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Thursday, January 8, 2015

Future Super Materials in Aeronautics - 3

Amorphous metal
 
By cooling molten metal quickly before it has time to re-align its particles into a solid shape, we can create amorphous metals - metals that have a disorganized atomic structure but have all other properties of that metal. Due to this structural anomaly, they are twice as strong as steel, and a few armies are considering using them as armour for different vehicles and tanks. In addition to their strength, amorphous metals have improved electricity conductivity and can improve the efficiency of a power grid by up to 40%, saving a huge amount of electricity. This metal would also bode well for the aircraft industry, seeing as a lighter, stronger and more conductive fuselage will not harm anybody.
 
Transparent Aluminium
 
Transparent aluminium is a compound of aluminium, oxygen and nitrogen. It is a ceramic which is extremely hard, strong, light and, as the name suggests, transparent. It is seen as the ideal replacement to bulletproof glass. Traditional bullet-resistant glasses are about 2.5 to 4 inches thick, and while the can stop automatic fire from weapons, they can do noting against a .50 calibre round fired from a sniper rifle. This metal has a lot of uses in the military particularly, where it can be used to protect vehicles from gunfire, especially large guns which are designed to penetrate heavy armours.
 
A .50 calibre bullet can destroy a plane with a single shot, can penetrate light armour at amazing distances and packs enough punch to penetrate an inch of solid armour at 37 metres. However, transparent aluminium will fend it off. This will be very good for low flying planes like the A-10 Thunderbolt II or troop carriers like the C-5 Galaxy or the C-130 Hercules which are liable to be shot down with an accurately placed .50 calibre bullet. This material can also protect civilian aircraft from anti-aircraft fire. It's range of applications are endless actually, and many of them lie outside the sector of military application.
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