Armament engineers use ultrasound to develop safer, better ordnance

Viral Panchal and Rajen Patel, engineers at the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center, display the pieces that make up the ultrasound technology for propellants. (U.S. Army photo by Todd Mozes)

By Lauren Poindexter and Ed Lopez, Picatinny Arsenal Public Affairs

PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. (Oct. 7, 2015) — Engineers are using ultrasound technology to more easily find defects during the manufacture of ordnance as a way to lower costs, produce more effective ordnance and provide an added measure of safety for Soldiers in the field.

At the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center, or ARDEC, engineers want to remove the “black box” that surrounds the production of energetic materials. In the context of defense research, “energetics” is a short-hand term for materials such as explosives, propellants and pyrotechnics.

“We have this black box and it’s currently hard to see inside with the technology that is available,” said chemical engineer Viral Panchal.

“Ultrasound gives us the ability to open up the box, leading to more effective research, development and manufacturing,” Panchal added.

ARDEC engineers have been working with Wes Cobb at the University of Denver, who has decades of experience developing ultrasound technology for the food, oil and medical industries.