A researcher at NC State’s College of Textiles is the first in the College’s history to receive funding through the Young Investigator Research Program (YIP) administered by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR). Dr. Philip Bradford, an assistant professor in the College’s Textile Engineering, Chemistry and Science department, conducts cutting-edge research leading to innovations in stable nanoscale hybrid fabrics.
Bradford was one of 56 scientists and engineers from 41 research institutions who won a portion of approximately $20.6 million in grants awarded by AFOSR in January through the YIP program. The competition is open to scientists and engineers at research institutions across the United States who received Ph.D. or equivalent degrees in the last five years and who show exceptional ability and promise for conducting basic research.
Bradford will use his three-year YIP award of $120,000 per year to pursue a new method to make extremely low density foam-like materials using nanofibers called carbon nanotubes. Due to the extreme properties of the carbon nanotubes, the foam-like materials his research group produces have a higher level of performance relative to their density than conventional materials. This makes these materials of interest to AFOSR because of their potential use in textile structures and systems used in aircrafts for thermal protection, impact and vibration damping, aerosol filtration, chemical sensors, batteries and supercapacitors.
“While we have done some proof-of-concept work already, this research award will enable my group to study this new material in depth for the next three years,” Bradford said. “I am very honored to have been selected for the Young Investigator Research Program and I am excited to see what kind of fundamental knowledge about fiber-based foams we will uncover.”
The objective of the YIP program is to foster creative basic research in science and engineering, enhance early career development of outstanding young investigators, and increase opportunities for the young investigators to recognize the Air Force mission and the related challenges in science and engineering.
“This award not only recognizes Dr. Bradford’s creative potential, it reflects the outstanding contributions he has already made in the field of high-performance, low-density composites, through previous AFOSR grants totaling nearly $1M. It also reflects AFOSR’s interest in seeing this work continue, to fulfill its promise,” said Dr. Harold S. Freeman, Associate Dean for Research at the College of Textiles.
Dr. Bradford is a graduate of NC State, earning his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Textiles Engineering. After receiving his doctorate in Materials Science and Engineering from NC State, he joined the College of Textiles faculty where he leads a research group focused on the synthesis of ultra-high aspect ratio carbon nanotubes and production of textile like structures from those unique materials.
About AFOSR: AFOSR continues to expand the horizon of scientific knowledge through its leadership and management of the Air Force’s basic research program. As a vital component of the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), AFOSR’s mission is to support Air Force goals of control and maximum utilization of air, space, and cyberspace. AFOSR accomplishes its mission by investing in basic research efforts for the Air Force in relevant scientific areas. Central to AFOSR’s strategy is the transfer of the fruits of basic research to industry, the supplier of Air Force acquisitions; to the academic community which can lead the way to still more accomplishment; and to the other directorates of AFRL that carry the responsibility for applied and development research leading to acquisition.