Fundamental Research in Propulsion Materials
at ORAU Workforce Solutions

Date Posted: 6/3/2019

Opportunity Description

The US Army Research Laboratory conducts basic and applied research involving Propulsion Materials. Specialized engine and drivetrain materials require continual improvements to expand performance of aerospace propulsion systems. This research associateship is a critical part of on-going mission programs toward developing advanced propulsion materials for current and future Army vehicles. ARL propulsion materials research focuses on achieving several Army platform-specific goals. A research thrust within the Army is to develop technologies supporting “maintenance-free” rotorcraft, as an integral part of the long term Future Vertical Lift Program. For propulsion materials, this refers to wear-resistant drive train surfaces (highly-loaded, infinite-life gears) and thermo-mechanical fatigue-resistant engine materials. Development of theoretical methods to assess the process-structure-property relationship in complex materials, such as ceramic matrix composites, fatigue resistant fiber metal laminates, and/or engineered metal alloys, is required to achieve this goal. The Army’s push toward damage-tolerant structures and condition-based maintenance requires high fidelity material state awareness. The engineering technologies to evaluate mechanical, thermal, and chemical properties with high spatial fidelity of propulsion materials at elevated temperatures and across length scales are in their infancy. High temperature sensors, thermal and chemical damage quantification and life cycle analysis including accurate and reliable material life prediction are critical enabling technologies for future systems. Lastly, material design under uncertainty is necessary to achieve performance metrics for future vehicles operating in a wide range of conditions. Our focus areas include high temperature materials and sensing for engine and drivetrain (power transmission) component, bulk materials analysis and characterization for ceramic matrix composites, high temperature polymer matrix, metal alloys, engineered design high temperature materials, engine health monitoring, thermal and environmental barrier coatings. Possible propulsion materials research topics include: 1. Propulsion Material Characterization a. Quantify the evolution of fatigue damage (thermo-mechanical) at the microscales of a high temperature ceramic matrix composite material system. i. Scanning Acoustic Microscopy (SAM) ii. X-ray microtomography iii. Microstructure evolution b. Study the relationship between initiation of damage and exposure to oxidation mechanisms and transport phenomena in high temperature polymer matrix composites. c. Create nonaveraged microstructural descriptors. 2. Modeling and Simulation a. Predict the thermomechanical behavior of composite materials based on microstructural data and constitutive models via nonlocal micromechanics. b. Simulate manufacturing processes to predict residual stresses, residual micro-cracking. c. Quantify variation in material structure via process modeling. 3. Materials by Design a. Design and develop new bulk high temperature materials that can sustain 1500 deg C or higher temperature. b. Develop new thermal barrier and environment barrier coatings that would enable materials to survive higher temperature and extreme environmental erosion without the requirement of active cooling. c. Develop new composite gear materials that would enable heat transfer and are wear resistant. Check that all network cables are plugged in. Verify that airplane mode is turned off. Make sure your wireless switch is turned on. See if you can connect to mobile broadband. Restart your router.

Opportunity Snapshot

About Us

Grooming future leaders in science and technology requires enhancing the skills, knowledge and experience of workers early in their careers. To that end, ORAU (Oak Ridge Associated Universities) assists in connecting the best and most diverse students, recent graduates, faculty and professionals with world-class fellowships, internships and jobs, whether in national laboratories, research institutions, federal government offices or private sector R&D departments.

ORAU works with agencies such as the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) Research Associateship Program (RAP) allow Postdoctoral Fellows, Journeyman Fellows (undergraduate and graduates students and recent graduates), Senior Researchers, and Summer Faculty engage in research initiatives of their own choice, that are compatible with the interests of the government and will potentially contribute to the general effort of the ARL. We work with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to place recent graduates in full-time and part-time jobs in the Office of Research and Development at EPA under the National Student Services Contract. ORAU also works with Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation.

Research opportunities include, but are not limited to the following disciplines: Aerospace Engineering, Anthropology, Archeology, Biology, Biochemistry, Biological Engineering, Biomechanical Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Data Science, Electrical Engineering, Environmental Health Risk Assessment, Environmental Science, Entomology, Epidemiology, Ergonomics, Geology, Health Education Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Mathematics, Nanotechnology, Photonics, Physics, Public Health Economics, Public Health Policy, Toxicology, and more.

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