Materials Science Brings On Demand Solutions to the Battle Field

January 3, 2017

In this ever changing world, the ability to produce on demand solutions is becoming a tech industry standard. This past December, the U.S. Army Research Development and Engineering Command’s Maj. Gen. Cedric T. Wins met with the Army Research Laboratory scientists and engineers to discuss specific advances that have been made to ensure soldiers stay safer during battle.

Materials Science alum turned Army engineer, Blake Barnett was able to inform Wins on the capabilities of cold spray technology. Development on the cold spray began in 2001, at the Army Research Laboratory.

“We brought materials science to bear on the process and focused on optimizing the properties of the deposited material,” he said. “We are leading adoption of this technology in the industrial base. We actually spray a stream of particles — like a spray-paint job — but the material that’s being laid down, instead of a thin coat of paint, is bulk-metal material that has properties that are usable in the field.”

Army engineer Blake Barnett (right) briefs RDECOM Commander Maj. Gen. Cedric T. Wins on cold spray techniques. Cold spray is a material-deposition process where metal or metal-ceramic mixtures of powders are used to form a coating or freestanding structure. (Photo Credit: Conrad Johnson)

Damaged parts will be able to be repaired on location and with the cold spray and then put right back into use without serious time delays. The ability to improve the Army’s readiness is a high priority of Wins.

During his time with the Army Research Laboratory, Wins was also able to participate in demonstrations of advanced holographic glasses. By working with the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab, the Warrior Injury Assessment Manikin program uses the Hololens to explore simulations of the impact blast injures have on soldiers. A tour of the Army’s 3-D printing facility was also conducted. Partnering with advanced manufacturing industry, the Army is developing the capability to provide soldiers with 3-D printed materials that can be delivered to their specified location via drones, within 24 hours.

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