by Richard Tomkins
Washington (UPI) Jan 9, 2015
The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has started a program to develop new materials to convert one form of energy into another.
Energy transduction is used in military and space devices -- communications antennas and thermoelectric generators, for example – but the agency's Materials for Transduction program, or MATRIX, will take research into the conversion process that is generally limited to laboratory demonstrations to a higher and more applicable level.
"Advances in materials have been key to achieving a wide range of critical, defense-related capabilities, but the development of novel, energy-transducing materials has been challenging, particularly in translating materials advances to the device and systems level," said Jim Gimlett, DARPA program manager. "We aim to develop new classes of transductional materials that can be demonstrated directly in applications, and to advance innovative modeling and simulation tools that engineers can use to design systems that take advantage of these new materials.
"The goal is not just to design materials for use in devices; we envision developing materials that, because of their energy-transforming properties, are effectively devices themselves."
DARPA says the MATRIX program will integrate materials science, predictive modeling and domain-specific expertise.
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