Researchers receive $1.7 million

By Marcia Goodrich | Published

Michigan Tech researchers have been awarded $1.7 million to develop structural foams that could be used in security applications.

The 15-month, Phase 1 contract was awarded by Raytheon Company as part of a $3.7 million program funded by the Advanced Research Projects Agency to develop lightweight, portable barriers that could be used to help protect vulnerable targets and provide safe crowd control.

"We need very strong and lightweight barriers that could be erected quickly at any location and can be removed very quickly, and we can do that with polymer foams," said principal investigator Ghatu Subhash, a professor of mechanical engineering-engineering mechanics. "They will also be environmentally benign, fire-resistant and pose no health hazards."

The research is being conducted through Michigan Tech's Center for Environmentally Benign Functional Materials and its Sustainable Futures Institute. Co-principal investigators on the project are associate professor Gerard Caneba and professor David Shonnard, both of the Department of Chemical Engineering.

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Michigan Technological University is a public research university, home to more than 7,000 students from 60 countries. Founded in 1885, the University offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, and social sciences. Our campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway and is just a few miles from Lake Superior.