by the Air Force (50 percent), the Army (25 percent), the Navy (15 percent), and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (10 percent). More than 80 percent of the work is conducted by industrial and university groups. Materials science and engineering work is also conducted in about 124 industrial laboratories under the independent research and development (IR&D) programs. These programs are not directly sponsored or required by a DOD contract or grant; the costs are reimbursed by DOD through overhead accounts. In total, DOD funding supports a significant portion of the nation’s science and engineering base.

Programs funded by DOD are often directed toward specific applications. Table 6.3, from the Office of Research and Advanced Technology, lists some of the mission areas, technology needs, and thrusts of the DOD’s Materials and Structures Science and Technology Program. In many cases, the mission areas are unique, the technological demands rigorous, and the costs irrelevant,

TABLE 6.3 DOD Materials and Structures Science and Technology Program

Mission Areas

Technology Needsa


Strategic offense

Reentry vehicles, propulsion systems

All-weather capability, maneuvering capability, efficient rocket nozzles, lightweight upper stages

Carbon-carbon composites, metal matrix composites


Satellite structures, propulsion systems, mirrors and optical structures, antennas

Survivability, no outgassing, thermal/electrical conductivity, dimensional stability, high stiffness, damping

Metal matrix composites, ceramic matrix composites, carbon-carbon composites

Land warfare

Tanks, vehicles, mobility

Improved armor, gun barrel erosion, ground vehicle survivability

Metals, ceramics, organics; metal matrix composites

Air warfare

Aircraft, tactical missiles

Durability of composites, high-strength “forgiving” metals, long-life high-temperature gas turbine components, all-weather-capable seeker domes

Organic matrix composities, metal matrix composites, ceramic matrix composites

Naval warfare

Mines and torpedoes, ship survivability, submarines

High-strength “forgiving” metals, composites, joining techniques

Metals, metal matrix composites, welding


Understanding structural response, energy interactions, synthesis of new materials

Micromechanics and macromechanics, fracture mechanics

aMaterials properties, loads and environments, characterization, nondestructive evaluation.

SOURCE: Office of Research and Advanced Technology.

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