News 1998 Army Science and Technology Master Plan

8. Mechanical Sciences

Table E–30 summarizes international research capabilities in each major subarea of mechanical sciences.

a. Structures and Dynamics

The area of structures and dynamics consists of structural dynamics and simulation and air vehicle dynamics. Within structural dynamics, priority research applies to ground vehicle and multibody dynamics, structural damping, and smart structures. The goal of significant vibration reduction in Army vehicles offers substantial increases in weapons platform stability, weapons system reliability, weapons lethality, and crew performance. Within air vehicle dynamics, priority research applies to integrated aeromechanics analysis, rotorcraft numerical analysis, helicopter blade loads and dynamics, and projectile elasticity. In solid mechanics, research areas are the mechanical behavior of materials, integrity and reliability of structures, and tribology. These contribute to damage tolerance, damage control, and life prediction, while tribology contributes to lubrication, dynamic friction, and low–heat rejection.

In the field of structures and dynamics, the U.K., Germany, Italy, France, and Japan all demonstrate world–class capabilities in smart/active structures and M&S development. India, South Korea, China, Brazil, Israel, South Africa, Poland, Russia, and Ukraine all demonstrate potential future capabilities in the same area. However, the potential of Russia and Ukraine appears to be dwindling because of lack of resources. The U.K. also demonstrates a world–class capability in structural acoustic research and development.

Table E–30.  International Research Capabilities—Mechanical Sciences


United Kingdom




Asia/Pacific Rim


Other Countries

Structures & Dynamics 1s.gif (931 bytes) Smart/active structures; structural acoustics; M&S 1s.gif (931 bytes) Smart/active structures; M&S 1s.gif (931 bytes) Smart/active structures; M&S 1s.gif (931 bytes) Smart/active structures; M&S India, China, South Korea

4s.gif (949 bytes) Smart/active structures; M&S

Russia, Ukraine

4s.gif (949 bytes) Smart/active structures; M&S


1s.gif (931 bytes) Smart/active structures; M&S

Brazil, Israel, South Africa, Poland

4s.gif (949 bytes) Smart/active structures; M&S

Fluid Dynamics 1s.gif (931 bytes) CFD; theoretical

2s.gif (968 bytes) Experimental

1s.gif (931 bytes) CFD; theoretical

2s.gif (968 bytes) Experimental

2s.gif (968 bytes) Experimental

5s.gif (958 bytes) CFD; theoretical

1s.gif (931 bytes) CFD; theoretical

5s.gif (958 bytes) Experimental

  Russia, Ukraine

6s.gif (990 bytes) CFD

3s.gif (977 bytes) Experimental; theoretical


1s.gif (931 bytes) CFD


5s.gif (958 bytes) Experimental; theoretical

Combustion & Propulsion 1s.gif (931 bytes) Small GT; reciprocating engines; solid/liquid gun 1s.gif (931 bytes) Small GT; solid gun

4s.gif (949 bytes) Reciprocating engines

1s.gif (931 bytes) Reciprocating engines; solid gun

4s.gif (949 bytes) Small GT

1s.gif (931 bytes) Reciprocating engines

4s.gif (949 bytes) Solid/liquid gun; small GT

South Korea

4s.gif (949 bytes) Solid gun; reciprocating engine

South Korea, India

5s.gif (958 bytes) Solid gun


1s.gif (931 bytes) Novel gun propulsion

2s.gif (968 bytes) Small GT; reciprocating engine

Canada, Australia

1s.gif (931 bytes) Solid gun; reciprocating engines; small GT

Note: See Annex E, Section A.6 for explanation of key numerals.


b. Fluid Dynamics

Basic research in fluid dynamics can directly contribute to advances in predicting the capabilities of maneuvering projectiles. Future advances would enhance the ability to predict the capabilities of smart munitions, integrated propulsion systems, flight dynamics, guidance and control, and structural dynamics within the Army. Fluid dynamics research priority areas are unsteady aerodynamics, aeroacoustics, and vortex dominated flows. Complementary research on CFD of multibody aerodynamics would provide a capability to predict and define submunition dispensing systems. Multidisciplinary research in this area will lead to hypervelocity launch technology as well as low speed military delivery systems.

A balanced world–class capability in the theoretical, experimental and CFD elements of fluid dynamics research is not resident in any single foreign country. There are a number of examples of world–class capability in specific areas of research that hold promise for military applications. CFD studies in the U.K., France, and Japan can contribute significantly to missile, rotor, and explosive design. France and Japan also excel in theoretical ability and Japan also exhibits excellent experimental ability. The U.K., France, and Germany are maintaining a mature experimental capability. Both Russia and Ukraine have had mature experimental and theoretical ability; however, they show a declining capability, largely due to a lack of resources.

c. Combustion and Propulsion

Combustion and propulsion research supports advanced technology development providing continued advancement in small gas turbine engine propulsion, reciprocating engine propulsion, and solid, liquid, and novel gun propulsion technology. The development of high–performance small gas turbine engines requires basic research in turbomachinery stall and surge, as well as advances in CFD simulation. These basic research areas directly contribute to highly loaded, efficient turbomachinery components. This type of research is necessary to meet the integrated high–performance turbine engine technology goals of a 120 percent increase in turboshaft power–to–weight ratio. Reciprocating engine technology research tends to move forward at a more evolutionary pace with advances in ultra–low heat rejection, enhanced air utilization, and cold start phenomena as priority areas. Solid gun propulsion technology requires research priority to be placed on ignition and combustion dynamics and high performance solid propellant charge concepts. Liquid gun propulsion requires priority research in atomization and spray combustion, ignition and combustion mechanisms, and combustion instability, hazards and vulnerability. Novel gun propulsion depends on ECT propulsion, active control mechanisms, and novel ignition mechanisms.

In the combustion and propulsion area, the U.K. and France both demonstrate world–class capabilities in small gas turbine engine development. Canada, Germany, and Japan approach this level of capability in limited areas, but show good potential over the next decade to make significant contributions to small gas turbine power–to–weight ratio improvement. Germany leads in reciprocating engine development technology with Japan also demonstrating world–class capability. Both countries particularly excel in the application of ceramic materials to low heat rejection technology. The U.K. also demonstrates excellent reciprocating engine development capability, with France, Canada, Australia, and South Korea exhibiting good future potential. Russia and Ukraine both have demonstrated mature capability in the past, however, limited resources reflect a declining future potential. Novel gun propulsion technology leadership is still maintained by Russia, however, its future growth potential may be muted. Liquid gun propulsion development technology is led by the U.K., with Japan showing significant potential. Solid gun propulsion development technology is resident in a number of countries, including the U.K., France, Germany, Canada, and Australia. Japan and South Africa both demonstrate significant future potential.

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

Europe—Optical Sensing Technologies for Intelligent Composites (OSTIC). The European community organized the OSTIC project to explore the developing field of "smart technologies." The participants include Strathclyde University and AEA Harwell Co. in England, Italy’s CIS and Allenia Corp., EDF in France, and Germany’s MBB Corp. This research is focused on health monitoring by fiber optical embedding in composites, airplane maintenance surveillance systems, signal processing, and neural network processing and device technologies.

Germany—German Aerospace Research Establishment (DLR)The DLR constitutes seven research centers and 26 institutes. Its mission is to develop new technologies, perform scientific investigations, and test materials and equipment s in cooperation with numerous national and international industries and universities. Specific institutes include the Institute of Fluid Mechanics, the Institute of Structural Mechanics, and the Institute for Structures and Design. Its basic research focus is on aviation, space flight, and energy technology. Current research includes studies in structural control in relation to vibrational control for space structures, fixed–wing planes, and helicopters.

France—Aerospatiale Space and Defense. Aerospatiale has expertise in the field of computational fluid mechanics. In particular, it excels at numerical modeling of rarefied gases, modeling of moving bodies, and modeling of viscous reactive flows for complex geometries not in chemical or vibrational equilibrium. Aerospatiale is responsible for proposing and carrying out design analysis on such systems as launchers, missiles, satellites, and space capsules. Research projects are multidisciplinary and are typically about 10 years in duration.

Japan—Engineering Research Association for a Supersonic/Hypersonic Transport Propulsion System ProjectThe Japanese government’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization established a project which has the goal of developing the technologies needed for the production of a supersonic commercial jetliner that has a low–noise propulsion system, good fuel consumption, low levels of exhaust emissions, and has the ability to reach speeds of Mach 5. Its research is focused on ramjets, high–performance turbojets, measurement and control systems, and ultra–high–temperature generators.

United Kingdom—Aerophysics, Defense Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA)Aerophysics is a part of the DERA Weapon Systems Sector. It executes a coordinated program of R&D in the areas of aerophysics and hypersonic flows. Within the section, an integrated group of experimental and computational scientists and engineers, with a wide variety of technical expertise and backgrounds, work closely together. Notable ongoing research is in the field of plasma aerodynamics. A joint U.K. DERA/Ministry of Defense (MoD) research initiative to examine FSU claims of significant drag reduction with applications to aircraft and missiles is currently under way.

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