Guest: Rainer Hebert, PhD, Associate Professor, Materials Science and Engineering, University of Connecticut
The US Navy’s aircraft carriers are enormous – 1,000 feet long, capable of carrying airplanes (obviously) and a crew of 6,000 people. They’re basically self-contained cities at sea that will stay out for months at a time. But routinely, the Navy has to take these enormous ships offline to inspect and make repairs, because if something breaks while they’re at sea, it’s really expensive and time-consuming to come all the way back to shore for a fix. The Navy would like to extend the amount of time ships can stay out to sea between maintenance visits, but they need a better way to monitor critical equipment on the ship in real-time. And it would be even better if they could somehow manufacture the repair parts right on the ship.