CMEDE Completes 10-year program

Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Materials in Extreme Dynamic Environments (CMEDE), part of the Hopkins Extreme Materials Institute (HEMI), recently completed its 10-year program. Over the past decade, CMEDE was responsible for critically important advances in the development of improved protection materials and design codes/tools for armor applications and served as a model of leadership in collaborative research between academia, industry, and government. It was a model collaborative research alliance for the U.S. Army and an exemplar of a team approach to science and discovery for the U.S. Department of Defense. 

CMEDE launched in 2012 through an $85.5 million grant from the U.S. Army Research Laboratory and operated a productive and far-reaching research program that encompassed 25 international universities and research partners, all focused on integrated experimental, computational, and synthesis/processing research activities.  

In all of its activities, central to CMEDE has been its commitment to making an impact. One of the unique aspects of CMEDE is their material-by-design process, which involves a canonical model and mechanism-based strategy for each of the materials classes they focused on: Ceramics (boron carbide), Composites (S-2 glass/epoxy), and Metals (magnesium). The canonical model allows a large group of researchers to ensure that efforts are relevant in terms of both science and application, and the mechanism-based strategy enables the establishment of validated models and codes, which can then be integrated into Department of Defense and Department of Energy codes.  

The CMEDE also made an impact on advancing knowledge and sharing their findings, both through events and publications. Over the course of its existence, CMEDE researchers published approximately 500 journal articles, which garnered more than 8,000 citations. And CMEDE also has made a significant impact by helping prepare the next generation of engineers and scientists. The center supported 113 PhD students and 66 postdoctoral fellows and provided internships to 213 undergraduates, including 62 students from HBCUs and MSIs. Within Johns Hopkins Engineering, CMEDE served as a model for the launch of new research directions and new centers within HEMI, such as Materials Science for Extreme Environments (MSEE). 


Mach Conference celebrates 10th year

The 2022 Mach Conference, held virtually in April, brought together representatives from academia, government and industry to share their work in the field of materials, with an emphasis on advancing the fundamental science and engineering of materials and structures in extreme environments.. The conference’s plenary speakers included Prof. Wei Chen (Northwestern University), Prof. Reuben Kraft (Penn State University), and Prof. Tao Sun (University of Virginia).

Conference-goers attended lectures, presented on research, and socialized with their peers in the discipline. Attendees also participated in the Student/Postdoc poster competition. Winners in each category are listed below.

Judge’s Award: 

High-throughput methods using laser-driven micro-flyers for interrogating spall failure, Presenter: Christopher DiMarco, Johns Hopkins University 

High pressure induced precipitation in Al7075 alloy, Presenter: Abhinav Parakh, Stanford University

People’s Choice Award:

Interaction-Based Damage Model for Heterogeneous Brittle Solids under Uniform High-Rate Loading, Presenter: Sakshi Braroo, Johns Hopkins University

The Mach Conference is held in April each year. For more information, visit

MEDE CRA Completes 10th Annual Fall Meeting

The Materials in Extreme Dynamic Environments Collaborative Research Alliance (MEDE CRA) conducted its tenth and final Fall Meeting on November 17th, 2021. As the lead research organization of the CRA, Johns Hopkins University (JHU) hosts the event. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, this event was held using a virtual format.

The Fall Meeting brings the entire MEDE CRA together for a program overview and technical discussions in preparation for the January 2022 capstone event. This year’s Fall Meeting was attended by 117 individuals including special guests from the DEVCOM Army Research Laboratory (ARL), DEVCOM Soldier Center, United Kingdom’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, National Institute of Standards and Technology, U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Command,  and the National Ground Intelligence Center. Professor Lori Graham-Brady (JHU) and Dr. Sikhanda Satapathy (ARL) led the meeting, which highlighted the research accomplishments for new metallic, ceramic, and composite protection materials, as well as new computational design codes and tools for armor applications. Dr. Scott Schoenfeld, ARL’s Senior Research Scientist for Terminal Ballistics provided keynote remarks. The meeting also featured a virtual poster session with 41 presenters from across the MEDE CRA.

The MEDE CRA is an integral part of the ARL’s Enterprise for Multiscale Research of Materials. The objective of the MEDE CRA is to develop the capability to design, optimize, and fabricate material systems exhibiting revolutionary performance in extreme dynamic environments. The approach is to realize a mechanism-based, “materials-by-design” capability that focuses on advancing the fundamental understanding of materials in relevant high-strain-rate and high-stress regimes. Model materials in the areas of metals, ceramics, and composites are being investigated to improve protection for soldiers and vehicles.

HEMI Collaborations Showcased Through Five Summer Student Opportunities

Despite restrictions due to COVID-19, summer 2021 was an exciting time for HEMI, with five different internship and apprenticeship programs highlighting a diverse array of research opportunities.

The High School Apprenticeship Program (formerly known as REAP), sponsored by the Army Educational Outreach Program, sought out high school students from groups historically underrepresented in STEM fields. Working with a mentor, these students pursued research into topics ranging from breaking bonds in crystal quartz, to the development of 3D models simulating surface growth.

The Undergraduate Apprenticeship Program (formerly known as URAP), provided undergraduate researchers with the resources to develop and pursue individual research projects. Sponsored by the Army Educational Outreach Program and CMEDE, this program provided valuable Army research, as well as experience that will prepare these students for careers in science and engineering.

Students participating in the HEMI/MICA Extreme Arts Summer Project/Internship had the opportunity to artistically engage with HEMI research and projects. They translated scientific research into expressive, thought-provoking art, as well as to research and develop new materials.

Students in the Morgan State Extreme Science Internship (ESI) participate in both internal and external internships associated with the CMEDE. ESI opportunities are STEM-focused with a particular emphasis on providing research opportunities related to MEDE. Internal ESI are hosted by MSU faculty on the campus of Morgan State University. External ESI are conducted at one of the CMEDE university and research institutions located across the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany.

Finally, with the addition of the Materials Science in Extreme Environments University Research Alliance (MSEE URA) to HEMI, the Undergraduate Research Award program was offered this summer for the first time. In this program, students work under the mentorship of an MSEE URA principal investigator within the technical areas of chemical and biological agent defeat, and nuclear blast.

If you would like to read more about our summer programs and the research completed by this year’s participants, click here.

HEMI Fellow Ryan Hurley Receives Mentor of the Year Award from the U.S. Army Educational Outreach Program

Ryan Hurley, HEMI Fellow and assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, has received the annual Mentor of the Year award from the U.S. Army Educational Outreach Program (AEOP).

The award is presented to a mentor within one of the AEOP apprenticeship programs who goes beyond the call of duty to support students in their STEM educations and career pursuits. Hurley has been recognized for his dedication to challenging his students to “think and work like engineers. [During a remote apprenticeship, he] went above and beyond to overcome the challenges and make it a positive, transformative experience for his mentees. In addition to being dedicated to the growth and development of his mentees, he has sought to spread the word about AEOP and encourage other scientists and engineers to become mentors as well.” View the full award ceremony.

Hurley was selected from over 450 mentors from U.S. Army research laboratories, centers, and universities across the United States who hosted AEOP apprentices in 2020. He mentored a student who expanded his Materials in Extreme Dynamic Environments (MEDE) ceramic materials research.  The student employed machine learning to investigate particle micromechanics in granular materials and develop a model to predict particle rearrangements.  Due to COVID-19, the apprenticeship was conducted remotely.

Hurley’s research group develops and uses novel experiments and numerical models to study the mechanical behavior and failure mechanisms of granular materials, rocks, concrete, and ceramics. His group is a frequent user of synchrotron X-ray facilities around the world, at which they seek to see and understand deformation mechanisms in materials at the smallest length and time scales.

The AEOP is run by the U.S. Army and aims to provide students and teachers with STEM programs to promote STEM subjects and nurture STEM talents from kindergarten through college. Learn more about AEOP and its programs.

Ryan Hurley AEOP award 2021

2020 CMEDE Highlights Showcases Research and Collaboration Within the Program

We are pleased to release this compilation of annual highlights on behalf of the Center for Materials in Extreme Dynamic Environments (CMEDE).

CMEDE is a multi-institution collaborative research center within HEMI that focuses on advancing the fundamental understanding of materials in high-stress and high-strain-rate regimes, with the goal of developing a materials-by-design capability for these extreme environments. The end goal is to help improve the design of protection materials for the U.S. Army.

This issue illustrates the unique aspects of our activities, recaps some of our significant events, and showcases a small sampling of the programs and people within each of our materials research groups (ceramics, composites, and metals). 2020 has been a tumultuous year, but we are excited to share these accomplishments with you; they have broad and deep impacts on our scientific and technological capabilities and allow us to developing a new workforce educated in the up-and-coming possibilities of materials-by-design. We are positive that the advances we are making in the science and the workforce will have great impact on the protection of our military personnel and vehicles.

We encourage you to take a peek and learn more about CMEDE here.

CMEDE Fall Meeting Highlights Research by HEMI Fellows

The Materials in Extreme Dynamic Environments Collaborative Research Alliance (MEDE CRA) conducted its Fall Meeting on October 15th, 2020. As the lead research organization of the CRA, Johns Hopkins University hosts and staffs the event. Due to COVID-19, the annual, closed event was completely virtual this year.

The MEDE Fall Meeting brings the entire MEDE CRA together for program overviews, collaborative activities, and discussion. In 2020, the event was attended by 130 individuals including special guests from the United Kingdom’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, the U.S. Army CCDC Army Research Laboratory, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the U.S. Army CCDC Soldier Center, the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Command,  the Office of Naval Research, and the National Ground Intelligence Center. Professor K.T. Ramesh (JHU) and Dr. Sikhanda Satapathy (CCDC ARL) led the meeting, which highlighted the research accomplishments for new metallic, ceramic, and composite protection materials, as well as new computational design codes and tools for armor applications. The meeting also featured a virtual poster session with 55 presenters including ARL researchers, university faculty, graduate students, and postdocs from within the MEDE CRA.

The MEDE Fall Meeting highlights research from partners around the world.

Leaders from the U.S. Army Review Research Completed Within CMEDE Program

In January 2020, the Enterprise for Multiscale Research of Materials, or EMRM, conducted its biennial Research Management Board (RMB) review at Johns Hopkins University.

The EMRM is comprised of the Materials in Extreme Dynamic Environments, known as MEDE, and Multi-Scale Modeling of Electronic Materials, or MSME, collaborative research alliances who work with U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command’s Army Research Laboratory’s internal energetics program. The MEDE and MSME CRAs are led by Johns Hopkins University and the University of Utah respectively, and include a consortium of over 20 universities.

The RMB review focused on scientific discoveries in the areas of electronic and protection materials. Currently, the enterprise is studying such electronic materials as electrochemical energy devices, hybrid photonic materials and heterogeneous electronics. Protection materials under investigation include metals, ceramics and composites for military armor applications.

The event was chaired by Dr. Alexander Kott, ARL’s chief scientist. The 16-member board included senior executives and senior research scientists from ARL, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics and Technology), U.S. Army CCDC Armaments Center, U.S. Army CCDC Chemical Biological Center, U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Command, and representatives from the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation

More than 80 people participated in the meeting, including principal investigators and students from consortium universities, and ARL researchers.

Talk About a Big Bang! HEMI’s HyFIRE Facility Showcased in JHU Engineering Magazine

HEMI’s newest lab, the Hypervelocity Facility for Impact Research Experiments (HyFIRE),  is featured in the Tech Tools section of the Winter 2020 issue of JHU Engineering magazine.

Detail of an 18-millimeter-diameter crater in hardened armor steel, caused by the impact of a .3 gram polymer cylinder, traveling at Mach 15.

What happens to a tank at the micro level when it’s hit by a projectile during combat? Or to the surface of an asteroid as it collides with a planet in space? Researchers at the Hopkins Extreme Materials Institute are using equipment located in the Hypervelocity Facility for Impact Research Experiments to find answers to questions like these.

Hypervelocity Gas GunEmploying a specialized hypervelocity gas gun, they launch projectiles a few millimeters in diameter at velocities up to 7 kilometers per second (Mach 20), while ultra -high-speed cameras capture the resulting events. This allows the researchers to view, in real time, how materials fail during extreme impact and to collect data that measure mechanics, strain rates, temperatures, physics, and chemistry at very high pressures. HEMI scientists hope to use this information to understand and, eventually, create materials that will better protect people, structures, and the planet.

Click here to view more articles from the issue.