Reliability, Energetics Centers Receive Major DoD Initiative Funding

The department’s Center for Energetic Concepts Development (CECD) will play a major role in a new initiative in southern Maryland to develop the field of energetics, while the Center for Reliability Engineering (CFRE) is set to run the Department of Defense Reliability Information Analysis Center (RAIC). Both centers are under the direction of Mechanical Engineering faculty.

In early July the State of Maryland agreed to give Charles County, Maryland 50 acres for the purpose of developing an Energetics Technology Center (ETC) in Southern Maryland. The ETC is a cooperative activity between the Clark School’s CECD, the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Indian Head, and the College of Southern Maryland. One of the initial entities to be housed there will be an energetics laboratory for the development of explosives and propellants.

The Indian Head area of southern Maryland is already described as a “world center for energetics,” according to the Navy. Energetics is a field that combines mechanical, chemical and electrical engineering and has implications for both the military and private industry. The same energetics principles behind the explosion of bombs also help deploys vehicle airbags.

The CECD is a cooperative research, technology transfer, product development, and science and technology training alliance between the Clark School and the Indian Head Division of the Naval Surface Warfare Center. CECD is under the direction of Professor Davinder K. Anand of the Mechanical Engineering department.

The concentration of research and training in Southern Maryland and the partnership with the University of Maryland has been critical to the Navy’s success in energetics, a Navy spokeswoman told the Baltimore Sun. "Their professors work with our scientists and engineers on solutions to Navy programs, and then our employees take classes at the university. So it's been a really win-win combination for both parties."

The U.S. Department of Defense has selected the Clark School’s Center for Reliability Engineering (CFRE), under contract to Wyle Laboratories, to run the DoD’s Reliability Information Analysis Center (RIAC) in an agreement that will bring some $5 million to the school.

“The RIAC is a DoD Center of Excellence and technical focal point for information, data analysis, training and technical assistance in the engineering fields of reliability, maintainability, supportability, and quality,” said Mohammad Modarres, CFRE director. “CFRE and its faculty will be involved in research, consulting, publications and tool development in the areas of human reliability, structural reliability, the engineering and physics of failure, and software reliability.”

Although funded by the DoD, the RAC will undertake a variety of support projects for other government organizations and corporations.

Published July 15, 2005