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ERDC Researchers Win 2009 Army R&D Achievement Awards

Nineteen Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) researchers were named among the winners of the 2009 Army Research and Development (R&D) Achievement Award, which recognizes scientific or engineering achievements that are directly responsible for significant improvements or that advance, materially, research and development accomplishments for the Department of the Army.

All scientists and engineers that are employed by the Army and paid directly from appropriated funds are eligible to receive the Army R&D Achievement Award, which is awarded each June based on committee recommendations. The honor can be bestowed upon both individuals and teams, and only an estimated one percent of Army researchers receive the award in a given year.

ERDC has become a permanent fixture in connection with the Army R&D award, with multiple employees named to the honor each year since 1967. This year's 19 honored individuals represent the following seven projects:

  • Drs. David Cole and Mark Hopkins, both of CRREL, and Dr. John Peters of GSL were honored for their work, "Revolutionary Experimental and Theoretical Characterization of Mechanical Behavior of Granular Materials." The project contributes significantly to the prediction of the engineering behavior of granular media materials by enabling reliable predications of the mechanical behavior of granular media that is needed to accurately characterize materials for force protection, prediction of buried sensor response, soil stabilization, landing site characterization, expedient construction, and mobility predictions.

  • Dr. Donald Cropek, Dr. Irene MacAllister and Rachel Morgan, all of CERL, were honored for their work, "Micro Total Analysis Systems for Detection of Army Contaminants." The project centers around the design, fabrication, and testing of miniaturized lab-on-a-chip devices that determine the presence of high-priority Army contaminants in water. The combination of biological function with material science forms the basis of powerful portable sensing modules for field monitoring of toxins in water for human health and environmental protection.

  • Dr. John Peters and Joshua Fairley of GSL; Dr. Stacy Howington of CHL; Jerrell Ballard Jr., of EL; and Dr. Owen Eslinger of ITL were honored for their work, "Automatic Target Recognition Algorithm for Countermine Computational Testbeds." The technology can model, measure, and mitigate the effects of the geo-environment on the performance of mine, minefield, and improvised explosives device detection sensors, providing the Defense Department with greater flexibility in combating terrorism and increased safety for personnel.

  • Dr. David Gent, Dr. Steven Larson, Deborah Felt and Jared Johnson, all of EL, were honored for their work, "Development of Primary Treatment Technologies to Remove RDX from an Industrial Wastewater Stream." The technology was developed specifically for Holston Army Ammunition Plant in Kingsport, Tennessee, and allows the removal of RDX, an explosive widely used in military applications, discharge from ammunition plants into industrial water. The developed electrochemical treatment represents an estimated operating cost savings of 83 percent over demonstrated biological treatment options.

  • Dr. Kurt Gust was honored for his work, "Discovery of Mechanisms of Action Underlying Acute Neurotoxic Effects of RDX Exposure in the Model Avian Species Northern Bobwhite (Colinus Virginanus)." The technology provides a high-resolution, novel biologic model for understanding and assessing the potential adverse effects of the common Army range contaminant, RDX, in the avian species. The result is better protection of the species based on established toxicity of chemicals and the breakdown of their products within the birds themselves.

  • Dr. Steven Larson of EL, Dr. J. Kent Newman of GSL, and David Ringelberg of CRREL were honored for their work, "Biostabilization of Soils," research that targets the use of bacteria to manufacture soil stabilizers for use as replacements for conventional soil stabilization agents and for growing bacteria within the soil to modify soil properties in situ. The technology also shows promise as environmental remediation for range facilities and has great potential to impact earthquake protection, levee construction, foundations, dust control, and environmental protection.

  • Drs. Larry Stephenson and Ashok Kumar of CERL were honored for their work, "Self-Healing Coatings." The technology, a self-healing coating for steel structures, replaces previous coatings that allowed the initiation and spread of corrosion in damaged areas. When the new coating is mechanically damaged, the microcapsules break open and dispense healants and corrosion inhibitors to the damaged area, opening new avenues in coating technology with the potential to cost effectively extend the lives of steel structures and reduce corrosion costs.

All award winners will be honored at the next Army Science Conference.

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Fall 2009
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