News 1998 Army Science and Technology Master Plan



5. Chemistry

This area includes research on CBD 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 NLO 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–27 summarizes international research capabilities for each major program. The advanced materials research program has been listed by subarea.

a. Chemical and Biological Defense

A number of countries are active in materials R&D for CBD. The U.K. and Canada have world–class capability and have ongoing efforts to provide better defense against CB agents. They have been at the forefront of CBD for years and can be expected to continue to devote resources in this area. Israel, Sweden, Finland, France, Germany, the Czech Republic, Poland, China, the Netherlands, and Japan also have some capabilities. For the most part, efforts are more concentrated in the biological area where the need is greatest. Australia, Russia, and Ukraine also have significant programs in this area.

b. Advanced Materials Research

The processing of 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 U.K., France, and Russia have strong efforts in preparation and characterization of NLO materials, and Japan and Israel have credible capabilities. Hungary and China are also working extensively in this area.

Smart materials are ones that 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

Table E–27.  International Research Capabilities—Chemistry

Technology

United Kingdom

France

Germany

Japan

Asia/Pacific Rim

FSU

Other Countries

Chemical & Biological Defense 1s.gif (931 bytes) Detection; protection; decon 2s.gif (968 bytes) Detection; protection; decon 2s.gif (968 bytes) Detection; protection; decon 5s.gif (958 bytes) Detection; protection; decon China

2s.gif (968 bytes) Detection; protection; decon

Australia

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Russia, Ukraine

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Canada

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Poland, Sweden, Czech Republic, Finland

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Netherlands

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Israel

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NLO Materials for Laser Protection 2s.gif (968 bytes) 2s.gif (968 bytes) 5s.gif (958 bytes) 5s.gif (958 bytes)   Russia

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Israel, Hungary

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Smart Materials   4s.gif (949 bytes) 4s.gif (949 bytes) 2s.gif (968 bytes) South Korea

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Russia

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Israel, Netherlands, Switzerland

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Polymer Composites (Structural) 2s.gif (968 bytes) 2s.gif (968 bytes) 1s.gif (931 bytes) 1s.gif (931 bytes) South Korea, China

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India

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Russia

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Canada

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Israel, Spain

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Sweden, Finland

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Polymer Composites (Ballistic Protection) 1s.gif (931 bytes) 5s.gif (958 bytes) 5s.gif (958 bytes) 5s.gif (958 bytes)   Russia

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Israel

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Fire Retardants for Vehicles 2s.gif (968 bytes) 2s.gif (968 bytes) 5s.gif (958 bytes)       Israel

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Surface Resistance to Wear & Corrosion 1s.gif (931 bytes) 2s.gif (968 bytes) 1s.gif (931 bytes) 1s.gif (931 bytes) South Korea, China, India

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Russia, Ukraine

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Switzerland, Sweden

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Canada, Italy, Netherlands, Israel

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Explosives & Propellants 2s.gif (968 bytes) 5s.gif (958 bytes) 1s.gif (931 bytes) 1s.gif (931 bytes) Singapore, South Korea

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2s.gif (968 bytes) Sweden, Israel, Canada

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Soldier Power 1s.gif (931 bytes) 1s.gif (931 bytes) 1s.gif (931 bytes) 5s.gif (958 bytes)   Russia

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Israel, Canada

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Demilitarization, Installation Restoration, & Pollution Prevention 1s.gif (931 bytes) 2s.gif (968 bytes) 2s.gif (968 bytes) 5s.gif (958 bytes)   5s.gif (958 bytes)  
Note: See Annex E, Section A.6 for explanation of key numerals.

alloys), layer–by–layer design of materials, materials with defect structures that 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. Japan is a clear leader in some aspects. France, Germany, and South Korea have growing programs.

Thick–sectioned glass reinforced composites are of interest to the Army because they offer weight savings while providing other systems–useful, stringent characteristics with controlled costs. Thick–sectioned composites of this kind offer the Army much in structural integrity. Most overseas work in this area is now done in the commercial sector and is focused on manufacturing and processing issues. Major foreign capabilities in this area are rather widespread, including significant work in the U.K., France, Germany, and Japan.

Polymer matrix composites (PMCs) 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 U.K., France, Canada, Germany, and Japan all have broad capabilities and research in PMCs. Israel, Spain, and South Korea have important and growing capabilities.

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 U.K., 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 U.K., Germany, Japan, France, Sweden, and Switzerland with niche capabilities existing elsewhere.

c. Explosives and Propellants

Basic research is often undertaken to solve problems of explosive and 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 U.K. 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 Korea. Research in the FSU suffers from lack of operating capital.

d. Soldier Power

Soldier power embraces a menu of appliances that provide the 21st century warrior with power sources and devices to enable advanced sensors, communications, and other man–portable weapons and 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 U.K., Germany, and France are leaders in these technologies with Japan close behind. All of these countries have significant programs in the development of nickel metal hydride (Ni–M–H) and Li batteries. Russia, Canada, and Israel have significant capabilities as well.

e. Demilitarization, Installation Restoration, and Pollution Prevention

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

The following highlight a few selected examples of specific facilities engaged in chemistry research:

Finland—Technical Research Center of Finland (VTT) Chemical TechnologyVTT is the largest institute of its type in Finland. It is headquartered in Helsinki, with a number of branch laboratories spread throughout the nation. VTT works with both industry and government, and focuses research in nine areas, including chemical technology, energy, and nuclear safety. VTT also is working with several American companies as well as NASA and the Department of Energy. VTT Chemical Technology has active programs in nonpolluting processes and waste reduction, polymer and fiber technology, catalyst research, atmospheric emission monitoring, and flywheels for automotive applications.

Germany—German Aerospace Research Institute (DLR)DLR is among the leaders of the worldclass German efforts in the development of new fuel cell systems. Significant work is being done in development of synthesis and processing techniques for electrode structures in polymer electrolyte fuel cell (PEFC) systems. These cells can provide compact and efficient power systems for vehicles with low–toxic emission levels. Other projects include studies of new catalysis materials for the PEFC systems and oxide high–temperature fuel cells. DLR also participates extensively in cooperative R&D projects with German and international industry and government, including programs on PEFCs with Siemens; thermal plasma chemical vapor deposition with the University of Minnesota; and the study of electrochemical energy conversion and materials in fuel cells with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Switzerland—SmartecSmartec is developing smart composite structures with embedded fiber optic sensors for quality control and health monitoring. Sensors can be used to detect failures, changes in length, and structural stability caused by temperature variation or during mission performance. Smartec has developed a fiber sensor system using mirrored fiber ends or reflector pairs for inline multiplexing. The technology is being used in laboratory optical tables, bridges, and tunnels. The firm is an outgrowth of work performed at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology as part of the French Surveillance d’Ouverages par Fibres Optiques project.

Hungary—TTKL Research Laboratory for Crystal PhysicsThis laboratory specializes in the development of material preparation, purification, and crystal growth of optical single crystals. The laboratory grows crystals of LiNbO3 and various borates for NLO applications, Li2B4O7 for surface acoustic wave applications, and photorefractive bismuth oxides. Research also includes studies on the growth, structure, and physical properties of the crystals. The laboratory helps organize the Oxide Crystal Network, which fosters the exchange of information, research samples, and expertise among academic and commercial centers in 30 institutions located in 20 European countries. One of these activities is the preparation of crystals, including choosing the composition, dopants, crystal growth methods, and thermal treatments. Another principal activity is the development of standard experimental characterization and less standard theoretical modeling methods.

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