Delaware researchers receive nearly $1 million in DOD grants
Fengshan Liu, professor and chairperson of the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, Delaware State University.
3:40 p.m., May 23, 2007--The U.S. Department of Defense has awarded scientists at the University of Delaware and Delaware State University nearly $1 million for research on blast-resistant materials and wall-penetrating radar.

Delaware is one of nine states, out of 23 eligible states and territories, that are sharing $7 million in grant awards from the Defense Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (DEPSCoR).

The program is designed to enhance existing or develop new research capabilities in support of the Defense Department's research goals.

Fengshan Liu, professor and chairperson of the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics at Delaware State University (DSU), and co-investigators Xiang-Gen Xia, professor of electrical and computer engineering at UD, and assistant professor Jiguang Sun and associate professor Xiquan Shi, both in the applied mathematics and theoretical physics department at DSU, received $500,000 for theoretical research on multi-input and multi-output (MIMO) radar systems.

The ultimate goal of the research is to be able to use radar--electromagnetic waves--to penetrate walls and other obstacles, providing clear images of what's behind them. Such a powerful tool could have both military and civilian applications, in detecting bombs and enemy targets, as well as assisting rescue operations.

At UD, Jennifer Righman McConnell, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, and co-investigator John W. Gillespie Jr., Donald C. Phillips Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and director of the Center for Composite Materials, received $433,387 to develop blast-resistant materials that can be used in the construction of military shelters. The researchers will be working to devise lightweight panels from advanced composite materials that can deflect and absorb the energy generated during an explosion.

Jennifer Righman McConnell, UD assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering. Photo by Kathy F. Atkinson
The Army Research Office, the Office of Naval Research and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research all solicited proposals through the Defense Department's EPSCoR program.

UD's Delaware Biotechnology Institute is Delaware's EPSCoR office, coordinating these grant applications, as well as related research funding programs sponsored by the National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency, National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

For more information, visit the Delaware EPSCoR Web site at [].

Article by Tracey Bryant