UNT institute part of a $20 million grant to research new ways to keep soldiers safe

UNT Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Process Institute members, left to right: Sundeep Mukherjee, Marcus Young, Thomas Scharf, Raj Banerjee, Zhenhai Xia, Rick Reidy, Rajiv Mishra
Wednesday, March 8, 2017 - 09:28

DENTON, Texas (UNT) — An institute with the University of North Texas’s College of Engineering is part of a new cooperative agreement established by the Army Research Laboratory. The Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Processes Institute will be working with three other universities to research new ways to keep soldiers safe. 

“This is a large and significant award for UNT,” said Tom McCoy, Vice President for Research and Innovation at UNT. “It will have the potential of providing improved protection for the warfighter and it will enhance the research enterprise at UNT.”

While UNT will be working with Temple University, the University of Southern California and the University of Southern Mississippi on this project, UNT’s portion will be to explore new ways to improve protection against ballistics impacts.

“Protecting the soldiers is the number one goal,” said Rajiv Mishra, director of the institute and UNT Distinguished Research Professor of materials science and engineering. “All of the researchers involved in this project are united by a common question: ‘How can we help better protect the soldier?’”

The researchers will examine both body armor and vehicle armor to understand how current materials fail so that they can make stronger and better armor materials.

“We can do fundamental testing that shows what happens when the armor gets hit,” said Mishra. “We have high-tech equipment that will show exactly what the impact is like. The high speed camera catches things so fast that it can show everything that happens at the smallest and fastest stage.”

The early testing of the new armor material will be done inside the institute with seven UNT faculty members and several students working on the project. Once they create higher performing materials, these will be sent to the Army Research Laboratory for further testing. Students will also have the opportunity to travel to Army Research Laboratory and work with top researchers under this cooperative agreement.

“This is an incredible opportunity for our students, our faculty and our institute,” said Mishra. “We will be using material sciences to protect our military.”

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