Ryan Hurley, assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and a fellow of the Hopkins Extreme Materials Institute, has received an Air Force Office of Scientific Research Young Investigator Program Award.

These three-year awards aim to foster creative basic research in science and engineering, enhance outstanding young investigators’ early career development, and increase opportunities for young researchers to recognize the mission of the Air Force and related challenges in science and engineering.

The award will support Hurley’s project, “Effects of Material and Morphology on 3D Particle and Pore Dynamics During Rapid Compaction of Granular Materials,” research that focuses on developing a new method for quantifying the 3D dynamics of particles during rapid compact of granular materials by combining novel algorithms with time-resolved 2D x-ray imaging techniques. The dynamics of individual particles in a granular material undergoing rapid compaction are of fundamental importance in manufacturing processes, planetary science, and defense applications.

Hurley’s goal is to be able to reconstruct the full 3D history of particle dynamics and stresses during impact events that occur over the course of several microseconds in granular materials of varied material and particle shape. His findings could be used to aid in validating models of planetary impact, projectile impact into soils, and ignition of energetic powders.