An EMP emitted by a nuclear weapon exploded high above the U.S. could disable the electronic circuits of many devices vital to military defense and modern living. Fortunately, military equipment is designed to be immune to various levels of EMP, and the validity of those designs has been tested and improved by a “friendly” EMP generator at Sandia.
Sandia engineer Larry Luna has been elected a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers for significant achievements during more than 30 years of service and leadership. ASME fellows constitute about 3.5 percent of the organization’s more than 95,000 members. Larry was specifically recognized “for his contributions to the national security of the United States,” according to ASME.
Sandia's hypersonic wind tunnel and advanced laser diagnostic technology are helping U.S. defense agencies understand the physics associated with aircraft flying five times faster than the speed of sound. With potential adversaries reporting successes in their own programs to develop aircraft that can be flown at Mach 5 or greater, U.S. development of autonomous hypersonic systems is a top defense priority.
Sandia has developed a new rocket program, called the High Operational Tempo Sounding Rocket Program, or HOT SHOT, and integrated it for its first launch earlier this year under NNSA direction. The new program could help cut research and development time for new weapons systems from as many as 15 years to less than five.
Four intern teams competed for eight weeks this summer in Sandia’s fourth annual Nuclear Weapons Summer Product Realization Institute. During the NW SPRINT, nontraditional teams develop innovative concepts using new technologies, and identify and address gaps in those technologies. It also serves to create a recruiting pipeline.
Sandia researchers are using a blast tube configurable to 120 feet to demonstrate how well nuclear weapons could survive the shock wave of a blast from an enemy weapon, and to help validate the modeling.
Sandia’s materials science team has engineered a platinum-gold alloy believed to be the most wear-resistant metal in the world. It’s 100 times more durable than high-strength steel, making it the first alloy in the same class as diamond and sapphire, nature’s most wear-resistant materials.
Using an artful combination of nanotechnology and basic chemistry, Sandia researchers have encouraged gold nanoparticles to self-assemble into unusually large supercrystals that could significantly improve the detection sensitivity for chemicals such as explosives or drugs.
Sandia’s solar tower is helping to assess how extreme temperature changes affect materials. The tests for the Air Force take advantage of the ability of Sandia’s National Solar Thermal Test Facility to simulate a very rapid increase in temperature followed by an equally rapid decrease.
Sandia and UK-based Structural Monitoring Systems PLC have been working together for 15 years to create transportation systems that can send a signal when they're damaged. They've outfitted a U.S. bridge with a network of sensors that will alert maintenance engineers when they detect a crack large enough to require repair.