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Justin WilkersonAssistant professor Dr. Justin Wilkerson and his team are working to advance the state-of-the-art capabilities of new protection materials for defense.

Wilkerson, the James J. Cain '51 Faculty Fellow II in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Texas A&M University, recently received a two-year award to continue his work with the Materials in Extreme Dynamic Environments (MEDE) Collaborative Research Alliance (CRA) for his proposal titled “Novel Void Nucleation Models Enabling Higher Fidelity Magnesium Spall Strength Predictions.” This research is sponsored by the United States Army Research Laboratory.

“Traditionally, new protection materials have been developed through an Edisonian trial-and-error process, which typically requires decades of laborious experimentation paid for by millions of taxpayer dollars,” Wilkerson said. “Our goal here is to demonstrate the utility of computational modeling in accelerating and reducing the costs of the development of the next-generation of lightweight protection materials for the soldier.”

This most recent award comes in a series of related MEDE CRA projects Wilkerson has successfully led for the past few years. The objective of the MEDE CRA is to bring academia, government and industry together to establish the capability to design materials for use in specific dynamic environments, especially high strain-rate applications.

“In this particular project, we aim to improve the damage nucleation criterion in our crystal plasticity framework for dynamic failure of light-weight magnesium alloys,” Wilkerson said. “This new capability will enhance our likelihood of computationally discovering a new magnesium alloy with the desired ballistic performance.”

Wilkerson’s research interests include deformation and failure, dynamic behavior of materials, impact mechanics, shock physics, materials in extreme environments, and planetary science.

Click here for more information about the MEDE Collaborative Research Alliance and its research.