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Research Projects

Current Projects

Renewable and Portable Power Source for Soldier

Lightweight and Wearable Power:

  • Demonstrated improved efficiency from thin-film organic PV cells with incorporated silver nanoparticles, due to increased scattering, which improves absorption. This breakthrough has potential to enable a new class of lightweight, inexpensive, conformal solar cells for renewable power.
  • Novel flexible conductive polymer films were fabricated with a thermoelectric figure of merit equivalent to the best value reported in the literature to date for an organic polymer system. This is very promising towards the development of lightweight, conformal thermoelectric power generating devices.

Wearable Antennas:

  • Demonstrated the printing of small conductive patterns on uniforms without impeding breathability, comfort and wear. This research could lead to the addition of electronic and/or electromagnetic capability for data and power transfer and signal management.

Soldier Protection

Chem/Bio Protection:

  • Development of inherently super liquid repellent surfaces and fibers to provide the Soldier with self-cleaning clothing and safety in chemical and viral/bacterial contaminated environments.
  • Exploring new surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) based sensors to detect very small amounts of chemicals (up to single molecule) and biological pathogens (up to 1 bacterium). These results could be valuable towards quick, in-theatre detection of food and water pathogens for Soldier safety.

Helmet Protection:

  • New helmet model developed that can be used for ANY helmet materials. Can predict wrinkling in helmet fabrication and improve helmet protection.
  • Designing composite energy absorbers for impact protection using UMass Lowell unique modeling capabilities. Then the composites lab will use a novel design to fabricate prototypes and demonstrate performance with commericially available materials.

Flame Protection:

  • New siloxane copolymers developed for self-extinguishing FR materials. These materials should be valuable in finding new solutions to cost effective FR coatings for the Army uniforms.

Insect Protection:

  • New test method for evaluating fabric resistance to insect bites. This test is quick and inexpensive compared to current live-mosquito "blood feeding" experiments. Disclosure filed March 2016.

Friend vs. Foe ID:

  • Creation of light responsive materials that can provide Warfighter with real-time tools for active, responsive protection and real time sensing against CB threats.

Biosensors:

  • Establishing design parameters for a model surface to achieve simultaneous multi-functionality with opposing functions: hydrophobicity and enzyme activity. Results from this will lead to added multifunctional protection at a reduced burden.

Transparent Armor:

  • Developed 3 new nanocomposite co-polyester systems, in collaboration with Texas State University, which are promising for transparent armor applications.

Combat Feeding: Food Packaging

Food Safety:

  • Demonstrated first time sample preparation and detection of heavy metals in foods. This has high potential for the development of small hand-held devices for real-time, on-site quicker and more sensitive food testing (vs. waiting weeks for Army lab results).

Nutrition:

  • Developed a method to determine Vitamin C retention in rations pre- and post- processing. Since most rations are retort processed and the high heat degrades much of the vitamins and nutrients. This result will allow us to now quantify the nutritional benefit of non-thermal processing technologies.

AIRDROP

Improved Airdrop:

  • For the first time, demonstrated the changes in parachute fabric permeability that occurs in controlled conditions and identified external environmental factors that could affect or change fabric permeability. This HEROES research is state-of-the-art and should provide quantitative data for parachute system developers and managers to make decisions to help improve the safety and performance of these systems.
  • Determination of first detailed characterization of the mechanical properties of braided cords used as suspension lines for parachutes. These results will be used to improve a parachute system's ability to accurately navigate over long distances, and therefore, provide the soldier with equipment and supplies in areas that are otherwise inaccessible.