A fledgling Univ. of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) metals research facility has been contracted by the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) to produce test castings for a new vehicle armor program.
According to a UAB press release, ARL has released $1 million for an initial round of research to be conducted at the UAB School of Engineering Metals Processing Laboratory, a state-of-the art facility with metalcasting capabilities set to come online this August.
The federal funds will allow the 9,000-square-foot lab to test new alloys for improved, safer vehicle armor. The equipment at the lab is capable of pouring 500-lb. test castings, larger than traditional samples made at similar U.S. facilities.
“The metals lab will allow us to do what very few facilities can do—produce large-scale components and testing in real world conditions,” said Barry Andrews, chair of the UAB Department of Materials Science and Engineering.
The ARL metals lab funding is an extension of a multi-year research relationship with UAB that began with grants to its composites lab in 2004 to develop new materials for use in military missile systems and new compounds to create lighter-weight, more reliable body armor for military personnel.
“The metals lab will provide a low-risk test bed for scaling up processes and allows for rapid transition to industry,” said Alan Druschitz, a UAB research professor.
Once opened, the new metals lab will join UAB’s composites lab under one roof.