Nanotechnology in Defense
Military types haven’t failed to notice that
nanotechnology could make a big difference to how troops function,
travel, and stay safe. The options range from what the well-dressed
soldier will wear to methods for making aircraft that can chnage shape
while the plane is in flight.
Nanotechnology in Defense: Applications under Developement
The Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies (ISN)
are in the business
of developing and taking advantage of nanotechnology to help soldiers
survive in battle conditions. A nanobattlesuit is being developed that could be as thin as spandex and
contain health monitors and communications equipment. Nanomaterials can
also provide strength that far surpasses currently available materials,
providing bullet shielding that’s much more effective. These jumpsuit
style outfits might even be able to react to and stop biological and
chemical attacks. This protection and these devices would be integrated
into one suit that would be more efficient and lightweight than current
packs. The U.S. Army Natick Soldier Systems Center has
published a white paper that discusses how nanotechnology may be used in
Researchers have worked on aircraft that swing
their wings in close for high-speed flight and extend their wings to
provide more lift for takeoff and landing. Unfortunately, the hinges that allow the wings to swing add
weight, so researchers are developing materials that will need only an
electrical voltage to change the shape of aircraft wings and other
structures. NASA has developed a carbon nanotube polymer composite that
bends when a voltage is applied. This
video from NASA
gives you an idea of what a future morphing aircraft might look like.
Mission Adaptive Rotor program, is focused on improving the performance of helicopter
Rotors that can morph would last longer and offer improved performance.
These improvements come in part from a reduction in rotor vibration,.
The improved performance involves an increase in the amount of weight
that the helicopter can carry and an extension of its range.
Shape changing isn’t limited to the skies. The
Transformer vehicle being developed by DARPA can travel on roads
but is also capable of vertical take-off and landing. The body of the vehicle could morph to grow wings or pull
them back in based on whether the vehicle is on land or aloft. As
military personnel move around in the TX, they could use the capability
to fly to circumvent obstacles, go over rough terrain, and avoid
landmines or ambush, while retaining the capability to drive on roads.