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Simulating Thermal Expansion in Composites with Expanded Metal Foil for Lightning Protection

Modern aircraft such as the Boeing 787 Dreamliner are comprised of more than fifty percent carbon fiber composite, requiring the addition of expanded metal foil for lightning strike protection. The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is comprised of more than fifty percent carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) due to the material’s light weight and exceptional strength. Figure 1 shows the extensive use of composite materials throughout the aircraft. Although CFRP composites inherently have many advantages, they cannot mitigate the potentially damaging electromagnetic effects from a lightning strike. To solve this problem, electrically conductive expanded metal foil (EMF) can be added to the composite structure layup to rapidly dissipate excessive current and heat for lightning protection of CFRP in aircraft.

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Designing VME Power Systems With Standard Modules

Off-the-shelf DC-DC converter and EMI filter modules enable rapid development of custom power solutions. Military electronics continue to push the performance envelope in all directions. Each new system design faces the same challenges: the need for more processing power, tighter specs, and shorter development time. Continual advances in system performance often require similar advances in the power system. VME architecture is common in many military applications, as systems can readily be built around standard or custom circuit cards. Off-the-shelf VME power supplies are available, but often don’t meet the necessary requirements or haven’t kept up with recent performance advances. Usually, neither schedule nor budget allow for a full custom power supply development effort.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Defense

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Designing VME Power Systems With Standard Modules

Off-the-shelf DC-DC converter and EMI filter modules enable rapid development of custom power solutions. Military electronics continue to push the performance envelope in all directions. Each new system design faces the same challenges: the need for more processing power, tighter specs, and shorter development time. Continual advances in system performance often require similar advances in the power system. VME architecture is common in many military applications, as systems can readily be built around standard or custom circuit cards. Off-the-shelf VME power supplies are available, but often don’t meet the necessary requirements or haven’t kept up with recent performance advances. Usually, neither schedule nor budget allow for a full custom power supply development effort.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Defense

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Optical Ice Sensors for UAVs

Vibrating-reed ice detectors from the 1980s are designed for controlling inflatable rubber boots, but today’s UAVs require a more modern approach. The perverse thing about ice on the tailplane of a general aviation aircraft is that the pilot sits and looks forward, but the tailplane is aft. You can’t see it from the cockpit.

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Rotorcraft Icing Computational Tool Development

The formation of ice over lifting surfaces can affect aerodynamic performance. In the case of helicopters, this loss in lift and the increase in sectional drag forces will have a dramatic effect on vehicle performance. The simulation of rotorcraft flow fields is a challenging multidisciplinary problem that lags in development over its counterpart in the fixed wing world by more than a decade. Successful aerodynamic simulation of a rotor/fuselage system requires the modeling of unsteady three-dimensional flows that include transonic shocks, dynamic stall with boundary layer separation, vortical wakes, blade/wake and wake/wake interactions, rigid body motion, blade deformations and the loss of performance caused by ice accretion.

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Curled RF MEMS Switches For On-Chip Design

Microelectromechanical system (MEMS) switches are active components in most electronic equipment. Radio frequency (RF) MEMS are used in wireless personal communication devices, satellite communication, and phased array antennas. MEMS are ideal for these applications because of their low weight, small surface area, low volume, high isolation, large frequency range, linearity, and low power consumption.

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Design Software Supports BAE System’s Mixed-Signal Chip Design

BAE Systems is a global defense and aerospace company, delivering products and services for air, land, and naval forces, as well as electronics, information technology solutions, and customer support services. In partnership with AWR Corp. (El Segundo, CA), MIT, Cornell University, and Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs, BAE Systems has been working to produce a new breed of devices that embeds photonic devices into silicon- based integrated circuits (ICs), enabling computer chips to perform digital, radio frequency, and photonic functions in a single chip.

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