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UAH Lab Leads To Improved Reliability Of Weapons

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by Staff Writers
Huntsville, AL (SPX) Jul 10, 2007
The University of Alabama in Huntsville unveiled its newest laboratory that will add to the university's capabilities in assisting the U.S. Army in determining the durability of the equipment used by American soldiers. A new laboratory in UAH's Von Braun Research Hall contains the Highly Accelerated Life Testing chamber, which can produce environments that accelerate the life cycle of various parts through extreme environments.

"The goal of the chamber is simply to try and break these components," said Chris Sautter, the interim director for UAH's Center for Material Research.

Sautter said the HALT chamber takes components through temperature swings from minus 100 degrees to more than 200 degrees Celsius. At the same time, it has the capability to change the humidity from zero to 85 percent and vary the vibration from zero to 100gs RMS (gravity root mean squared), a means of measuring the level of vibration in terms of "g." He said all three parameters can be varied to replicate various test conditions.

UAH created the laboratory to support Maj. Gen. Jim Pillsbury's Condition-Based Maintenance program, which has a positive impact on current maintenance practices by reducing the burden on the solder-mechanics and improving the mission reliability of the weapon systems.

Gen. Pillsbury said improving the reliability of the machines used by soldiers allows those machines to better be used on the battlefield to, in his words, kill more "bad guys."

The Army's Aviation and Missile Command's Condition-Based Maintenance office played a key role in development of the laboratory, according to Sautter.

He added the HALT chamber is an important new addition to the university's capabilities.

"Our hopes for UAH is that we will become the 'go to' guys for the engineers at AMCOM and NASA that are looking to qualify new parts or are examining the failure modes of fielded components that are not living up to expectations."

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Raytheon Wins Whole-Life Support Contract For Rapid Aerostat Initial Deployment Systems
Tewksbury MA (SPX) Jun 26, 2007
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