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MSU will expand its efforts to improve the design and function of military and civilian vehicles with at least $2.25 million in funding from the U.S. Defense Department.
The U.S. Congress approved at least $2.25 million for MSU’s project on advanced composite materials research for air and ground vehicles on Sept. 26. The research will be implemented in the new Composite Vehicle Research Center at MSU. MSU will draw on their experience in research aimed at making vehicles safer, lighter, more durable and more environmentally safe through the use of advanced composite materials and related technologies, with an industrial consortium being an important part of the centre.
“We’ll be looking at long-term solutions, as well as ideas that will help one year down the road,” said Gary Cloud, the centre’s director and an MSU mechanical engineering professor. “It makes sense to do the work in Michigan where we have capability and history in building vehicles. “We foresee expansion of Michigan’s technological capability and improvement of the state’s economic welfare.”
MSU, partnering closely with the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center in Warren, will examine problems unique to heavy-duty vehicles, striving for solutions applicable to combat vehicles while also answering design questions with civilian applications.
“Our question is, ‘Why not do it better?’” Cloud said. “This effort is timely, given the need for a mobile army and the state of our auto industry. Because of previous research, we’re able to make immediate contributions to the problem.” Many of the solutions involve composite materials.
The MSU Composite Vehicle Research Center, which will begin work immediately, but eventually occupy a new building on campus, focuses on six areas:
In addition to Cloud, the founding group includes Lawrence Drzal, University Distinguished Professor and director of the MSU Composite Materials and Structures Center; Dahsin Liu, professor of mechanical engineering; and Eann Patterson, chairperson of mechanical engineering. Several additional researchers will be hired.
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