Engineering for the Army

U.S. Army veterans Jeremy Artman and Nathan Derrick are among the UNT researchers working to design cold-formed steel shelters that will be more efficient, durable and lightweight for soldiers. (Photo by Ahna Hubnik)Two UNT research teams from the materials science and engineering technology departments are collaborating with researchers at Northeastern University and the University of Southern Mississippi to redesign U.S. Army tactical shelters to be stronger, lighter, stackable and easier to transport.

UNT's materials science team is studying the feasibility of using a lighter-weight steel for the tactical shelters rather than the currently used aluminum. They also will look at improving methods of how the shelter components are assembled. UNT's engineering technology team will test ideas for making the change from aluminum to steel, examining structural performance. The project began in October and is expected to last two years. The researchers hope the Army will be able to create all new shelters for their soldiers based on their work.

A second collaboration, between UNT's Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Processes Institute and the Army Research Laboratory, focuses on examining body and vehicle armor and discovering new ways to keep soldiers safe.

UNT researchers are focused specifically on improving protection against ballistics impacts and determining how to make stronger and better armor materials.

"We can do fundamental testing that shows what happens when the armor gets hit," says Rajiv Mishra, director of the institute and UNT Distinguished Research Professor of materials science and engineering. "We have high-tech equipment that will show what the impact is like. The high-speed camera catches things so fast that it can show everything that happens at the smallest and fastest stage."