The Turbomachinery Laboratory at Texas A&M University is home to the Cooper Research Group, led by Associate Professor Marcia Cooper. Dr. Cooper’s impressive career includes 16 years of work with Sandia National Laboratories and numerous honors and awards for her research and leadership.
The Cooper Research Group operates out of the Dynamic Materials Response Lab within the Turbomachinery Laboratory. Their research focuses on the dynamic response and behavior of materials in severe environments, with a specific focus on heterogeneous materials formed from densely packed granular media. These materials have applications in structural engineering, energy storage, pharmaceuticals, and energetic materials such as pyrotechnics, propellants, and explosives. Their experiments and analysis combine several fields of study, including shock physics, mechanics of materials, materials science, thermal science, and combustion.
Currently, the Cooper Research Group is studying several aspects of particle-based materials, including consolidation by processes in slow-rate powder compression and damage processes in the high-rate deformation of polymer-particle composites. “We seek to understand how characteristics of the particle constituents and their processing influence the material’s bulk behavior and damage tolerance in mechanical environments. By exploring these questions, the group provides new insights for improving materials design where safety is important in specific applications relevant to warfighters, roadside safety, and munition transportation”, Dr. Cooper states.
Dr. Cooper’s work at the Cooper Research Group and the Dynamic Material Response Lab has far-reaching implications for materials science and beyond. Dr. Cooper notes “Advanced materials are needed to perform increasingly complex functions in increasingly complex environments – from explosive component devices with on-demand energy output for national security applications, to drug product solid dosage tablets that enable tunable, personalized, and on-demand manufacturing at the point-of-care for pharmaceutical applications, to multicomponent materials with architected or hierarchical mesostructures for enhanced abilities to transfer or dissipate energy for transportation, energy storage and vibration isolation applications. Our group performs research on the performance of these advanced materials when subjected to complex environments. We tailor our experimental capabilities to interrogate material response as a function of its processing and structure”.
Graduate and undergraduate students interested in studying the dynamic response of materials in complex environments can find research opportunities within this group. Their research also focuses on developing and advancing diagnostics for collecting spatially-resolved measurements of surface motion during high-speed events. As new technological advancements in high-speed imaging, lasers, and optics continue to improve, the group is expanding its research capabilities.
AUTHOR: Kristen Clayton, Communications Specialist
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