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Using Forensic Lasers in Modern Warfare

In the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, the enemy’s guerilla tactics have muddled the distinction between terrorism and warfare. To deal with the challenges of this new type of combat, the military has quietly built up impressive forensic capabilities, with technology more usually found in domestic crime labs than on the battlefield. Just as they have in numerous areas of weapons technology, lasers play a cutting-edge role in this work, which is performed on location, within mobile labs in Afghanistan, as well as in the US.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Defense, Photonics, Test equipment and instrumentation, Military vehicles and equipment
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Open Generic Avionics Architectures and Distributed Processing Using Ethernet and VPX

The backplane and hardware module standards help to increase part commonality and the reuse of components in different system architectures and applications, but this is only one part of the system design challenge. While the specified footprint, backplane format, and electrical signal characteristics help the design of modular hardware and open architectures, they still tell very little about how modular (and unambiguous) the interfacing among functions and their interactions are. This aspect is covered at the system integration (network) layer.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Defense, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Avionics
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Comparing Blade-Element Momentum Modeling to 3-D CFD

Many small unmanned aerial vehicles (SUAVs) are driven by small-scale fixed-blade propellers, and the flow produced by the propeller can have a significant impact on the aerodynamics of the SUAV itself.

Small unmanned aerial vehicles (SUAVs) are becoming increasingly popular for surveillance and numerous other applications. These SUAVs come in various sizes, and the smallest are referred to as micro aerial vehicles (MAVs). For purposes here, SUAV will be used to refer to all UAVs that are portable by a man.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Defense, Test & Measurement, Computational fluid dynamics, Computer simulation, Unmanned aerial vehicles
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Europe's Aerospace Industry Looking Confident

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: Articles, Aerospace, Defense, Production, Business and general aviation aircraft, Commercial aircraft, Military aircraft
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Advances and Challenges in Developing Radar Applications

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: Articles, Aerospace, Defense, RF & Microwave Electronics, Radar, Product development
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Simulation Tools Prevent Signal Interference on Spacecraft

NASA Technology

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. A great example: the communication systems onboard satellites and the rockets used to launch them.

Posted in: Articles, Spinoff, Aerospace, Defense, Information Technology, RF & Microwave Electronics, Software
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Manufacturing Robotic Tools for Piping Inspection and Repair

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: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Sensors and actuators, Fleet management, Maintenance, Repair and Service Operations, Tools and equipment, Robotics, Inspections
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Fabricating Porous Systems for Super-Dense Memories and Sensors

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: Briefs, Materials, Computer software / hardware, Sensors and actuators, Fabrication, Aluminum alloys
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Design and Fabrication of a Radio Frequency Grin Lens Using 3D Printing

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: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Rapid prototyping, Optics, Additive manufacturing, Fabrication, Materials properties
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Preparing Carbon-Coated Current Collectors for High-Power Lithium-Ion Secondary Batteries

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: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Lithium-ion batteries, Coatings Colorants and Finishes, Materials properties
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