Army Developing Lasers That Pierce Fog, Dust to Destroy Targets

A lot of people think that high-energy lasers, or HELs, can't penetrate fog, rain and dust, said Thomas Webber, director of the Directed Energy Division's Technical Center, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command. That's just plain wrong.

Posted in: News, Defense, Lasers & Laser Systems, Optics

Expert INSIDER: How Mehdi Khorrami Uses Simulation to Address Aircraft Noise

NASA’s Mehdi Khorrami explains how he uses high-performance computing to handle one of the FAA’s biggest complaints: aircraft noise.
Posted in: News, News, Aeronautics, Aerospace, Aviation, Simulation Software, Software

Quality Control for Additive Manufacturing Parts Using Non-Destructive Testing

Additive Manufacturing (AM) is growing in importance as a fabrication process for the space industry, enabling weight and cost savings through optimized designs for components. The use of AM gives aerospace engineers an alternative to more traditional manufacturing processes, but also retains the challenge of producing parts without defects. These problems can be approached using nondestructive methods such as X-ray Computed Tomography (CT) and Finite Element Modelling (FEM) to inspect geometries and quantify the impact of defects on the mechanical properties of a part, taking into account factors such as internal stress from metal cooling during fabrication.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Additive manufacturing, Parts, Quality control, Non-destructive tests

Developing a Conformal Coating Process for Aerospace Applications

Conformal coatings protect electronic circuits from harsh environments via a chemical film that “conforms” to a circuit board’s topography. These coatings protect against moisture, chemicals, contamination, vibration, corrosion, and thermal stress while improving product reliability by reducing failures. The benefits conformal coating can provide often vary in importance by industry. In aerospace electronics there is an emphasis on benefits of protection from corrosive gasses, outgassing, tin whiskers, and radiation. For the purpose of this article, we will focus on liquid coating materials.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Electronic equipment, Spraying, Coatings Colorants and Finishes

Designing With MIL-STD-1553B Components

The interconnected backbone of a MIL-STD-1553B vehicle depends on the electrical and mechanical reliability of the components, the design, and the installation. With the vast array of MIL-STD-1553B specified sub-assemblies, there are factors that can go overlooked for passive components such as couplers, cables, and connectors. Often built with kilometers of wiring, aircraft in particular can be difficult to troubleshoot and must be inspected frequently for potential failures such as intermittent connections, shorts, and corrosion. Still, these passive components that make up the network can be individually assessed to operate with a high level of integrity.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Board-Level Electronics, Computers, Electronic Components, Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Power Management, Connectors and terminals, Electric cables, Wiring, Reliability

New Products & Services: December 2017 Aerospace Manufacturing & Fabrication

Metric-Sized Metal Shapes

Parker Steel Company (Maumee, OH) offers metric-sized metals suitable for applications where presized metric parts are needed. Parker Steel’s cold-finished carbon steel, alloyed and high-strength stainless steel, aluminum, copper, brass and tool steel bars/shafting, tubing, sheets and plates, angles, channels and tees; and other specialty shapes can be shipped out the same day as ordered with very few exceptions.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Coatings & Adhesives, Materials, Metals, Data Acquisition, Detectors, Sensors, Computer-Aided Design (CAD), Simulation Software, Software, Measuring Instruments, Monitoring, Test & Measurement, Product development, Fabrication, Steel

Identifying and Isolating Signals Using Radio Frequency Photonics

A single antenna can be used for both transmission and reception. To accomplish this, the transmission must be isolated from the reception. In Figure 1, a radio frequency (RF) circulator is connected right after the antenna. The three-port device separates the transmit path from the receive path. After the circulator, a system can be used to identify the frequency of different signals. Once the frequency has been found, a filter with the right pass-band frequency can be used to isolate signals from each other.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Communications, Wireless, Fiber Optics, Lasers & Laser Systems, Optical Components, Optics, Photonics, Antennas, Radio equipment

Joint Effects Targeting System

U.S. Army Operational Test Command
Fort Hood, TX

Forward observers, experts in directing artillery and mortar fire onto enemy targets, have been testing a new piece of targeting equipment recently. “Black Falcon” soldiers of Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 2nd Battalion, 319th Field Artillery Regiment, put their hands on the Joint Effects Targeting System (JETS) — a modular, man-portable, hand-held, day/night, all-weather, target observation, location, and designation system. Components of the JETS include a Handheld Target Location Module (HTLM); a Laser Marker Module (LMM); and a Precision Azimuth Vertical Angle Module, all mounted atop a tripod.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Defense, Trajectory control, Lasers, Military vehicles and equipment

Using Thermoplastic Composites for Aerospace Applications

Recent advancements in composite production and processing are making thermoplastics a viable option in a wider array of aerospace applications.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Composites, Materials, Composite materials, Thermoplastics

High Temperature Graphene-Peek Adhesive

Joining of composites can be a challenging issue. If adhesives are used, the joints are permanent and cannot be undone. If they need to be undone, inserts are often used and these inserts increase cost and weight. Additionally, fibers can be cut in the process leading to a part with weakened mechanical properties.

Posted in: Briefs, Aerospace, Joining, Adhesives and sealants, Composite materials, Materials properties