It controls the entire Air Force science and technology research budget which was $2.4 billion in 2006.
The Laboratory was formed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio on 31 October 1997 as a consolidation of four Air Force laboratory facilities (Wright, Phillips, Rome, and Armstrong) and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research under a unified command. The Laboratory is composed of seven technical directorates, one wing, and the Office of Scientific Research. Each technical directorate emphasizes a particular area of research within the AFRL mission which it specializes in performing experiments in conjunction with universities and contractors.
Since the Laboratory’s formation in 1997, it has conducted numerous experiments and technical demonstrations in conjunction with NASA, Department of Energy National Laboratories, DARPA, and other research organizations within the Department of Defense. Notable projects include the X-37, X-40, X-53, HTV-3X, YAL-1A, Advanced Tactical Laser, and the Tactical Satellite Program.
The Laboratory may face problems in the future as 40 percent of its workers are slated to retire over the next two decades while since 1980 the United States has not produced enough science and engineering degrees to keep up with demand.
Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) research articles from Innovation Toronto
- Hypersonic missiles could be operational in 2020s – February 27, 2016
- New nanomaterial maintains conductivity in three dimensions – September 5, 2015
- A thin ribbon of flexible electronics can monitor health, infrastructure – August 23, 2015
- Ballistic Transport in Graphene Suggests New Type of Electronic Device
- Snap to attention: Polymers that react and move to light
- Butterfly wings inspire new technologies: from fabrics and cosmetics to sensors
- Polymer Nanoreactors Create Uniform Nanocrystals
- Novel sensor provides bigger picture
- New nanotech fiber: Robust handling, shocking performance
- Carnegie Mellon, Concurrent Technologies To Develop Robotic Laser System That Strips Paint From Aircraft
- Printed Photonic Crystal Mirrors Shrink On-Chip Lasers Down to Size
- U.S. Air Force’s Plug-and-Play Satellites
- Self-Adapting Computer Network That Defends Itself Against Hackers?
- US draws up plans for nuclear drones
- Exotic Material Boosts Electromagnetism Safely
Hypersonic missiles could be here faster than you know it.
By 2020, the Air Force is likely to have operational prototypes ready for a program of record and testing to develop an operational unit, said Maj. Gen. Thomas Masiello, the commander of the Air Force Research Laboratory.
By the 2030s, the technology could have expanded beyond delivering warheads at speeds faster than sound to also include hypersonic intelligence and reconnaissance flights, he said.
The Air Force, Masiello said is focusing on “deliberate, incremental progress towards maturing this technology.”
“We’re looking for more singles, base hits, versus trying to go for a home run,” he said.
Speaking at the Air Force Association Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Florida., Masiello described the efforts the service is undertaking to develop engines that could travel at or above the widely accepted hypersonic range of Mach 5.
An international team of scientists has developed what may be the first one-step process for making seamless carbon-based nanomaterials that possess superior thermal, electrical and mechanical properties in three dimensions.
The research holds potential for increased energy storage in high efficiency batteries and supercapacitors, increasing the efficiency of energy conversion in solar cells, for lightweight thermal coatings and more. The study is published today (Sept. 4) in the online journal Science Advances.
In early testing, a three-dimensional (3D) fiber-like supercapacitor made with the uninterrupted fibers of carbon nanotubes and graphene matched or bettered–by a factor of four–the reported record-high capacities for this type of device.
Used as a counter electrode in a dye-sensitized solar cell, the material enabled the cell to convert power with up to 6.8 percent efficiency and more than doubled the performance of an identical cell that instead used an expensive platinum wire counter electrode.
A new world of flexible, bendable, even stretchable electronics is emerging from research labs to address a wide range of potentially game-changing uses. The common, rigid printed circuit board is slowly being replaced by a thin ribbon of resilient, high-performance electronics.
Over the last few years, one team of chemists and materials scientists has begun exploring military applications in harsh environments for aircraft, explosive devices and even combatants themselves.
Researchers will provide an update on the latest technologies, as well as future research plans, at the 250thNational Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS). ACS is the world’s largest scientific society. The meeting takes place here through Thursday.
“Basically, we are using a hybrid technology that mixes traditional electronics with flexible, high-performance electronics and new 3-D printing technologies,” says Benjamin J. Leever, Ph.D., who is at the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. “In some cases, we incorporate ‘inks,’ which are based on metals, polymers and organic materials, to tie the system together electronically. With our technology, we can take a razor-thin silicon integrated circuit, a few hundred nanometers thick, and place it on a flexible, bendable or even foldable, plastic-like substrate material,” he says.