Defense Advanced Research Projects AgencyTagged Content List

Transformative Materials

Relating to new or improved properties in materials

Showing 131 results for Materials RSS
DARPA launched the Aerospace Projects Office (APO) in 2015 in response to a new Defense Department initiative, the Aerospace Innovation Initiative (AII), which aims to ensure that the United States can maintain air dominance in future contested environments. The AII includes a new program, AII-X, tasked with designing and demonstrating advanced aircraft technologies. The AII-X program is being led by DARPA, and the APO is its home.
DARPA's Defense Sciences Office (DSO) identifies and pursues high-risk, high-payoff research initiatives across a broad spectrum of science and engineering disciplines and transforms them into important, new game-changing technologies for U.S. national security. Current DSO themes include frontiers in math, computation and design, limits of sensing and sensors, complex social systems, and anticipating surprise. DSO relies on the greater scientific research community to help identify and explore ideas that could potentially revolutionize the state-of-the-art.
The mission of the Defense Sciences Office (DSO) is to identify and pursue high-risk, high-payoff research initiatives across a broad spectrum of science and engineering disciplines and to transform these initiatives into disruptive technologies for U.S. national security.
In this episode DARPA’s podcast, MTO program manager Dan Green discusses the Agency’s work to develop semiconductor materials, among them gallium arsenide and now gallium nitride, that open pathways to both military and civilian technology in categories spanning from electronic warfare to radar to communications.

In the late 1970's, DARPA initiated a program with Lockheed Space Systems Division to develop the technology of welding aluminum-lithium alloys, which would combine high stiffness with low density and therefore lower weight. At the time, no one understood how to prepare these materials for welding and how to control impurities in the metals and welding process. Such control would be critical for producing materials repeatedly with predictable behavior and performance.

Within 18 months, metallurgists at Lockheed had developed the welding techniques for the 80/90 Al/Li alloy and applied it to the construction of space hardware. One of the most impressive structures made from this material was the Titan missile payload adapter, which was 14 feet in diameter and 17 feet high and fabricated from 3" thick metal plate. By using this alloy, a 10% weight saving was achieved compared to the prior incarnation of that rocket components. The weight savings translated into millions of dollars at cost savings when it came to delivering hardware to obit. This material system made it into classified DoD applications as well. Lockheed scaled the process up to 400,000 lb/year of Al-Li alloys for the next four years.