Materials Science faculty visit ARLNearly a dozen professors from the University of North Texas toured the Weapons and Materials Manufacturing Directorate of the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) at Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG) facilities Jan. 18-19.

The visit was part of the special relationship afforded members of ARL South, a cooperative effort based in Austin, Texas, bringing together government, industry and academia.

“This visit was a part of the ongoing collaborative relationship building for advancing materials and manufacturing knowledge and technologies and preparing next generation scientists and engineers.” said Andrey Voevodin, chair of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. “We had several mutual visits between ARL and UNT earlier, and such large faculty group visit to APG is clearly bringing this relationship to the next level and will be followed with joint graduate student mentorships and extended research project visits to further leveraging our expertise and facilities.” 

On the first day, eight professors gave presentations on simulations and experimentation on various alloys, the development of stronger ceramics and novel blast experiments on additive manufactured structures. "The primary goal of this visit is to have more connections and interactions," said Rajiv Mishra, UNT distinguished research professor and director of the Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Processes Institute.

The team has explored fracture-resistant high entropy alloys and also manufactured, engineered and tested composite ceramics for light weight armor. 

"These materials will be evaluated ballistically to determine if they can replace existing ceramics and metals for protection applications, and it speaks to the team's urgency that we are on our second and third iteration in little over a year," said Jeffrey Lloyd, a research scientist with the ARL Impact Physics Branch, and the host of the first day visit.

On day two, 11 UNT professors were welcomed by Mark VanLandingham, chief of the Materials and Manufacturing Science Division of ARL's Rodman Materials Research Laboratory and Kyu Cho, lead for the Center for Agile Materials Manufacturing Science, as well as the materials research team leaders and scientists.

"We hosted a materials and manufacturing research activities information exchange meeting with University of North Texas faculty members with the goal of expanding the ARL South research collaboration initiative," said Cho.

The visit’s initial research collaboration topics included exploring alloys with unique microstructures; additive manufacturing metallurgy; adaptive, responsive, and functional inorganics; and reconstruction methods for meso- to macro-scale mechanics modeling.

"We identified initial collaboration topics of mutual benefit and discussed how our interests align with the Army's modernization priorities and ARL's essential research areas. We also explored the potential for a staff rotation plan where we host UNT graduate students for research exchanges at APG as well as UNT hosting Army researchers in Texas," Cho said. "This would enable physical research collaborations and interactions with the graduate students."

UNT’s College of Engineering entered into a collaborative partnership with ARL to accelerate discovery, innovation and transition of science and technology in support of the Army of the future.

"As we work side-by-side with our ARL South partners, researchers benefit by drawing upon the unique skill set that we each bring to the lab bench," said ARL South Regional Lead Heidi Maupin. "Visits like this one by our university partners to learn and utilize the Army specific tools and capabilities further enhance and advance the research efforts, leading to a stronger likelihood of efficient, successful placement of advanced technology into the hands of our Soldiers."