WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (March 28, 2019)— A team of engineers from Purdue’s School of Aeronautics and Astronautics will work as part of a new U.S. Department of Defense program intended to accelerate basic research innovations, with defense relevance, into the marketplace.

The team is led by Vikas Tomar, a professor of aeronautics and astronautics, and will collaborate with Mike Dodd, director of business development for the Indiana Innovation Institute (IN3), as part of the inaugural I-Corps @DoD program.

The collaboration will develop business plans for new Purdue technology that uses advanced sensors, along with data science and machine learning elements, to detect and predict failures within certain materials.

“Current practices in damage tolerance are fine, if damage is widely distributed,” Tomar said. “If the damage is localized and not widely distributed, such as a hairline crack, you must have technology like ours that uses stress sensing to predict if damage is going to be catastrophic. The situation is even more complicated for materials in extreme environments.”

Tomar and graduate research assistant Ayotomi Olokun are leading the research for Purdue with mentorship in the program from Dodd, who also serves as the deputy lead for Governmental Advocacy with the Defense Entrepreneurs Forum. IN3 is an applied research institute that brings together top leaders from government, military, industry and research universities in collaboration with Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division (NSWC Crane).

“The I-Corps @ DoD program is an excellent vehicle for all university researchers to transition their work into the marketplace so that it can directly impact the warfighters mission and create job growth in Indiana,” Dodd said.

The Purdue research focuses on detecting stress as a predictor of failure, rather than relying on damage detection to try to predict potentially catastrophic failures of these materials in sometimes extreme and dangerous situations.

The technology is being developed by Tomar in Purdue’s Interfacial Multiphysics Lab and could be used for nuclear materials, lithium-ion batteries, metals and biological and energy materials, all of which are used in situations with extreme temperatures and shock velocities.