R&D project focuses on benefits of Gallium alloys with RF electronic systemsNews
February 25, 2016
WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) engineers are looking into the effectiveness of Gallium Liquid Metal Alloys (GaLMAs) within various radio frequency (RF) electronic systems. Because of their lightweight and reconfigurable formats officials think they could benefit within size, weight, and power (SWaP)-constrained systems.
GaLMAs are composed of the liquid metal, gallium, and other conductive metals. They also help reduce aerodynamic drag caused by traditional RF structures on aircraft. GaLMAs could allow antenna and electrical connections to be physically mobilized and rearranged so that the shape and function of these components could be rewired and rewritten to suit mission requirements.
AFRL's Manufacturing & Materials, Sensors, and Aerospace Systems Directorates have been working together on this project for the past three years. Christopher Tabor, principal investigator and program manager for the AFRL GaLMA effort believes this technology is about 5-10 years away from any real-world testing.
"Fluid electronics such as GaLMAs are a novel approach and a different paradigm than traditional RF electronics," says Tabor. "A major hurdle to the technology is finding ways to integrate them with conventional semiconductor-based technologies."
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