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.
Researchers working with additive manufacturing have said multimaterial techniques will allow industry “to fabricate materials with combinations of density, strength, and thermal expansion that do not exist [yet].”
The term "multiphysics" is used to describe the simulation of multiple types of physics and their influence on one another -- for example, the investigation of the behavior of a chemical in liquid form will involve both chemistry and fluid dynamics.
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