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book coverThe National Science Foundation's Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers Program: Looking Back, Moving Forward   (BPA)
Released 2007-10-31

The Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers (MRSEC) Impact Assessment Committee was convened by the National Research Council in response to an informal request from the National Science Foundation. Charged to examine the impact of the MRSEC program and to provide guidance for the future, the committee included experts from across materials research as well as several from outside the field. The committee developed a general methodology to examine the MRSEC centers and after extensive research and analysis, came to the following conclusions. MRSEC center awards continue to be in great demand. The intense competition within the community for them indicates a strong perceived value. Using more quantitative measures, the committee examined the performance and impact of MRSEC activities over the past decade in the areas of research, facilities, education and outreach, and industrial collaboration and technology transfer. The MRSEC program has had important impacts of the same high standard of quality as those of other multi-investigator or individual-investigator programs. Although the committee was largely unable to attribute observed impacts uniquely to the MRSEC program, MRSECs generally mobilize efforts that would not have occurred otherwise. Because of an observed decline in the effectiveness of the centers, the committee recommended a restructuring the MRSEC program to allow more efficient use and leveraging of resources. The new program should fully invest in centers of excellence as well as in stand-alone teams of researchers to allow tighter focus on key strengths of the program. In its report, the committee outlines one potential vision for how this might be accomplished in a revenue-neutral fashion.

book coverProceedings of the Materials Forum 2007: Corrosion Education for the 21st Century   (NMAB)
Released 2007-06-29

The U.S. industrial complex and its associated infrastructure are essential to the nation's quality of life, its industrial productivity, international competitiveness, and security. Each component of the infrastructure—such as highways, airports, water supply, waste treatment, energy supply, and power generation—represents a complex system requiring significant investment. Within that infrastructure both the private and government sectors have equipment and facilities that are subject to degradation by corrosion, which significantly reduces the lifetime, reliability, and functionality of structures and equipment, while also threatening human safety. The direct costs of corrosion to the U.S. economy represent 3.2 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP), and the total costs to society can be twice that or greater. Opportunities for savings through improved corrosion control exist in every economic sector. The workshop, Corrosion Education for the 21st Century, brought together corrosion specialists, leaders in materials and engineering education, government officials, and other interested parties. The workshop was also attended by members of NRC's Committee on Assessing Corrosion Education, who are carrying out a study on this topic. The workshop panelists and speakers were asked to give their personal perspectives on whether corrosion abatement is adequately addressed in our nation's engineering curricula and, if not, what issues need to be addressed to develop a comprehensive corrosion curriculum in undergraduate engineering. This proceedings consists of extended abstracts from the workshop's speakers that reflect their personal views as presented to the meeting. Proceedings of the Materials Forum 2007: Corrosion Education for the 21st Century summarizes this form.

book coverA Path to the Next Generation of U.S. Banknotes: Keeping Them Real   (BMED)
Released 2007-07-26

The rapid pace at which digital printing is advancing is posing a very serious challenge to the U.S. Department of the Treasury s Bureau of Printing (BEP). The BEP needs to stay ahead of the evolving counterfeiting threats to U.S. currency. To help meet that challenge, A Path to the Next Generation of U.S. Banknotes provides an assessment of technologies and methods to produce designs that enhance the security of U.S. Federal Reserve notes (FRNs). This book presents the results of a systematic investigation of the trends in digital imaging and printing and how they enable emerging counterfeiting threats. It also provides the identification and analysis of new features of FRNs that could provide effective countermeasures to these threats and an overview of a requirements-driven development process that could be adapted to develop an advanced-generation currency.

book coverManaging Materials for a Twenty-first Century Military   (NMAB)
Released 2008-03-26

Since 1939, the U.S. government, using the National Defense Stockpile (NDS), has been stockpiling critical strategic materials for national defense. The economic and national security environments, however, have changed significantly from the time the NDS was created. Current threats are more varied, production and processing of key materials is more globally dispersed, the global competition for raw materials is increasing, the U.S. military is more dependent on civilian industry, and industry depends far more on just-in-time inventory control. To help determine the significance of these changes for the strategic materials stockpile, the Department of Defense asked the NRC to assess the continuing need for and value of the NDS. This report begins with the historical context of the NDS. It then presents a discussion of raw-materials and minerals supply, an examination of changing defense planning and materials needs, an analysis of modern tools used to manage materials supply chains, and an assessment of current operational practices of the NDS.

Report in Brief