REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. (Nov. 24, 2015) -- As part of its ongoing partnership building with academia, the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center is collaborating with the University of Mississippi in additive manufacturing.

AMRDEC, one of six U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command centers, participates in collaborative efforts with domestic partners, including businesses and universities through technology transfer efforts such as Cooperative Research and Development Agreements.

The purpose of this agreement is to establish a cooperative effort between AMRDEC and the Ole Miss School of Engineering that involves alternative manufacturing methods for antennas and radio frequency devices. This is consistent with the military requirements of the AMRDEC and the education research and commercial technology goals of Ole Miss.

"Innovation is central to execution of the AMRDEC mission in service to the warfighter. Great innovation is, in part, derived from partnerships and the resultant sharing of ideas. AMRDEC depends on building and sustaining partnerships with both industry and academia to ensure the drive for innovation remains steadfast and strong," said James Lackey, AMRDEC director.

"From their unique perspectives, academia brings energetic, innovative ideas to the forefront. It's amazing what these young men and women can come up with given they are a little more 'unconstrained' from an academic standpoint. As a result, these bright partnership activities provide direct output benefit to execution of our Science and Technology road maps. Additionally, feedback from these projects helps to shape Academic curriculums themselves and thus the talent bench from which we can reciprocally pull into our current and future workforce," he added.

"AMRDEC designed a 2016 Science and Technology program to bring innovative alternative methods for embedding electronics and RF structures using additive manufacturing processes," said Vicki LeFevre, AMRDEC aerospace engineer. "Running in parallel, the CRADA with Ole Miss will investigate the feasibility of using alternative material and manufacturing techniques such as structural foams and screen printing with conductive inks, 3-D printing or filaments to generate the antennas or radio frequency devices. The two programs will benefit from sharing knowledge and lessons learned."

"Antennas are designed and used to generate and launch signals wirelessly from one place to another," said Janice Booth, AMRDEC electronics engineer. "RF systems experience large power losses resulting in waste heat and performance degradation due to lossy structures. Using additive manufacturing we hope to reduce the losses associated with those structures."

Ole Miss Simulation capabilities will allow AMRDEC to create, build, and test model structures with just a few strokes on the keyboard. Ole Miss will have access to AMRDEC's equipment and facilities to address and assist AMRDEC with real Army and DOD problems.

"Additive manufacturing allows the workflow from design and fabrication of RF devices up through their testing to be more efficient and cost effective," said Elliott Hutchcraft, Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Mississippi. "Integration of electronics into present additive manufacturing techniques is going to make the manufacturing of novel devices much more cost effective. We are excited to work on this project with our new colleagues at AMRDEC."

"By using 3-D printing we anticipate lower costs of the final design and higher efficiency of the product," Booth said. "Both AMRDEC and Ole Miss hope to develop step by step ways to embed electronics and RF into the additive manufacturing process that could be applicable across a broad range of systems."

The CRADA agreement will consist of scientists and engineers from AMRDEC and services from both graduate students and faculty from Ole Miss Department of Electrical Engineering.

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The U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development, and Engineering Center is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to ensure decisive overmatch for unified land operations to empower the Army, the joint warfighter and our nation. RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command.