Ceramics in the Military
Ceramics in the Military
It is important for us to know that our military is sound and that our soldiers are safe. They are driving vehicles everyday, flying planes and helicopters and dealing with weapons of every kind. You might not know it but ceramics in the military are an important aspect of keeping the vehicles and weapons up to speed.
Ceramics in the Military for Protection
Because we are fighting a war in an area that is very dry and hot it is important that our soldiers wear equipment that his lightweight but protective. It is also important that the equipment and vehicles are able to withstand high heat. This could not happen with plastic or metal parts because they would melt or get too hot to handle. This is where ceramic parts begin.
Soldiers in Iraq and other areas surrounding Iraq have ceramic body armor because it is lightweight, durable, and can withstand extremely high temperatures. This can protect them with small to medium handguns or other weapons that may come their way. This armor is also made up of multi-hit body armor plates that are made out of boron and silicon carbide which makes it easy to wear without the weight that other materials would bring. You will also find the body armor in shoulder pads and the military is working on ceramic body armor for other areas of the body that are most vulnerable.
Another way that soldiers are protected with ceramics is in the military helicopters. They are equipped with ceramic armor seats and armor tiles in the wings of some aircraft. Also they are working on ceramic parts for some of the armored vehicles.
In the future, the military hopes to add ceramic parts to the turbine engines in their helicopters so that they will last longer and be able to carry heavier loads. Generally speaking they will use composites that and thermal barrier coatings that will be able to handle the high temperatures. Because the helicopters will be lighter in weight, they will be able to cover longer distances as well.
Ceramics in the Military Optics
There are a variety of places where the military needs to be able to see enemies but not have the enemies see them. Ceramics are able to do just that especially when they are used in infrared domes and sensor protectors. These are very strong and they are able to withstand high temperatures.
Ceramics are also transparent to many types of energies so if the enemy is sending something out to find our soldiers they may bypass them because they can't see them from their standpoint.
Another aspect that is under development is to be used in artillery projectile. Military researchers are looking at a way to produce an electromagnetic window because of its ability to withstand high heat and because of the special electrical properties it carries.
A fascinating aspect of what they are doing with ceramics is how they use silicone nitride for missiles. The silicone nitride allows them to locate incoming targets that may be sent through microwave or other energy. Could you imagine what would happen if they could always detect the missiles coming at them? This would certainly allow a victory quickly. This is also a mechanically sound ceramic that will not erode and can fly at a "hyper-velocity" through the atmosphere.
Ceramics in the Military and Aerospace
NASA is also using ceramics to study air showers. The OWL Earth-orbiting system contains hexagonal insulators that are made of ceramics and will allow the OWL system to take an accurate picture of what these showers look like. This will help scientists to understand better where these particles are coming from and devise their theories in relation to this information.
When the showers come into the Earth's atmosphere they send out an ultraviolet flash that is traveling about the speed of light and that only lasts a few seconds. The OWL has to be able to capture as much as it can as quickly as it can. This is a great step for scientists.
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