CTTSO Challenge: Improved Chemical, Biological, and Radiological (CBR) Protective Closure Systems

$50,000 USD

Challenge overview

In the event of a chemical, biological, or radiological (CBR) incident, even the smallest hole in a protective system may cause exposure to dangerous hazards. Entry and exit openings are therefore weak points of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) ensembles, and few materials are capable of providing both the physical functionality and chemical protection necessary for a CBR closure, limiting potential solutions.

Through this Challenge, we would like to identify innovative closure designs providing protective integrity and functionality, without drastically affecting marketability (e.g. cost, shelf-life). 

The Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office (CTTSO), along with other government organizations, continually analyze protective capabilities and emerging technologies to improve PPE for individuals and Collective Protection (ColPro) to shelter multiple people. Entry/exit closure systems are the focus of this Challenge.

Several CBR closure mechanisms exist, however industry typically employs only two types – pressure sealing zippers and multi-track closures. Few materials are capable of being used in construction of CBRN closures, limiting options for new or uncommon applications.

Innovative designs for closure systems will be expected to meet National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1994 Class 1 criteria for PPE closures, both as a component and when integrated into a protective system.

Image: Entry/ Exit opening from example PPE with zipper closure

About the Seeker

The Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office (CTTSO) provides a forum for interagency and international users to discuss mission requirements to combat terrorism, prioritize those requirements, fund and manage solutions, and deliver capabilities.  The CTTSO accomplishes these objectives through rapid prototyping of novel solutions developed and field-tested before the traditional acquisition systems are fully engaged.  This low-risk approach encourages interdepartmental and interagency collaboration, thereby reducing duplication, eliminating capability gaps, and stretching development dollars. 


Participants must certify they do not have identical or essentially equivalent work funded by another Federal agency.

Federal employees acting within the scope of their employment are not eligible to participate. A Federal employee acting outside the scope of his or her employment should consult his or her ethics official before participating in the Challenge.

To receive an award, the Solvers will not have to transfer their exclusive intellectual property (IP) rights to the Seeker.  Instead, they will grant to the Seeker non-exclusive license to practice their solution for the award.

Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (US Eastern Time) on June 17, 2019. Late submissions will not be considered.

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