capabilities: the SEM stage has the ability to do tensile loading and 4-pt loading at both room temperature and elevated temperature (1100°C). While the optical stage performs only tensile loading at room temperatures, it also has the ability to employ acoustic emission (AE) sensors to the sample and digital image correlation.

POA-22-RX-001: Predicting Damage Initiation and Propagation of Microstructural Experiments

Closed: submissions under review

Description
The fundamental difficulty for predicting damage evolution in tough engineering materials involves extremely complicated nonlinear processes acting from the atomic scale through microscale and on up to the scale of the structure itself . Virtual testing, especially with respect to multiscale design, has been a topic of interest for those who design chemistries, understand processing, and ultimately performance. Fibrous composite materials can be broken down into multiple scales, where the scale of the constituents is of lower order than the scale of the resulting material and structure. The process of homogenization usually begins at the lower scales; however, some techniques have utilized macroscopic behavior to understand the material at a desired level of heterogeneity. Micromechanics has been helpful in determining the homogenized composite stiffness, or modeling damage, failure, or other nonlinear phenomena locally within the constituents. Understanding micromechanical phenomena is important because it has a significant influence on the cracking sequence and the statistics of crack initiation under any given load. However, even after extensive microscopic analysis being made based on macroscopic response, accurately predicting composite strength from constituent material properties (i.e, matrix, fiber, and matrix-fiber interfaces) remains a difficult task.

POA-21-RX-001: Generation and Evolution of Surface and Near-Surface Defects during the Processing of Ceramic and Carbon Composites

Closed: submissions under review

Description
Thermal methods occupy a major portion of the ceramic and carbon composites processing field. A significant challenge in obtaining reliable components lies in the unpredictability of the matrix microstructure formed during thermal decomposition of the polymeric precursor used in Polymer Infiltration and Pyrolysis (PIP) processing methods. Chemical models have been used to explain the compositional aspects of polymer-to-ceramic conversion, and a few emerging pyrolytic ones try to tackle bulk microstructure evolution. None, however, exist to address how this conversion is initiated at the beginning of the decomposition process, and more specifically what are the incipient morphological manifestations of the pyrolytic decomposition, and what is their distribution - either on the surface, or in the bulk of the composite. Since this is the process which initiates the creation of the pathways for environmental ingress, decomposition product evolution from the bulk, and subsequent precursor re-infiltration, it has a critical impact on the morphological formation throughout processing, and from there the final set of composite properties. This topic targets the understanding of the generation and evolution of near-surface porosity during pyrolysis of a ceramic composite in the green (i.e. cured) state. More specifically, it seeks elucidation of the surface and near-surface structural and compositional factors controlling the distribution, size and shape of the incipient surface defects initiated by the decomposition of the cured matrix precursor.

POA-21-RX-002: Developing environmentally friendly biosynthetic routes to synthesize aerospace-grade monomers and their precursors


Closed: submissions under review

Description
High-Temperature resin polymer matrix composites (PMCs) based components/elements are key in several exquisite AF platforms. However, the continued maturation and operational usefulness of these PMCs are often limited by the costs to procure and synthesize the monomers required by these resins. Either they are extremely expensive to synthesize, or their procurement is outsourced to foreign suppliers. The proposed request for proposals is aimed at reducing these barriers via exploring biological routes to synthesize aerospace monomers.

POA-22-RI-002: Evaluating Software Assurance in an Agile Development Environment


Closed: submissions under review


Description

BACKGROUND: This project will examine approaches that could generate stronger empirical and formal analysis, be traceable to requirements, and be dynamically maintainable to keep pace with continuous agile development.


OBJECTIVE: Collaborate with AFRL Assured Software researcher(s) to develop and validate new methodologies, techniques and tools to model and test software security vulnerabilities in an agile development environment.

POA-21-RV-002: Rocket Cargo Technology for Agile Global Logistics

Closed: submissions under review

Description
The Department of the Air Force is determining the viability and utility of using large commercial rockets for Department of Defense global logistics. We are interested in solutions to improve our ability to:

  1. air drop cargo from the rocket after re-entry in order to service locations where a rocket or aircraft cannot possibly land.

  2. develop intermodal cargo containers that are mass-optimized for space launch,

  3. engineer a rocket cargo bay and logistics for rapid loading and unloading.