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SSC-Natick Press Release

U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center-Natick
Public Affairs Office
Kansas Street
Natick, MA 01760-5012

Contact: Public Affairs Office
(508)233-5340/5945

Date: September 4, 2008
No: 08-29

NSRDEC hosts 2nd Annual Future Workforce Poster Presentation Event

Matthew Bernasconi, student hire, Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center (NSRDEC), Natick, Mass., presents his poster on "Polyolefin Nanocomposite Meal Bags" at the NSRDEC's 2nd Annual Future Workforce Poster Presentation Event on Aug. 14. Bernasconi is a student at the University of Massachusetts (UMASS) Lowell and has spent the last two summers working at NSRDEC. (Photo by Strategic Communications.)

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NATICK, Mass. On Aug. 14, student hires from the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center (NSRDEC) here showcased the projects they have been working on during the 2nd Annual Future Workforce Poster Presentation Event.

Adrienne Beaudoin, a junior at the University of Maryland and a member of NSRDEC's Workforce Development Team, said the NSRDEC was encouraged by how well the first event turned out and thought it was important to continue the displays.

"Last year we received a lot of great feedback from many different members of the workforce expressing support and interest for the event," she said.

This year, 28 posters were displayed representing various directorates, and most students remained by their posters to discuss their work with attendees. Two students already returned to school, but thought it would be beneficial to display the posters of their projects. Both presentations were from the Combat Feeding Directorate (CFD) and were "Commercial Camp Stove Market Survey" and "Tray Ration Heater Performance Testing."

Another CFD student hire, who attends the University of Massachusetts (UMASS) Lowell and is working at Natick for his second summer, Matthew Bernasconi, said he was "glad to be back."

He spoke with attendees about his project, "Polyolefin Nanocomposite Meal Bags." Meals, Ready-to-Eat (MREs) produce 14,000 tons of waste, he said, and the main objective of his project was to reduce the amount of packaging waste. Bernasconi performed thermal analyses on mono- and multi-layer composite meal bags, the ones that are used for the MREs. "The current bag is 11 layers," he said, "and we want to move to a six layer [bag].

Bernasconi will be graduating next year and plans to attend graduate school to get a masters degree in plastics engineering.

Other presentations from CFD included "Unitized Group Ration Family," "CFD: Office of the Director," "Chemical Heating Performance: Ration and Beverage Heaters," "Non-Electric Evaporative Beverage Chillers," and "Toxic Industrial Chemicals."

Al Adams, who is a graduate student at Worcester Polytechnic Institute and works for the Warfighter Science, Technology and Applied Research Directorate (WarSTAR), discussed his project on "Gait Kinematics and Physiologic Fatigue."

Adams explained how his team worked with a contractor to do nonlinear analysis in order to test its ability to predict the physiological fatigue of Soldiers. This type of analysis is often used for mechanical evaluations, Adams said. It shows where the stress and failure is on a metal and they wondered if it could be transferred for this use.

"We can't have Soldiers walking around with oxygen masks on," he said. "We needed a less invasive way to study their energy expenditure." And we want to make sure they are able to stop work before reaching the level of total exhaustion, he continued.

Adams said although this is a pilot study and the work has only been completed with two subjects, the findings look "really good," and the team will be continuing the study.

WarSTAR was most widely represented at the event this year. In addition to Adams' presentation, other student hires were on hand to discuss: "Adhesive Properties of Polyelectrolyte Multilayers," "Dispersions of Carbon Nanotubes," "Singlet Oxygen Trapping Porphyrins," "Deactivation of Aerosolized Anthracis Spores," "Predicting Permeability of Chemical Agents to Skin," "Simulating Projectile Metrology for Ballistic Impact," "Mission-Oriented Protective Postures Analysis of Cognitive and Physical Tasks," "Co-Extrusion of Polymers for Fiber Applications," "Detection of Low Concentration of Bacterial Spores," and "Frequency Selective Surfaces as Reflectance Filters in the NIR/Visible Spectrum."

A student from Wentworth Institute of Technology, Janet Langley, who worked on a Fire Detection Center Shelter System for the Shelters, Technology, Engineering and Fabrication Directorate (STEFD) said her time working at Natick has been, "fun and enjoyable."

This was her first summer at NSRDEC and she said what she especially liked was being able to see the different items and learn how to do certain work in the shelters design shop.

Tony Kayhart, a student of UMASS Dartmouth who is working for STEFD for his second summer, presented a poster on "Design of Fabric Structure in SolidWorks." Within that work, he modeled a fabric shelter with four exits rather than the standard two, and designed a vestibule adaptor to connect with other tents.

Another part of his work, a HMMWV canvas turret cover, is "important for safety of Soldiers," he said. A challenge of this project, he continued, was making the fabric tight for camouflage purposes but also making the cover easy to exit.

Other presentations from STEFD were "Federal Fibers Tent Evaluation," "LED and EL Lighting Systems in Military Structures" and "Joint Modular Intermodal Container Shelter Investigation."

The Warfighter Protection and Aerial Delivery Directorate (WarPADD) displayed a project on the "Investigation of Nitinol."

Workforce members were very interested in the presentations and there was a lot of good interaction between them and the students. One member of the workforce commented that "these sessions are extremely informative and I'm always impressed by the composure and intellect of the students."

Beaudoin said hosting the event keeps the students involved. "Students like to show their work to their team leaders, supervisors and the general workforce and we look forward to continuing this event in the upcoming years," she said.


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