Tippur receives NSF grant to study safety, reliability of composite materials

Published: Aug 2, 2007 12:23:19 PM
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The National Science Foundation has approved a $260,000 collaborative research grant submitted by Hareesh Tippur, Alumni Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering in the Auburn University Samuel Ginn College of Engineering and A.V. Phan, associate professor of mechanical engineering the University of South Alabama.

Entitled "Interactions between a propagating matrix crack and inclusions in particulate composites," the research addresses fundamental aspects of thermo-mechanical failure of particulate composites such as nanocomposites, biocements and other bioinspired materials using experimental and computational methods. The researchers look to provide new insight into the design of novel material systems for improved thermo-mechanical integrity under shock and impact loading conditions.

"Polymer-based particulate composites are found in a wide range of day-to-day engineering applications, as biocements, electrically conducting adhesives, syntactic structural foams, scratch resistant coatings, solid propellants, nanocomposites, to name a few," says Tippur. "Understanding the mechanical characteristics in general and failure properties in particular is central to the safety and reliability of structural systems which use particulate composites."

Tippur will examine rapid fractures under impact loading conditions using laser-based diagnostics and ultra high-speed imaging - up to 2 million frames per second - in the facility he developed at Auburn. Phan's research will focus on modeling experimental observations using boundary element methods.

"Receiving NSF funding is very prestigious due to its rigorous review process and the intense competition. Success rate in many engineering programs at NSF is down to about 5-10 percent," says Tippur. "A successful proposal such as ours is indicative of the high caliber research we are capable of, and we hope this funding will help strengthen collaboration between Auburn and other universities across the state."