Aeronautics institute picks composites as emerging technology

Composites, nanotechnology, shape memory, morphing, health monitoring make the list from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA, Reston, Va., USA) on June 1 released its first list of top emerging aerospace technologies. Developed by AIAA's Emerging Technologies Committee (ETC), the list comprises the following:

1. "Greener Aviation" Technologies - including emission reduction and noise reduction technologies as used in the Federal Aviation Administration's Continuous Low Emissions, Energy and Noise (CLEEN) program, and  the European Environmentally Friendly Engine (EFE) program and "Clean Sky" Joint Technology Initiative.

2. Alternative Fuels - including biofuels, as promoted by the FAA's Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI), and the recent FAA grant to the X Prize Foundation to spur development of renewable aviation fuels and technologies.

3. High Speed Flight Technologies - such as supersonic and hypersonic aerodynamics, sonic boom reduction technology, and thermal management aids.

4. Efficient Propulsion Technologies - including open rotors and geared turbofans, such as those used in the European DREAM (valiDation Radical Engine Architecture systeMs) program.

5. Active Flow Technologies - such as plasma actuators.

6. Advanced Materials - such as nanotechnology and composites.

7. Active Structures - such as shape memory alloys, morphing, and flapping.

8. Health Management - such as monitoring, prognostics, and self-healing.

9. Remote Sensing Technologies - including unmanned aerial vehicles and satellites such as those used in NASA's Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) program.

10. Advanced Space Propulsion Technologies - including plasma-based propulsion such as the Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket, and solar sail technologies.

AIAA's list reflects the expertise of the members of the Emerging Technologies Committee, as well as the results of a specially commissioned study. ETC chair Dan Jensen stated, "The list provides guidance to AIAA for its institute development strategy, while helping shape the annual input AIAA provides to the United States Air Force Scientific Advisory Board. The technologies listed represent the aerospace technologies in which research and technology development is most active from a global perspective."

AIAA's Emerging Technologies Committee was created to identify new as well as expanding technologies and programs with the potential for significant AIAA involvement, to identify likely partners for new AIAA activities, and to identify products and services that AIAA could provide to support emerging initiatives. The ETC is composed of three technical subcommittees: Aviation, Space, and Multidisciplinary and System Technologies.

AIAA is the world's largest technical society dedicated to the global aerospace profession. With more than 35,000 individual members worldwide, and 90 corporate members, AIAA brings together industry, academia, and government to advance engineering and science in aviation, space, and defense.