— A University at Buffalo electronic-packaging researcher
is helping the U.S. Navy to develop a next generation
all-electric warship that will revolutionize the Navy's
use of weaponry and manpower.
The electric warship's system architecture to be designed
by Cemal Basaran, director of the Electronic Packaging
Laboratory in the UB School of Engineering and Applied
Sciences, and other researchers working on the project
for the Navy will make available throughout the entire
ship onboard electric power generated by the ship's
power plants and mechanical propulsion system.
Standard shipboard electrical systems currently are
unable to distribute this immense electrical power
to all parts of the ship, making impractical the use
of advanced weapons and sensors that require a lot
of power, according to the Navy.
Increased power availability will lead to computerization
of most of the electric warship's operations, which
will make manpower redundant. The electric warship
will require a crew of 100, compared to traditional
battleship crew that numbers in the thousands, according
to Navy estimates.
The Navy plans to have the electric warship operational
Basaran, under a $500,000 Navy grant, will design
next-generation power electronics capable of carrying
high-current density and high-power to all parts of
the warship, using nano and microelectronics technology.
This will be a critical component of the ship's system
architecture, Basaran says.
"The next-generation power electronics that will
control the ship will lead to major improvements in
effectiveness, survivability and cost savings, as
well as a significant reduction in the size of the
vessel's components," he adds.
Basaran and co-researchers in the UB Electronic Packaging
Lab are renowned for their pioneering work in designing
and testing micro- and nanoscale electronic packaging.
Their work, already in use by companies such as Intel,
has helped produce smaller, faster and longer-lasting
electronic devices at much lower cost. They have developed
advanced computer models to simulate and predict electronic
packaging fatigue life and reliability under extremely
harsh service conditions, such as in a Navy warship.
"Our job is to design and test for the Navy micro-
and nanoscale, electronic packages that maintain reliability
under extremely harsh conditions resulting from concurrently
acting vibrations, high-current density, high-power
and high-temperature loads," says Basaran, an
associate professor in the Department of Civil, Structural
and Environmental Engineering.
"The state-of-the art electronic packaging technology
cannot handle the huge electrical power needed by
an electric ship's warfare and civilian components
in micron and nanoscale packages."
The warship's integrated electric system will reduce
significantly size and electrical power consumption
presently occurring in traditional Navy ships. By
significantly shrinking the size of a ship's power
components, the Navy will free up onboard space that
can be used for other functions, according to Basaran,
a recipient in 1997 of the U.S. Navy Office of Naval
Research Young Investigator Award.
"Right now most electrical components are huge
and waste too much power, but they don't need to,"
Basaran says. "We can reduce their size and waste
by orders of magnitude, while increasing their ability
to handle high current-density and high-power levels
in harsh environments, significantly."
Navy funding and collaborating funding from New York
State Office of Science Technology and Academic Research
(NYSTAR) and corporate grants will fund the work of
six doctoral students on the project, according to
The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive
public university, the largest and most comprehensive
campus in the State University of New York.