(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.
Graduate School representatives from across the country will provide information on options after earning a bachelor's degree. Students, alumni and community members are welcome.
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As touch screens and e-books demand more and more attention from both casual readers and scholars, many people say the handwriting is on the wall for the printed page.
At UTSA, the handwriting is on the wall for a library that doesn't have any printed books.
Since March 2010, the bookless library in the Applied Engineering and Technology Building has given UTSA students an innovative way to read, research and work with each other to solve problems.
With ultra-modern furniture and a décor featuring desktop computers, scanners and LCD screens, the AET Library is designed to engage students in an online format. But it also offers group study niches and study rooms with whiteboards and glass walls on which students can write. The space encourages teamwork, communications and problem solving for the next generation of scientists and professional engineers.
Did you know? The UTSA AET Library is the nation's first completely bookless library on a college or university campus. It served as a model for Bexar County's first-in-the-nation public bookless library system and one of its branches, the Dr. Ricardo Romo BiblioTech.
The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
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