Nabil F. Grace Ph.D, PE
Lawrence Technological University has established the Center for Innovative Materials Research, a national resource for the development of innovative materials for defense, homeland security and infrastructure applications, Lawrence Tech President Charles M. Chambers announced today.
Made possible by an $11 million cooperative research agreement with the Army Research Lab (ARL) and the U.S. Army Tank-Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) – an unprecedented federal partnership with a private Michigan university – this new Center is a state-of-the-art laboratory for the research, development and testing of carbon fiber composite materials for defense applications. The initiative supports Lawrence Tech’s effort to become a regional leader in applied research of materials and structures, energy, and automotive engineering.
The University broke ground April 22 for a new $3.2 million research center – the first building on Lawrence Tech's campus to be funded completely with federal dollars. The Department of Defense and Department of Housing and Urban Development provided funding. U. S. Representatives Joe Knollenberg and Sander Levin and Michigan’s U.S. Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow led the effort to bring this key research activity to Michigan.
“The Center is a prime example of the intersection of high technology and homeland defense,” said Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm. “Building the Center will help create jobs today, putting the technology the Center develops to work will create jobs tomorrow, and all of it will help protect America’s troops. This is a win for our economy today and a win for its future. I applaud President Chambers and his team for making this a reality.”
“Because this Center supports Governor Granholm’s vision to establish Michigan as a hotbed for homeland security R&D focused at nearby Selfridge Base, it’s a win for taxpayers and for industry,” said Chambers. “These innovative materials will be used to strengthen structures and military vehicles, as well as provide 21st century soldier protection.”
Lawrence Tech’s Center for Innovative Materials Research focuses on research and development of materials to strengthen existing U.S. military structures and vehicles against attacks or natural disasters. Much of the University’s current applied research work has centered on new and innovative applications for carbon fiber composites.
“There are excellent defense applications for this carbon fiber material, so we’re eager to work with the Army Research Lab and TARDEC,” said Nabil Grace, chair of the University’s civil engineering department and a pioneer in development of carbon fiber reinforced polymers for use in roads, bridges, and automotive drive shafts. “The new center builds on Lawrence Tech’s leadership in structural materials research. While our earliest work focuses on applications for carbon fiber, we also intend to explore applications utilizing other advanced materials such as ceramics and polymers,” Grace said.
“Lawrence Tech is a private university with a public purpose,” Chambers added. “The Center for Innovative Materials Research and these defense research agreements help establish Lawrence Tech as Michigan’s preeminent private research university. Not only will this provide exciting opportunities for faculty and students but it will, ultimately, be an economic boost for our region.”
Lawrence Tech’s Center is an important defense and industry resource as it works with two of the military’s most advanced research resources. The U.S. Tank-Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center in Warren is the nation’s laboratory for advanced military automotive technology and works closely with the Michigan automotive industry.
TARDEC Director Richard McClelland called establishing the Lawrence Tech Center “especially satisfying because we can draw upon research and educational resources right here in our own community.”
The Army Research Laboratory, located in Aberdeen, Md., is known as “America’s laboratory for the Army” and leverages the best facilities and resources of academia and industry to benefit the U.S. soldier.
Lawrence Technological University, www.ltu.edu, offers more than 60 undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral degree programs in Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Engineering, and Management. Founded in 1932, the 5,000-student, private university pioneered the offering of day and evening classes more than 70 years ago, and today has a growing number of weekend programs. Lawrence Tech’s 120-acre campus is in Southfield, and executive education centers are located in Plymouth, Clinton Township and Traverse City.