Virginia Tech’s Institute of Critical Technology and Applied Science (ICTAS) is a member of the Alion Science and Technology team that was recently awarded a contract with a potential value of up to $99 million to operate Alion’s Advanced Materials, Manufacturing and Testing Information Analysis Center (AMMTIAC).

The contract is sponsored by the Defense Technical Information Center of the Department of Defense.

“We were selected to assist with this research because Virginia Tech has one of the premier composite materials groups in the world,” said Rodd Hall, term director of ICTAS. “We are renowned for our leadership in advanced materials and processes technology including metals and metal matrix composites, ceramics and ceramic matrix composites, organic materials and organic matrix composites, and environmental protection/special function materials including those developed with new nanotechnologies.”

“This is a real opportunity for our faculty to make a difference in the development and utilization of 21st century materials to help bolster our defensive capabilities,” added Ishwar Puri, professor and head of the Engineering Science and Mechanics Department in Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering and the leader of the scientific team for the institute.

ICTAS leverages Virginia Tech’s existing research strengths and builds on the synergies of Virginia Tech’s talented faculty to pursue multidisciplinary research.

The multidisciplinary materials group at Virginia Tech is one of the reasons that the university ranks 13th in the nation in the amount of engineering sponsored research performed annually. Its faculty members have a long tradition of research in support of the Department of Defense and defense industries, such as for the production and testing of equipment and supplies.

For the last five years, the university has averaged over $15 million annually in sponsored research for DoD and NASA, and last year had new awards of over $20 million from those agencies.

AMMTIAC will provide Department of Defense and defense industrial base contractors with engineering and technological support in three key areas: materials selection and behavior including process science and corrosion; manufacturing technology, including the application of advanced methods and robotics; and materials, manufacturing, and system inspection and testing.

“We provide a complementary relationship to Alion with our materials research,” Hall said.

“In fact, cutting edge materials research at Virginia Tech will accelerate with the construction of the Advanced Materials Characterization Facility, scheduled for completion later this year,” Hall added. This facility will be the first completed ICTAS building.

This facility will be 32,000-square foot building, half of it housing the Advanced Materials Characterization facility. That laboratory will supplement extensive current materials testing capacity on-campus. It will eventually house the university’s recently delivered world-class Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM) and the state-of-the-art Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometer (SIMS) that will arrive in 2006. The facility will also be constructed with the capability of housing a Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) operation.

Alion Science and Technology is an employee-owned technology solutions company delivering technical expertise and operational support to the Department of Defense, civilian government agencies and commercial customers. Building on almost 70 years of research and development and engineering experience, Alion brings innovation and insight to multiple business areas: defense operations; modeling and simulation; wireless communication; industrial technology; chemical, biological, nuclear and environmental sciences; information technology; and naval architecture and marine engineering. Based in McLean, Va., Alion has more than 2,700 employee-owners at major offices, customer sites and laboratories worldwide.

The Alion AMMTIAC contract has a three-year base with two optional renewal periods, for a total contract period of eight years. The contract was awarded for $4.1 million and has a $33.9 million ceiling in its first three-year period.

In addition to Virginia Tech, other academic partners on the AMMTIAC team include Cornell University, Georgia Tech, and Ohio State.