Nanotech in Aerospace

The NanoKTN is holding a one day seminar on 10th March 2011 at BAWA in Bristol looking at the issues and challenegs of micromachining and nanotechnology for sensors in aerospace applications. Micro and nano scale sensor technologies provide the aerospace industry with opportunities to benefit from materials with new, improved properties tailored to meet its future commercial, legislative and safety challenges.

The major technology challenges for the aerospace industry are rooted in its further globalisation:

  • Air traffic is anticipated to increase as emerging countries continue to strengthen their manufacturing economies and their populations benefit from the resultant wealth generation.
  • Structural Health Monitoring programmes build in-situ sensor systems, analogous to the human nervous system (bio mimicry), to recognise any compromise in areas of critical structural integrity.
  • Thermal barrier coatings (TBCs) allow turbines to perform safely and reliably at higher, more fuel efficient temperatures. Ongoing development of multi-functional sensor coatings that achieve the dual requirements of higher turbine efficiency and lower gaseous emissions, and the monitoring of temperature, erosion and phase changes, are projected to reduce maintenance costs and improve safety standards.
  • There is an ongoing requirement for more sophisticated security measures to counter the pervasive threat of terrorism. Sensors to enhance safety and security are required to prevent an attack being initiated. Nano wire sensors are extremely sensitive to small changes in electro-chemical potential, making them ideal for the early detection of different gases (from explosives) and biological/chemical toxins.

This unique 1-day event will highlight the solutions to key challenges facing the development of novel, integrated sensor technology by the aerospace industry. Manufacturers from within the aerospace supply chain (and those that aspire to join it) and instrumentation and process equipment companies will benefit from the high quality presentations and networking opportunities in this important and rapidly expanding area of aviation design.

Dr Ian Sturland, BAE Systems will look at the applications of micro and nano technologies in the defence industry. The features of MEMS devices will be described and some of the challenges in finding commercial routes for exploiting MEMS technology will be discussed. Advantages of MEMS in areas including aerodynamic control, optical and RF systems and health monitoring will be looked at and Sturland will analyse how BAE Systems has filled this niche by recognising the system-level advantage of MEMS devices. BAE Systems manufacturing capabilities will also be discussed with examples covering IR testing, inertial, RF and corrosion sensor health monitoring.

Dr Joerg Feist will highlight the new sensor technology being developed by Southside Thermal Sciences (STS), namely the Thermal Barrier Sensor Coating which will help improve efficiency and reduce maintenance costs by accurately measuring temperatures and predicting the service of components. Feist’s presentation will briefly introduce phosphorescence technology and will review the application on a Rolls-Royce VIPERengine.

Other speakers include Ametek Taylor Hobson, Qudos Technology, Alicona UK, Ultra Electronics Electrics, Coventor and the Precision Manufacturing Centre at the University of Nottingham.

“Technology transfer and the dissemination of information plays a crucial role in the development of new technologies in the micro and nanotechnology space and by hosting this event, the NanoKTN and CEMMNT aim to raise awareness of the benefits sensor technologies offer to the aerospace industry,” said Alec Reader, Director at the NanoKTN

Event Details