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Researchers Reveal New Protective Materials

A poster session during a Materials in Extreme Dynamic Environments (MEDE) Collaborative Research Alliance (CRA) allowed military and industrial researchers to compare notes on protective materials.

Researchers from the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command’s Army Research Laboratory (ARL) and university teammates recently revealed work on the modeling and fabrication of novel protective materials for the battlefield. Working as part of the Materials in Extreme Dynamic Environments (MEDE) Collaborative Research Alliance (CRA) at the annual autumn meeting in Towson, Md., the group showed advances from work with leading partners, including Johns Hopkins University, focused on protective materials developed to withstand the most hostile environments and operating conditions. The ARL’s Dr. Sikhanda Satapathy and Johns Hopkins Professor K.T. Ramesh led the meeting, focusing on technical collaborations and what can be expected for the upcoming year.

The ARL’s senior research scientist for materials, Dr. Adam Rawlett, opened the meeting’s series of presentations with a talk on how the ARL’s essential research programs (ERPs) seek to provide technical support of soldiers in the field. “MEDE will provide the foundational science in direct support of the Physics of Soldier Protection to Defeat Evolving Threats ERP,” Rawlett said. The meeting included a poster session which served as a forum for different scientists to exchange notes. As Dr. Cyril Williams, a U.S. Army scientist explained: “This meeting enables me to see the integrated computational models which will guide armor materials design.”

The collaborative research seeks to develop enhanced protective materials for soldiers’ armor as well as for military vehicles. The materials must maintain predictive and consistent performance across widely dynamic operating environments, and this annual gathering helps researchers from different organizations to compare test results as well as computer models for many different fabrics and composite materials. Their hope is to find a next-generation armor material that can serve military, industrial, and commercial applications alike.

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