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Strength from Within: Microstructural Engineering

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Published on Sep 13, 2012

As a global force, the U.S. military is called upon to conduct missions that subject its platforms to extreme operational environments and structural loads. The endurance and performance of future Department of Defense platforms may call for the availability of materials with structural properties that significantly surpass the limits of what is achievable with current technology. Material properties include strength, density and stiffness, among many others.

DARPA's Materials with Controlled Microstructural Architecture (MCMA) program seeks the capability to develop materials with properties tailored to meet specific mission requirements. For instance, DARPA has developed lightweight materials that can absorb energy without failing, or breaking. As shown in this video—previously released in conjunction with a journal article on ultralight metallic microlattices (see http://www.sciencemag.org/content/334...)—the nickel microtruss structure can achieve a 40% strain level without collapsing; in fact, it fully recovers its form. DARPA is exploring how much strength and energy absorption can be combined in the same material without damaging it.

For more information on what MCMA research involves, see: http://go.usa.gov/P7w.

To get the latest DARPA news, photos and videos, follow us on Twitter at: http://www.twitter.com/darpa.

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