FSU receives $8.5 million for defense-related research

Steinar Dale (left) and Ben Wang

Two Florida State University research centers that are working to develop new advanced materials and design new energy technologies for the U.S. military will receive $8.5 million in federal funding under a bill signed into law by President George W. Bush.

FSU’s Center for Advanced Power Systems will receive $6.1 million and the university’s High-Performance Materials Institute will receive $2.4 million in funds that were included in the Consolidated Security, Disaster Assistance, and Continuing Appropriations Act of 2009, a massive temporary spending bill that continues funding federal departments and agencies until March 6, 2009. The bill was approved by both houses of Congress last week and signed by the president on Sept. 29.

The Center for Advanced Power Systems’ funding will go toward two research projects:

  • $4.5 million for the project "Integration of Electro-Kinetic Weapons into the Next Generation of Navy Ships." This project supports the strategic development by the U.S. Navy of a "next-generation" warship — an all-electric ship. FSU will use the funding to study future technologies and the requirements necessary to address the unique challenges associated with this goal.
  • $1.6 million for the project "Integrated Cryo-Cooled High Power Density Systems." FSU will lead a multi-university program with the goal of achieving cryo-cooled, high-power densities to enhance the performance of military vehicles through the reduction of weight and improved efficiency.

"We are grateful for these funds that allow us to continue our work to support the Navy in its development of a new generation of electric ships," said Steinar Dale, director of the Center for Advanced Power Systems. "Our world-class capacities in modeling and simulation at CAPS help the industry and the Navy in creating the power systems needed for our improved national security. We appreciate the support from our congressional delegation and the Navy."

Meanwhile, FSU’s High-Performance Materials Institute will receive $2.4 million for the research project "Nanotubes Optimized for Lightweight Exceptional Strength (NOLES)/Composite Materials." FSU will use this funding to continue researching and testing nanotube-reinforced composites with the goal of developing lightweight body armor, equipment and vehicles for the military, using the strongest material known to humanity for maximum protection.

"The support we have received for the NOLES program will provide our students and faculty with the opportunity to advance the state of the art in nanomaterials and advanced composites for both defense and commercial applications," said Ben Wang, the Simon Ostrach Professor of Engineering at the Florida A&M University-Florida State University College of Engineering and director of the High-Performance Materials Institute. "For example, aircraft made with these nanomaterials and advanced composites will be lighter-weight, stronger, safer, more energy-efficient and durable. Through funding of the NOLES program and many other projects, HPMI is rapidly becoming the nation’s best research center in advanced composites, which we believe will benefit the region by establishing and attracting new industries, offering high-paying employment opportunities."

U.S. Rep. Allen Boyd, who was instrumental in securing the funding for FSU, as well as for other defense-related projects at Florida A&M University and Tallahassee Community College, said that "our colleges and universities play an integral role in our national defense efforts. Investing in our research programs not only benefits our military, but it also helps strengthen our schools’ reputations as leaders in research and innovation. I am proud to support this funding to facilitate the important work being done at FSU, FAMU and TCC."

FSU Vice President for Research Kirby Kemper said Florida’s congressional delegation was "absolutely critical" in helping Congress to acknowledge the importance of the three FSU projects to U.S. national security.

"Congressman Allen Boyd in the House was our stalwart supporter and made our case so effectively with his colleagues," Kemper said. "Both Florida senators, Bill Nelson and Mel Martinez, also pushed very effectively with their Senate colleagues for these efforts, which enhance both the Army’s and Navy’s ability to have the new knowledge and technologies related to our national defense. FSU is most grateful to their efforts and their continuing support of our research programs."

Visit www.caps.fsu.edu for more information on the Center for Advanced Power Systems; go to www.hpmi.net to learn more about the High-Performance Materials Institute.