AEROSPACE & AVIATION OPTICAL GLASS DOME
Drone with PTZ Camera Dome
In addition to stringent optical requirements (see Optical Camera Domes), optical glass domes for UAV and RPV aviation applications fall into a unique category of mechanical demands. In particular, the faster the aircraft, the more challenging the demands on the mechanical integrity and optical performance of an aviation camera dome due to impacts. For aerospace applications, including missiles and UAVs, the biggest challenge comes from low altitude flight operations. Although the more infamous bird impacts are a concern and must be considered, the biggest problem comes from abradants such as sand, dirt and even bugs!
This is especially prevalent in arid and semi-arid areas of the world, which contain high concentrations of airborne particulates and bugs. Be it aviation border patrols on the U.S/Mexican border, or low altitude UAV / RPV flight operations in the Middle East, airborne particulates must be considered when designing an aviation optical glass dome. Ignoring this critical environmental hazard will result in loss of optical performance of aerospace camera domes, sometimes in a matter of only days or weeks. Rayotek specializes in engineering and manufacturing glass domes specifically for aerospace applications.
UAV with High Impact Camera Dome
WHAT IS THE BEST OPTICAL DOME MATERIAL FOR AEROSPACE APPLICATIONS?
Choosing the right material is critical in engineering an optical glass dome for UAV, RPV and Missile applications. Highly durable materials such as sapphire and ALON are the most robust and abrasion resistant, but material costs are considerably higher than glass, plus sapphire and ALON cannot be molded. Sapphire and ALON must be grown, ground and polished; all very time consuming processes. In many applications Rayotek recommends borosilicate glass, or, for small optical domes, chemically-strengthened specialty glasses such as Gorilla® Glass*. These high quality optical glasses are more than adequate and can be molded, making manufacturing times literally thousands of times faster than processing sapphire type materials.
For more information about the optical quality of Rayotek Engineered Glass Domes, see Optical Camera Domes or contact us for engineering assistance.
Wingtip Nav Lens Dome
PROPERLY MOUNTED GLASS DOMES PERFORM BETTER, LAST LONGER:
Aerospace glass domes are highly dependent on proper mounting systems for the best strength and reliability. Proper mounting will also reduce vibration, which can impact optical and sensor performance with sensitive systems. Rayotek Engineering and design focuses on the entire dome assembly including the seal, material compatibility and the mount (usually a flange), not just the glass dome.
For more information on proper mounting and issues link to Flanged Domes for High Strength & Pressure on our sister site rayoteksightwindows.com.
ABOUT RAYOTEK AVIATION GLASS DOMES:
Rayotek Optical Domes are specifically engineered for challenging aerospace applications. Rayotek glass domes are molded from high quality glass materials such as borosilicate glass and Gorilla® Glass* for superior optical performance and higher scratch, pit and impact resistance. Rayotek has a robust past performance portfolio including awards from organizations such as NASA and the U.S. Air Force. In addition, Rayotek has engineered and manufactured for many prime aerospace contractors such as: Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Boeing, Ball, Spirit Aerospace and SAIC.
* Corning Gorilla® Glass is a trademarked glass engineered to be highly resistant to pitting and scratches. Similar glasses by other manufacturers are Dragontrail® by ASG and Xensation® by Schott AG.
RAYOTEK DOME CAPABILITIES LINKS
Rayotek Aerospace Optical Dome Engineers are available to you for assistance in determining the ideal dome for your requirements.