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The Center for Materials in Extreme Dynamic Environments addresses the fundamental science issues associated with materials in extreme dynamic environments through collaborative research. Our objective is to ensure the physics-based design of materials for the extreme dynamic environments developed in impact applications, which include impacts on personnel and vehicles, hypervelocity impact, and blast protection. We emphasize the development of the strongest possible science team through structured collaborations with other universities, national laboratories and industry.
Magnesium is the structural metal with the lowest density (1740 kg/m^3), and is one of the most abundant elements in the earth’s crust. Very strong magnesium alloys would have great value in a wide range of applications, including transportation and vehicular protection. We seek to control and enhance the dynamic performance of this lightweight metal through experimentally validated modeling and design of the strengthening and failure mechanisms, including deformation twinning.
Advanced ceramics have long been considered to be valuable for protection within impact events because of their high hardnesses and very high moduli. Boron carbide has the potential to provide dramatic improvements in protection at low weight. We seek to understand and control the dynamic failure processes in this ceramic, and to improve its dynamic performance by eliminating weak links at the atomic and microstructural levels through multiscale modeling, advanced powder synthesis, control of polytypes, and microstructural improvements.
Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (UHMW PE) is used in a wide variety of applications in both tape and fiber forms, but its tensile strength remains an order of magnitude below the theoretical value. We seek to determine the roles of atomic scale defects, chain length, and degree and length scale of crystallinity in determining and limiting the mechanical response under extreme dynamic conditions.
Composite materials subjected to dynamic loads are essential examples of high-performance systems rather than materials in the conventional sense. CMEDE will develop the fundamental understanding of the role of interfaces, component interactions and composite architecture over the full range of length scales and time scales that are jointly manifested in the system during the dynamic event. We focus on the complexities raised by the interfaces and architectures within a model composite system.