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Europe's Aerospace Industry Looking Confident

Apart from Airbus’s highly visible presence in defense and commercial aircraft, Europe also has successful capabilities in helicopters, business jets, and aero engines, and in all these areas their global market share is growing. by Richard Gardner Talk of further consolidation within Europe’s dynamic aerospace sector has been on the lips of industry watchers for several years, but although the major European-based global players have not progressed toward further mergers, the continent’s biggest aerospace company, the former EADS, has achieved a very significant business restructuring, sweeping all its diverse companies into one giant, three-division entity, and adopting the new corporate identity of the Airbus Group.

Posted in: Aerospace, Defense, Articles, DTB

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Advances and Challenges in Developing Radar Applications

Significant advances in digital and RF/microwave technologies are leading to more diverse radar applications as well as greater commercialization. This article discusses some of the fundamental research and development challenges in both the digital and RF/millimeter-wave domains, as well as current and future directions in design, system integration, and test. Radar is used to detect and/or track target objects and their attributes, such as range, speed, and other information obtained through signals at RF and microwave frequencies. The broad classes of radar systems are active and passive (Figure 1). Passive radar systems use non-cooperative source(s) of illumination, such as a target’s emitted signals, broadcast signals, or cellular communication signals, to obtain information about the target. Since radar performance relies on the sensing capabilities of the receiver, significant innovations have been made in areas such as phased array antennas, digital beam-forming, detection algorithms, and source separation algorithms. Active radar uses cooperative sources of illumination by generating its own signal(s) to illuminate the target. Within the class of active radar, there is monostatic radar, where the signal source is collocated with the receiver, and multistatic radar, where there are two or more receiver locations.

Posted in: Aerospace, RF & Microwave Electronics, Defense, Articles, DTB

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Simulation Tools Prevent Signal Interference on Spacecraft

Launching a satellite into space requires painstaking preparation, not only to make sure that a multitude of technologies are functioning, but also to ensure that critical components are working together in unison. One example is the communication systems onboard satellites and the rockets used to launch them.

Posted in: Aerospace, RF & Microwave Electronics, Defense, Articles, DTB

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Manufacturing Robotic Tools for Piping Inspection and Repair

A robotic inspection system enables preventative maintenance in space-constrained piping systems. Office of Naval Research, Arlington, Virginia Fleet piping systems are complex, space-constrained systems that are difficult to inspect using standard external inspection techniques. Pipe lagging, as well as limited space, makes external access prohibitively expensive and difficult. A robotic tool was developed that will deliver a sensor package capable of real-time corrosion/erosion and pipe wall measurements. Implementation of this system will allow for fleet preventative maintenance (PM), ensuring that possible failures are detected and replaced before they occur.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Briefs

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Fabricating Porous Systems for Super-Dense Memories and Sensors

Porous alumina systems fabricated via a “boot-strapping” method have applications in electronics and sensing. Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Arlington, Virginia This project was dedicated to solving basic scientific issues and developing the scientific basis that underlies the improvement of super-dense memories, towards the terabit-per-square-inch goal and the engineering of chemical and biological sensors. Both applications rely on porous materials. Among them, porous alumina has demonstrated to provide major improvements in these two diverse applications.

Posted in: Materials, Briefs

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Design and Fabrication of a Radio Frequency Grin Lens Using 3D Printing

Microwave lenses are used in a variety of applications such as electromagnetic wave collection and imaging. Air Force Research Laboratory, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio Engineered electromagnetic materials and meta-materials have been researched to explore devices that enable access to electromagnetic properties that are not available in nature. This new class of devices can not only open the door to new functionality, but also be effectively utilized to improve the overall performance of existing systems with respect to electromagnetic performance, cost, size, weight, and repeatability.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Briefs

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Preparing Carbon-Coated Current Collectors for High-Power Lithium-Ion Secondary Batteries

Coating the current collectors improves the overall power performance of Li-ion batteries. Air Force Research Laboratory, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio Achieving high-power capability of a battery requires minimizing the overall resistance of the electrochemical system. For lithium-ion batteries, much effort has been devoted to minimize the ionic diffusion resistances and electronic resistance associated with the electrode active materials. In the typical electrode configuration, the layer containing the active material is supported on a metallic current collector. The interface between the current collector and active layer imposes additional resistance to charge transfer within the electrode. The advancement in material synthesis technologies has reduced the ionic and electronic resistances associated with the active materials to the point that they become competitive to the other resistance sources. Thus, the significance of the electronic resistance at the active layer/current collector (AL/CC) interface is worthy of re-examination.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Briefs

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