TU awarded $1.5M DoD grant for advanced materials research - The University of Tulsa
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TU awarded $1.5M DoD grant for advanced materials research

The Department of Defense has announced that The University of Tulsa will receive $1.5 million over two years to support research in materials for extreme environments as part of the Defense Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (DEPSCoR) Capacity Building initiative. This funded project will enhance the research infrastructure at TU and expand the university’s capabilities for conducting research in an area critical to energy and defense applications. TU is one of only two universities that will receive the funding.

Photo of Rose Gamble wearing brown glasses and blue shirt inside of building.
Rose Gamble

Rose Gamble, vice president for research and economic development at TU, commented on the broader implications of the award: “This funding from the DoD through DEPSCoR is more than an investment in TU; it’s an investment in the future of our nation’s defense capabilities. It reflects the critical role that academic institutions play in advancing scientific research and technological innovation.”

TU’s proposal for the DEPSCoR award focuses on developing novel materials that can withstand extreme temperatures and environments, which are crucial for a wide range of applications such as fusion and defense. Defense officials received over 15 white papers for the FY23 Capacity Building competition, from which DoD subject matter experts selected the two finalists. Louisiana Tech University and The University of Tulsa executive offices will lead the selected teams.

The TU research team is composed of Professor of Mechanical Engineering Michael W. Keller, A. Paul Buthod Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering Hema Ramsurn, and Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering William LePage. The team plans to build on the university’s existing capabilities in materials science, specifically targeting advancements in carbon-carbon composites and ultra-high temperature ceramic (UHTC) composites.

Photograph of Michael Keller
Michael Keller

“Receiving this DoD grant is a transformational moment for TU. It enables significant expansion in our research on ultra-high temperature materials, positioning our university and our state as leaders in this vital area. This project marks an important step toward our goal of becoming a premier research institution with far-reaching impacts,” said Keller, who also serves as associate dean for research in TU’s College of Engineering & Computer Science.

This project highlights TU’s commitment to cutting-edge research in materials science. The initiative elevates the university’s research profile and highlights TU’s commitment to the development of technologies essential for the safety and effectiveness of the nation’s defense strategies.

“Our project leverages TU’s foundational work in carbon-carbon composites to explore new frontiers in UHTC composites including carbon-silicon carbide composites. Building upon our work on anti-oxidative coatings for extreme environments funded by DoE, we aim to develop materials with unprecedented thermal and mechanical properties, essential for hypersonic systems,” Ramsurn said.

“The multifaceted nature of our research – from novel composite architectures to environmental barrier coatings – represents an extensive effort to solve the challenges of materials that operate in extreme conditions,” LePage added.

Visit the official Department of Defense announcement for more information on the DEPSCoR program and TU’s groundbreaking research in advanced materials.