Arbor Update

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A2 nanotech firm scores DoD armor contract

1. September 2005 • Matt Hollerbach
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The Ann Arbor News reported in early August that Ann Arbor based Nanocerox, Inc. was waiting to hear from the Department of Defense on a boost in their research funding for new transparent armor materials.

It turns out they did get the contract, worth about $3.1 million. Peter Gray, president of Nanocerox, said this:

I think the impact on our company and Ann Arbor will be wonderful. In the past 12 months, the science team here has grown from 3 to 11. In today’s world, I think that’s the most important thing – creating good jobs right here in Michigan. It’s a good feeling to see trained chemists and materials scientists having the opportunity to work in their own fields.

I can’t find a news story about it anywhere—I heard it on WUOM. If anyone wants to look over the contract to see if there’s anything else interesting in there, let us know.



  1. here are the deliverables.

    i guess am not imaginative enough to cotton the utility of transparent armor, but i’m sure it’s the stuff of geek dreams.

    C.2.1 Develop design rules from the system level armor requirements to the mechanical and optical properties of the ceramic body and then into the properties of the nanopowder. At least three material systems will be studied: Y3Al5O12 (YAG), MgAl2O4 (Spinel), and alumina (Al2O3). All show promise for nano-structured materials because of their unique combination of optical and mechanical properties in the micro-structured case. The contractor may propose other promising materials systems to the Contracting Officers Representative (COR) for consideration. The design rules shall be delivered in accordance with the Contract Data Requirements List (CDRL) DD Form 1423, A001.

    C.2.2 Produce tailored nanopowders with the chemistry, purity, size, and size distribution to process into nanostructured, fully dense, transparent material of Y3Al5O12 (YAG) and MgAl2O4 (Spinel).

    C.2.2.1 Deliver 1 kilogram (kg) of each final optimized nanopowder needed for the production of Y3Al5O12 (YAG) and MgAl2O4 (Spinel) for Government processing to:

    Army Research Laboratory
    Weapons and Materials Research Directorate (WMRD)
    AMSRD-ARL-WM -MD, Dr. James M. Sands
    Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD 21005-5066

    C.2.3 Develop scalable processing methods for Y3Al5O12 (YAG) and MgAl2O4 (Spinel), by consolidating the nanopowders into uniformly sub-micron sized, dense ceramic bodies of dimensions 2” x 2” x 0.25 and deliver five (5) dense ceramic bodies to the address above (C.2.2.1).

    C.2.3.1 Characterize the ceramic bodies in C.2.3 by at least measuring density, optical properties, and microstructure (sub-micron). The characterization data shall be delivered in accordance with the CDRL DD Form 1423, A001. If the processed materials have good optical properties, i.e. transparency, then measure the mechanical properties: strength, hardness, and toughness, and additional optical properties: transmission and scatter.

    C.2.4 Develop a strategy for producing nanopowders of alpha alumina and its consolidation into a nanocrystalline, dense body with suitable optical and mechanical properties. The strategy shall be delivered in accordance with the CDRL DD Form 1423, A001.
       —peter honeyman    Sep. 1 '05 - 07:55PM    #
  2. Peter –
    I’m guessing they mean “armor” like on vehicles, rather than like on people, in which case I can imagine significant utility for armored windshields, etc.

    But I’m sure any geek can dream up uses for transparent body armor, too…
       —Murph.    Sep. 2 '05 - 10:54AM    #
  3. ah, bulletproof glass. of course.
       —peter honeyman    Sep. 3 '05 - 11:56PM    #