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Army, ASU Collaboration Produces Alloy with Superhero-Like Strength

Researchers from the U.S. Army Research Laboratory and Arizona State University (ASU) have designed a super-strong alloy of copper and tantalum that can withstand extreme impact and temperature. It's likely the closest material on earth to vibranium, a rare, fictitious metallic substance found in Marvel's Wakanda and used in Captain America's shield.

Its structure and deformation response make it a candidate for ballistic impact or protective applications for military vehicles or personal protection for soldiers, said Dr. Kristopher Darling, a materials scientist with ARL's Lightweight and Specialty Metals Branch. Darling said that even beyond the Army, "anywhere there's high strength and good electrical conductivity required, these alloys can be thought of as a model system whose structure can be passed on to other alternative material systems. Materials based on iron or aluminum, for instance, could be used for protection and lethality applications."

Posted in: INSIDER, News, Defense, Materials, Metals, Nanotechnology
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2018 Create the Future Design Contest: Aerospace & Defense Category Winner

DETECTING PLASTIC LANDMINES

Hidden PFM-1 anti-personnel landmines are unexploded ordnance (UXO) devices that pose a difficult challenge to conventional landmine detection methods like metal detecting because the mines are primarily composed of plastic and only weigh 75 g. As a remnant of the Soviet-Afghan War, there are an estimated 10 million such devices scattered throughout Afghanistan. These mines remain in isolated locations, frequently out of reach of de-mining nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and act to thwart local economic and social development. The PFM-1s are infamously referred to as “toy mines,” as children often mistake the mines for toys and set off the 525 kg of cumulative pressure it takes to detonate them.

Posted in: News, Articles, Aeronautics, Aerospace, Aviation, Batteries, Power Management, Power Supplies, Green Design & Manufacturing, Imaging, Composites, Materials, Metals, Data Acquisition, Detectors, Sensors, Software
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Optimizing Winglets for More Efficient Flight

Airplane winglets reduce drag, which can translate to higher speed or to allow a pilot to throttle back and save fuel. It also helps to reduce wingtip vortices that can be problematic for airplanes flying in their wake. Although winglets have been around since the mid-1970s, there is still a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and angles.

Researchers developed an algorithm that generates a wing that has the minimum drag, and ultimately will be more efficient. The integrated optimization framework will assist the current state of low-speed wing design and may also result in an improvement over the current conventional wing designs.

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Posted in: INSIDER, News, Defense, Simulation Software
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Smart Materials Boost Jet Engine Efficiency and Reduce Noise

A group of new smart materials has the potential to significantly improve the efficiency of jet engines, cutting the cost of flying. The materials, which could also reduce airplane noise over residential areas, have additional applications in a variety of other industries.

The operating temperatures of high-temperature shape memory alloys (HTSMAs) were increased by applying principles from another new class of materials: high-entropy alloys.

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NASA Tests Next-Generation Composite Wing

Two series of structural tests on a uniquely designed, high-aspect-ratio, lightweight experimental test article could demonstrate a new method of wing design and fabrication. The Passive Aeroelastic Tailored (PAT) wing – a tow steered composite wing – is the most highly instrumented wing NASA has ever tested.

The next step after completing the tests is to compare the actual results to those that were predicted and use that information to create a full-scale wing design for a commercial aircraft.

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Blast Tube Tests Simulate Shock Waves Nuclear Weapons Could Face

You can learn a lot from a blast tube when you couple blast experiments with computer modeling. Sandia National Laboratories researchers are using a blast tube configurable to 120 feet to demonstrate how well nuclear weapons could survive the shock wave of a blast from an enemy weapon and to help validate the modeling.

Sandia recently completed a two-year series of blast tube tests for one nuclear weapon program and started tests for another. Each series requires instrumentation, explosives, high-speed cameras and computer modeling. Tests simulate part of the environment a weapon re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere would face if another nuclear weapon went off nearby, said test director Nathan Glenn.

Posted in: News, Data Acquisition, Defense, Research Lab, Data Acquisition, Sensors, Test & Measurement
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Unique Chamber Gives Air Force Real-World Corrosion Test Capabilities

Aircraft corrosion is a multi-faceted issue that requires more than a simple, one-dimensional approach. To enable Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) personnel to arrive at a complete picture and find out how to best protect valuable military assets, a unique solution was required.

Enter the Accelerated Combined-Effects Simulation test apparatus (ACES). This test chamber, custom-designed under the direction of AFRL through a Small Business Innovative Research effort, allows AFRL researchers to recreate the broad range of simultaneous environmental conditions under which military assets operate, including UV radiation, temperature, humidity, and various gaseous environments. Dynamic fixtures allow for test specimens to be pulled and flexed to further simulate the structural stresses aircraft experience during flight conditions.

Posted in: News, Data Acquisition, Defense, Ceramics, Coatings & Adhesives, Composites, Materials, Metals, Plastics, Research Lab, Data Acquisition, Sensors, Instrumentation, Monitoring, Test & Measurement
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Army Developing Next Generation Combat Vehicles

While the Army's current combat fleet is composed of very capable vehicles, they have been in the inventory for decades and their ability to overmatch peer capabilities in close combat is starting to wane. As the Army prepares for future combat operations, it needs new platforms, with future growth margins, to maintain the ability to dominate the battlefield.

This is a challenge for the Next Generation Combat Vehicle Cross-Functional Team (NGCV CFT) to solve. The NGCV CFT was established as part of the Army's modernization strategy and consists of hand-selected military and civilian personnel who are charged with narrowing or closing Cross Domain Maneuver capability gaps. The current NGCV CFT portfolio encompasses the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV); Mobile Protected Firepower (MPF); Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle (OMFV); future robotic combat vehicles (RCV); and the next generation main battle tank.

Posted in: News, Defense, Automation, Automotive, Transportation
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Tiny Satellites Track Global Storms

NASA’s RainCube, a satellite small enough to fit in a backpack, shrinks weather radar into a low-cost, miniature satellite that can provide a real-time look inside storms. The satellite’s umbrella-like antenna sends out chirps, or specialized radar signals, that bounce off raindrops, bringing back a picture of what the inside of the storm looks like.

Because RainCube is miniaturized, making it less expensive to launch, many more of the satellites could be sent into orbit. Flying together like geese, they could track storms, relaying updated information on them every few minutes.

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Insect-Inspired Micro-Drone

A flying robot, developed by TU Delft researchers, is an autonomous, free-flying and agile flapping-wing micro-drone. Inspired by fruit flies, the robot’s control mechanisms have proved to be highly effective, allowing it not only to hover on the spot and fly in any direction, but also be very agile. The robot has a top speed of 25 km/h, can perform aggressive maneuvers, and provides 5 minutes of hovering flight or more than a 1-km flight range on a fully charged battery.

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