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dB or not dB? Everything you ever wanted to know about decibels but were afraid to ask...

True or false: 30 dBm + 30 dBm = 60 dBm? Why does 1% work out to be -40 dB one time but then 0.1 dB or 0.05 dB the next time? These questions sometimes leave even experienced engineers scratching their heads. Decibels are found everywhere, including power levels, voltages, reflection coefficients, noise figures, field strengths and more. What is a decibel and how should we use it in our calculations? This Application Note is intended as a refresher on the subject of decibels.

Posted in: White Papers, White Papers, Aeronautics, Defense, RF & Microwave Electronics

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New Grasses Neutralize Toxic Pollution From Bombs and Munitions

UW engineers have developed transgenic grass species that can eliminate RDX, a toxic compound widely used in explosives that contaminates military bases, battlegrounds and some drinking water wells. (Photo: Dennis Wise/ University of Washington) On military live fire training ranges, troops practice firing artillery shells, drop bombs on old tanks or derelict buildings and test the capacity of new weapons. But those explosives and munitions leave behind toxic compounds that have contaminated millions of acres of U.S. military bases — with an estimated cleanup bill ranging between $16 billion and $165 billion. However, University of Washington and University of York researchers recently described new transgenic grass species that can neutralize and eradicate RDX — a toxic compound that has been widely used in explosives since World War II.

Posted in: News, Defense, Environmental Monitoring, Recycling Technologies, Physical Sciences

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Researchers Develop High-Performance, Clean Solid Rocket Propellant

Chris Stoker, an Indiana University alumnus, and Brandon Terry, a Purdue postdoctoral research associate, are pictured burning samples of solid rocket fuel propellant in the Maurice J. Zucrow Laboratories at Purdue. (Photo: Purdue Research Foundation) A Purdue-related startup is developing a new rocket fuel formulation that could make rockets used in military and space applications travel further, carry greater payloads, and be safer for the environment. Brandon Terry, a Purdue alumnus and postdoctoral research associate in Purdue’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, and Chris Stoker, an Indiana University alumnus, co-founded the company Adranos Energetics to develop the technology to enhance rocket performance.

Posted in: News, Aerospace, Defense, Materials, Propulsion

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Army Explores 3-D Printing's Future Applications

These parts were made using additive manufacturing, which creates plastic items and other durable components by adding material, layer by layer, using 3-D printers. (Photo: U.S. Army) A soldier heads back to camp, grabs a power bar and unloads his gear. The power bar, which was "printed" minutes earlier, contains all the nutrients his body currently needs, according to sensors that are embedded in his uniform. While this may sound like a scene from a sci-fi movie, engineers and scientists at the Army Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM) are looking at ways to use additive manufacturing (aka 3-D printing) to make it a reality.

Posted in: Articles, News, Defense, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Rapid Prototyping & Tooling, Composites, Materials, Metals, Plastics

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Additive Manufacturing: How 3D Printing Will Transform the A&D Support Chain

3D printing, or additive manufacturing (AM), is quickly becoming a 'must have' for aerospace and defense (A&D) manufacturers rather than just a luxury R&D project with the A&D sector now contributing 12 percent of 3D printing's $3.1 billion global revenue. A&D companies began experimenting with 3D printing as early as 1988, and industry leaders are now starting to recognize the unique capabilities of 3D printing, and searching for ways to exploit them. The U.S. Navy is currently working on 3D manufacturing at sea, which would revolutionize the military support chain, while in civil aviation, companies such as Boeing and Airbus have been using the process to manufacture components for over two years.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Defense, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Aircraft structures, Maintenance, repair, and service operations, Logistics, Additive manufacturing, Marine vehicles and equipment, Military vehicles and equipment

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Advances in Lightweight Electronics Protection

Conformal Coatings Increase Reliability of Aerospace and Military AssembliesLightweighting continues to be a key topic for the aerospace, avionics and defense industries as new metals and composites are being integrated into end products and assemblies with the goal of decreasing overall system weight. As technologies continue to evolve, with components often decreasing in size and increasing in complexity, the materials used to manufacture and protect the latest components and systems are also improving. Whether used in commercial or military aircraft, rockets, satellites, terrestrial or water vessels, or the latest in unmanned air, land and sea vehicles; systems within these industries must meet similar requirements – assemblies, components and electronics must be both lightweight and designed to withstand harsh operating conditions.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Defense, Electronics, Coatings & Adhesives, Avionics, Electronic equipment, Lightweight materials, Lightweighting, Military vehicles and equipment

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Powering Outer Space: An In-Depth Look at Aerospace Battery Technology

With space’s extreme environments, there is never a one-size-fits-all battery. Nor is any space mission ever the same, so customized batteries for each operation are essential. Saft, has been powering outer space for more than 50 years. Saft’s first battery was launched into space in 1966 aboard the D1A “Diapason”, which was powered with nickel cadmium (Ni-Cd) technology. To date they are the only battery manufacturer to supply all battery technologies used in space: Nickel (Ni-Cd, Ni-H2), primary lithium (Li-SO2, Li-SOCl2 and Li-MnO2) and rechargeable lithium or lithium-ion (Li-ion).

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Batteries, Power Supplies, Batteries, Supplier assessment, Spacecraft

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