May 30, 2006 – Virginia Tech announced that it has been selected by the Army Research Laboratory to establish a Materials Center of Excellence. The center will develop polymer-based materials to protect personnel and equipment against weapons attack. It will also offer graduate student and postdoctoral scholar mentorship and undergraduate research programs.
The Multilayered Technologies for Armored Structures and Composites (MultiTASC) Materials Center of Excellence involves researchers from eight interdisciplinary research groups, two colleges, and six academic departments at Virginia Tech. They will team with personnel at the Army Research Lab Weapons and Materials Research Directorate (ARL-WMRD).
Timothy Long, professor of chemistry in the College of Science, and Romesh Batra, professor of engineering science and mechanics in the College of Engineering, both at Virginia Tech, are the co-technical directors.
The ARL award provides $500,000 per year, potentially renewable for nine years, totaling approximately $4 million, according to Virginia Tech.
The first year’s R & D will focus on transparent thermoplastics that are durable, such as ballistic resistant, self-healing visors and windshields, to allow personnel to see threats while being protected.