The U.S. Navy should place a high priority on development of new all-electric ships and associated drive, power conditioning, and distribution systems. So recommends the Committee on Technology for Future Naval Forces, a unit of the National Research Council. The committee attempted to identify technologies that will be of greatest importance to naval operations out to the year 2035. The panel's re-port contends that gas turbine propulsion units, modular rare-earth permanent magnetic motors, and power control module technologies have matured to the point that all-electric ships appear feasible. The direct electric drive for ships and submarines, the group adds, offers "unique advantages" in reduced volume, modular flexible propulsion, lower acoustic signatures, enhanced survivability, and new capabilities. Incorporation of superconductivity into motors, energy storage, and power distribution, the study states, will further increase capabilities of all-electric craft. The committee also advises the Navy to step up research into microelectromechanical systems.
The landscape of product development is changing. Electronic components and the devices that use them are shrinking, while power and functionality are rising. As a result, heat management is now in the forefront of the design process.
Ahead of their appearance at Design & Manufacturing Minneapolis, we look at some of the engineering behind two robots from the hit show, BattleBots, as well as some tried-and-true fighting tactics engineers should keep in mind when taking their own robots into battle.
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