With a method called Powder Bed Fusion, a 3-D printer’s laser selectively melts the powder into a pattern. The printer then coats the build plate with additional layers of powder until the part is complete.,A team of Army researchers have developed a way to 3-D print ultra-strong metal parts, by adapting an alloy originally developed by the Air Force into powder form.,“Imagine a squad of future Soldiers on a long-range patrol far from base with dead batteries and a desperate need to fire up their radio,” said Dr. Kris Darling, Army materials scientist. “One of the Soldiers reaches for a metal tablet and drops it into a container and adds water or some fluid that contains water such as urine, immediately the tablet dissolves and hydrogen is released into a fuel cell, providing instant power for the radio.”,Army researchers are exploring potential applications for a structurally-stable, aluminum-based nanogalvonic
alloy that reacts with any water-based liquid to produce on-demand hydrogen–generating power without a catalyst.,Imagine if you could generate power on-demand, using just a tablet and some water.,Cresce and the team first collaborated with scientists at the University of Maryland to study the properties of a new class of aqueous electrolytes known as water-in-salt electrolytes and published their findings in the journal Science (see Related Links below).,These aqueous lithium-ion batteries replace the highly flammable electrolyte in lithium-ion batteries, using a nonflammable, water-based solvent–and also using a lithium salt that is not heat-sensitive, allowing for batteries to be stored and used at a much broader range of temperatures.,“Our project addresses the risk by allowing high-energy or high-power batteries to be put on the Soldier with no risk of the batteries catching on fire,” said Dr. Arthur von Wald Cresce, an Army materials engineer. “We’re hoping that by designing safety into the battery, this concern goes away and Soldiers can use their batteries as they please.”,Army researchers and their partners at the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory have developed a new, water-based and fire-proof battery.,The Army of the future may use these wearable sensors to monitor environmental biothreats and health diagnostics, all with great benefits to the Soldier. Chemical Reviews published this research (see Related Links below).,“The Army will need to be more adaptive, more expeditionary and have a near-zero logistic demand while optimizing individual to squad execution in multifaceted operational environments,” said Dr. Matt Coppock, chemist and team lead. “It can be envisioned that real-time health and performance monitoring, as well as sensing current and emerging environmental threats, could be a key set of tools to make this possible.”,Once integrated into wearable biosensors, data can be selectively captured from a complex mixture of sources in theater, like blood, sweat or saliva.,Army and academic researchers are looking at how to monitor Soldier health and performance in real-time, by developing unique biorecognition receptors. These future bioreceptors are small, simple to produce, inexpensive, and robust to environmental stresses.,Artificial muscles could potentially augment robot performance, allowing our future mechanical partners to buff up, and pump more iron.,The team’s expertise in polymer science and chemical engineering helped to identify optimal material property values to achieve the desired artificial muscle performance targets, and helped develop and implement techniques to measure those material properties.,Army researchers collaborated with a visiting professor from Florida A&M University-
Florida State University College of Engineering to study how plastic fibers respond when they are twisted and coiled into a spring. Different stimuli cause the spring to contract and expand, mimicking natural muscles.,Future Army robots will be the strongest in the world, if visionary researchers have their way. Robots could be armed with artificial muscles made from plastic.,The lab’s chief scientist, Dr. Alexander Kott, picked the coolest advances to showcase what Army scientists and engineers are doing to support the Soldier of the future with a top 10 list from 2019:,This year has had its share of science and technology advances from Army researchers. The U.S. Army CCDC Army Research Laboratory, the Army’s corporate research laboratory, has the mission to discover, innovate and transition science and technology to ensure dominant strategic land power.,