Mr. Steve McClendon (Cummings Aerospace-Alec Savile (Intern)-Dr. Rachel Abrahams (AFRL_RWM). Photo courtesy of AFRL.
The Air Force Research Laboratory Munitions Directorate (AFRL/RW) and Cummings Aerospace have partnered to provide a unique internship experience for college engineering students. Under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement, the two parties developed an internship program that will allow college students in the AFRL Scholars Program to be mentored by scientists from both Cummings Aerospace and the Munitions Directorate. The students will work at the Directorate’s Dynamic Materials Characterization Laboratory at Eglin Air Force Base and at the Cummings Aerospace facility in nearby Valparaiso.
The intern topic was, "High performance, low-cost structural materials are of great importance to the AF mission. The goal of this project is to develop an understanding between the processing/microstructure of newly designed alloys and additive manufacturing processes with that of the dynamic mechanical response.” This project involves characterization of the microstructure using optical/electron microscopy as well as quasi-static and dynamic mechanical testing using mechanical test frames. Students will also be responsible for designing and conducting thermal process experiments to develop an improved understanding of phase stability and transformations. Students will be trained on the equipment, and be expected to work as a team with technicians and scientists to accomplish tasks related to develop data and an understanding for new prototype material systems."
“The collaboration between AFRL and Cummings Aerospace, enabled by the CRADA, will provide both interns and their mentors with valuable insight into industry and Air Force technologies and capabilities to develop the next generation of weapons,” said Cummings Aerospace President and Chief Executive Officer, Sheila Cummings. Additionally, this opportunity demonstrates the committed relationship and shared strategic vision between industry and AFRL to find new and innovative ways to address the challenges of future weapons science and technology needs.”
The CRADA was initially executed for 18 months; however, the collaboration between AFRL/RW, Cummings Aerospace, and the Intern was such a success the CRADA has been extended for a 5-year term. Additionally, Mr. Brian Mitchell, the AFRL/RW STEM Education Outreach Coordinator, has been approached by other companies wanting information about the program and how they can enter into a CRADA with the Munitions Directorate.