Air Force Awards VEXTEC® SBIR PH II to Develop Corrosion Prediction Software for the Lifetime Assessment of Airborne Systems

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

USAF SealOctober 5, 2016 -The United States Air Force (USAF) recognizes that rising procurement cost and shrinking budgets require sustainment of existing aircraft. An improved life cycle management tool that helps inform sustainment decisions and extends remaining useful life of aircraft is essential for decreasing total ownership costs. To facilitate this effort, the USAF has awarded a new Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract to VEXTEC to develop a software that can be used to predict the effect of corrosion on the lifetime assessment of airborne systems.

Quantification of corrosion damage is important to the management of the structural integrity of an airframe, and current corrosion damage modeling methods are expensive and provide only rough estimates of damage. Cracking due to corrosion is a complex problem that needs to integrate multiple physics-of-failure modes for accurate simulation of the damage state and better prediction of failure risk. VEXTEC’s Virtual Life Management® (VLM®) proprietary software is a multi-disciplinary, multi-scale systems engineering software in which failure models are developed for all of the important components in a system, such as an airframe. The result of this Phase II program will be an integrated computational software that combines state-of-the-art corrosion and structural integrity models, and demonstrates prediction of a corrosion-assisted failure on an aircraft component.

“VEXTEC is in an extraordinary position to develop a probabilistic corrosion assisted cracking tool capable of determining the locations and intervals for inspection of current aircraft along with improving the structural designs for future aircraft,” stated Dr. Animesh Dey, VEXTEC Chief Product Development Officer (CPDO). “VLM services and software have helped clients accelerate product development, reduce physical testing costs, improve product designs and material specification during development, and helped clients resolve field performance issues.”

It is envisioned that the software will be used to optimize inspection and maintenance of aging aircraft. It will also aid in the design of corrosion-tolerant structures. The capability will enhance the overall scope of VLM to become a general purpose, multi-disciplinary virtual design, analysis and inspection tool. VEXTEC will work closely with the USAF, in particular the Aircraft Structural Integrity Program (ASIP) managers in this Phase II. The collaboration will help to commercialize the technology being developed in Phase II via integration with ASIP sustainment practices.

About VEXTEC:

VEXTEC’s Virtual Life Management (VLM) is a unique integration of engineering analysis, computational materials science and condition monitoring protected by seven patents. The VLM process helps companies predict and enhance the reliability and performance of critical components during design, testing, manufacturing and service. Since 2000, VEXTEC’s Virtual Twin® has provided predictive analytics prognostics and life extension for hundreds of different products. To learn more, visit www.vextec.com.

VEXTEC® Receives Phase I STTR Award from NAVAIR to Decrease Certification Time & Cost for Additive Manufacturing of Components

NAWCADJuly 18, 2016, Brentwood, TN – The Naval Air Warfighter Center, Aircraft Division, has contracted with VEXTEC Corporation to demonstrate the feasibility of using integrated computational material engineering (ICME) software tools to greatly decrease the time and money needed to certify an Additive Manufactured (AM) component for structural application. AM is the process of taking a digital representation of a part or component and directly manufacturing the resulting product using a three-dimensional fabrication technique. AM can provide significant cost and lead time benefits through the ability to bypass complex, costly and long lead forgings.  However, as attractive as this all sounds, any new technology brings with it the burden of implementation, especially in the aerospace community when it comes to certifying the AM parts.  The Navy is seeking a technology that can provide rapid accept/reject criteria to be determined at the early design and manufacturing stages.

VEXTEC and their research partner, Oak Ridge’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility, will optimize the AM processes for damage tolerant design philosophies. Aerojet Rocketdyne, a major supplier of defense products, will work with the team to assure the outcome of this STTR will be a viable commercial product. The software will significantly lower unit costs of additive manufacturing products by reducing the high barrier to entry caused by the current certification test requirements. AM will be an added feature of VEXTEC’s current suite of software tools known as Virtual Life Management® (VLM®) which is used to create a digital representation, or Virtual Twin®, of the part with all of the variations and uncertainties of the real part. Fleet owners, such as the Department of Defense, will be able to determine if a replacement part will meet their durability need. The manufacturers of the next generation of defense systems will optimize the AM process to provide material microstructure for the highest reliability at the lowest cost.

“We are excited to receive this award from the Navy and to be partnering with Oak Ridge,” said Dr. Robert Tryon (CTO, Co-Founder of VEXTEC) “We strongly believe that a computational material durability simulation software, such as our Virtual Life Management (VLM) offers the potential to complete most of the AM component validation process with limited testing, changing material science much the way finite element analysis (FEA) changed structural design.”

About VEXTEC: VEXTEC’s Virtual Life Management is a unique combination of engineering analysis, material science and condition monitoring protected by seven patents. VLM helps companies predict and enhance the reliability and performance of critical components during design, testing, manufacturing and service. Since 2000, VEXTEC’s Virtual Twin has provided predictive analytics prognostics and life extension for hundreds of different products. To learn more, visit www.vextec.com.

Contact:

VEXTEC Corporation

(615) 372-0299

info@vextec.com

VEXTEC Receives Phase II SBIR Award from USAF to Develop Physics Based Fracture Mechanics Methodology

VEXTEC® receives Phase II SBIR Award from United States Air Force (USAF) to develop realistic and physics based fracture mechanics methodology. The benefit of such an approach over the traditional linear elastic fracture mechanics (LEFM) is a significant reduction in errors and uncertainty in the life predictions which result in unreliability or excessively conservatism for some designs. VEXTEC’s proposed approach will use the actual size of the initial flaws and accurately calculate the cycles needed to grow to failure by applying probabilistic, physics-based fatigue crack growth models that will be developed under this program. VEXTEC will demonstrate the feasibility and accuracy of these models to predict small crack growth by comparing with test data working with Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company.

“We are excited about this award,” says Dr. Sanjeev Kulkarni, VEXTEC’s Vice President for Sales & Business Development, “along with the two additional awards that we have received in recent weeks, one from the USAF and the other from the Office of Naval Research (ONR). We appreciate the recognition of maturity related to VEXTEC’s technology”. The key in this award is VEXTEC’s method for modeling damage as microstructurally small and physically small cracks by capturing the microstructure of the material and crack closure effects prior to transition to long crack regime.

According to Dr. Robert Tryon, the Principal Investigator on this project and VEXTEC, CTO, “There is a broad potential benefit of this technology in any industry such as Aerospace, Automotive, Energy and Medical Devices, where determining the fatigue life of structures is important along with the direct linking of this to tools used for structural design. VEXTEC sees the generation of significant potential value with the successful transition of these developments for customers in these and other markets.”

Founded in 2000, VEXTEC Corporation has developed patented technology on virtual material modeling and predicting product durability. VEXTEC offers its Virtual Life Management® (VLM®) software and services to a variety of commercial and government customers.

 

VEXTEC Team Awarded $1.36M to Develop Software that Predicts the Effect of Stress Corrosion Cracking for Navy

VEXTEC Corporation was awarded the prime contract from the US Navy to build software, Corrosion Cracking Maintenance Prediction Software (CCMPS), that predicts the future maintenance needs for aluminum (5000 series) ship structures, based on current damage state and expected usage (ONR-BAA14-003). Team members include researchers from the University of Virginia (UVa) Center for Electrochemical Science and Engineering. In the proposed effort, VEXTEC and consultants will use existing data and models to calibrate the software and consult with the Navy to gather additional data and develop new models.

Corrosion Cracking Maintenance Prediction Software (CCMPS) will analyze four locations.

Corrosion Cracking Maintenance Prediction Software (CCMPS) will analyze four locations.

Previous collaborations with Navy contracts by the team of UVa, Navmar and VEXTEC led to the development of SCCrack, software that was calibrated and validated experimentally and used to predict stress corrosion cracking (SCC) in generic engineering details fabricated from 5083H131 aluminum alloy.

“CCMPS uses our patented Monte Carlo technique, serve as the backbone for all the software and the data and will be instrumental in predicting the future maintenance of ships based on current damage state and expected usage, “ says Dr. Bob Tryon, VEXTEC CTO and the Principal Investigator on the contract. The software leverages the initial state model created at critical locations, simulates sailing the Virtual Twin ship accounting for empirical and physics based damage accumulation to predict the times for maintenance and repair actions. The damage processes and repair events are simulated as computational models, mathematical functions or lookup tables and in general, models can complex or simple. Dr. Animesh Dey, Chief Product Development Officer at VEXTEC says, “CCMPS will have a modular framework and this allows each critical location to be linked to the proper models.”

The predictive analytics module will create a Virtual Twin® of the ship that allows a system of many individual components, each with their own set of failure modes and mechanisms. In this multi-tiered hierarchical representation, the fleet of naval vessels is at the top-most tier, and the local critical location on the ship is at the lowest tier. The failure distributions of these lowest tier components will be generated from the Monte Carlo tool and “rolled-up” from the lowest tier distributions to the system and fleet reliability databases.

VEXTEC offers its patented Virtual Life Management® (VLM®) software and services to a variety of commercial and government customers. The University of Virginia Center for Electrochemical Science and Engineering is a multi-disciplinary research effort which includes several engineering departments.

VEXTEC Receives Phase I SBIR Award from USAF to Advance Modeling of Surface Corrosion

USAF SealThe development of new corrosion resistant designs is essential  to build, maintain, and sustain the United States Air Force (USAF) fleet well through the twenty-first century. Current aerospace designs which include extensive use of light-weight, high strength aluminum alloys are highly susceptible to the effects of corrosion making this of great importance to the USAF.   Therefore, the primary objective of this Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) topic, awarded to VEXTEC, will be to show the feasibility of advanced modeling for simulating and predicting surface corrosion leading to fatigue damage.

A limiting factor in the current approach for predicting corrosion influenced part life is that corrosion and fatigue failure mechanisms are modeled separately rather than together. Seldom are synergistic damage processes of corrosion and fatigue explicitly modeled in commercially available software applications used by OEMs. However, recent developments in unified fatigue modeling are bringing corrosion and fatigue modeling techniques together by reducing the size of the initial surface flaw in damage tolerance analysis to create a total fatigue life approach that can address the microstructure of the corroded surface.

“We are extremely pleased to be recognized with this highly competitive award from the USAF,” said Dr. Robert Tryon (CTO, Co-Founder of VEXTEC).  “Not only is this an important step for the USAF in designing a corrosive resistant fleet of the future, but for VEXTEC as we continue to add modules and functionality to our proprietary Virtual Life Management® (VLM®) software.”

While the primary goal of Phase I is to demonstrate the conceptual design of a corrosion fatigue prediction tool, the overall goal of the SBIR program is to develop mature technologies that can be commercialized for sale in the private sector and/or military markets. To this end, VEXTEC has developed a roadmap for this technology that will take this concept from Phase I demonstration to a valuable asset for the defense and aerospace industry. Ultimately, this technology will enable alloy by design in support of all new reliable and sustainable aircraft designs.

VEXTEC Presenting Computational Software for Predicting the Durability of Pacemaker Leads at Frontiers in Medical Devices Conference in Washington, DC

Brentwood, TN May 15, 2015 – Dr. Sanjeev Kulkarni, Vice President of Sales & Business Development of VEXTEC Corporation, will be presenting VEXTEC’s computational software for predicting the durability of pacemaker leads at the BMES/FDA “Frontiers of Medical Devices Conference: Innovations in Modeling and Simulation” in Washington, DC.  The conference, which runs from May 18 – 20, 2015, is hosted by the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in partnership as a meeting for researchers, engineers, clinicians and other professionals in the fields of designing, building and using medical devices.  This year’s theme is Using Modeling and Simulation at Different Stages in the Total Product Life Cycle.

Dr. Kulkarni will be presenting, “Verification & Validation of Computational Software for Predicting the Durability of Pacemaker Leads” on May 19th.  The software model is call a Virtual Twin® and can be created with the initial preliminary design of the device and is refined as the device moves though the detailed design, manufacturing, testing, launch and post market segments of the product life cycle. At any phase of the life cycle, the model is used to prognose the probability of success in the future phases of the life cycle.

The core technology within the durability prediction software is its probabilistic integration of structural analysis with material microstructural damage simulation and test setup. The software allows for three dimensional analysis that is multi-scale in size and time. The software is fully probabilistic with material properties as random fields. The supporting evidence for the Specific Context-of-Use of cyclic bench testing comes from a project that VEXTEC completed for Boston Scientific’s Cardiac Rhythm group on MP35N pacemaker leads. The computational model is capable of simulating the statistical distribution of cyclic lifetimes derived from laboratory tests. With this model, the design engineer can assess the risk of failing the bench test and thus the risk of a device redesign resulting in a saving in the cost and time of the design process.

 

Dr. Kulkarni will also be giving demonstrations of the software capabilities and functionality at VEXTEC’s exhibitor booth during the conference. During the conference, Sanjeev will also serve on the panel of judges to evaluate student podium presentations and participate in the Medical Devices Special Interest Group meeting.

 

Further, on May 20 and 21, Dr. Kulkarni will attend the ASME V&V 40 Committee Meeting in Silverspring, MD. Sanjeev has been on the committee to standardize verification and validation for computational modeling of medical devices since its inception in 2010 and chairs the Stent subgroup.

 

Founded in 2000, VEXTEC Corporation has developed patented technology on virtual material modeling and predicting product durability. As a senior strategic member of VEXTEC’s Leadership Team, Dr. Kulkarni leads commercial Sales & Business Development with a focus on Healthcare/Life Sciences/Medical Devices and Strategic Alliances. Dr. Kulkarni is an industry recognized leader and expert in Computational Mechanics and Computer Aided Engineering, and has supported many industries (Automotive, Aerospace, Defense, Energy, Consumer Products and Medical Devices) and in a variety of roles that include 5 years with Boston Scientific (as R&D Fellow), 10 years with KB Engineering (as President) and 6 years with TRW Automotive (as Principal Engineer).

VEXTEC Presenting Uncertainty Management at the 2015 ASME Verification & Validation Symposium

ASME V&V Symposium 2015 Program

ASME V&V Symposium 2015 Program

Brentwood, TN May 7, 2015 – Dr. Sanjeev Kulkarni, Vice President of Sales & Business Development of VEXTEC Corporation, will be presenting at the fourth annual ASME Verification & Validation Symposium in Las Vegas, NV on May 15, 2015.  The symposium, which runs from May 13 – 15, 2015, is entirely dedicated to verification, validation and uncertainty quantification (VVUQ) of computer simulations bringing together the foremost experts to exchange ideas and methods around for verification of codes and solutions, simulation validation and management of uncertainties in mathematical models, computational solutions and experimental data. Dr. Kulkarni is also chairing two sessions in the symposium, Validation Methods for Solid Mechanics and Structures (May 13) and Validation Methods for Impact, Blast, and Material Response (May15).

 

Dr. Kulkarni will be presenting, “VVUQ of Computational Modeling and Simulation Software To Predict The Durability Of Medical Devices”  which will discuss VEXTEC’s system reliability method and software, called Virtual Life Management® (VLM®). The VLM software considers the uncertainty of model parameters and acquired data to serve as a framework to incorporate realism with multi-scale statistical characterization using probabilistic and parallel computational simulation techniques.  The model itself, called a Virtual Twin®, characterizes parametric design sensitivity and uncertainty; both factors included in the proposed ASME V&V 40 Standard for Medical Devices. The talk will make that connection between VLM and ASME V&V 40.

 

The Virtual Twin, successfully implemented across multiple industries, starts with the initial preliminary design where it supports verification and validation activities and then is refined as the device moves through the detailed design, manufacturing, testing, launch and post market segments of the product life cycle. At any phase of the life cycle, the model considering uncertainty of any or all of the inputs to prognosticate the probability of device success in the future phases of the life cycle.

 

Founded in 2000, VEXTEC Corporation has developed patented technology on virtual material modeling and predicting product durability. As a senior strategic member of VEXTEC’s Leadership Team, Dr. Kulkarni leads commercial Sales & Business Development with a focus on Healthcare/Life Sciences/Medical Devices and Strategic Alliances. Dr. Kulkarni is an industry recognized leader and expert in Computational Mechanics and Computer Aided Engineering, and has supported many industries (Automotive, Aerospace, Defense, Energy, Consumer Products and Medical Devices) and in a variety of roles that include 5 years with Boston Scientific (as R&D Fellow), 10 years with KB Engineering (as President) and 6 years with TRW Automotive (as Principal Engineer).

VEXTEC Presenting at 14th Annual Design of Medical Devices Conference

VLM Software

VEXTEC’s VLM software for leads of defibrillator devices

Brentwood, TN, April 10, 2015 – Dr. Sanjeev Kulkarni, Vice President of Sales & Business Development of VEXTEC Corporation, will be presenting at the 2015 Design of Medical Devices Conference on April 15, 2015. The conference will be held in Minneapolis, Minnesota April 13 – 16. Representatives from world-class medical device designers, researchers, manufacturers, and the public sector will be in attendance to share perspectives and innovations in medical device design.

Dr. Kulkarni will be presenting, Uncertainty Management in Computational Simulations of Medical Devices” which will discuss VEXTEC’s software based uncertainty management tool to virtually manage the life of products.  VEXTEC’s Virtual Life Management® (VLM®) software uses efficient Monte Carlos simulation with system reliability methods to analyze risk and predict failure at component, system and population level for many types of products including medical devices. Based on the tool’s maturity in other industries, the FDA has accepted the tool into the Medical Device Development Tool (MDDT) pilot program. The VLM® tool considers the uncertainty of model parameters and acquired data to serve as a framework to incorporate realism with multi-scale statistical characterization using probabilistic and parallel computational simulation techniques. VEXTEC will also participate in the Scientific Poster Session on April 15

Founded in 2000, VEXTEC Corporation has developed patented technology on virtual material modeling and predicting product durability. As a senior strategic member of VEXTEC’s Leadership Team, Dr. Kulkarni leads commercial Sales & Business Development with a focus on Healthcare/Life Sciences/Medical Devices and Strategic Alliances. Dr. Kulkarni is an industry recognized leader and expert in Computational Mechanics and Computer Aided Engineering, and has supported many industries (Automotive, Aerospace, Defense, Energy, Consumer Products and Medical Devices) and in a variety of roles that include 5 years with Boston Scientific (as R&D Fellow), 10 years with KB Engineering (as President) and 6 years with TRW Automotive (as Principal Engineer).

FDA Accepts Virtual Life Management® for Evaluation Into The MDDT Pilot Program.

Virtual Twin of a cardiac rhythm electrical lead.

Virtual Twin of a cardiac rhythm electrical lead.

April 1, 2015, Brentwood, TN-The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will evaluate VEXTEC’s Virtual Life Management (VLM®) for certification as a Medical Device Development Tool (MDDT). The goal of the MDDT pilot program is to assess and refine the qualification process for tools used to develop and evaluate medical devices. The pilot program is limited to 15 tool developers. The FDA stated that VEXTEC’s, “proposal was accepted because your tool is at a mature stage of development and meets a public health need (major efficiencies to be gained in device development and evaluation time).”

The FDA will work together with VEXTEC to meet the criteria for the proposed program – a Virtual Twin® software of the medical device that manufacturers and the FDA use to assess and measure performance, safety and effectiveness. Once qualified by the FDA, VLM can then be used by the medical device industry in support of their device submissions to the Agency as well as by the FDA to review these premarket applications, potentially reducing time and other resources needed to develop new products. The specific application will be to use VLM as a computational modeling tool to simulate the structural reliability of a component, assembly or system pertaining to a medical device in terms of the probability of failure. The appropriateness of this tool is based on FDA’s preliminary assessment of status of the VLM tool for reducing the design-build-test iterations while increasing safety and maintaining efficacy.

The core technology within VLM’s reliability prediction software is its probabilistic integration of structural analysis with material microstructural damage simulation and field test setup. VLM has a library of software modules and material models used to simulate the required combination of material and device in a particular use condition. The software allows for three dimensional analysis that is multi-scale in size and time. VEXTEC (www.vextec.com) was founded in 2000 and offers its patented Virtual Life Management software and services to a variety of commercial and government customers.

VEXTEC to Present at the 2015 Aircraft Airworthiness & Sustainment Conference

VEXTEC's SCCrack SoftwareBrentwood, TN, March 20, 2015 – VEXTEC Corporation co-founder Robert Tryon will be making two presentations at the 2015 Aircraft Airworthiness & Sustainment (AA&S) Conference. The conference will be held in Baltimore, Maryland March 30 – April 2. Representatives from the Air Force, Navy, NASA, Federal Aviation Administration and industry will be in attendance.

The first paper, “Probabilistic Software Tool to Predict Statistical Distribution of Stress Corrosion Crack Lifetimes” will demonstrate software, SCCrack, developed collaboratively by VEXTEC, University of Virginia and Navmar Applied Science Corporation. SCCrack predicts the statistical distribution of stress corrosion cracking (SCC) in cracked generic components fabricated from various materials [stress corrosion crack size vs. time and SCC life], in particular ultra-high strength steels such as AerMet100, 300M, and 5083 aluminum alloys. The necessary crack growth rate input data was obtained from an experimental effort as well as from the literature.  Random variables including the initial crack size and shape, applied polarization, applied degree of sensitization (when relevant), as well as material SCC rates are also considered.

The second paper, “Uncertainty Propagation in Multi-Disciplinary Computational Analysis” will discuss the uncertainty management analysis framework being developed for the US Air Force under the Airframe Digital Twin program. The analysis methodology, applied to an airframe canopy sill longeron, seeks to optimize computational and testing resources to drive robust predictions at the lowest cost. Uncertainty information is propagated through 3 key disciplines – aerodynamics (magnitude and time of application of the stick forces), structures (computation of the resultant stresses) and fatigue (combines stress input with material microstructural uncertainty). The presentation will also demonstrate how probabilistic virtual inspection can be incorporated in the analysis to predict a condition based maintenance forecast.