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Nanotechnology in Aviation

Updated on May 10, 2014

Nanotechnology in Aviation

LAS-432 Tech, Society and Culture

Unit: 6

Title of Assignment: Team Project Week 6/Draft: Nanotechnology in Aviation

Professor: Dr. David Scoma

Date: 8/15/2013

(Image Retrieved from:

Authors: Group A

Beihoff, Lisa (Team Leader)

Team Members

Alvarez, Suzel

Arroyo, Angel


Barbato, Thomas

Team Project Week 6/Draft: Nanotechnology in Aviation

Thesis Statement: Beihoff, Lisa
Building composites at the subatomic level with quantum mechanics focus through nanotechnology is a revolutionary advancement with much potential for the aviation industry, by forging unprecedented new developments and applications of engineered strong lightweight materials and structures for benefits of cost savings and fuel efficiency while potential environmental and safety risks are explored as well.
Detailed Outline:

  • Description of the Technology
  • Science that drove the technology: Beihoff, Lisa

Manipulation of matter on a molecular and atomic size-this is nanotechnology. (2013) defines this as "Nanotechnology is the understanding and control of matter at the nanoscale, at dimensions between approximately 1 and 100 nanometers, where unique phenomena enable novel applications." (Pg. 1).
We can utilize the nanoscale science, for:

  • Imaging
  • Measuring
  • Modeling
  • Manipulating

This can therefore engineer technology at such scales which allow for much more than smaller scale examinations- as this includes new biological, chemical and quantum property discoveries permitting nano size space saving materials-which can be compact and lightweight benefiting industries such as aviation. We will explore the revolutionary molecular sized machine components which can be transformed into state of the art aviation innovations. Nano coatings and additional polymer materials can make the aircraft stronger yet lighter by reducing weight and creating fuel efficient aviation composites for increased safety and functionality.

Where can this study take us? According to Aviation Week & Space Technology (2012) "Breakthroughs in nanotechnology could hasten bold missions, while fostering advances in energy, medicine and other fields crucial to U.S. economic health, according to the study report, which urges more focused oversight of U.S. nanotechnology research by the White House and Congress as well as multi-year investments from NASA in peer-reviewed arenas to establish and sustain expertise." (Pg. 1). Researchers focus on the progress of nano -materials with goals of the scientists being actions of manipulating matter at the atomic or nanometer level to produce large structures with fundamentally new molecular organizations and structure.
b. How and where did this derive from? Beihoff, Lisa states "The ideas and concepts behind nanoscience and nanotechnology started with a talk entitled "There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom" by physicist Richard Feynman at an American Physical Society meeting at the California Institute of Technology (CalTech) on December 29, 1959, long before the term nanotechnology was used. In his talk, Feynman described a process in which scientists would be able to manipulate and control individual atoms and molecules. Over a decade later, in his explorations of ultraprecision machining, Professor Norio Taniguchi coined the term nanotechnology. It wasn't until 1981, with the development of the scanning tunneling microscope that could "see" individual atoms, that modern nanotechnology began." (Pg. 1). Science tells us that Earth has everything consisting of atoms, such as buildings we sit in, clothes we wear and even our own bodies. Nanotechnology and Nanoscience includes the ability to observe and manage these individual atoms and molecules. These atoms are not visible with the human eye; they are also not visible with many common microscopes. About 30 years ago nano observable specific microscopes were invented. Developments of these tools such as the atomic force microscope (AFM) and the scanning tunneling microscope (STM) built up the growth of the nanotechnology field.

Engineers and scientists today can research and development data to intently create materials at the nanoscale which utilizes the enhanced properties such as lighter weight, greater chemical reactivity, higher strengths, and increased control of light spectrum over counter-parts of larger-scales. (2013) states "Just how small is "nano?" In the International System of Units, the prefix "nano" means one-billionth, or 10-9; therefore one nanometer is one-billionth of a meter. For example: There are 25,400,000 nanometers in one inch!" (Pg. 3).

      1. Nanotechnology Growth: Beihoff, Lisa (2011) states "global scientific and societal endeavor was set in motion by the nanotechnology vision formulated in 1999 that inspired the National Nanotechnology

Initiative (NNI) and other national and international R&D programs. Establishing foundational knowledge at the nanoscale has been the main focus of the nanotechnology research community in the first decade. As of 2009, this new knowledge underpinned about a quarter of a trillion dollars worldwide market, of which about $91 billion was in US products that incorporate nanoscale components. Nanotechnology is already evolving toward becoming a general-purpose technology by 2020, encompassing four generations of products with increasing structural and dynamic complexity" (Pg. 1). Today in 2013 we now have nano coatings, nano fiber components, appliances, devices and aircraft which pressed on in the advancement plan of nanoscience and developed into products and industrial lines such as Lockheed Martin.

Warwick, G (2012) discusses current day technologies with specific organizations being named (such as Lockheed Martin) which benefit from use of nanotechnology. The current/future applications such as Carbon Nanotube Tape and Sheets (CNT) with thermoplastic composites are being worked on for implementations such as with the F-35 aircraft injection molded wingtip cap for cost savings and efficiency means. (Pgs. 2-6).
Nanoworks (2008) discusses the ways Nano-Titanium Technology has shown to "yield lighter and stronger metals for airplanes and cars". Examples of carbon nanotubes being utilized in aircraft such as The (←)Giles G-200 portray durability and cost effective positive effects of using these components in aircraft fuselage and other aircraft parts. Boeing (2013) is another successful company in the aviation industry with interest in nanotechnology towards potential aircraft and aerospace products to be developed with goals of the future of flight being improved.
Defense is a field which our government can also take advantage of the nanotechnology discoveries. For example, carbon fibers may generate stealth paint to use in military reconnaissance and defense fields. Popular Sceince (2013) discusses "Blacker-than-Black Nano-Stealth with a coat of carbon nanotube stealth paint, and any plane could absorb radar just like the B-2. USAF" (Pg. 6).
Abcnews com (2013) states "In Nanotechnology and Homeland Security: New Weapons for New Wars, Mark A. Ratner, a professor of chemistry at Northwestern University and a noted expert in molecular electronics, and his son Daniel Ratner, a high-tech entrepreneur, claim that current research in nanotechnology will lead to intelligent sensors, smart materials, and other methods for thwarting biological and chemical attacks." (Pg. 1).

Clearly science at this nano level opens up doors to new opportunities for progressions in many fields. This can include electronics, sensors, biometrics, security, medicine, manufacturing, materials, energy and much more. This paper will explore the various applications and utilizations via nanotechnology related to aviation with pros and cons of the related.

    1. Applications of the technology: Alvarez, Suzel
      This emerging technology is supported by many scientists and engineers alike. Lockheed Martin, Boeing and NASA with media support and influence the benefits of nanotechnology in Aviation and Aerospace. The applications of Nanotechnology can include many aspects that will improve the overall aviation experience and at the same time will improve the aviation process. Some of the applications that will be key factors in this type of aviation technology include high strength, low composites, improved electronics and displays with power consumption, variety of physical sensors, and multi-functional materials with embedded sensors. In addition, new filters and membranes for air purification. The four main areas that according to Boeing Research Technology (2013) will be tied into these types of application are:
      • Structure
      • Energy and Power

Boeing and the media have expressed their interest in Nanotechnology by expressing some goals and interest that they as a company have. For them this type of application can adapt aerospace products to application environment, modify technologies to address aerospace issues and for global reasons. (Pgs. 5-7).

Many other companies as well are behind the nanotechnology application and believe that this is correct path to take; one prime company that is behind this is Lockheed Martin company which supports this new wave of technology solutions feels and they this would benefit the aviation industry and make flying a different experience for the better.
e. Purposes of nanotechnology in aviation: Alvarez, Suzel
In looking at the applications and purposes of nanotechnology in aviation there are a few questions to ponder. How big of a role does the aviation industry play in our lives? Do we have the latest application technology in this industry? Nanotechnology applications within the aviation field have received impressive attention throughout the world. Just some of the key effective elements that many major aviation companies are looking for are:

  • Low weight composites
  • High strength components
  • Improved electronics and displays
  • Lower power consumptions
  • Better filters for state of the art air purification
  • More improved tires and brakes in airplanes.

This new technology is supported by many scientists and major aviation and aerospace companies such as Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Airbus as well as the NASA and the Military. Boeing has created an alliance and initiated a project led by the Boeing Research & Technology Center along with the Intelligent Energy division of the United Kingdom, the Diamond Aircraft Industries located in Austria and finally the Advanced Technology Products within the United States to evaluate and research potential nanotechnology applications for fuel cell technology for future commercial and military airplanes. Their goal is to develop and fly an airplane powered by fuel cells. For the aviation industry these types of applications can help improve aerospace products and modify technologies so that aerospace challenges can be addressed locally and globally as well. In addition, this new wave of technology solutions would benefit the aviation industry immensely and ultimately make flying a different overall experience for everyone.

The focus on developing and finalizing the applications of the nanotechnology in this industry is mainly by three areas that are really committed to the progress of nanotechnology, which are the NASA, Military and the Commercial. It is in their best intent to keep working towards having all applications mentioned above tested, confirmed and ready for use in the near future. Just a few years ago, many people and scientist thought that nanotechnology would not be possible or a simple imagination of our human kind, but we see that this is not the case. The aerospace and aviation fields are in much need of high quality materials which are superior to what they currently have now.

Many laboratories dedicate billions of dollars to the development of nanotechnology applications, to improve the overall flight experience. One company that has taken the lead and has expressed that they feel that there are four key elements or areas that will correlate with these application efforts is the commercial aviation company by the name of The Boeing Company. (2013) has expressed their opinion that there are four areas that these applications will be pulled together which are 1- Systems 2- Energy 3- Structure and 4- Sensor’s. A well-known person in the industry by the name of Martin Kemp "stated that these promising aerospace applications will include improved sensors that will possibly built into structures to detect stress". (Pgs. 2-6).

One of the main focuses though is the structural area that will make the airplanes much lighter in weight. These types of planes are less likely to have any corrosion and are less likely to be hit by lighting. They will have much more cabin space for customers’ to feel more comfortable.
f. Examples: Alvarez, Suzel

An example of this would be where aircraft will have wider seats and aisles on board. (2013) states "In the structure of the future planes, we are more likely to see this breakdown:

  • 50% Nanotechnology Composite
  • 25% Aluminum
  • 15% Titanium
  • 10% Steel

Boeing 787s, is a great example as they are currently using some Nano coating on their air vessels or the carbon nanotube-based material being used in the structures of the Lockheed Martin F-35. (Pg. 1).

As we can see many of these big corporations are already slowly trying a version of a nanotechnology application on a lower scale until they continue testing and researching.
In addition to the aircraft fuselage and components, another aspect which can utilize the nanotechnology structures are the energy inputs/outputs of the aircraft. In the Energy area the target or goal is to work on fuel cell or alternative fuel options. A great example of this is the efforts that I mentioned earlier where Boeing is working with many other companies globally to come up with the fuel cell concept for airplanes.

NASA is also interested in this topic and has been doing their own research as well when it relates to fuel cell options. By doing this, they would not consume so much fuel and be able to save our energy more. The other area that they would focus more would be the sensor which is actually the reliable portion of the aircraft. Best of all, is the systems portion that play a huge role and would definitely be used to increase performance yet conducting in a smaller airplane which is lighter in weight.

NASA is also very interested in these types of applications and how they will affect their overall functions and flights into space. They have expressed their interest in nanotechnology and the capabilities that it can offer aerospace. Nanotechnology is present in every part of the NASA's (2013) mission which is divided into five parts: "Mission to Planet Earth, Aeronautics, Human Exploration and Development of Space, Space Science, and Space Technology". (Missions Pg.). In addition, they also see a huge cost savings in the structural portion of a new space ship that has nanotechnology applications, since they can be smaller and lighter weight which would be much more cost effective when launching a space ship into space. Findings are that lighter yet stronger materials can observably develop aircraft with better range and lift. The strength as well of this aeronautical vessel would be more advanced as well as the computer components that would be essential in the initial design stage of these new and improved spaceships. NASA will continue to research, develop and implement nanotechnology in their applications.
The military is an area that is also working towards doing their own research on these applications as well and seeing where they can improve their aviation products. An example is a company by the name of AeroVironment that is originally from California where they worked on creating an air vehicle that could fly indoors and outdoors and use its own energy. They actually were successful in their intentions and had a major milestone where they actually created a device that was able to accomplish this. It was actually called the "Nano Hummingbird". It is in their best interest as well as all the other companies that I have spoken about to continue to strive for this type of technology. It will benefit them in very similar aspects as well with all their essential aeronautical needs. It will streamline many cost savings items for the country as well as have give them the opportunity to have the latest technology that will make taking care of our country a much easier task.
Whether it is Boeing, Lockhead Martin, Airbus, our military or NASA they all have the same common goal for the future. They will continue to explore the revolutionary molecular sized machine components which can be transformed into state of the art aviation innovations. Nanotechnology applications can improve the aircraft experience and increase the safety and total functionality. Having this ability in the aviation field is only the beginning and can begin to improve many things.
These types of application can benefit all industries and which better one to begin with than the aviation field. Once these applications are perfected it can then be beneficial to all other types of industries. Nanotechnology will change the way we live and make it a better place not in only in the aviation field but in our everyday life and environment.

  • History of the Technology
    1. A brief timeline: Arroyo, Angel
      • 1959 physicist Richard Feynman introduced nanotechnology, later the aviation industry started to incorporate the technology in early 2000, focusing their attention on structure, composites, foil tape and Bucky Paper.
      • 2001 NASA put out the following statement with confidence in regards to Nano Technology and how it would benefit the general public and improve the Aviation industry. "In futuristic scenario, aircraft could weight as little as half of the conventional aircraft manufactured with today's materials. Such novel materials would be extremely flexible, allowing the wing to reshape instantly and remaining extremely resistant to damage at the same time. In addition, these materials would have "self –healing" functionality. The high strength to weight ratio of nano materials could enable new airplane design that can withstand crashes and protect the passages against injury" (Pg. 1).
      • 2008, major aviation players like Boeing, Airbus S,A.S and Lockheed Martin started using Bucky Paper to Protect electronic circuits and devices within airplanes from damage and altering of settings due to electromagnetic interference as per Boeing Research and Technology. Although Nano Technology is fairly new in the Aviation sector they have managed to take full advantage of what has already been developed and incorporated it into their existing structure.
      • Currently, nanotechnology is being used by Boeing in structure composite, Energy/power for more efficient on alternating fuel, sensors/lights are smaller and still producing a high performance output if not better.
      • By 2020 Boeing estimates spending 9.4 billion on Nanotube innovation alone, putting the technology alone in the trillions.
      Nanotechnology is the technology that is created to replicate a miniature version of something that is typically large. A prime example is the Nano iPod that was created by Apple to store large quantities of data in a small device. That has been seen throughout iPod generations; which led to naming their smallest iPod, The Nano. On a comparative scale, if a marble were a nanometer, then one meter would be the size of the Earth to give you an idea what the potential Nanotechnology will have in the world as we continue to improve the use of this technology.
      b. Past: Arroyo, Angel
      Richard Feynman introduced nanotechnology in 1959, yet the aviation industry started to incorporate the technology in early 1990s, focusing their attention on structure, composites, foil tape and Bucky Paper. (2013) states Buckey Paper is "Thin films of randomly oriented and magnetically aligned carbon nanotubes and nanofibers, 10 times lighter but potentially 500 times stronger than steel, conducts electricity like copper or silicon and disperses heat like steel or brass; and when on exteriors of airplanes, its high current carrying capacity allows lightning strikes to flow around the plane and dissipate without causing damage" (Pg. 4).
      In 2008, major aviation players like Boeing, Airbus S,A.S and Lockheed Martin started using Bucky Paper to Protect electronic circuits and devices within airplanes from damage and altering of settings due to electromagnetic interference as per Boeing Research and Technology. Other reasons on why Boeing and others have adapted the Bucky Paper technology are as follows:
  • The material is 5000 time thinner than a strain of hair.
  • 500 times stronger than steel.
  • Conducts electricity.
    c. Present: Arroyo, Angel

Silberman, J. (2013) states "Almost every Airliner will be struck by lightning once a year". (Pg. 7). That being said, Buckey paper has been the obvious solution ongoing over years for engineers in the aviation industry in effort to strengthen existing planes, reduce the cost on fuel spent due to the light weight and certainly protecting the safety of all passengers. Buckey paper looks just like it sounds, a piece of paper. The thin film would be wrapped around the nose of the plane and vacuumed to create a smooth slick look. Not only will Buckey paper redirect the electrical impact of any lightening strike, but will also be use to protect the instruments inside the plane that plays a huge role in the navigating of any plane. Buckey paper is also being used on televisions and over-head compartments of planes due to the strength of carbon nano tubes. Other areas that you will start to see Buckey paper used for their strength is in bicycles and tennis rackets.
As per (2013)- for the present and past ten (10) years, Nosang Myung, a professor at the UC Riverside Bourns College of Engineering has worked on what is called a Nano Nose. (Pg. 4). This small device was designed to detect harmful particles in the air, but designed for the food industry to ensure we maintain a safe and hygienic industry. The aviation industry got wind of the Nano Nose and they have now started to use it in airports and airplanes for the detecting of gun power, other bomb/missile weapons, and mostly importantly any chemical that is harmful to the public. Nano noses in the future will replace the sniffing dogs, but in the mean time it doesn’t harm to keep both for extra safety.
As the aviation industry today starts to apply more Nano technology into their fleets, the confidence of other industries will follow pursuit. The race car world is another application today for they now have the ability to detect fractures on their frames to better protect the drivers from a deadly accident, whereas they never had the ability to do so in the past.
d. Future: Arroyo, Angel

In Israel it has been reported in media that their aviation department came up with a Nano paint that avoids be detected by any radar turning any plane into a Stealth Bomber when applied. Although this is ground breaking on one point, it’s also scary on the hand when misused. I strongly feel that we need to regulate the progression of Nanotechnology to the point that they are being used with the right intension for a better and safer world. The ability to not be detected draws a red light and a concern for me and should for the government. If not regulated accordingly, we run the risk of not being able to trace anything which ultimately puts us in harm’s way when it comes to wars and hateful crimes that occur throughout the world on a daily basis.
Ultimately what is making up Nano technology in the aviation and medical field is composed of Nano fibers and Nano tubes. These fibers can’t be seen by the naked eye, but are a thousand times more effective then material that you and I can actually see. Dr. Darrell Reneker, a professor from UA (2012) goes on to say "When you layer the Nano fibers in an organized way, you can create more effective filters used in air and water filtration, or you can create a bandage that can be embedded with chemical agents for medicinal uses". (Pg. 5).
Just like anything else inovative that requires extended research and development; there is a cost; which comes at a high ticket. Countries around today see the value in Nano technology and want to be on the forefront when it comes to the constant development and utilization of the technology. This is visible to the point that the US spent $2.18 Billion in 2011 on research and development; while China came in at $2.25 Billion. Rumor has it that China would like to invest $1 for every person in the entire world on Nanotechnology moving forward; which will come to an annual expense of $7 Billion dollars. (2011) states "It will be imperative over the next decade to focus on four distinct aspects of nanotechnology development that are discussed in this volume:
(1) better comprehension of nature, leading to knowledge progress;
(2) economic and societal solutions, leading to material progress;

(3) International collaboration on sustainable development, leading to global progress;
(4) people working together for equitable governance, leading to moral progress. (Pg. 444).
We see since the start of nanotechnology in 1959 to today’s 21st century world, the study and research of the field has created many benefits to the industry and will continue to be a focus which to advance and learn from.

    1. An analysis of social factors that drove the technology: Barbato, Thomas
      Political, legal, economic, government, (military), ethical and social dimensions and factors all influence the driven force of this technology. The considerations of safety and health are incorporated into the influence along with financial gain through cost effective processes being power of persuasion for these dimensions pushing the technology. The above noted environmental dimensions The above noted dimensions with influences applied toward aviation applications include elements of:
  • Increase efficiencies
  • Produce better quality materials
  • Nanocomposite produces stronger, durable lightweight materials
  • Improving aluminum – Nano metal-matrix quality and cost effective coatings
  • Reduce manufacturing costs
  • Defense budget cut
  • Reduce fuel consumption
  • Nano-Titanium Technology /Anti-icing coating Durable Resistant safe
  • Increase market demand
  • Military Benefits include Undetectable surveillance and weaponry
  • Safeguarding technologies
  • Arms race
      1. Designing a More Efficient Aircraft: Barbato, Thomas
        With fuel and metal cost soaring, aviation engineers look to new technologies to reduce the weight and increase the overall efficiency of the aircraft. Both defense contractors and private sector firms are utilizing nanotechnology to produce materials and components to achieve this goal. With the growing field of nanotechnology branching into the aviation industry, creating a more efficient aircraft is well within reach.

As steel prices continued to increase, airline manufacturers began to look for lighter and less expensive materials. Nanotechnology-enabled materials are moving into aerospace. "A composite in which nanoparticles are placed into the polymer matrix may be more resistant to fracture and fatigue" (Farahmand, 2011, p. 2). The development of nanotechnology-enabled materials can create superior materials that can increase performance and passenger safety while saving money. Components produced from these nanostructured alloys and composites display significant improvement over conventional materials.

Nanostructured technology offers the potential for significant improvements in material properties over conventional material used on commercial and military aircraft. Reducing weight on the cabling and component side has significant advantages. According to an article in Aviation Week and Space Technology; A New Hampshire-based company is developing a light weight cable made from carbon nanotubes (CNT) that will replace the standard copper cable used on most aircraft (Warwick, Anselmo, 2012, p. 4). This type of reduction will increase the performance of the aircraft while reducing manufacturing cost. In some cases these aircraft are also installing nanometal composite armor. "This material has an impact layer of ceramic and a near-impact transition layer made of a nanometal matrix with ceramic particulate reinforcement" (Belk, 2005, p. 22). A combination of lighter material and smaller components will increase the efficiency without compromising its strength and maneuverability.

Defense contractors like Lockheed Martin are leading in the research and manufacturing of in Nanocomposite materials in aviation and aerospace. According to an article by Jonathan Katz in Industrial Week, Lockheed Martin has incorporated a Nanocomposite technology called Advanced Polymers Engineering for the Extreme (APEX) into the wingtips of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter resulting in significant cost savings in fuel (Katz, 2012, p. 14). This same type of technology could possibly have an application in the commercial aircraft industry.

Nano-Titanium technology is another area of development that reduces the weight and increases the strength without compromising the integrity of the aircraft. This proprietary nanometal technology was created at the Los Alamos National Laboratory and will use less material for the same purpose, translating to lighter weight and reduced environmental impact (Nanowerk News, 2008). This is another example of the advantages this technology can produce. The use of this material will reduce in manufacturing cost and increase efficiency of the aircraft.

  • Safety: Barbato, Thomas

Safety is another area that Nanocomposite materials can become useful. Icing is a continual problem for commercial and military aircraft. Icing conditions exist when the air contains extremely cold liquid water accumulates on aircraft resulting in the condition of aerodynamic unsteadiness and instability of the entire aircraft (Baars, 2010, p. 35). Ice accumulates on aircraft surfaces and can cause lift off issues and negatively affect the aerodynamics of wings during flight which can also reduce the efficiency of turbine blades (Hessman, 2012). According to an article by Travis Hessman in Industrial Weekly; Industry sectors spend a lot of money dealing with icing issues on the aircraft. Engineered nanosurfaces are designed to resist icing making the aircraft safer to fly (Hessman, 2012). These technologies could one day reduce and possibly even eliminate the need for existing anti-icing methods for both the military and commercial aviation industry not to mention the safety problems that can be eliminated. This will also allow flights to continue during extreme weather conditions, possibly saving the consumer and military a considerable amount of money and reducing flight delays that all but shut down airports in severe winter weather.

On the competitive front, in 2011 four Russian companies created an alliance where advanced materials for aircraft construction can be created and a market for competitive polymer materials based on carbon fiber can be developed (Nanowerk News, 2011). These materials will reduce the weight of the airplane's frame and improve the durability and aerodynamics of the aircraft. According to this article; "These advantages will do much to increase the competitiveness of Russian-built airplanes in international markets". Today the share of composite materials in promising civil airliners is around 30 percent to 50 percent (Nanowerk News, 2011). Development will accelerate as engineers around the world discover new techniques of working at the nano scale.

  • Military Benefit of Nanotechnology in Aviatio: Barbato, Thomas

Nanotechnology will have a profound impact on the on the military and the way weaponry will be utilized. Advancements in this growing science will progress the miniaturization of weapons, decrease the cost for space projects, and make other tracking and surveillance devices readily available. The military must invest in nanotechnology research in order to capitalize on these developments. In preparing for new nanotechnology weapons the military will need to understand how to protect this technology against nations and individuals from obtaining and using it for malicious ways. Nanotechnology will transform military systems and the engineering process to produce devices and components that will change the military in a unique way.

One of the most promising breakthroughs is the application of MEMS and Nanotechnology. MEMS is an acronym for microelectromechanical systems. This combined with nanotechnology have virtually limitless military application. According to Keller’s article in Military & Aerospace Electronics; "This kind of MEMS and nanotechnology application could lead to micro unmanned vehicles for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) that would blend in with insects and other wildlife and be virtually undetectable" (Keller, 2012, p. 27). But like most new military technologies it must be safeguarded from others that will want to use it against us.

In the U.S, private sector companies, academic institutions and federal research and development laboratories are working on the development of MEMS and nanotechnology and applying the technology to military and aerospace industry (Howard, 2009, p. 32). It is reasonable to assume that other countries are setting aside large budgets to research and develop MEMS and nanotechnology applications for their military and commercial use.

Another area where nanotechnology is benefiting the military is where the Air Force is researching an application using nanoenergetics. According to this article by Pat Toensmeier in Aviation Week & Space Technology; The Air Force is developing an additive for the kerosene-based jet fuel that prevent contaminates from entering the fuel system and causing the fuel to burn inefficiently. (Toensmeier, 2006, p. 1).

Cleaner fuel will burn more efficient and benefit the environment. More efficient jet engines and the use of lighter composite materials hold the largest potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the short-to-medium term. This technology could also transfer to the commercial industry and be used on light aircraft and smaller transporting aircraft.

  • The Legal Aspects of Nanotechnology in Aviation: Barbato, Thomas

When it comes to utilizing nanotechnology in the manufacturing process, health and safety will become a significant element in the process. Because this technology is still in its infant stage there is a level of uncertainty of the risk involved in the manufacturing process. Governments must ensure that the appropriate analyses and information are provided to prevent any harmful effects to human health or the environment. Governments should take all the necessary steps to ensure the safety of the public and promote confidence that these regulations are based on the most current information provided by the industry.

Standardized organization like International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) are involved with the "development of standards and guidance materials in the field of nanotechnologies" (Kica, Bowman, 2012). According to this article by Kica and Bowman; current regulations are not being developed by the traditional state regulation process but through a "polycentric regulatory structures in which the government is not the sole source of decision-making authority" (Kica, Bowman, 2012). This issue raises the question of the legitimacy of these regulations and will they provide enough safety and protection for the community.

As this technology continues to expand into multiple industries, concerns over the risks to people that work with these materials and the consumers that use the products made by this technology need to be addressed. According to Falkner & Jasper; nanomaterials could enter the body through mucous membranes or the skin and migrate via the bloodstream to vital organs including the brain or enter cells, interact with their molecular structure, and have cytotoxic or genotoxic effects. (Falkner, Jaspers, 2012, p. 36). Understanding the effect that the process that is needed to manufacture goods using nanomaterials needs to be assess and precautions need to be taken to protect the workforce. According to this same article by Falkner& Jaspers in Global Environmental Politics; One of the major issues is that nanotechnologies has move to the market from the research and development labs at a high rate of speed and there are no reliable database exists that tracks commercial developments (Falkner, Jaspers, 2012, p. 36). Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies (PEN) has shown some light into the market by creating an internet-based inventory (Falkner, Jaspers, 2012, p. 36).

Nanotechnologies introduce a level of uncertainty that require international responses but as the technology travels at an astounding speed the ability to produce a standard authority is moving much slower. Global regulatory debates and the development of regulations are lagging behind nanotechnology technology.

  • The Social Aspect of Nanotechnology in Aviation: Barbato, Thomas

Technology and science influences society in very unpredictable ways. It is hard to understand how society will be affected by a certain technology without some level of interaction for a period of time. Nanotechnology and its products have exposed us to a multitude of social and ethical issues that will have to be addressed. This technology has the potential of creating a lot of good but the risks and consequences need to be identified like any other new technology.

It is imperative that society and the nanoscience community understand the risks and how to asses them sooner than later. This technology is accelerating at an exponential rate so understanding the social and ethical issues are vital. "First, technology’s potential as a social good (as opposed to an individual or class good) often has been realized only after significant social and ethical issues have been addressed" (Sandler, 2009, p. 17).

Responsible development of nanotechnology requires addressing the causes like environmental injustice (the fair distribution of environmental benefits and burden). It is important that when we decide what nanomanufacturing processes are to be established we will need to assess the effect on the community and ensure environmental justice will occur. The nanotechnology community will not have the influence to address these factors so they will require a social and political response (Sandler, 2009, p. 27).

This is a very advanced technology that few people will ever have a full grasp of concept of this type of science. Public perception of nanotechnology is a very important obstacle for nanotechnology to be established successfully in society in the future (Beasley, 2010, p.13). Society (consumer) will accept the technology if it benefit them in their daily lives. If the risks become too great then there will be a society backlash that will stifle this advancement. From what we’ve discovered, this technology creates better, cheaper materials, and manufacturing efficiencies that benefit the end user. There is more advancement on the horizon but a better understanding will be required.

  1. Conclusions- Beihoff, Lisa
    a. Directions: Beihoff, Lisa
    We find the direction and progression of nanotechnology in aviation decides coatings and polymer to be beneficial to light weight flight components for engineering fuel efficient parts. Final findings suggest the increase of nanotechnology in aviation will continue to rise with major aviation companies investing trillions within the next ten (10) years for state of the art aircraft designs which prove cost efficiency, safety and overall advantageous to the industry and its cliental. The above risks and complications continue to be examined while the benefits and positive elements are further progressed for continual implementations to profit the aviation industry with nanotechnology.
    b. Expectations: Beihoff, Lisa
    For the commercial and military aviation industries, nanotechnology still holds a lot of expectation and an equal amount of uncertainty. It appears that this technology has unlimited potential. Along with the potential come risk and assessing these risks will be required while we move forward. The scope of risk will be defined and measured by the effect they have on society and the actions that can be taken to remove the possibility of damage. Dealing with the risks will have a financial, economic and a cultural impact on society. We must understand the effects of this process and put in place all the necessary safeguards.
    c. Final Note: Beihoff, Lisa

For a tangible comparison of size we are working with, look at a:

Strand of Hair

Divide this size by one hundred thousand (100,000) and you have the size of a nanometer! states "A hair is about one tenth of a millimeter wide

0.1 millimeter = 100,000 nm

(100 thousand nanometers)" (Pg. 4).

This new surface area provides novel reactions in chemicals for multiple components in the aviation industry to be created. The lightweight structures and damage resistant polymer coatings, nanoelectronics and propulsion components all benefit from this brilliant technology to advance the aviation industry with many goals and prospects transforming aviation successfully.

Photo caption: Visitors take a closer look at a Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jet at the Singapore Air show 2010.

Lockheed, NTU set up joint nanotechnology lab

Many projects for aviation and nanotechnology are at Bay!

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