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Coating may mean sleeker planes

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only
by Staff Writers
Malibu, Calif. (UPI) Oct 6, 2008
A U.S. defense contractor is developing a new type of surface coating that one day could mean sleeker aircraft, a researcher for the company says.

Eventually, the technology, called holographic impedance surfaces, potentially could allow aircraft designers to place antennae flush to the fuselage, Stars and Stripes reported Monday. Along with streamlining planes, the placement would have the added benefit of better protecting the antennae.

"This is a coating we would put on a surface of a body of a vehicle or something to allow waves to wrap around it," said Daniel Sievenpiper, lead researcher at HRL Laboratories of Malibu Calif., which is testing the technology.

The impedance surface technology also could be used to get rid of radar blind spots by allowing radar waves to wrap around an aircraft, said Arje Nachman of the Air Force Office of Scientific Research.

The technology also potentially could be used on car and building antennas, Sievenpiper said.

The Air Force intends to fund the research for at least another three years, though implementation could be years away, Nachman said.

"It's clever stuff," Nachman said. "You fund the research up to a point and then hand it over to our labs or industry. Communications on airplanes could be somewhat helped by this."

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New Research Shows Why Metal Alloys Degrade
Ann Arbor, MI (SPX) Oct 01, 2008
Metal alloys can fail unexpectedly in a wide range of applications---from jet engines to satellites to cell phones---and new research from the University of Michigan helps to explain why.

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