South Dakota School of Mines receives $11.2 million grant for cold weather study

RAPID CITY, S.D. — On September 15, Senator Mike Rounds announced an $11.2 million grant to South Dakota School of Mines, given in partnership with the Army Corps of Engineers. They will be working with the Engineer Research and Development Center’s Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL).

Sd Mines 2Both groups will be working on a total of eight different projects regarding three major points of focus. They include: advanced materials, advanced repair and manufacturing, and advanced coatings. All of which will be able to function in extreme cold and remote areas.

The entire program will take place over a five-year period.

Several professors and students at the university are helping to make these programs possible, including Dr. Grant Crawford.

Dr. Crawford is a professor of materials and metallurgical engineering at the university and one of many involved with the program.

“The focus of this project is to develop advanced materials and manufacturing technology to support global military objectives of the us army” he explained. “To be performed in cold regions as well as remote regions of Earth.”

One main part of their project revolves around creating both insulating and impact-resistant armor with the use of friction stirrer welding equipment.

Friction stirrer welding involves the applying a downward force on a pen-like tool. This action causes it to spin at a high force across selected materials.

By stirring them this way, the bond used to bring the materials together is stronger and more adaptable.

By processing materials this way, it can make for many benefits to the newly-created material.

“It offers a unique opportunity to lightweight structures, vehicles, or infrastructure” Dr. Crawford elaborates. “And potentially even adds for cost savings associated with the amount of material being used.”

Though the projects are just beginning, the school is incredibly thankful for the opportunity they have. Especially after such a long time of trying to appeal for the grant in the first place.

“This program really got its start a long time ago. And we wrote a very large proposal to the us army that was reviewed by the team there. They worked with us quite a lot to bring it into what it is today. And so we’re appreciative of all of the people that have helped us along the way.”

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