|Globalization of Materials R&DTime for a National Strategy
Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) R&D is spreading globally at an accelerating rate. As a result, the relative U.S. position in a number of MSE subfields is in a state of flux. To understand better this trend and its implications for the U.S. economy and national security, the Department of Defense (DOD) asked the NRC to assess the status and impacts of the global spread of MSE R&D. This report presents a discussion of drivers affecting U.S. companies’ decisions about location of MSE R&D, an analysis of impacts on the U.S. economy and national security, and recommendations to ensure continued U.S. access to critical MSE R&D.
|Midsize FacilitiesThe Infrastructure for Materials Research
Most of the instruments now used for materials research are too complex and expensive for individual investigators to own, operate, and maintain them. Consequently, they have become increasingly consolidated into multi-user, small to midsized research facilities, located at many sites around the country. The proliferation of these facilities, however, has drawn calls for a careful assessment of best principles for their operation. With support from the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation, the NRC carried out a study to characterize and discuss ways to optimize investments in materials research facility infrastructure with attention to midsize facilities. This report provides an assessment of the nature and importance of mid-sized facilities, their capabilities, challenges they face, current investment, and optimizing their effectiveness.
|Nanotechnology for the Intelligence Community
The emergence of nanotechnology as a major science and technology research topic has sparked substantial interest by the intelligence community. In particular the community is interested both in the potential for nanotechnology to assist intelligence operations and threats it could create. To explore these questions, the Intelligence Technology Innovation Center asked the National Research Council to conduct a number of activities to illustrate the potential for nanotechnology to address key intelligence community needs. In 2004, workshop reports were issued on power systems and on positioning and sensing technologies. The final report provides an assessment of a wide range of additional technologies. The report also presents a series of findings and recommendations about areas of opportunities for the intelligence community and strategies for exploiting these opportunities.
|High-Performance Structural Fibers for Advanced Polymer Matrix Composites
Military use of advanced polymer matrix composites (PMC)—consisting of a resin matrix reinforced by high-performance carbon or organic fibers—while extensive, accounts for less that 10 percent of the domestic market. Nevertheless, advanced composites are expected to play an even greater role in future military systems, and DOD will continue to require access to reliable sources of affordable, high-performance fibers including commercial materials and manufacturing processes. As a result of these forecasts, DOD requested the NRC to assess the challenges and opportunities associated with advanced PMCs with emphasis on high-performance fibers. This report provides an assessment of fiber technology and industries, a discussion of R&D opportunities for DOD, and recommendations about accelerating technology transition, reducing costs, and improving understanding of design methodology and promising technologies.
|LinkagesManufacturing Trends in Electronic Interconnection Technology
Over the past two decades, the Department of Defense has been moving toward commercial-military integration for manufacturing, while at the same time, the printed circuit board industry has been moving steadily
offshore. Today, many in DoD, the U.S. Congress, and the federal government lack a clear understanding of the importance of high-quality, trustworthy printed circuit boards (PrCBs) for properly functioning
weapons and other defense systems and components. To help develop this understanding, DOD requested the NRC to identify and assess the key issues affecting PrCBs for military use. This report presents a discussion of how to ensure DOD's access to reliable printed circuits; an assessment of its vulnerability to the global printed circuit supply chain; and suggestions about ways to secure the design and manufacture
of printed circuits. In addition, this report offers recommendations to help DoD (1) preserve existing systems' capabilities, (2) improve the military's access to currently available PrCBs, and (3) ensure access to future PrCB technology. The recommendations reflect the need to achieve
these goals at reasonable cost and in concert with evolving environmental regulations.
|Going to ExtremesMeeting the Emerging Demand for Durable Polymer Matrix Composites
Advanced polymer matrix composites (PMC) have many advantages such as light weight and high specific strength that make them useful for many aerospace applications. Enormous uncertainty exists, however, in predicting long-term changes in properties of PMCs under extreme environmental conditions, which has limited their use. To help address this issue, the Department of Defense requested a study from the NRC to identify the barriers and limitations to the use of PMCs in extreme environments. The study was to focus on issues surrounding methodologies for predicting long-term performance. This report provides a review of the challenges facing application of PMCs in extreme environments, the current understanding of PMC properties and behavior, an analysis of the importance of data in developing effective models, and recommendations for improving long-term predictive methodologies.