Carbon-Fiber Concept Trailer From Great Dane Cuts Weight by 4000 lb

The Walmart Advanced Vehicle Experience is a prototype tractor-trailer developed to demonstrate the possibilities of future transport, and the truck is not the only place where innovation reigns. The trailer body is built almost exclusively with carbon fiber, and it incorporates other technologies such as advanced adhesives and low-profile LED lighting. Read more at http://articles.sae.org/13507.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Defense, Coatings & Adhesives, Materials, Transportation

Unmanned Ocean Drone

Liquid Robotics
Sunnyvale, CA

Accurately forecasting weather conditions and currents prior to mission deployment is an invaluable intelligence tool for the warfighter. Being able to accurately predict a Category-5 typhoon or hurricane, instead of a tropical storm, also saves lives, saves property, and saves time in evacuations. The Liquid Robotics' Wave Glider®, a surfboard-sized ocean drone filled with sensors, computers, and communications equipment, can survive a Category-5 typhoon while continuously collecting and transmitting meteorological and oceanographic data. Previously this type of data was unobtainable because it was too risky to send manned ships out in the middle of a hurricane/typhoon; buoys can become severely damaged or come off their moorings in such conditions; and satellites have difficulty seeing through the dense cloud cover.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Aerospace, Communications, Defense, Thermal Management, Data Acquisition, Robotics, Marine vehicles and equipment, Unmanned aerial vehicles

Continuous Sputter Deposition Coating of Long Monofilaments

A thin, uniform coating on long segments of monofilament could drastically improve the functionality of many complex fibers. A length of fishing line, microtubing, or polylactic acid (PLA) coated with copper could be left to cure within an epoxy, and upon removal of the monofilament, a narrow channel with a thin outer wall of copper would remain. That channel would be open for fluid flow, and also have a conductive shell. The “vascularized” material could be used for thermal management or self-healing composites.

Posted in: Briefs, Aerospace, Defense, Coatings & Adhesives, Materials, Thermal management, Adhesives and sealants, Coatings Colorants and Finishes, Copper, Fibers, Hoses

Hydrolytic Stability of Polyurethane-Coated Fabrics Used for Collapsible Fuel Storage Containers

Collapsible fabric fuel tanks have provided critical tactical bulk petroleum storage for military operations for over 50 years. Beginning in the 1940s with the 900 to 3,000-gallon pillow tanks, collapsible fabric tanks have evolved into the primary tactical fuel storage vessels now used by all of the military services.

Posted in: Briefs, Aerospace, Defense, Coatings & Adhesives, Materials, Containers, Storage, Coatings Colorants and Finishes, Fabrics, Fuel tanks, Military vehicles and equipment

Materials Design Principles for the Dynamic Fracture of Laminar Composite Structures

Crack bridging (e.g., from stitches or pins) and friction have profound and potentially very useful effects on delamination crack growth, controlling growth rates (damage levels) and the energy absorbed. However, the implications for structural design principles have remained quite obscure. The difficulty is that no simple analogue of crack toughness, which underpins static structural design, exists for dynamic cases with large-scale bridging effects. The external shape of the structure and the loading configuration dictate stress waves, frictional contact zones, and crack tip stress intensity factors in a way that is very difficult to approach, other than by brute case-specific numerical simulation. The problem is compounded by the common occurrence of multiple cracking, a complexity that is rarely entertained in laboratory fracture specimen design. Physically sound material models for the important structural problem of multiple, nonlinear cracking in laminated structures with large-scale bridging due to friction and reinforcement had previously remained undeveloped, in spite of the technological importance of these systems.

Posted in: Briefs, Aerospace, Defense, Electronics & Computers, Information Technology, Materials, Finite element analysis, Composite materials

Development of Hydrophobic Coatings for Water-Repellent Surfaces Using Hybrid Methodology

Coatings that impart hydrophobic properties are of considerable interest. For applications such as aircraft windows, optical components, protective eyewear, and clothing, this type of surface is desired for the material to be soil-repellent and waterresistant. A prime model of a surface with these characteristics can be found in nature – the leaves of the lotus flower have super-hydrophobic properties as a means of self-cleaning.

Posted in: Briefs, Aerospace, Defense, Coatings & Adhesives, Materials, Windows and windshields, Optics, Coatings Colorants and Finishes, Protective equipment

Researchers Develop Multiphysics Model for Electro-Thermal Analysis of UAV

Vives College University and Kulab (KU Leuven University campus Ostend) in Belgium are undertaking an aeronautical research program for the development of a new UAV aimed at performing scientific missions along the Belgian coastline above the North Sea. The main performance requirement of the UAV, dubbed Litus, is to be electrically powered with a range of 160 km and a payload up to 5 kg.

Posted in: Technology Update, Aerospace, Defense, Simulation Software, Simulation and modeling, Electrical systems, Thermal management, Unmanned aerial vehicles

Small, Sensitive Antennas

Researchers create metamaterials by carefully designing and fabricating novel structures to exhibit patterns of electromagnetic properties—specifically, dielectric permittivity and/or magnetic permeability—at the micro-or nano-scale. This special spatial arrangement of elements ensures that the volumetric arrays interact with electromagnetic fields in desirable ways.

Posted in: Technology Update, Aerospace, Defense, Antennas, Antennas

Scientists Turn Handheld JCAD into Dual-Use Chemical, Explosives Detector

Scientists at the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center recently gave the Joint Chemical Agent Detector (JCAD) the ability to detect explosive materials. The original JCAD was developed and fielded to U.S. Forces nearly 25 years ago, to serve as a portable, automatic chemical warfare agent detector. Currently there are approximately 56,000 chemical warfare agent detecting JCADs in service within the Department of Defense. However, recent needs have required scientists to find ways to create a similar portable technology to detect explosive materials.

According to the Army, "Future Army forces require the capability to provide support to unified land operations by detecting, locating, identifying, diagnosing, rendering safe, exploiting, and disposing of all explosive ordnance, improvised explosive devices, improvised/homemade explosives, and weapons of mass destruction."

Funded through an Army Technology Objective (ATO) program starting in 2010, under the requirement to assess which existing detectors could also detect explosives, ECBC's Point Detection Branch began to research different options. Since so many JCADs are already in the hands of warfighters across all four services, the team explored the possibilities with that technology. ECBC Point Detection Branch handled the technical evaluation of the unit in collaboration with Smiths Detection, who is building the parts for the new capability.

While working to make the JCAD an explosives detector, the team had to overcome several challenges. On a programmatic level, the ATO requirement had restrictions against modifying the existing JCAD hardware. Also, the JCAD needed to maintain its original chemical warfare agent detector purpose. Aside from the ATO requirements, making a chemical warfare agent detector into an explosives detector had some scientific challenges. The original JCAD is designed to detect vapors. However, explosive materials are usually low vapor pressure solids. ECBC scientists had to figure out how the JCAD could detect solid explosive materials, without changing the hardware or original intent of the detector. Given these parameters the scientists sought to determine how to modify this detector while essentially keeping it the same.

"Many of the emerging chemical threats and explosives share the challenge of presenting little to no detectable vapor for sampling. By conducting research into the detection of solid explosive residues, we have learned valuable lessons that are equally important for detecting nonvolatile solid and liquid chemical agent residues as well," said Dr. Augustus W. Fountain III, senior research scientist for chemistry.

The add-on pieces are a new JCAD Rain Cap with a Probe Swab and an inlet. Within the JCAD itself, scientists added two on-demand vapor generators: a calibrant and a dopant. The dopant changes the chemistry of the detector so that it can detect explosives easier.

To convert an ordinary JCAD into a JCAD Chemical Explosive Detector (JCAD CED), the existing rain cap is replaced with one that has a new inlet. Once in place, scientists wipe any surface using the probe swab, which then retracts back into the inlet. With a simple button push, the probe swab tip with the explosives sample heats up to a certain temperature, vaporizing the explosive residue. These additional features allow an ordinary JCAD to now have the role of a portable, automated explosives detector.

The swab allows users to pick up often-invisible residue from any surface and analyze it. The explosive residue can be transferred and easily detected using the instrument. The JCAD CED can already detect roughly a dozen compounds including TNT, RDX and EGN. Future efforts could increase the number of detectable compounds.

Scientists plan to determine the amount of explosives that can be detected and develop a concept of operations. Other goals include developing a methodology for detecting homemade explosives, and reaching a technology readiness level 6. JCAD CED will be demonstrated in a fiscal year 2015 military utility assessment.


Posted in: INSIDER, News, Defense, Detectors, Sensors

Killer Robots - Army Studies Challenges of Remote Lethality

The military has used and experimented with robots that perform functions such as scouting and surveillance, carrying supplies and detecting and disposing of improvised homemade bombs. However, when it comes to integrating lethality, such as a weapon capable of firing 10 rounds per second onto an unmanned ground vehicle, issues arise such as safety, effectiveness and reliability, as well as military doctrine on how much human involvement is required.

Posted in: INSIDER, News, Communications, Defense, Automation, Robotics