We are now able to link structural characteristics to performance, Nadler noted. We can produce a technically advanced material that can be tailored to the thermodynamics and kinetics that are needed using modeling techniques.
Beyond the fabrication techniques, Nadler developed characterization and modeling techniques to help understand and control the fabrication process for the unique copper structures, which may also have commercial applications.
The copper precursor developed in GTRI is a significant improvement over the copper foam material that Indian Head had previously been evaluating. Produced with a sintered powder process, the foam was fragile and non-uniform, meaning Navy scientists couldnt precisely predict reliability or how much explosive would be created in each micro-detonator.
GTRI has been able to provide us with material that has well-controlled and well-known characteristics, said Michael Beggans, a scientist in the Energetics Technology Department of the Indian Head Division of the Naval Surface Warfare Center. Having this material allows us to determine the amount of explosive that can be formed in the MEMS fuze. The size of that charge also determines the size and operation of the other components.
The research will lead to a detonator with enhanced capabilities. The long-term goal of the MEMS Fuze program is to produce a low-cost, highly-reliable detonator with built-in safe and arm capabilities in an extremely small package that would allow the smallest weapons in the Navy to be as safe and reliable as the largest, Beggans explained.
Reducing the size of the fuze is part of a long-term strategy toward smarter weapons intended to reduce the risk of collateral damage. That will be possible, in part, because hundreds of fuzes, each about a centimeter square, can be fabricated simultaneously using techniques developed by the microelectronics industry.
|Contact: John Toon|
Georgia Institute of Technology Research News