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Air Force partners with University of Illinois for munitions research

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, FLORIDA – The Air Force is working with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to develop scientific instrumentation that can withstand extreme detonation environments.

The work will enable a better understanding of the early-time post-detonation chemical cascade.

Through an educational partnership agreement, scientists with the Air Force Research Laboratory Munitions Directorate are serving as visiting scientists at the university to conduct research of interest to the Air Force.  An educational partnership agreement – one type of technology transfer agreement – is between a defense laboratory and an educational institution for the purpose of encouraging and enhancing study in scientific disciplines at all levels of education.

Munitions Directorate research chemist, Dr. Stephanie Johnson, worked at the university conducting research experiments that will lead to a better understanding of early-time post-detonation chemical cascade, an area of study where more information is needed.

“This research was conducted in an academic setting and leveraged several (university) labs and researchers not previously available,” said Johnson. “There is a synergy within an academic research group that provides a free-flow approach to problem solving and experiment design.”

The agreement also provides a valuable learning experience for students, allowing them to get hands-on experience with Air Force research.

University students from the Department of Mechanical Engineering Science were permitted to observe the experiments and review the results of the data analysis. Johnson also served as a mentor to the students and academic program.

“The students from this university are among the best and brightest in the world and bring cutting edge research, ideas and innovation to their future employers,” said Johnson. “Having access to these types of students is vital for the USAF technology and engineering development.”

The agreement is valid for 5 years, leaving open the possibility of additional research collaborations.  Under the agreement, it is also possible for university faculty and students to access directorate equipment and technical expertise to work on AFRL relevant research.

For more information on educational partnership agreements and/or other Air Force technology transfer agreements, please contact the Air Force Technology Transfer Program office at 937-904-9830 or

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