SAMPE Journal - July/August 2016 - 41

Tobin Talks Washington

Tobin A. McGregor

Government Relations Manager
tobin@sampe.org

DARPA Seeks to Revolutionize Materials Design and Process Engineering
This spring the Defense Advanced Research Program Agency (DARPA) made two major announcements
affecting the advanced materials. The first announcement was of a grant awarded for low-cost carbon
fiber composite manufacturing. The other announcement created step-change developments for advanced
materials design capabilities. Both of these "DARPA Hard" initiatives mark DARPA's on-going commitment
and support in addressing fundamental technical challenges in the materials and process engineering.
In April, DARPA awarded the University of Delaware Center for Composite Materials (UD-CCM) a $14.9
million grant to develop a novel low-cost carbon-fiber composite feedstock and manufacturing process.
The Tailorable Feedstock and Forming (TFF) Program seeks to produce a new material referred to as,
Tailorable Universal Feedstock for Forming (TuFF), that has the potential to revolutionize the use of
composite materials as a commercially viable substitute for high quantity metal components and is able
to meet aerospace quality requirements.
Under the TFF program, UD-CCM will develop a semi-automated pilot plant to demonstrate the feasibility
and scale-up of novel technologies developed through the program with sufficient capacity to supply
TuFF feedstock to various industries for evaluation and prototype development. According to DARPA,
"the success of TuFF as a new material is expected to be transformative for complex curvature composite
structures for aerospace and automotive applications in the defense and commercial sectors".
On the ICME and materials design front, DARPA announced its TRAnsformative DESign (TRADES) program
on May 11, 2016. TRADES is "a fundamental research effort to develop new mathematics and algorithms
that can more fully take advantage of the almost boundless design space that has been enabled by new
materials and fabrication methods".
The TRADES program is predicated on the concept that as new advanced materials are beginning to
yield properties never before imagined recent advancements in processing capabilities (e.g. additive
manufacturing) are providing the ability to create innovative and complex parts from these materials that
have historically been unachievable. DARPA recognizes the need to develop the design tools necessary to
enable the further exploitation of these materials and processes. "The structural and functional complexities
introduced by today's advanced materials and manufacturing methods have exceeded our capacity to
simultaneously optimize all the variables involved," said Jan Vandenbrande, DARPA program manager.
"We have reached the fundamental limits of what our computer-aided design tools and processes can
handle, and need revolutionary new tools that can take requirements from a human designer and propose
radically new concepts, shapes and structures that would likely never be conceived by even our best
design programs today, much less by a human alone."
The deadline for proposals under the TRADES solicitation is July 26, 2016. DARPA is interested in
receiving proposals from a diverse community beyond the computer-aided design and physical modeling
communities. For more information on the DARPA TRADES and TuFF programs visit www.darpa.mil or
contact Tobin McGregor at Tobin@SAMPE.org.

SAMPE Journal, Volume 52, No. 4, July/August 2016

41


http://www.darpa.mil

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of SAMPE Journal - July/August 2016

Contents
SAMPE Journal - July/August 2016 - Cover1
SAMPE Journal - July/August 2016 - Cover2
SAMPE Journal - July/August 2016 - Contents
SAMPE Journal - July/August 2016 - 2
SAMPE Journal - July/August 2016 - 3
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