From fire protection to canines to foreign languages, NC State’s researchers and professors bring a range of expertise in their efforts to help the nation’s military.
“The work that research universities do to support our military has never been more important,” Chancellor Randy Woodson said at the opening this afternoon of the university’s Military Appreciation Day program at the Park Alumni Center. The events are part of the university’s yearlong celebration of NC State’s 125th anniversary.
Terri Lomax, vice chancellor for research and innovation, said the university is home to partnerships between the Department of Defense and the USDA that offer programs to military kids, including camps for children and financial advice for families.
And with a photo of Gen. Custer and his favorite companion animal on a screen behind her, Lomax noted that dogs have long had a place in the military. Today, the College of Veterinary Medicine is working with the government to select the breeds that can best be trained to detect IEDs and to identify the most accurate training methods.
For the Navy, NC State researchers are developing a “wrinkled surface” that can be applied to the sides of ships to prevent barnacles from attaching — saving fuel and cleaning costs, Lomax said.
And at the College of Textiles, researchers continue to use PyroMan, a full-size simulated model that helps textile engineers determine what kind of fibers best protect the human body from heat and flame.
“We can show where second- and third-degree burns are likely to develop,” said Roger Barker, the Burlington Chair in Textile Technology and director of the Textiles Protection and Comfort Center (T-PACC).
The college has also developed another set of models — PyroHand and PyroHead — to help researchers understand the effect of radiant thermal energy from IEDs on extremities.
Plans are in the works, he said, to develop a “dynamic” version of PyroMan that moves so that the effects of fire can be simulated in motion.
“Our mission is to serve and protect the men and women who serve in our military, and for that we are very grateful,” Barker said.
In addition to technical research, the university’s foreign language department is contributing to partnerships with the military. ROTC students are being given the opportunity to learn “critical language skills” in Arabic, Chinese, Russian, and Urdu, said Dwight Stephens, director of the Integrated Research Learning Initiative. The training is designed to help the students understand other cultures and become “warrior-diplomats” who can participate in conflict resolution, he said.
Speaking of NC State’s history of military leadership, Woodson noted that the university counts more than 60 admirals and generals among its alumni — just behind the service academies and The Citadel and Virginia Military Institute.