Advances in materials science are enabling next-generation technologies, like low-profile conformal antennas and antennas integrated into housings, that help reduce complexity, simplify manufacturing and deliver better performance.
Fiber-filled composites will be instrumental in creating lower profile antennas because they are stronger than the unfilled plastics often used in today’s technology and even allow for thinner radomes.
Recent advances in long and continuous glass fiber composites reduce the need for hand layups of traditional radome manufacturing, while enabling the creation of stronger, thinner and lighter radomes. Composite enclosures can be 30 to 40% lighter than the aluminum enclosures they replace.
Antenna weight is reduced by integrating some circuit board traces, wires and connectors for fewer overall components. For example, TE’s 3D selective metallization process can be applied to a range of substrates including plastics, chemically resistant composites, glass, ceramic and metals to reduce weight. The metallization is durable and withstands shock, vibration, fluids and salt spray to the levels typically required for aerospace applications. This process enables rapid development and manufacturing of robust 3D antennas for harsh environments.
Conductive inks and coatings lower size, weight and power (SWaP), because they allow developers to replace metal components with coated plastic or composite parts. Conductive coatings also offer the possibility of printing antennas directly on structural composite parts, such as body panels, enabling excellent integration of antennas into vehicles and other platforms.
Filed Under: TECHNOLOGIES + PRODUCTS, Materials • advanced