NSRDEC engineer named ballistics fellow
February 23, 2012
Philip Cunniff, a mechanical engineer at Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, was named a Fellow of the International Ballistics Society.
The Society is the world's largest scientific organization dedicated to ballistics research and is a leading source of authoritative scientific information for ballistics science. The Society promotes ballistics science throughout the world via technical exchange in symposiums and provides publication opportunities among other functions that promote career development.
"Phil is an innovator in the field of ballistics, armor and protection," said Lori L. Wagner, Ph.D., Armor Industry Technical Leader in Advanced Fibers and Composites for Honeywell International, who has known Cunniff for more than 20 years. "Whereas many people focus in a particular area, Phil is unique in the breadth and depth of his research. His interest and investigation has been encompassing into the area of ballistic materials and protection -- from the energy, projectiles and interaction during the ballistic event to the materials involved in the armor design: their molecular composition to processing to application design as well as the response to the ballistic event.
"Phil has been not only one to propose scientific explanations but also to challenge accepted theories. He has been a leader in changing ballistic studies from an art to a science."
Cunniff has been involved in research related to the ballistic impact onto textile-based personnel armor systems since 1987 and has authored more than 50 papers, including publications in premier journals such as Science Magazine, Macromolecules, Polymer, Textile Research Journal, and Journal of Materials Science.
"Phil has been dedicated to improving the scientific underpinnings and technology for lightweight armor for decades," said Stephan Bless, head of the High Velocity Research Division, Institute for Advanced Technology, University of Texas at Austin, who has known Cunniff for 25 years. "Phil has directly made many important breakthroughs -- and because he gives priority to advancing the field -- these findings have been rapidly disseminated, sometimes so fast that Phil's key contributions have not been adequately acknowledged, until now."
Cunniff has worked at NSRDEC for 25 years; his career involves materials research and engineering of personnel armor. He is a recipient of the 1999 Louis and Edith Zernow Award "Most Significant Recent Advancement in Fundamental Ballistics," a two-time U.S. Army Research and Development Achievement Award winner, and recipient of a 2009 Department of Defense Manufacturing Technology Achievement Award for "Low Cost Manufacturing of Materials for Improved Warfighter Protection," among other distinctions.