Funding for Two New Military Research Projects

Congressman John M.. McHugh of Northern New York won support for the inclusion of authorization and funding for two additional U.S. Army projects in the FY '05 Defense Appropriations Act that call for clearly defined outcomes in nanocomposite and fuel cell research.

While the funding for two research projects that was included in the Act was not specifically directed to Clarkson University, Congressman McHugh noted in a news release following the passage of the legislation that he expects the contracts to be awarded to the School: "As has been the case on several other occasions, Clarkson University is again in an excellent position to compete for Army contracts in advanced materials processing." CAMP Director S.V. Babu is leading the effort to secure these agreements and has already made significant progress to that end.

Specifically, the final defense appropriations measure provides $2 million in research and development of Nanocomposites to be utilized in next-generation battlefield clothing. Research will include the fabrication of nanoparticles and their assembly into nanocomposites that will be stronger, more durable and lighter than the current Army uniforms. They will also possess the ability to detect the presence of chemical weapons and seal the clothing pores, and then self-clean and self-decontaminate.

Referred to as a smart, responsive soldier protection system, this research will accelerate the development of combat clothing that will be as commonplace as the engineered materials that are now incorporated in a soldier's helmet. The Clarkson University Nanotechnology Research Group in Potsdam is poised to develop this Smart Responsive System. This research group headed by Professors S.V. Babu, Sergiy Minko, and Igor Sokolov met with leading Army Research Office scientists and engineers in September to discuss research parameters.

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CAMP Professor Dan Goia is Developing Anisotropic Conductive Metallic Particles for Military Applications

In 2004 the U.S. Army extended an additional two years of support for work on obscurants, previously carried out by Professors S.V. Babu, Dan Goia, and Richard Partch. As part of the research activities, Professor Dan Goia's group has recently developed chemical and physical processes capable of generating anisotropic particles (platelets and wires) of highly conductive metals (silver, copper, aluminum). Uniform copper rods and platelets (Figures 1a, 1b) and 'fiber-like' silver particles (Figure 1c) were obtained (for example) by controlling the mechanisms of the chemical reduction processes of corresponding oxidized metallic species in solutions.

Professor Goia's group has also developed novel milling processes capable of converting highly uniform dispersed metallic particles into platelets /flakes having an average thickness between 30 and 80 nm and an aspect ratio in excess of 200x. (These processes were developed using the same expertise in manipulating the mechanisms of particle formation in solutions.)

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