(Aug. 19, 2013) -- University of Texas at San Antonio researcher and assistant professor of mechanical engineering John Foster will play an important part in a $7.5 million Department of Defense contract to advance the understanding and use of a relatively new mathematical modeling theory called peridynamics, which allows scientists to more accurately predict material failure.
Foster is one of approximately two dozen people in the world who specialize in peridynamics.
The five-year project will contribute to the advancement of a modeling and predictive simulation framework that will allow the technical community to better understand how heterogeneous materials behave under stress. This could allow for significant improvements in the safety and cost of materials that make up everything from airplanes and cars as well as assisting in energy production technology such as hydraulic fracturing. The project is part of the federal government's highly competitive Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI).
The MURI program supports research by teams of investigators that intersect several traditional science and engineering disciplines in order to accelerate research progress. The Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) granted seven awards, totaling $67.5 million, to various academic institutions to perform multidisciplinary basic research.
"As UTSA continues toward a goal of becoming a top tier research university, it is programs like the MURI that give us the proverbial seat at the table," said Foster. "The opportunity to attend and present at national program reviews with the high-profile visibility of a MURI and where other top tier researchers are in attendance will only enhance the reputation of UTSA as a serious place for research. Hopefully, our success with this program will lead to similar opportunities in the future."
Foster will collaborate with researchers at the University of Arizona, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Pennsylvania State University and Arizona State University.
As a partner, UTSA will receive $959,153 over the next five years for direct research. The grant will provide additional support for travel, student collaboration and workshop organization.
Including the MURI grant, Foster has been awarded nearly $2 million in research grants since he joined UTSA in Fall 2011. Currently, he is also collaborating with researchers at the University of Texas at Austin to study hydraulic fracture modeling and with researchers at Johns Hopkins University on building materials that can withstand extreme environments. Additionally, he works with researchers at Sandia National Laboratories on meso-scale modeling of granular materials and on the continuous development of a massively parallel open source peridynamics simulation code.
He has authored more than 25 published articles, conference proceedings and technical reports and has presented his work at more than a dozen conferences and meetings. In January 2013, he was honored with the prestigious AFOSR Young Investigator Award. He is also a core faculty member of the UTSA Center for Simulation, Visualization and Real-Time Prediction.
Foster earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in mechanical engineering from Texas Tech University and received his PhD at Purdue University. Prior to joining UTSA, Foster held an adjunct professorship in mechanical engineering at the University of New Mexico and served as a senior member of the technical staff of the Terminal Ballistics Technology Department of Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, N.M.
About the UTSA College of Engineering
Nationally ranked and recognized, UTSA College of Engineering provides world-class education and research opportunities to the region's multicultural community, to the nation and beyond. The college offers 16 different graduate and undergraduate degrees to its 2,500 students within the departments of biomedical, civil and environmental, electrical and computer, and mechanical engineering. The college's undergraduate programs in civil, electrical and mechanical engineering are accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET.
UCLA education professor Pedro Noguera will lead the conversation. His research focuses on how schools are influenced by social and economic conditions. He is the author of eleven books and over 200 articles and monographs.
Multidisciplinary Studies Building (MS 2.02.55), Main Campus
The ITC will livestream. Smithsonian Affiliations, the Museo y Centro de Estudios Humanísticos & the Conservatorio de Músico will bring U. S.-based scholars of Puerto Rican and Latino Studies to Puerto Rico to engage with local scholars about migration, music, art, literature, education, history, and diasporic experiences.
Institute of Texan Cultures, Hemisfair Campus
Infection, Immunity and Vaccines discussed during this two day conference.
The Eilan Hotel and Spa, 18603 La Cantera Terr., San Antonio
UTSA Department of Physics and Astronomy faculty and staff will conduct a presentation on recent developments in astronomy and astrophysics followed by stargazing in the observatory.
Flawn Sciences Building (FLN 2.02.02) and Curtis Vaughan Jr. Observatory, 4th floor, Main Campus
The annual concert series begins the choirs and orchestra performing Dvorak's "Te Deum" . This concert is open to the public. Admission $10.
Arts Building Recital Hall (ARTS 2.03.02), Main Campus
The second of three in the annual holiday concert series which will feature the Chamber Singers (Santa Baby), Saxophone Ensemble (Sleigh Ride), Jazz Ensemble (Sugar Rum Cherry), Flute Ensemble and more performing holiday favorites. Admission $10.
Arts Building Recital Hall (ARTS 2.03.02), Main Campus
The Roadrunners close out the regular season at home against North Texas.
Alamodome, 100 Montana St., San Antonio
This event showcases innovative student projects and research performed across multiple disciplines. The symposium is designed to provide a public venue where UTSA senior engineering students to present advances achieved in their design projects.
H-E-B Student Union Ballroom (HSU 1.104/1.106), Main Campus
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