Materials Sciences

Extramural Basic Research Materials Science

U.S. Army Research Office
P.O. Box 12211
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709-2211

Commercial: (919) 549-4362
DSN: 832-4362
Fax: (919) 549-4354

Materials Science Portfolio: The Materials Science Division seeks to realize unprecedented materials properties by embracing long-term, high risk, high-payoff opportunities for the Army with special emphasis on: Materials by Design, Mechanical Behavior of Materials, Physical Properties of Materials, and Synthesis and Processing.

The Materials Sciences Division supports the following research areas:

Division Chief

Dr. David M. Stepp
(919) 549-4329

Mechanical Behavior of Materials

Dr. David M. Stepp
(919) 549-4329

The Mechanical Behavior of Materials program seeks to establish the fundamental relationships between the structure of materials and their mechanical properties as influenced by composition, processing, environment, and loading conditions. The program emphasizes research to develop innovative new materials with unprecedented mechanical, and other complementary, properties. Critical to these efforts is the need for new materials science theory that will enable robust predictive computational tools for the analysis and design of materials subjected to a wide range of specific loading conditions, particularly theory which departs from standard computer algorithms and is not dependent upon tremendous computational facilities. The primary research thrust areas of this program include: a) high strain-rate phenomena (e.g., designing new characterization methods and tools to elucidate the deformation behavior of materials exposed to high-strain rate and dynamic loading conditions, establish a detailed understanding of the physical mechanisms that govern this deformation, and realize novel mechanisms of energy absorption and dissipation); and b) materials enhancement theory (e.g., developing a robust understanding of the interrelationships between materials processes and compositions and the range of properties that can be attained by them, particularly in terms of developing new materials theory capable of predicting such processing-property relationships and identifying novel mechanisms for enhancing specific toughness, engineering and synthesizing new materials containing unique and specifically designed chemical and biological functionalities and activities while maintaining, and preferably enhancing, requisite mechanical properties). Two specific examples of research objectives within these thrust areas are stress wave mitigation via highly nonlinear inhomogeneous granular media and mechanochemically adaptive materials based on stress-activated molecules, respectively. In all cases, brief (less than three pages) white papers describing a specific research objective, scientific approach, and anticipated scientific impact are encouraged to initiate a discussion of potential research directions.

Synthesis and Processing of Materials

Dr. Suveen N. Mathaudhu
(919) 549-4244

The Synthesis and Processing of Materials program aims to enable basic research on innovative processing and synthesis of advanced high performance structural materials systems. The vision of the program is to discover and illuminate the scientific linkages between novel processing and resultant microstructures which enable exceptional properties in structural materials. Research thrusts specific to this program include: a) synthesis under extreme conditions (e.g. pressures, time-rates, temperatures, strain, length-scales), b) metastable materials processing (bulk nanostructured materials, amorphous metals, non-equilibrium phase stabilization), and c) high specific-strength materials and hierarchical composites. Advances in this area are enabled by insights and scientific breakthroughs achieved through combinations of novel experimental tools (such as nano/microscale 3D tomography and in-situ, multi-variable characterization) and recent computational modeling tools (such as ab-initio/first-principles approaches, phase-field modeling, molecular dynamics simulations) for accurate design and simulation. White papers (no longer than four pages) which indicate project objectives, goals, approaches and anticipated scientific outcomes should be submitted to initiate technical research discussions.

Physical Properties of Materials

Dr. Pani Varanasi
(919) 549-4325

The Physical Properties of Materials program broadly seeks to understand the fundamental mechanisms responsible for various physical properties (such as electronic, optical, magnetic, and thermal properties) of advanced materials. Specifically, basic research efforts in the areas of modeling, innovative processing and characterization techniques to understand the mechanisms responsible for physical properties of materials are supported. There are primarily two research thrusts in this program: 1) Defect Science & Engineering (DS&E) 2) 2D Free-standing nanostructured materials (2DFNM). In the DS&E thrust, basic research efforts in the areas of introduction, control, and characterization of various defects (dislocations, stacking faults, strain, compositional variations, interfaces, etc.) and their effects on the physical properties (electronic, optical, magnetic and thermal properties) of various materials such as multiferroics, ferro/piezoelectrics, semiconductors, high temperature superconductors, and thermal management materials are supported. The 2DFNM thrust is a new thrust initiated to promote basic research to look beyond graphene to identify novel 2D materials (single elements as well as compounds such as oxides, nitrides, sulfides etc.) that may exist in free-standing mono or a few atomic layer thick form similar to graphene, but with unique and complementary properties. Fundamental studies to process novel 2D free-standing materials as well as their composites and heterostructures, and research efforts to understand the underlying mechanisms responsible for the revolutionary physical properties of these material systems are focused in this thrust.

Materials Design

Dr. John T Prater
(919) 549-4259

The goal of the Materials Design Program is to enable the bottom-up design and fabrication of highly complex multifunctional materials with new and unprecedented properties, e.g. negative index composites with optical cloaking properties or new classes of smart materials that can alter their behavior in response to environmental stimuli. In pursuit of this goal the subfield is supporting research that falls into three broad thrusts. The subfield is laying the foundations for future directed self assembly of materials, developing new analytical techniques capable of characterizing materials at the nanoscale, and seeking to understand complex behavior that emerges in highly coupled systems, e.g. studying frustration effects in magnetic systems, or better understanding field coupling effects in multiferroics. It is envisioned that the confluence of these thrusts will culminate in the development of a new generation of engineered materials with new and unique capabilities. To realize this goal the program recognizes that the experimental program will require a strong complementary theoretical underpinning that addresses modeling of the relevant phenomenology, identification of robust pathways for directed self-assembly, and prediction/optimization of the final material properties. The objective is to predict and control the material structure and properties throughout the self assembly process and affect property changes over time needed to introduce new properties, optimize performance, enhance reliability; and reduce cost and time to development. One area of emphasis will be surface and interface engineering in support of materials integration. There is particular interest in identifying new ways of combining similar and dissimilar materials to afford new multifunctional capabilities. Another area of emphasis will be development of in-situ and ex-situ analytical methods to characterize the nanoscale structure and determine the physical characteristics that will lead to the specific material properties being sought. Two final areas of interest are the development of adaptive materials that change their properties in response to internal or external stimuli, and investigations of novel methods that will lead to large-scale, large-quantity processing of nanomaterials.

Earth Materials and Processes

Dr. David Stepp (Acting)
(919) 549-4329

The Earth Materials and Processes program seeks to develop and improve theory that describes physical processes responsible for shaping Earth surface features, and to increase knowledge of natural and man-made Earth surfaces to reveal their histories and to inform predictions of their behavior. Advances in these areas are expected to increase our ability to predict changing landscapes and the response of Earth surfaces to environmental and operational conditions. The primary research thrusts areas of this program include: earth surface processes (e.g., describing landscape evolution, through experiments, models, and the development of theory, at relevant spatial and temporal resolutions to predict how topographic features are influenced by changes in contributing factors, and exploiting the properties of rocks, minerals and soils to provide quantitative information on recent and ongoing surface processes, both independently and for use in the validation of models); and surface energy balance (e.g., developing radiative transfer models for a range of environments, surfaces, and radiative conditions at Army-relevant spatial and temporal scales and associated laboratory experiments to determine how natural and artificial surfaces store and conduct energy depending on their spatial relationships, inherent material properties, and imparted features such as moisture storage and evapotranspiration).

Additional Information


Last Update / Reviewed: April 16, 2012