Materials Science

Extramural Basic Research Materials Science

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

Commercial: (919) 549-4214
DSN: 832-4214
Fax: (919) 549-4354

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

The Material Sciences Division supports the following research areas:

Division Chief

Dr. Pani Varanasi
(919) 549-4325

Materials Design

Dr. Evan L. Runnerstrom
(919) 549-4259

The Materials Design program seeks to develop the experimental, theoretical, and computational techniques and knowledge needed to design and synthesize novel, multi-functional materials from the bottom-up. The foundations established here will support the realization of advanced "smart materials" concepts like reconfigurable optics and electronics, bio-mimetic/bio-inspired materials, and other adaptive materials that dynamically respond to their environment.

(i) Fundamental Studies of Self-Assembly is aimed at elucidating the multiple physical and chemical forces at play during directed, bottom-up 3-D assembly into super-structures incorporating multiple components. Self-assembling materials systems of interest include: soft materials like polymers; particulate systems like colloids; porous materials like gels or metal-organic frameworks; semiconductor nanostructures; and/or hybrids of these materials. Also of interest are novel characterization techniques and strategies to better interrogate fundamental self-assembly dynamics.

(ii) Reconfigurable and Hierarchical Materials focuses on developing strategies to design and synthesize materials that can reversibly change their properties and/or hierarchically structured materials with emergent behavior. Areas of interest include: bio-mimetic materials; metamaterials; and systems that undergo reversible transformations accompanied by dynamic property contrast.

(iii) Computer-aided Materials Design seeks to leverage recent advances in machine learning, artificial intelligence, data science, and other computational fields to solve difficult materials design problems, particularly in soft materials, self-assembly, and reconfigurable materials. Points of interest include inverse design of hierarchical structures; building stronger connections and rational feedback loops between simulation and experiment; and novel algorithms for solving materials-specific problems.

Mechanical Behavior of Materials

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

The Mechanical Behavior of Materials program seeks to reveal underlying design principles and exploit emerging force-activated phenomena in a wide range of advanced materials to demonstrate unprecedented mechanical properties and complementary behaviors.

(i) Force-Activated Materials involves demonstration and characterization of robust mechanochemically adaptive materials based on force-activated molecules and force-activated reactions, tailoring the deformation and failure mechanisms in materials to mitigate the propagation of intense stress-waves and control energy dissipation, and the creation of a new class of adaptive structural materials that demonstrate "mechanical homeostasis."

(ii) Mechanical Complements in Materials discovers superior ionic transport materials and transparent materials through a complementary, interdependent, optimization of mechanical properties, catalyzes a self-sustaining investigation of fiber precursors, tailored for lateral and axial interactions, to generate new paradigms for revolutionary structural fibers, and discovers and validates new atomic-scale strengthening mechanisms governing bulk mechanical behavior.

Physical Properties of Materials

Dr. Pani Varanasi
(919) 549-4325

The Physical Properties of Materials program seeks to elucidate fundamental mechanisms responsible for achieving extraordinary electronic, photonic, magnetic and thermal properties in advanced materials to enable future Army relevant innovations.

(i) Free-standing 2-D Materials focuses on the creation of novel free-standing 2-D materials, heterostructures and hybrids with physical properties complementary or superior to graphene, and the invention of novel characterization techniques specific to 2-D materials to determine unprecedented properties.

(ii) Defect Science & Engineering explores the specific influence of defects (positive or negative) on the physical properties of novel functional materials, and elucidates defect control mechanisms during thin film growth and bulk processing of novel functional materials.

Synthesis and Processing of Materials

Dr. Michael Bakas
(919) 549-4247

The Synthesis and Processing of Materials program seeks to discover and illuminate the governing processing-microstructure-property relationships for optimal creation of superior structural and bulk nanostructured materials.

(i) Stability of Nanostructured Materials focuses on the creation of thermally stable, ultrahigh strength nanocrystalline materials through interfacial grain boundary engineering, and the realization of high-strength, stable nanostructured alloys via pinning nanoprecipitates and internal coherent boundaries.

(ii) Manufacturing Process Science supports discovery of the fundamental physical laws and phenomena of materials processes, and the exploitation of unique phenomena that occur under metastable and complex processing conditions for the creation of revolutionary materials.

Additional Information


Last Update / Reviewed: December 12, 2017