Open Network Architecture for Army Vehicle Electronics

Army vehicle electronics networking is complex and challenging due to vendor-specific devices and interfaces. Military vehicles require 100% network uptime and security. The network must reduce vehicle clutter, focus on saving soldiers’ lives, and provide minimum latency. Battle requirements change frequently, and vehicle electronics are added ad-hoc to the existing network. This work introduces an open-standard architecture approach that offers non-proprietary solutions with good interoperability, security, scalability, performance benefits, and cost savings.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Reliability, Military vehicles and equipment

Five Approaches to Cooling Military Electronics

Seventy-one degrees C is the temperature of a steak done medium-well. It is also the temperature of an oven used to test thermal characteristics of military electronics. Electronic components in the COTS industry often have temperature limits of 85°C, leaving 14°C of thermal potential to move the heat generated by the components away. Among various cooling approaches, the correct solution for your application depends on meeting your requirements at the lowest possible cost and complexity.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Electronic equipment, Test equipment and instrumentation, Thermal testing, Military vehicles and equipment

Gas Turbine Exhaust Recovery Design Improves Propulsion Efficiency

In January, Concepts NREC (CN) was awarded a Phase I Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) grant from the Navy to improve the power efficiency of its gas turbine prime movers used for ship propulsion. The eight-month analytical study is in collaboration with the Maine Maritime Academy and its principal consultant, Travis Wallace, President, Thermoelectric Power Systems, LLC. The Navy’s RFP required that the power recovery system improve the power output of the prime mover by at least 20%. However, considerations included the effects that transient power demand from the prime mover has on the waste heat flow rate and temperature, which may consequently affect the fatigue integrity of the heat exchangers and stability of the turbomachinery subsystems.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Waste heat utilization, Thermodynamics, Gas turbines, Marine vehicles and equipment

Realistic Simulation Makes Army Helmets Safer

As materials, ergonomic design, and ballistics protection have evolved, the U.S. Army helmet has improved in form and function, from the M1 of WWII, to the 29-layer Kevlar PASGT (Personnel Armor System for Ground Troops), to finally the lighter Kevlar/Twaron ACH (Advanced Combat Helmet) design of today (Figure 1). Helmet liners have progressed too, from compressed paper fibers, plastic, and rayon in the early days to more sophisticated suspension-webbing systems with chin straps constructed from stronger synthetics.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Computer simulation, Finite element analysis, Defense industry, Materials properties, Helmets

Prototyping with Multi-Layer Boards

As electronic components continue to move increasingly into surface- mount packages exclusively, prototype manufacturing firms are seeing a shift in the fabrication and assembly work needed to implement engineering prototypes. The shift is subtle but relentless; as new components come to market in SMT packages, QFPs, BGAs and the like, board design and assembly for prototypes must change to accommodate the surface mount components.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Rapid prototyping, Electronic equipment, Assembling, Fabrication

Impact of Materials on Microwave Cable Performance

The environments in which microwave cable assemblies are being used today are becoming more challenging with exposure to such conditions as extreme temperatures, chemicals, abrasion, and flexing. Additional challenges include the need for smaller, lighter packaging for cable systems that last longer and cost less. To ensure signal integrity and product reliability, it is essential to identify the electrical, mechanical, environmental, and application-specific constraints that can affect the cable’s overall performance.

Posted in: Application Briefs, RFM Catchall, Electric cables, Materials properties, Polymers

Data Fusion of Geographically Dispersed Information for Test and Evaluation

Test and evaluation relies on computer collection and manipulation of data from a myriad of sensors and sources. More computing power allows for increases in the breadth and depth of the information collected. The same computing power must assist in identifying, ordering, storing, and providing easy access to that data. Fast networking allows large clusters of high-performance computing resources to be brought to bear on test and evaluation. This increase in fidelity has correspondingly increased the volumes of data that tests are capable of generating.

Posted in: Briefs, Information Technology, Data exchange, Data management, Test procedures

Microelectromechanical System (MEMS) Switch Test

Analyzing microelectromechanical system (MEMS) switch behavior is a new field of study that guides the production of MEMS switches. One issue of primary importance is the degradation of contact resistance over the lifetime of the device, and whether small variations in the resistance initially can be prognostically used to predict future performance. Unfortunately, commercially available equipment is limited by its data collection rate, and is not a realistic option to examine every cycle of a switch expected to potentially survive for several trillion cycles. In addition, these tests must be performed on tens to hundreds of switches, necessitating the need for a parallel measurement solution.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Microelectricmechanical device, Switches, Test procedures

Test and Evaluation Uses of Heterogeneous Computing

T est and evaluation of current systems is a time-consuming process that reflects both the intricacies of the object of the test and the range of equipment, personnel, and environments required. Many argue that this process consumes far too much of the time that it takes to put new systems into the hands of the warfighters, and uses way too many resources without much obvious benefit for those in combat.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, CAD / CAM / CAE, Computer simulation, Test procedures, Military aircraft, Military vehicles and equipment

Process for Testing Aeromedical Equipment

Medical devices are designed to function in environmentally controlled locations, such as stationary hospitals, and not within the harsh, dynamic aircraft environment. Yet, the same medical devices used to care for patients in a hospital environment are often the most capable devices for patient care during transport from one facility to another. These missions are called aeromedical evacuation (AE) missions, and they provide life-sustaining care for a vast array of patients. However, because the devices are designed for a controlled environment, concerns they may adversely affect the operation of aircraft systems must be addressed. Conversely, the aircraft may adversely affect the proper operation and efficacy of the medical equipment. Failure of medical devices during in-flight medical care may result in exposing patients and aircrew to hazardous situations.

Posted in: Briefs, Physical Sciences, Architecture, Medical equipment and supplies, Aircraft operations, Risk assessments, Safety testing and procedures, Rescue and emergency vehicles and equipment