SHEERGARD® sandwich radomes are rigid, self-supporting structures that incorporate both a non-delaminating panel and a permanently hydrophobic outer surface. They dramatically reduce the maintenance cost of traditional sandwich radomes.
The first structures of their kind with a non-delaminating, permanently hydrophobic panel construction, SHEERGARD® sandwich radomes require very little maintenance to perform at optimum levels over their 20-year lifespan. Developed through the US Air Force SBIR program to minimize repair costs and reduce ongoing maintenance in the radome industry, SHEERGARD® sandwich radomes set the standard for performance, reliability and ROI.
The structural integrity of sandwich radomes relies on maintaining the bond between their skins and the core. But panel delamination (along with surface maintenance) is the leading cause of sandwich radome maintenance and it's easily caused by flying environmental debris and damage from maintenance climbers. To combat this, SHEERGARD® sandwich radomes use unique 3D fiber reinforcements within their composite structure. The glass fibers are robotically inserted at a programmed density which on average adds 3 fibers per square inch. This prevents delamination by creating a robust connection between top and bottom skins and provides 10X the delamination resistance of traditional sandwich panels in like-for-like tests. Their PTFE-coated fiberglass fabric prevents water from remaining on the radome – providing the permanent hydrophobicity crucial for superior electromagnetic performance and protecting against transmission loss. Water (especially snow and ice) causes severe signal degradation and traditional sandwich radomes require increasingly frequent maintenance during the second half of their lifespans. This isn't the case with SHEERGARD® sandwich radomes – their hydrophobicity has been proven in the field in the most extreme conditions and robust construction minimizes maintenance to unlock dramatically reduced lifecycle costs.
In order to guarantee structural integrity, sandwich radomes must maintain the bond between their skins and the core. If this bond is broken, even a small area of delamination can result in catastrophic failure.
SHEERGARD® sandwich radomes are the first of their kind to use 3D fiber reinforcements within their composite structure. They fundamentally prevent delamination of the skin from the core by providing a tangible connection between the top and bottom skins.
Tests such as ‘ASTM E2004’ quantify delamination resistance by measuring the force required to peel the skin from the core. In like-for-like testing, the presence of 3D inserts provides 10X the delamination resistance than that of a traditional sandwich panel.
The permanent hydrophobicity of a radome’s outer surface is critical. Since water has both a high dielectric constant and loss tangent, even a minor loss of hydrophobicity would allow water to sheet on the radome’s surface and cause extremely high transmission losses. A permanent coating is the only way to remove the cost of resurfacing and maintain superior electromagnetic performance.
SHEERGARD® radomes utilize the 70+ years of Saint-Gobain’s fluoropolymer radome experience to provide permanent hydrophobicity with a PTFE-coated fiberglass fabric. Air-supported sites that use this same technology have been in operation for decades without any need for surface maintenance.
The material’s PTFE coating provides superior lifelong hydrophobic performance, so no reapplication of the surface finish is ever required. As compared to other standard industry products, QUV testing has shown that only a fluoropolymer layer such as PTFE will provide this permanent hydrophobicity.
Saint-Gobain Composite Solutions is a long-trusted partner for creating highly specialized, technology-driven material solutions that deliver extraordinary performance across a spectrum of demanding settings. Through collaboration with our customers, we co-develop versatile materials and real application tests to ensure that you have the best possible solution for your application. We help create innovative materials that provide protection, easy release, insulation, and friction control. And we seek to collaborate in making it even more possible.
Rigorous testing standards
Saint-Gobain Composite Solutions rigorously tests all SHEERGARD® radome products via software-modeled analytics, lab-scale material characterization, and most importantly, directly relevant application testing. Every SHEERGARD® radome complies with strict MIL.STD.810 testing – the military-leading standard for all environmental conditions including temperature, humidity, salt, fungus, and many more. Software modeling such as Finite Element Analysis and Thermal Analysis can yield information on deflections, factors of safety, and thermal management requirements. Application tests such as physical hail storm testing, destructive fabric testing, and real-life application exposure reveal key learnings in creating a truly optimized product. Our testing begins during the co-development process to develop relevant tests and gather data that allows us to create market-ready solutions quickly.