MEMs

Remote-Controlled Aerial Vehicle for Application of Pesticides

AFRL demonstrated its Remotely Controlled Aerial Vehicle for Application of Pesticides (RCAVAP) at the Force Protection Equipment Demonstration (FPED) conducted at Quantico Marine Corps Base, Virginia. During times of war, disease has historically caused more deaths than bullets, far outnumbering any other cause. Consider, for example, the Mexican-American war. Over 1,000 soldiers were killed in action, 529 died of wounds sustained on the battlefield, 362 suffered accidental death, and 11,155 perished from disease— mostly yellow fever, a viral illness transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito. During World War II, malaria ravaged the troops. Spread by the female anopheline mosquito, the disease affected thousands of American soldiers. More recently, a single 2-week period in Baqubah, Iraq, saw 250 cases of cutaneous leishmaniasis, a disfiguring parasitic disease spread by the female sandfly.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components
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AFRL Proves Feasibility of Plasma Actuators

AFRL is laying the groundwork for the development of revolutionary hypersonic aerospace vehicles (see Figure 1). Accordingly, AFRL engineers are examining the feasibility of replacing an air vehicle's traditional, mechanically or electrically actuated flight control surfaces (e.g., wing flaps) with plasma actuators that require no moving parts and are therefore potentially less expensive and more reliable. As part of the laboratory's Boundary Layers and Hypersonics program, the engineers conducted a wind tunnel test to evaluate the feasibility of using plasma actuators for airframe flight control.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components
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Composites Design and Structural Analysis Tool

AFRL researchers developed a unique design and structural analysis tool for composite materials, and they subsequently transitioned their product to manufacturers of helicopters and other rotorcraft. The new tool, the B-Spline Analysis Method (BSAM), makes it quicker and less expensive to characterize and predict the behavior of flaws or damage in the structures used to build these aircraft. AFRL developed the technology in coordination with the University of Dayton Research Institute (UDRI) and the United Technologies Research Center (UTRC) and then transitioned it to Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials
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Corrosion Suppression Technologies and Techniques

Members of AFRL's Air Force Corrosion Prevention and Control Office (AFCPCO) teamed with corrosion experts from Warner Robins Air Logistics Center to assess environmentally induced damage to systems and equipment subjected to extended operations in Southwest Asia (SWA). The purpose of the ongoing assessment effort is to observe the effects of sand and dust intrusion on Air Force (AF) weapons systems and sensitive support equipment (see figure), analyze sands from various locations, and compare corrosion prevention and control policies and inspection requirements from prewar to present-day operations. As the investigation proceeds, team members are providing progressive and alternative approaches to corrosion prevention and control, wet and dry cleaning, and aircraft maintenance tasks performed in rigorous environmental conditions.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials
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Enhanced Blast-Resistant Windows

AFRL entered into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with Dlubak Technologies, Inc., of Freeport, Pennsylvania, to pursue ongoing research in blast-resistant window and glazing technologies. Dlubak Technologies—a 50-year-old glass manufacturing company—provided fullscale window and frame products (see Figure 1) to AFRL for blast mitigation testing at AFRL's Sky Ten Range, Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials
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Friction Stir Welding of Aerospace Materials

AFRL scientists are studying a unique metal joining process— friction stir welding (FSW)—for building major structural assemblies. FSW is a solid-state welding process that forces a spinning tool along the joint line, heating the abutting components by friction and producing a weld joint formed by strong plastic mixing (stirring) of the two components' constituent materials. FSW promises to be a highly efficient and cost- effective alternative to the conventional fusion welding routinely used for joining structural alloys on military and civilian aircraft.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials
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Intelligence Fusion System Tracks Mobile Targets

Current intelligence fusion systems are not accurately and quickly performing the intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) fusion necessary for tracking moving targets that use camouflage, concealment, and deception to avoid detection. Combatant commanders require a more flexible and responsive capability to engage fleeting and mobile targets.

Posted in: Briefs, Information Technology
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Integrated Aircraft Oxygen Sensor

Shortly after its takeoff from New York City on July 17, 1996, Trans World Airlines (TWA) Flight 800 exploded over the Atlantic Ocean and crashed. The accident investigation board determined that the center wing fuel tank caught fire and exploded. Although the ignition source remains unknown, it was unquestionably the presence of a combustible fuel/air mixture in the center wing fuel tank that caused the resulting

explosion.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials
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Multi-Fabric Switching Enables New Architectures for Military Systems

With multiple switched interconnects gaining momentum in the embedded space, selecting just one to address a wide range of military systems requirements is not easy.

Individually, switched fabrics such as Gigabit Ethernet (GbE), Serial RapidIO (SRIO), and PCI Express (PCIe) have their own particular technical merits, and each is poised to carve out a piece of the interconnect market. However, when combined in nextgeneration Serial Switched Backplanes (SSB) like VPX (VITA 46/48), multi-fabric switching can enable powerful new military architectures by leveraging 'best of breed' interconnect technology to address specific application requirements ( Figure 1).

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Embedded software, Switches, Military vehicles and equipment
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Multicores Affect Algorithm Choices

Design engineers soon will need to bridge the growing gap between hardware reality and software capabilities in the highperformance computing (HPC) realm as the use of multicore microprocessors grows. If your software development or sourcing plans haven't anticipated these development situations, your applications may have a shorter life than you had planned.

The 2006 version of technical computing "reality" is an inexpensive dual-core processor from AMD or Intel on a desktop system, or a dual- or quad-core RISC processor from Sun or IBM running on a server. In 2007, we should expect to see inexpensive quad-core processors from AMD and Intel, and processors with up to eight or more cores in 2008. These small symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) systems will be a far cry from the proprietary $500,000+ SMP systems of a few years ago. This technology transition has big implications for the "democratization" of computing power. On the horizon are four- to eightcore systems that cost only a few thousand dollars and sit on the desk of every design engineer.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Application Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Mathematical models, Computer software / hardware, Systems engineering
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