DOD Awards Multimillion-Dollar Grant to Rowan University

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Rowan University is extending its reach much further than South Jersey.

The Gloucester County-based college was recently awarded a multimillion-dollar grant that’s taking work done on what used to be peach fields to the Arctic.

“This is our second project that we got from the Department of Defense, and this is one of the largest at the main campus,” said Yusuf Mehta, the director for the Center for Research and Education in Advanced Transportation Engineering Systems (CREATEs) at Rowan University.

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The $3.4 million project is challenging the team at Rowan to address infrastructure needs in the Arctic region.

“Many of these projects both in the construction material side, both on asphalt and concrete, they look at how we can help the Department of Defense make these material last long and install them in very cold conditions,” said Mehta.

There are seven projects.

“Many of them are related to for what will happen if the soil freezes and what will happen to the infrastructure above," said Mehta. "Some of them are dealing with how will you construct a roadway when the temperature is dropping at minus-20, minus-30 Fahrenheit.”

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Some focus will be on designing new materials that can withstand low temperatures, like a project created with support from a previous grant.

All of the projects will be worked on by a large group of people from the Henry M. Rowan College of Engineering — including Mehta — a co-principal investigator, post-doctor associates, and both graduate and undergraduate students.

“It’s amazing, just to have the entire team to get a chance to work on this really unique project," said Mehta. "You know, it’s not made up, it’s really relevant to the Department of Defense. I think it’s a great experience for everyone."

They’ll be investing in cold chambers along with other equipment to aid in the research process.

“The team, as they started to work, the gravity of the work is sinking in, the complexity is sinking in," said Mehta. "Every time we think like how do we do this [in] cold temperatures? Every route brings complex questions, which will really push the boundaries of science. I’m hoping it’ll put Rowan University in the forefront once we successfully execute these projects."

He hopes working on this project will not only take Rowan University to new heights but bring his students along for the ride.

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