Annex E. International Armaments Strategy
Army Science and Technology Master Plan (ASTMP 1997)


E. Chemistry

This area includes important research on chemical/biological defense and on a number of advanced materials. Advanced materials provide the Army with capabilities for new and improved systems and devices. Performance, life cycle cost, sustainability, maintainability, costs, availability, etc. are all strongly influenced by advances in materials. The Army is especially interested in nonlinear optical materials for laser protection, smart materials, structural polymer composites, ballistic protection polymer composites, fire retardants for vehicles, and surface resistance to corrosion and wear, among other topics. These are areas where special Army requirements place stringent demands on materials, and especially on materials chemistry. Table E.III-4 summarizes international research capabilities for each major subarea.

Table E.III-4. Chemistry

CHEMISTRY UNITED KINGDOM FRANCE GERMANY OTHER COUNTRIES JAPAN PACIFIC RIM FSU
Chemical/Biological Defense Detection, Protection, Decontami- nation
Detection, Protection, Decontami- nation
Detection, Protection, Decontami- nation
Netherlands Sweden Finland Detection, Protection, Decontami- nation
Detection, Protection, Decontami- nation
China Detection, Protection, Decontami- nation
Russia Ukraine Detection, Protection, Decontami- nation
NLO Materials for Laser Protection Israel
  Russia
Smart Materials   Israel Netherlands
S. Korea
Russia
Polymer Composites (Structural) Canada
Israel
Spain
Sweden
S. Korea

China

India
Russia
Polymer Composites (Ballistic Protection)

Israel

  Russia
Fire Retardants for Vehicles    
Surface Resistance to Wear and Corrosion Switzerland
Sweden
Canada
Netherlands
Italy
Israel
S. Korea

China

India
Russia Ukraine
Explosives and Propellants Sweden
Israel
Canada

Singapore S. Korea

Soldier Power
Demilitarization, Restoration, and Pollution Prevention

A number of countries are active in materials research and development for chemical/biological defense. Generally, European countries as well as Japan and China have world class capability and have ongoing efforts to provide better defense against chemical and biological agents. For the most part, efforts are more concentrated in the biological area where the need is greatest. Russia and Ukraine also have programs, however, no country is seen to be making greater strides than the others. The United Kingdom has been at the forefront of CB defense for years and can be expected to continue to devote resources in this area.

The nonlinear optical (NLO) materials area is of importance to the Army because they are required for wavelength conversion in some laser systems and in personnel eye protection. The materials must be very uniform, of very high purity, and the selection of useful materials currently is limited. The UK, France, and Russia have strong efforts in preparation and characterization of NLO materials, and Japan and Israel have credible capabilities. China is also working intensively in this area.

Smart materials are ones which can sustain sensory capabilities, actuator activity, and information processing as part of their basic microstructure. Design, synthesis, and processing of such materials is a chemical challenge, as it is done at the atomic/molecular level. Applications such as damage detection and control, vibration damping, and precision manipulation and control motivate the field. At the microstructural level, challenging areas of interest include phase transitions (e.g., shape memory alloys), layer-by-layer design of materials, materials with defect structures which can sustain sensing and responses, biocomposites, piezoelectric ceramics, multifunctional macromolecules, and others. This area offers large payoffs in areas such as delamination control of composite helicopter blades and increased battlefield survivability of materials via active damage control. World activity in smart materials continues to grow rapidly. The Army program is at the leading edges for smart materials. Japan is a clear leader in some aspects. France, Germany, and South Korea have growing programs.

Structural polymer composites are of interest to the Army because they offer weight savings while providing other systems-useful, stringent characteristics, with controlled costs. Much attention is being given to processing, the nature of the interface between the polymer matrix and the reinforcing phase, and resistance to environmental degradation. Thick section composites of this kind offer the Army much in structural integrity. Major foreign capabilities in this area are rather widespread. The UK, France, Canada, Germany, and Japan all have broad capabilities and research in polymer matrix composites. Israel, Spain, and South Korea have important and growing capabilities.

Similarly polymer matrix composites offer much to the Army for ballistic protection for personnel, equipment, emplacements, and vehicles. The challenges are to learn how to make very high quality material at a controlled, low cost and to understand and improve upon dynamic response for these materials. The UK and Israel have strong capabilities in polymer matrix composites for ballistic protection. France, Germany, Japan, and Russia also have developing capabilities in this area.

Fire retarding materials for vehicles are of significance to the Army to protect personnel from conflagrations and to allow Army assets to return to operation as rapidly as possible. These materials are essential in order to enable Army systems to perform under battlefield conditions. This capability allows for sustainability of vehicles involved in force projection and advanced land combat. In addition to fire retardancy, these materials must be easily applied to vehicles and also not produce toxic products when experiencing high temperatures. The countries with strong capabilities in these areas are the UK, France, and Israel.

Wear and corrosion cost the Army several billion dollars each year due to premature failures, excessive wear of systems and components, application and removal of protective coatings and paints, and the need to have high spares inventories to meet all of these challenges. Corrosion control and avoidance is a challenging scientific area, as is tribology (the study of surfaces in contact). Elements of materials science, chemistry, and mechanics enter into understanding these systems-defined problem areas. These areas are exceptionally important for maintainability and affordability, in terms of life cycle costs, for Army systems. Nearly all industrialized nations have programs of some extent in wear and corrosion. The strongest are in the UK, Germany, Japan, France, and also Sweden and Switzerland, with niche capabilities existing elsewhere.

Basic research is often undertaken to solve problems of explosive/propellant effectiveness or to compile properties sufficient to improve detection or identification. Army applications include the basic outgassing chemistry for detection of mines and charges. Chemistry used to mimic vehicle IR signatures is applicable to decoy flares. Chemistry of propellant bonding provides insight into the life cycle projections for Army missile systems. Germany, with a world class tradition of expertise in chemistry, leads in most of these areas. Traditional leadership in the UK across broad chemistry areas is fertile for international interest. Japan's space interest promote expertise in missile propellants. Long-term military requirements underscore ongoing basic research in Israel, Singapore and the Republic of Korea. Research in the FSU suffers from lack of operating capital

Soldier power embraces a menu of appliances which provide the 21st century warrior with power sources and devices to enable advanced sensors, communications and other electrical devices. This suite of tools will enhance the soldier's situational awareness and provide a selection of force applications tailored to varying situations. Power sources of importance include electrolytes for fuel cells and batteries of advanced and environmentally friendly types. The UK, Germany, and France are leaders in these technologies with Japan close behind.

The U.S. has a strong lead in research related to demilitarization, restoration, and pollution prevention. Sensing pollution, destroying pollutants and practices which prevent pollution all lead to more efficient or more effective military operation. Of foreign countries, the UK has the strongest potential. France and Germany follow, but their potential for military applications is weaker due to budgetary constraints.