Revolutionary Way to Bend Metals Could Lead to Stronger Military Vehicles

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August 27, 2019 | Originally published by Date Line: August 27 on

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC — A U.S. Army project discovery upends previous notions about how metals deform and could help guide the creation of stronger, more durable materials for military vehicles.

For nearly 100 years, scientists thought they understood everything there was to know about how metals bend. They were wrong. Materials science and engineering researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, funded by the U.S. Army Research Office (ARO), demonstrated that the rules of metal bending aren”t so hard and fast after all. The researchers” new mechanism for bending, published in Nature Communications, might allow engineers to strengthen a material without running the risk of fractures.

The ARO is an element of U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command”s Army Research Laboratory. “This creates new opportunities for materials design,” said Izabela Szlufarska, a professor of materials science and engineering at UW-Madison. “It adds another parameter we can control to enable strength and ductility.”

“Professor Szlufarska has opened up an entirely new area for exploration for structural materials processing and design,” said Dr. Michael Bakas, synthesis and processing program manager at ARO. “By making such a high impact discovery, Professor Szlufarska has potentially laid the technical foundation for the development of a new generation of advanced structural materials that could eventually be employed in future Army equipment and vehicles.”