Center for Composite Materials - University of Delaware

Major Research Programs


ARL Materials in Extreme Dynamic Environments (MEDE) Collaborative Research Alliance

CCM is a lead consortium member of the Hopkins Extreme Materials Institute Materials in Extreme Dynamic Environments (MEDE) Collaborative Research Alliance consortium established in 2012. CCM joins experts from across the country in a collaboration that includes engineers from national laboratories, private industry, and  three other universities- Johns Hopkins, Caltech, and Rutgers . The consortium investigates what happens to a broad array of armor materials —including polymers, composites, metals, ceramics, and alloys— to understand high strain rate response when subjected to intense impact, when a large amount of energy enters a small space in a very short period of time. Polyethylene and S-glass/epoxy have been selected as the model polymer system and model composite system, respectively, for the program. The research involves both multi-scale modeling and experimental work ranging from molecular dynamics to the continuum length scales. The overall goal is to develop a materials-by-design approach to improve material performance in extreme dynamic environments.


ARL-Composites Research, Engineering and Advanced Technology (CREATE) Program

A  5-year Cooperative Agreement with the Army Research Laboratory – Weapons and Materials Research Directorate (ARL–WMRD), CREATE is a a comprehensive interdisciplinary program to create new composite materials and processing methods and/or use existing materials and manufacturing methods in novel ways to achieve new levels of lightweight, affordable and multifunctional performance for Soldier Systems. This program uses multi-scale and multi-physics modeling and simulation to predict processing microstructure performance relationships and use our extensive experimental facilities for validation. It includes personnel exchange and facilities sharing that focuses on maturing promising research, establishing generic capabilities and rapidly transitioning new capabilities for lightening combat, tactical and air manned and unmanned vehicles and individual soldier systems for the Future Force.


TARDEC Composite Structures Initiative (CSI)

The initial Composite Structures Initiative program was established with U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center in 2007 and a new 3-year program was recently awarded  in the Fall of 2013. The new CSI program centers on performance based application of research technologies in the areas of new materials, engineering and modeling methods, and novel processing techniques for composites for tactical and combat vehicles. In addition to demonstrating these technologies through application to existing and new vehicle platforms, testing and validation is carried out to further understand the performance of these new materials and designs. Close collaboration with industry ensure that the technologies and capabilities are practical, and can be elevated to a Technology Readiness Level appropriate for rapid insertion into military platforms.


DARPA-Rapid Prototyping of Advanced Passive Dynamic Ankle-Foot Orthoses (PD-AFO) Designs for Wounded Warriors

Awarded in 2012 by  the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the goal of this program is to develop rapid automated manufacturing technologies for composite Passive Dynamic Ankle-Foot Orthoses (PD-AFOs) that can demonstrate order of magnitude reductions in cycle time, while improving performance characteristics, individual customizability and affordability. The general technical approach is to evaluate a number of rapid composite manufacturing concepts associated with selected PD-AFO materials and designs, with the development of process and cost models for each concept. Combining process/cost models with design and analysis tools enables true concurrent engineering, such that optimal composite PD-AFO designs will be created that are both manufacturable and affordable. Trade studies will be performed using these virtual tools, to identify a manufacturing concept that can meet the design specifications, cycle time requirements, and retain sufficient flexibility for individual customization.

DARPA-Warrior Web Program -Integrated Textile Reinforced Upper Body Support System (iTRUSS)

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Warrior Web program’s objective is the development warfighter-wearable and quasi-active suit systems to improve warfighter effectiveness and reduce injury.  Awarded in 2012, CCM has developed an Integrated Textile Reinforced Upper body Support System (iTRUSS) that reduces loads on the lumbar-spine region and provides alternative load paths to the hips while providing active control of posture to prevent injury. The technical approach involves the development of a self-reacting system (combination of tension and compression elements) that is integrated into an upper body garment (such as an undershirt) with load transfer into a belt around the hips. Loading at the shoulders is alleviated by load distribution through low-profile shoulder pads. This approach reduces body compression under heavy loads, reduces loads in lumbar/spine region, control posture, improves breathing efficiency and ultimately mitigate fatigue and overuse injury.


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