Tech Notes 19 June 2007

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This story is sourced from Flight International
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UK Innovation Works for EADS

RESEARCH EADS has extended its Innovation Works virtual research organisation to the UK. Spread across a number of facilities and universities, the UK arm will focus on secure communications, simulation of complex systems, software engineering and wing technology. The main Innovation Works locations are in Paris and Munich, employing 600 people, with 120 planned for the UK, 75 for Spain and 25 for EADS's Singapore research centre. www.eads.net

Blade coating lasts longer with better bonding

LICENCE Rolls-Royce has acquired the rights to use a coating that increases the durability of turbine blades by improving the bonding of ceramic thermal barriers to nickel-based superalloys. Composed of platinum, nickel, aluminium and hafnium, the bond coat resists the oxidation that normally causes thermal barrier coatings to fail. Invented by Iowa State University researchers, the coating reacts to heat and stress in the same way the superalloy does, improving performance and extending life. www.iastate.edu

Wireless sensor remotely monitors tyre pressure

MEMS A wireless sensor built into the inflation stem and powered by the signal from a hand-held reader will allow easy daily checks of aircraft tyre pressure. Finnish sensor specialist VTI Technologies is supplying a silicon-based pressure sensor for Crane Aerospace & Electronics' SmartStem tyre pressure monitoring system. The micro electromechanical system (MEMS) sensor is a silicon wafer locally thinned to form a pressure-sensitive diaphragm and bonded to a stationary plate made of a thin metal film deposited on a glass-coated silicon wafer. The differential between the reference vacuum between the wafers and the external pressure deflects the diaphragm. www.craneaerospace.com

How to gauge strain

FATIGUE Use of wireless gauges to detect strain in a structure has been demonstrated with the help of the US Navy, which believes the technology could reduce maintenance costs. Developed by Columbia, South Carolina-based Direct Measurements (DMI), the gauge detected strain induced by cold working of a fastener hole in aluminium. As well as verifying the cold expansion, the gauge measured non-uniform strain - an indicator of fatigue life - near the fastener hole. The strain field in the vicinity of the gauge is indicated by its appearance, and detected using a wireless reader that also scans the serial number encoded on the gauge. www.directmeasure.com

It's a boat, it's a plane, it's a Hoverwing

ALL-PURPOSE The US Navy's latest weapon in the war against terror is a combination hovercraft and wing-in-ground-effect (WIG) vehicle capable of operation "on land, on fresh/salt water, on snow, on grass, on sand, over mud bogs, over 4ft [1.2m] waves, over rapids and over 3ft obstacles". The navy plans to buy a UH-19XRW Hoverwing from Universal Hovercraft for its Sly Fox rapid prototyping programme. Flying in ground effect, the four- to six-seat Hoverwing can exceed 120km/h (75mph) at heights up to 1.5m. www.hovercraft.com