The Structural Materials division's mission is to solve structural safety, durability, and reliability problems through the development and application of new technology. All of the activities listed below provide critical capabilities for addressing the nation’s aging aircraft/infrastructure problems.
Activities conducted in the division include developing advanced NDE systems for locating and characterizing damage (e.g. cracks and corrosion) as well as developing the methodology for evaluating NDE systems inspection reliability; and developing software for structural risk assessment. Strong capability and experience exists for designing and developing complex hardware/software interfaces for a wide range of test stands and data acquisition systems, including robotic systems.
The division is involved in several aspects of aircraft propulsion, including developing and applying methods to assess and maintain structural integrity of aircraft engine components, evaluating potential icing scenarios for engine inlets, and characterizing the constitutive and failure characteristics of high temperature materials.
Other research thrusts include creating computer-aided tests systems that collect mechanical property data, and developing advanced characterization methods for micro-/nano-scale material properties.
The division also conducts research in user interface design, collaborative systems, human-computer communication, data visualization, safety & training and cognitive systems engineering.