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UNCG, NC A&T partner with U.S. Army to improve resources for soldiers using nanotechnology

PIC30889-URE-Tetyana_Ignatova_JSNN
Martin W. Kane
/
Courtesy UNC Greensboro
Dr. Tetyana Ignatova and graduate students examine new equipment donated by clothing company KONTOOR.

Through the collaborative, nanomaterials could be integrated into yarn and woven fabric clothing for soldiers.

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro and North Carolina A&T State University announced a new partnership with the U.S. Army on Monday to improve the protection of soldiers’ gear and clothes using nanotechnology.

The universities’ Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering (JSNN) is collaborating with the Army’s Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM) Soldier Center on a new joint laboratory to produce the nanomaterials.

DEVCOM Soldier Center is made up of engineers, scientists, and technology experts that provide a wide range of capabilities to soldiers from life support systems to clothing.

The name of the new joint lab is Innovation Collaborative Laboratory for Nanotechnologies to Empower the Future Soldier (ICONS).

It was funded through a $1.05 million cooperative agreement by the U.S. Department of Defense. The partnership allows JSNN faculty-led research teams, students, and postdoctoral fellows to work directly with scientists and engineers from the Soldier Center.

Sherine Obare, the joint school’s dean, said nanotechnology allows her and the other researchers to study what’s going on at a very small scale.

“Nanotechnology allows us to be able to build things atom by atom,” she said. “And to be able to build these devices, so that they can solve these problems.”

PIC30889-URE-Tetyana_Ignatova_JSNN
Martin W. Kane
/
Courtesy UNC Greensboro
Dr. Tetyana Ignatova and graduate students examine new equipment donated by clothing company KONTOOR.

Obare said those problems include creating clothes that use sensors by turning colors if hazardous chemicals are in different environments, or creating gear that make food sources last longer during deployments and training.

“We're looking at, 'How do we improve their technologies?'” she said. “For example, from what they wear to what they're carrying, to what resources they have in order to be able to better survive on the battlefield."

According to Obare, this is the first joint collaborative lab in North Carolina and the first partnership with a historically Black college or university and a minority-serving institution. NC A&T is an HBCU and UNCG is a minority-serving institution.

Sharryse Piggott is the American Homefront Project Veterans Reporting Fellow.
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