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Integration of Printed Electronics, Energetics, Materials, & Sensors for US Army Applications
Keywords: Printed Electronics, Additive Manufactuing Applications, US Army
Experts predict that in the next 10 to 15 years, additive manufacturing will revolutionize how industry and Department of Defense (DoD) design, develop, and manufacture defense products and weapon systems. Additive manufacturing, including integrated printed and flexible electronics, is revolutionizing how industry and DOD design, develop, and manufacture products and weapon systems. Recent advances have enabled the U.S. Army to design and develop numerous new processes and applications for munitions, Soldiers and weapons systems. By combining multiple AM technologies together (i.e. Metals, Plastics, Electronics, Energetics, etc.) the DOD is able to fabricate devices and systems previously unachievable. By integrating printed electronics, energetics, and power sources into/onto 3D structures, new solutions and applications can be realized to enhance our Warfighters’ capabilities. These emerging technologies have allowed revolutionary changes in design, materials, and fabrication of components and sub-systems for numerous military applications. Integrating printed electronics onto/into structures and hybrid devices is shaping how the Army designs, fabricates, integrates, manufactures, and tests their Fuzes, Munitions, Armaments, Energetics, Power Solutions, and other weapon systems. These capabilities are helping the DOD and its strategic partners to capitalize on these technological breakthroughs and to develop systems that are “smarter,” more rapidly deployable, lighter and smaller. Total Life-Cycle benefits from design to de-mil are being realized through the advancement of printed electronics and additive manufacturing. Researchers at the U.S. Army’s Research Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM) are working to ensure that U.S. forces continue to operate from a position of overwhelming military advantage. Key areas of R&D. There are several key challenges in bring printed electronic products to commercial and military markets. Unique military considerations for AM & PE, as well as the current technology barriers will be discussed. Applications and highlighted progress of several DOD and Government programs will be addressed, including printed electronics, hybrid devices, materials, and integration of printed electronics & 3D printed structures for initiation systems, antennas, gun safeties, wearables, prognostics & diagnostics, fuzes, etc. Also, the challenges associated with testing, qualification, and fielding for commercial and military markets will be addressed.
James L. Zunino III, Materials Engineer
Picatinny Arsenal, NJ

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