Published: Jun 16, 2008 8:46:25 AM
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The Army Research Office has awarded a three-year grant to Hareesh Tippur, professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, to carry out basic research on novel multiphase structural foams with unique interpenetrating architecture.
The three-year grant is based on preliminary work carried out by his group on a relatively new class of materials inspired by biological systems such as skeletal tissue and other natural fibrous microstructures which offer excellent strength to weight ratio.
"The key feature of these light-weight materials is that individual phases are interconnected throughout the microstructure, with each phase contributing its property to the overall mechanical characteristics of the component," said Tippur. "If one constituent provides toughness, the other might enhance stiffness and strength." Also, individual phases can be selected so that thermal and dielectric characteristics are tailored to a specific application.
The interpenetrating architecture does not have dominant weak planes, which helps disperse mechanical energy more efficiently without premature failure or collapse. This attribute is of significant relevance to the Army in protecting personnel and structures against shock and impact. The research outcome may also contribute towards the development of new light-weight energy absorbing materials for automotive industry.
During this project, Tippur's group will be focusing on developing experimental and computational techniques to process and model these materials and understand complex interactions between micro features and macro responses. Laser-based diagnostic tools, projectile impact devices and ultra high-speed imaging facilities that Tippur has developed from previous Department of Defense grants will be used during the current research effort.