UCSD receives grant to develop flexible metal composite

July 03, 2002

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) Jacobs School of Engineering have received a $2.5 million Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) grant to develop and test a metallic composite material capable of changing shape and then returning to its original form. The research is funded by the Office of Naval Research and may have applications for ships, submarines, and other vehicles and structures.

"The use of shape memory alloys is very attractive because it enables large global recoverable, super-elastic deformations of up to six percent, a ten-fold over conventional elastic response. We hope to elicit even greater super-elastic performance by creating a hybrid composite alloy material" says Sia Nemat-Nasser, director of the Center of Excellence for Advanced Materials and principal investigator for the project.

Although shape-memory alloys have been around for over 30 years, Nemat-Nasser and his colleagues are adding a new spin by combining them with other non-metallic materials. He is working with Kenneth Vecchio, a professor of materials science at the School, and representatives from Caltech and the University of Washington, to use plates of shape-memory nickel-titanium (Ni-Ti) to sandwich shape-memory, super-elastic foams and rods embedded with hollow glass beads.

"This unique combination should allow for even greater flexibility and resilience in a very lightweight structure," explains Nemat-Nasser. "The hybrid material should provide optimal energy absorbing capability against high-velocity projectile impact, explosion-induced shock, or other dynamic events." In other words, the absorbing capability, in conjunction with the material's flexibility, could enable it to stop cracks and collateral damage by distributing the forces from impact.

To test the new alloy composite, Nemat-Nasser and his coworkers will use a variety of devices, including a full complement of novel Hopkinson bars, gas guns, high-speed cameras, and high-speed X-ray machines, as well other common materials processing and characterization equipment.
Nemat-Nasser is a member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), and most recently received the 2002 William Prager and Nadai Medals.

Related Links:
Jacobs School of Engineering: http://www.jacobsschool.ucsd.edu/
Center of Excellence for Advanced Materials (CEAM): http://www-ceam.ucsd.edu/
Office of Naval Research (ONR): http://www.onr.navy.mil/
Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) program: http://www.onr.navy.mil/sci_tech/industrial/muri.htm

Video is available at: http://www.jacobsschool.ucsd.edu/news_events/news_2002/20020702.shtml

University of California - San Diego

Related Engineering Articles from Brightsurf:

Re-engineering antibodies for COVID-19
Catholic University of America researcher uses 'in silico' analysis to fast-track passive immunity

Next frontier in bacterial engineering
A new technique overcomes a serious hurdle in the field of bacterial design and engineering.

COVID-19 and the role of tissue engineering
Tissue engineering has a unique set of tools and technologies for developing preventive strategies, diagnostics, and treatments that can play an important role during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Engineering the meniscus
Damage to the meniscus is common, but there remains an unmet need for improved restorative therapies that can overcome poor healing in the avascular regions.

Artificially engineering the intestine
Short bowel syndrome is a debilitating condition with few treatment options, and these treatments have limited efficacy.

Reverse engineering the fireworks of life
An interdisciplinary team of Princeton researchers has successfully reverse engineered the components and sequence of events that lead to microtubule branching.

New method for engineering metabolic pathways
Two approaches provide a faster way to create enzymes and analyze their reactions, leading to the design of more complex molecules.

Engineering for high-speed devices
A research team from the University of Delaware has developed cutting-edge technology for photonics devices that could enable faster communications between phones and computers.

Breakthrough in blood vessel engineering
Growing functional blood vessel networks is no easy task. Previously, other groups have made networks that span millimeters in size.

Next-gen batteries possible with new engineering approach
Dramatically longer-lasting, faster-charging and safer lithium metal batteries may be possible, according to Penn State research, recently published in Nature Energy.

Read More: Engineering News and Engineering Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.