FEMORPH Section 801 Software License: First in Department of Defense

Each part in a modern warplane’s engine is a complex, costly, and mission-critical component. By developing modeling and simulation software to assess irregularities in turbine blades, the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory Aerospace Systems Directorate (AFRL/RQ) created a new approach and software package to determine which mission-critical parts are within fault tolerances, thereby providing opportunities for substantial cost savings and improved readiness within the Air Force—and beyond.

Developed by AFRL/RQ engineer Dr. Jeff Brown, FEMORPH brings advanced modeling and simulation (M&S) computational models to bear on one of the most mission-critical parts of a warplane—the turbine blades powering its engines.  By comparing precise turbine blade measurements against historical data to answer mission-critical questions involving their airworthiness, remaining life and risk of failure, FEMORPH provides repair facilities with better information, increasing the number of repairable parts, extending their usable life, reducing costs, and ultimately resulting in more airworthy planes for the warfighter.

Dr. Brown also recognized the software’s potential to help the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) who create the parts identify manufacturing and repair deviations, resulting in reduced defects and manufacturing costs. Initial conversations with engineers at turbine blade manufacturer Pratt & Whitney improved FEMORPH’s capabilities and ultimately resulted in the first technology transfer using a new software licensing approach within the Department of Defense, as established in Section 801 of the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act.

Licensing support and feedback from OEM manufacturers are allowing Dr. Brown and AFRL/RQ to further refine the software and develop new modules for different processes, including different repair approaches such as blending, which will yield further benefits for warfighters over time. Beyond aerospace, the computational models embodied by FEMORPH also have a significant potential role in quality control in virtually any advanced manufacturing industry involved in the creation and maintenance of mission-critical parts, which could ultimately help sustain the nation’s overall economic competitiveness as a manufacturer of complex, high-value equipment in a variety of sectors.

Contact: Dr. Jeff Brown, (937) 255-7223, jeffrey.brown.70@us.af.mil

Award Year: 
Region: 
Midwest