Look for extensive use of ceramics and new woven polymer materials in the armored vehicle that will replace the US Army’s Humvee. The Joint Light Tactical Vehicle will come in three types that will haul cargo and perform reconnaissance missions. The target weight is 20,000 pounds, about half the weight of currently used armored vehicles. That’s only three to four times the weight of pickup trucks. Under consideration will be use of composite systems such as aramid-fiber reinforced materials (Kevlar), ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) composites, and S-2 glass armor systems, which are also used in the Boeing Dreamliner. Capacities of all three are being rapidly expanded in anticipation of higher demand for military and other types of applications. Manufacturers of all three materials are dramatically expanding capacity right now to meet soaring demand.
A self-propelled robot developed by a team of researchers headed by MIT promises to detect leaks quickly and accurately in gas pipelines, eliminating the likelihood of dangerous explosions. The robot may also be useful in water and petroleum pipe leak detection.
Aerojet Rocketdyne has built and successfully hot-fire tested an entire 3D-printed rocket engine. In other news, NASA's 3D-printed rocket engine injectors survived tests generating a record 20,000 pounds of thrust. Some performed equally well or better than welded parts.
Researchers at MIT's d'Arbeloff Laboratory are developing shoulder- and hip-mounted robotic arms to help workers in aircraft manufacturing perform difficult or complex assembly tasks that would normally require two people.
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