A University of North Texas team of researchers with the Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Processes Institute received a $5.5 million grant to devise new materials for making bulletproof protection materials.
The Army Research Laboratory grant is the final part of a larger project that awarded a team in the institute up to $20 million to be spread over five years in 2017.
Rajiv Mishra, director of the institute and UNT Distinguished Research Professor of materials science and engineering, is leading the group in creating and testing new, lighter protection materials that would be able to withstand impacts for a longer time with less damage. The team is working on both metallic materials and ceramic composites.
“If a vehicle or a soldier is attacked, the protection materials that they have fail in certain ways,” Mishra says. “How can we suppress the failure mechanism so that we protect the soldiers, either when they’re fighting by themselves or in the vehicle? If a vehicle comes under blast, not only is the vehicle damaged, but the soldiers within the vehicle take the hit.”
The project is looking at both vehicle protection materials and personal protection materials for military personnel. The group is creating new compositional alloys that will have a higher strain threshold, allowing protection materials to take more impacts without failing.
Mishra said much of the research interest is in the development of concepts and fundamentals that ARL can use internally to develop better protection systems.
Other engineering researchers working on the project include Tom Scharf, Sundeep Mukherjee, Marcus Young, Richard Reidy, Srinivasan Srivilliputhur, Yijie Jiang, Nigel Shepard, Raj Banerjee, Mike Baskes and Dwight Burford.