Dr. Nabil GraceArmy Research Laboratory & Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center

Army Research Laboratory & Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center

Specimen developed for armoured structure using ductile hybrid fabric - patented by LTU research team

Research Initiatives

Among CIMR’s first efforts are the development of composite materials for military armor, lightweight military vehicles, and the U.S. Army’s 21st Century Soldier initiative. ARL and TARDEC intend to use these innovative and advanced carbon-fiber materials to help reduce the weight of military vehicles and body armor, while at the same time providing greater protection and durability.

CIMR research efforts also focus on homeland security and commercial applications. The center develops and tests materials intended to strengthen critical structures throughout the U.S., including buildings, bridges, military complexes, airport facilities, and highways, against attacks and natural disasters, with the goal of avoiding catastrophic collapses and allowing personnel to evacuate safely. With its concentration on applied research, CIMR is an important resource in developing technologies that have commercial application by Michigan industry.

While past research at Lawrence Tech has focused primarily on the use of carbon-fiber reinforced polymers in roads, bridges, and automotive drive shafts, future explorations will include applications using other advanced materials such as ceramics.

Impact on the Michigan Economy

The founding of CIMR is an important first step in implementing Governor Jennifer Granholm’s vision of a homeland security research and development hub centered around Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Clinton Township.

Through its cooperative efforts with ARL, which has a history of leveraging the best resources of academia and industry on behalf of the U.S. soldier, and TARDEC, the Warren-based laboratory for advanced military automotive technology, CIMR is destined to become Michigan’s preeminent private university research facility. In the words of Lawrence Tech President Charles M. Chambers, “CIMR not only provides exciting opportunities for faculty and students but also functions as a resource that will draw both private and government investment to the area, resulting in an economic boost for southeastern Michigan.”

Crucial to the establishment of CIMR was Lawrence Tech’s track record as a regional leader in applied research in the fields of materials, structures, energy, and automotive engineering. Among the University’s achievements in materials research is the development of Ductile Hybrid Fabric (DHF), a patented composite used to reinforce new or existing structures and vehicles that has both commercial and defense applications. As an example of how CIMR’s efforts could be a catalyst for local and statewide economic development, the University envisions working with Oakland County’s Automation Alley and the state of Michigan to convince foreign-based suppliers to locate their U.S. operations in southeastern Michigan to take advantage of the possibilities presented by DHF and the materials that will result from the center’s activities in the future.