Beyond Protection: ARL's ballistic expertise improves personal protection equipment
September 24, 2012
The U.S Army Research Laboratory is solving a critical technology gap it identified that calls for protection solutions against the secondary effects of buried explosive devices. Researchers within ARL's Weapons and Materials Research Directorate began developing a testing methodology to investigate a number of material combinations that would continually improve upon personal protection equipment, particularly around the groin region, that had already been fielded.
ARL is leveraging expertise in ballistic research to produce a repeatable, measurable means of testing how well materials like silk, Kevlar and others resist penetration by propelling sand and other debris at a high velocity and high temperature. This methodology would eventually provide the Program Executive Office Soldier with an evaluation tool used to understand how materials perform against a range of threats, and provide measurable insight on other important material factors such as breathability, thermal resistance and comfort that affect the Soldier's ability to function and execute their mission.
Beauty of Basic Research: ARL, MIT advance delicate surgery with tech development
August 20, 2012
A little more than a decade ago, the U.S. Army saw promise in a basic science research project at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) investigating low-loss light reflective materials they hoped would someday result in fibers that could be woven into Soldier uniforms to block radiation or serve as filters for telecommunications. But early research led a team of military and university scientists to develop an exceptional surgical tool that today is saving Soldier and civilian lives.
ARL's high tech solutions find and fix what's faulty in military systems (Part 2)
July 26, 2012
Technologies ARL research scientists are investigating, developing and testing will, some day improve military and commercial airline maintenance programs by detecting, early on, failing parts and systems. In Part 2 of ARL's special series on condition-based maintenance, our cameras travel with Dy Le, chief of ARL's mechanics division within the Vehicle Technology Directorate, to Lakehurst, N.J., to understand the Health and Usage Monitoring System, or HUMS technology, which is essentially the "HUB" of the operation. ARL is developing a number of embedded technologies within the HUMS as part of an ongoing collaborative effort with the Federal Aviation Administration.
ARL's high tech solutions find and fix what's faulty in military systems (Part 1)
June 18, 2012
Condition-based maintenance, or CBM, is giving the Army a more effective way of identifying when a part, like a helicopter bearing, or a component, like a helicopter tail rotor shaft, needs to be repaired or replaced, which Army Research Laboratory researchers say is not only more cost-effective but most importantly, a safer Soldier solution. In this two-part series, ARL cameras travel to research sites in Maryland, Ohio and New Jersey to spotlight how system maintenance is being improved from once time-scheduled maintenance checks toward condition-based maintenance.
ARL research expertise behind Army's enhanced performance round, a "wide capability" munition fielded in theater since 2010.
May 10, 2012
In the summer of 2010, U.S. fighting forces in Afghanistan received a new, better performing small caliber munition, thanks to a PEO Ammunition led, Defense Department collaborative effort that relied on the technical expertise of Army Research Laboratory scientists and engineers who are experts in ballistics and lethality research.
For the first time since the 1980s, the U.S. Army fielded a new ball cartridge for its 5.56 mm small caliber weapon system. The Project Manager for Maneuver Ammunition Systems at Picatinny Arsenal, working with a team of Army experts from ARL, the Research Development and Engineering Command and defense contractor Alliant Techsystems, fielded the M855A1 Enhanced Performance Round (EPR) as a dramatic improvement to hard target penetration while providing consistent soft target performance - addressing U.S. Soldiers issues seen during combat operations.
ARL began working on this project in 2004, providing technical leadership; producing significant results from basic research in aerodynamics, propulsion, materials science, and terminal effects along with applying advanced simulation and experiment capabilities in the areas of propulsion development, structural projectile design, aerodynamics, and terminal effects (hard and soft targets). Overall, the program fired more than one million rounds to demonstrate the new cartridge met or exceeded all expectations.
Model Behavior: ARL advances research to save lower extremities
Apr 03, 2012
Underbelly blasts to military vehicles from improvised explosives cause severe Soldier injuries including bone fractures, ligament tears, or muscle ruptures. From its Aberdeen Proving Ground facilities, ARL scientists and engineers are developing a physics-based high-resolution anatomic computational model for the human legs to accurately predict critical injury mechanisms that may result from vehicular underbelly blast and the burden of force on that area added simply from a large velocity impulse.
Their work, called finite element modeling of the lower extremity, researchers say, will eventually further provide the Army the best available information to design and field Soldier equipment and systems that enhance survivability . like ARL's work on improving armor and protection for combat vehicles.
Mar 14, 2012
Almost 20 years ago, the Army Research Laboratory helped to discover a revolutionary way to increase transmission power in the Apache helicopter without increasing the transmission's size or weight. That innovation is split-torque face gear technology, and it's now inside the Improved Drive System of the new Apache Block III helicopter that began delivery in October 2011. The current Army objective is to field 690 AH-64D Apache Block III helicopters over the next 15 to 20 years. The initial production phase calls for 74 transmissions plus initial spares.
With split-torque face gear technology, helicopters can now have more power without becoming heavier or bigger. These face gears are also being studied for use in other helicopter drive applications beyond Apache Block III.
ARL holds the institutional knowledge on face gear research and development, and on how to approach new, high-risk technologies, perform the basic and applied research tasks required for proving the concepts, and then transitioning those to the appropriate research, development and engineering center for development. This knowledge has enabled ARL to pursue other high-risk propulsion technologies in the areas of condition-based maintenance, advanced drives materials, and surface engineering techniques.
Feb 29, 2012
ARL has embarked upon a research project that no one is believed to be looking into that's considering surface engineering treatment remedies to reduce fuel costs. VTD's Propulsion Division is leading an Army-wide effort to determine how simple surface improvements to automotive components can effectively improve automotive efficiency. They've teamed with a group of experts at Ohio State University as well as within a number of military organizations to investigate whether surface engineering techniques can yield tangible gains in power transfer efficiency within military vehicle drive trains. That could mean the Army would not only save money, it could help save the environment.
The project is called Surface Engineering for Propulsion and Transmission Energy-loss Reduction (SEPTER), and it consists of a wide range of basic and applied research topics to determine how well different surface treatments increase efficiency. The project is funded by the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering. Engineering techniques that will be investigated include super finishing and the application of nickel-based coatings.
Feb 15, 2012
The Army Research Laboratory's unique computer-based tool helps the military not only make smarter purchasing decisions, their tool integrates human factors into system design and operational use so systems are first built right.
ARL's software tool, IMPRINT, is a dynamic, discrete event network modeling tool designed to take a close look at how Soldiers interact with planned new systems by involving the Soldier interface throughout the system lifecycle – from concept and design to field testing and system upgrades. In 1995, the software demonstrated that upgrades to the Gulf War's primary nuclear, biological and chemical reconnaissance vehicle were worthwhile investments. Analysts in ARL's Human Research and Engineering Directorate conducted IMPRINT analysis on the then-proposed FOX M93A1, and showed that wartime manpower and operations planners could reduce the crew size in the wheeled armored vehicle from four to three Soldiers, and that adding fully automated standoff detection capabilities for immediate analysis and warning of contamination would not impede upon Soldier performance.
ARL-created software helps analysts predict crash landing survivability
Nov 30, 2011
The Army Research Laboratory is advancing the way the military looks at vehicle survivability and vulnerability today to better focus its research efforts on reducing injury to rotorcraft crew and passengers.
ARL developed a software solution in 2005 to provide a new capability to look at survivability with power loss. That software, DESCENT, is an iterative optimization algorithm that has been applied to rotorcraft flight modeling. DESCENT reports help survivability/lethality analysts ascertain how well the helicopter will survive a crash landing from a given height or flight speed if it loses power because of engine failure. They're trying to find the best-case scenario to determine how gently the pilot might be expected to land, how much damage is incurred and whether or not the crash is survivable.
The ARL team is working with the Joint Aircraft Survivability Program Office to verify and validate the code, and model different types of rotorcraft. The Joint Aircraft Survivability Program Office ensures that the United States continues to field survivable, combat effective aircraft systems sufficient to maintain battle space dominance.
Popular Science Magazine
Oct 25, 2011
Popular Science Magazine - in its September 2011 issue, listed the Top 25 "Coolest Labs in the Country" or as they liked to say, "awesome college labs." ARL, due to its strong mentorships of high school and college students, was the only military lab featured and came in at number 13.
Christopher Kroninger, acting team leader, ARL's Microsystem Mechanics Team mentored Keith McKinzie from the Science and Math Academy at Aberdeen High School. Kroninger said mentorship at ARL is taken very seriously, there are guidelines to follow and the students document and present the research they accomplish. It's important not to just give students the tasks that others don't want to do.
McKinzie's project involved insect size robots that would infiltrate and warn Soldiers of an impending threat. McKinzie said engineering is like a technical art. He said it is freer and he can use his creativity.
Greening introduces ARL civilians to "Army way of life"
Aug 24, 2011
ARL uniformed personnel took a group of about 30 civilian employees through its 2011 Greening Course, a reality-based training opportunity that allows civilians to become Soldier-like in one week. The course is designed to familiarize civilians with how Soldiers operate in a field environment.
During the five-day training, non-commissioned officers, or NCOs, drove home the foundational principals that define their service to America. The Army's mission is to fight and win our Nation's wars by providing prompt, sustained land dominance across the full range of military operations and spectrum of conflict in support of combatant commanders, and guiding principles they learn in Basic Combat Training like loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage.
The Greening Course is designed to ensure teambuilding and a sense of camaraderie of civilian members as part of the total Army Team. It provides participants with the basic understanding of the Army.
ARL invents game-changing battery technology
Jul 06, 2011
ARL's advancements in battery technology have led to the development of a novel composition of matter that's revolutionizing today's battery industry, and the biggest result is that batteries for everything from laptops to cell phones to hybrid cars could soon last much longer and be able to charge faster. U.S. Soldiers in particular, the inspiration behind ARL's efforts, may soon lighten the loads they lug in combat while still meeting the high energy demand for Soldier-wearable power solutions and technology that provides auxiliary power for on-board vehicles.
ARL advances development of precision projectiles
May 16, 2011
Television coverage of the Gulf War brought to American families an unusual, and perhaps even exciting, glimpse at sophisticated combat capabilities that, in part, help define our military's global might.
During this time, news correspondents pulled out their most illustrative language to describe new "smart" weapons that were precise enough to even turn corners to hit targets, all while avoiding unintended targets and limiting collateral damage. These weapons, whether so large they have to be dropped from aircraft or small enough to be launched from a gun, well represent the most sophisticated technological advances of the U.S. Armed Forces and the edge they provide on today's battlefield.
But they're expensive to reproduce.
The U.S. Army Research Laboratory's solution to this problem has received support from Department of Defense policy and acquisition executives as well as units that would use them. In this latest video, journey through ARL's development of the Very Affordable Precision Projectile (VAPP).
ARL researchers turn to Mother Nature for help
Mar 30, 2011
This video explores how ARL research scientists are borrowing from the anatomical and biological systems of nature's tiniest creatures to develop next generation mobile microsystems. The laboratory's Micro-autonomous Systems Technology Collaborative Technology Alliance, a consortium of ARL and industry and academic partners, works together to bring about a collaborative ensemble of multifunctional technology.
Unprecedented access was provided by the Smithsonian National Zoological Park in Washington, D.C. for the development of this video news feature.
Running with Science
Mar 02, 2011
Dr. Philip Crowell, biomechanics team leader within the Army Research Laboratory's Human Research and Engineering Directorate, joined with experts at the University of Delaware's Running Injury Clinic in a study to see if individuals could reduce their tibial acceleration and ground reaction force loading through gait retraining using real-time tibial acceleration as feedback. ARL Inside traveled to the university to learn more about the study research scientists believe, some day, could lead to the development of a screening tool to identify people who are at risk for stress fractures and provide guidance to train individuals to run in a way that reduces risk of stress fractures.
ARL's HBCU/MI programs recognize STEM talent pool painted in many colors
Feb 08, 2011
ARL has been a leader in recruiting a culturally diverse workforce with programs specifically organized to access promising science and engineering students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and other minority servicing institutions. Partner schools such as Morehouse School of Medicine, and North Carolina A&T State, North Carolina Central, Howard, Morgan State, Jackson State and Florida A&M universities received more than $19 million dollars in funding from ARL in 2009 to support basic research, seminars, internships and other initiatives that leverage university technical capabilities to fulfill ARL mission requirements. This edition of ARL Inside spotlights students and a faculty member from the University of the Virgin Islands who spent the summer of 2009 at ARL working on real Army projects to help today's Soldiers in theater.
Inside the Fireball - ARL researchers get up close
Jan 25, 2011
U.S. Army Research Laboratory research scientists have coupled energetic chemical technology with state-of-the-art high speed cameras to get an up-close inside view of fireballs that Hollywood would envy. ARL's research in detonation science provides critical, initial information in the development of explosives for future Army applications, especially those weapon systems that are invulnerable to accidental detonation. ARL Inside explores the creation of explosive materials - from a novel idea to synthetic chemistry through performance of explosive material - in this segment featuring unprecedented access to energetic technology initiatives within the Weapons and Materials Research Directorate.
Shear thickening fluid showing promise for increasing Soldier protection
Dec 8, 2010
ARL's exciting new advancement in lightweight body armor is the result of research that Army and University of Delaware scientists began more than a decade ago. ARL Inside explores the development and testing of shear thickening fluid, a nanotechnology invention that, when applied to fabric like Kevlar, for example, prevents pointed weapons like spikes or ice picks from penetrating between its yarns, and generally helps to hold yarns and fibers in place during attacks from pointed weapons or projectiles. Someday, researchers say, this liquid could be used to treat Soldier uniforms, particularly sleeves and pants, which are not protected by ballistic vests, and have to stay flexible.
ARL collaborative research enhancing Soldiers' abilities
November 5, 2010
Robots that operate by remote control or by themselves can extend a Soldier's sense of sight, sound and even smell on the battlefield. ARL scientists and engineers have teamed up with University of Pennsylvania researchers in a collaborative technology agreement looking at micro autonomous systems and technologies. This video looks at how the team is essentially outfitting commercially available technology like the quadrotor with sensors and other smart-technology to extend Soldiers' abilities to collect necessary information in challenging environments like mountains, caves or abandoned buildings.
ARL's computer scientists and engineers merged gaming technology and high performance computing to become computing innovators
September 24, 2010
ARL's computer scientists and engineers merged gaming technology and high performance computing to become computing innovators. Graphics processing units perform floating arithmetic quickly, which the Army uses for many applications. This was a natural addition for the researchers to combine with traditional computing abilities. This integration of new and existing technologies can accelerate applications and help them perform much better.
ARL efforts leading to better survivability for helicopter rotor blades
August 11, 2010
ARL's Survivability and Lethality Analysis Directorate holds the congressional mandate for all Army aviation live fire test and evaluation. As this video shows, ARL has developed a unique capability to ballistically impact helicopter rotor blades in simulated flight conditions with near-pinpoint precision. The Dynamic Rotor Blade Precision Ballistic Impact System is a complex test and evaluation program that examines and reports the survivability of helicopter rotor blades. The tests involve a precise combination of electronic timing, distance between the weapon and the rotor blade, projectile velocity, and laser aiming captured on high-speed video.
ARL research in transparent armor benefits Soldiers
July 13, 2010
ARL holds a unique position in the research and development of bulletproof glass as researchers throughout government and industry define newer and better ways to develop transparent armor systems. In this video, Dr. James McCauley, ARL Fellow, discusses ARL's continuing efforts in developing transparent armor that is providing superior ballistic protection for our Soldiers.
ARL technical libraries assist scientists and engineers
June 21, 2010
ARL's technical librarians are often researchers themselves, routinely investigating, exploring, and recommending new materials to compliment the work of scientists and engineers at the forefront of major research and development efforts. In this video, Louise LeTendre, team leader, explains the efforts to provide ARL's scientists and engineers with unparalleled research support.
ARL researchers work to provide improved individual protection for Soldiers
June 8, 2010
ARL is passing on groundbreaking research findings in helmet technology to military, industry, modeling and simulation, and medical communities. An integrated team of WMRD and SLAD researchers is developing new head protection materials, systems, and concepts; and developing new cost-effective manufacturing technologies to enable fielding next-generation combat helmets to Soldiers. In this video, ARL researchers explain the efforts to provide Soldiers with enhanced individual protection.
ARL's Center for Cold Spray Research and Development
May 12, 2010
ARL and the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center are collaborating to investigate the antimicrobial benefit of using copper and copper alloys for use in medical shelters that will be used in theater to treat injured Soldiers. In this video, Victor Champagne, Innovative Materials and Processes team leader in WMRD, explains how ARL's Center for Cold Spray Research and Development is the only Department of Defense facility to have research and development, production, and field-repair capability in cold spray. The Center, based in the Rodman Building at APG, features three stationary cold spray systems used for R&D and prototyping as well as six portable systems that can be used in the field. The center is now the most sophisticated spray facility in the world.
ARO - harnessing science to shape the future of the Army
Take a journey into ARL's basic research arm, the Army Research Office, and learn how it's been on the forefront of scientific discovery for more than 50 years.