Engineering and Applied Research Laboratory award defense research seed grants


By Tessa M. Pick

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — In support of multidisciplinary research, the Penn State College of Engineering and the Penn State Applied Research Laboratory (ARL) collaborated to create a new seed grant program. Five faculty teams have been awarded the inaugural College of Engineering-Applied Research Laboratory Collaborative Defense Research Seed Grant.

“The college is very grateful for this opportunity to build our collaborative relationship with ARL. It has been a major goal of ours to continue to deepen and strengthen our entanglement with ARL,” said Justin Schwartz, the Harold and Inge Marcus Dean in the College of Engineering. “We look forward to watching these researchers make an impact on the safety of our nation and contribute to the future of the U.S. Department of Defense.”

The establishment of the College of Engineering-Applied Research Laboratory Collaborative Defense Research Seed Grant Program provides continued support of ARL’s association as a U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) University Affiliated Research Center through the funding of new research projects in support of the DOD. Each awarded research team received a $50,000 grant and consists of at least one engineering-affiliated principal investigator and one ARL-affiliated principal investigator. These seed grants will support the awardees’ projects for one year and provide the teams with the opportunity to apply for additional funding from outside entities, such as government agencies.

“ARL is extremely excited to strengthen our partnership with the College of Engineering through this program,” said Allan Sonsteby, executive director of ARL. “Fundamental science and creation of knowledge is the foundation for future capabilities that will help ensure the security of our nation in future years.”

With the submitting principal investigators listed first, the grants were awarded to the following teams:

  • Matthew Brandsema, assistant research professor of communications, information and navigation, and Sahin Ozdemir, associate professor of engineering science and mechanics, received funding for “Quantum Tamper Detection Protocol using Temporal Correlations from Entangled States.” The researchers will use correlations intrinsic to entangled photon states to determine if a quantum signal has been tampered with. Their method could provide an easier, less expensive version of current conventional quantum tamper detection techniques.
  • Reginald Hamilton, associate professor of engineering science and mechanics; Abdalla Nassar, associate research professor of materials and manufacturing; and Stephen Lynch, associate professor of mechanical engineering, were awarded funding for “Adaptable Heat Exchanger Surfaces through Shape Memory Alloys.” This project will focus on the development of additively manufactured, thermally activated shape memory alloys that can reconfigure the shape of a common heat exchanger’s surface.
  • Parisa Shokouhi, associate professor of engineering science and mechanics; Abdalla Nassar, associate research professor of materials and manufacturing; and Allison Beese, associate professor of materials science and engineering and mechanical engineering, received support for “Linking Process, Structure, and Property of Additively Manufactured Materials through Machine Learning.” The researchers will build a nondestructive and quantitative linkage between nonlinear ultrasonic response, additively manufactured microstructure and mechanical properties to demonstrate the feasibility of nonlinear ultrasound for qualification and process control applicable to DOD-relevant additively manufactured components.
  • Amanda Johnsen, assistant professor of nuclear engineering; Vaughn Whisker, assistant research professor in ARL, information and navigation; Noel Christopher Giebink, associate professor of electrical engineering; Azaree Lintereur, assistant professor of nuclear engineering, were awarded funding for “Response of Typical Solar Panel Diodes to Post-Detonation Fallout.” This project will evaluate a rapid and continuous nuclear fallout analysis capability using commercial solar panels to detect, characterize and map hazards from a nuclear explosion.
  • Martin Klanchar, assistant research professor of undersea systems; Michael Janik, associate department head of chemical engineering; and Ali Borhan, professor of chemical engineering, received funding for “Modeling Hydrogen Generation from Hydroreactive Chemical Hydrides.” This project will investigate, characterize and model the hydride-water reaction process and further investigate how the mass transfer of reactants and products to and from the hydride solid-water interface affect the rate of pressurized hydrogen (H2) generation to predict H2 generation for future configurations and applications.

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