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SCIENTIFIC APPLICATIONS OF COMPOSITES 45 Vicki P. McConnell 45.1 INTRODUCTION Science may be seen as a journey, encompass- ing both inner and outer space on the quest for greater understanding of the universe. This can take literal form, such as the journey toward ever farther, faster flight regimes of experimental aircraft like the X-30, or here on Earth aboard a high-speed train that levitates on magnetic rails. Or the journey can take the- oretical form in scientific instruments that measure the smallest particles of matter on Earth and peer into the black holes‘ of space. From the human eye to ’eye in the sky’ space telescopes, science continually extends our vision of the universe. Science and composites have always inter- sected in the R&D laboratory with new materials and process discoveries, and in the fabrication of actual structures used in scien- tific applications. The material selected for the Hubble Space Telescope metering truss, for example, and the process used to build the components of that structure are directly related to its ability to accomplish a unique sci- entific mission. As one might expect, pure science is rarely accomplished in a vacuum; helpful data are drawn from commercial, industrial and mili- tary programs and may return to those venues if the scientific application involves technol- ogy transfer. Government and private sector sources may team up to make the scientific Handbook of Composites. Edited by S.T. Peters. Published in 1998 by Chapman & Hall, London. ISBN 0 412 54020 7 research possible. And while national technol- ogy agendas are largely determined by the presiding political administration, there is nothing temporary or partisan about the expo- nential growth of global competition. Government agencies in the USA have worked over the years to form a long-term national technology strategy that integrates materials science. These have included the National Critical Materials Council (estab- lished by Congress in 1984), the White House Office of Science and Technology (which coor- dinated President Bush’s National Materials Initiative and the $1.8 billion Advanced Materials and Processing Program), the National Center for Advanced Technologies (NCAT) formed in 1989 by the Aerospace Industries Association, the Department of Commerce’s Advanced Technology Program administered by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) within the Department of Defense. Grants totalling nearly $500 million were awarded under President Clinton’s Technology Reinvestment Project (TRP) in this program’s first year, 1993. TRP channels defense department funds to projects that emphasize dual-use technology for both com- mercial and military applications, with the ultimate goal of enhancing cost and informa- tion sharing and ensuring that key USA industries stay on the technological leading edge (Lynch, 1993). The variety of composite- related TRP projects have ranged from rapid
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This note was uploaded on 03/16/2010 for the course MECHANICAL ME765401 taught by Professor Prof.sulis during the Spring '10 term at Institut Teknologi Bandung.

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