WEST LAFAYETTE - Purdue University's School of Aeronautics and Astronautics has announced a team of its engineers will work as part of a new U.S. Department of Defense program to accelerate basic research innovations into the marketplace. The team is led by Professor Vikas Tomar and will partner with the Indiana Innovation Institute as part of the inaugural I-Corps Department of Defense program.

The collaboration will create business plans for new Purdue technology that uses advanced sensors, along with data science and machine learning elements, to detect and predict failures within certain materials.

Purdue says its research will focus on detecting stress as a predictor of failure, instead of relying on damage detection to predict potentially catastrophic failures of these materials in sometimes extreme and dangerous situations.

The technology is being developed by Tomar in Purdue’s Interfacial Multiphysics Lab and could be used for nuclear materials, lithium-ion batteries, metals and biological and energy materials, all of which are used in situations with extreme temperatures and shock velocities. 

“Current practices in damage tolerance are fine, if damage is widely distributed,” Tomar said in a news release. “If the damage is localized and not widely distributed, such as a hairline crack, you must have technology like ours that uses stress sensing to predict if damage is going to be catastrophic. The situation is even more complicated for materials in extreme environments.”