Editorial Feature

Nanotechnology in the Aerospace and Defence Industry - Factors Driving Nanomaterial Developments

Structural materials are a critical area in aerospace and defence. In recent years, a number of factors have motivated the development and use of improved structural materials and manufacturing processes.

Demand For New Products With Unique Performance

Demand for new products with unique performance requirements: Needed to enhance basic capabilities, including range, payload, speed, and operating cost, all of which have been served by improvements in structural materials. In aircraft engine materials, there are demands for more thrust and better fuel efficiency which has led to higher operating temperatures, lower engine weights, and increased rotor operating stresses.

Demand For Improved Performance And Extended Life

Demand for improved performance or extended life of existing products: Space programs offer significant opportunities to use new structural materials to improve existing systems i.e. increase the payload per mission by reducing the weight of the shuttle system itself. Increasing the structural efficiency and using stronger, lighter materials can best accomplish such weight reductions. There is also a need to deal with age-related problems such as fatigue cracking, corrosion, and wear.

The Desire Of Aerospace Manufacturers For New Materials

Aerospace manufacturers are eager to adopt new materials that offer even a slight reduction in weight, and the desire for lighter planes continues to drive the demand for advanced materials in the aerospace market. Nanostructural materials show tremendous promise for structural applications. Composite materials have been widely used by the aerospace and defence industries because of their superior performance properties.

The Current And Future Applications Of Nanocomposites

Nanocomposites are already making their way into cars and are achieving 10-15% weight and strength improvements, with a promise of 20 25%. Nanotechnology also promises to make significant contributions to the problems associated with the aging civilian and military, aircraft and rotorcraft fleets.

Primary author: Institute of Nanotechnology

Source: Introduction to Nanotechnology CD ROM

For more information on this source please visit Institute of Nanotechnology

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