NATICK, Mass., Sept. 6, 2006 – The Natick Soldier Center is developing electroluminescent panels for shelters.
The center is working with the private company Crosslink to develop electroluminescent (EL) textile technology. The EL technology will be incorporated into panels, which can then be attached to the walls of softwall shelters to function as a white-light source.
Alternatively, the EL technology can be directly integrated into the shelter materials thus eliminating attachment assembly.
Natick is collaborating with Crosslink, a St. Louis-based company that develops and manufactures electroactive polymer coatings for integration with a variety of plastics, metals, and textiles, under a Broad Agency Agreement intended to encourage innovative approaches to technology research.
The EL technology is an improvement over the typical lighting source used in Army shelters.
According to NSC project officer Benjamin LaPointe, "Soldiers currently use hardened fluorescent lights. These fluorescent lights are in a special container to protect the fragile glass tubes. They are heavy, contain toxic materials, have trouble starting in the cold, and have to be set up after the shelter is erected."
"In contrast, the new EL panels are flexible, durable, and lightweight,” he said. “The panels can be attached to tent walls, and the lighting can be
collapsed with the shelter so that troops don't have