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UK Wants to Develop New Defense Materials for Extreme Environments

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The United Kingdom’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory has established the Defence Materials Centre of Excellence, a $54 million government partnership with 23 industry and academic organizations to develop new defense materials for extreme environments.

Dstl said DMEx, which also includes research organizations, like the Catapult Network, will operate under the Henry Royce Institute, a national institute for advanced materials research and innovation based at the University of Manchester.

Scheduled to open this year, the center will conduct research, development and prototyping of new materials for the armed forces’ use in extreme water depth and areas like polar and tropical regions.

DMEx will also look into materials that can withstand temperatures of 1,000 degrees Celsius, high-impact vibrations, shocks and blasts. Advanced materials have a wide range of applications, such as personnel body armor, satellite electronics protection and corrosion shields for submarine components.

Advanced materials R&D will not only boost the safety of personnel and assets but also opens opportunities for highly skilled workers, Defence Minister James Cartlidge said.

London is also looking forward to the potential contributions of advanced materials to economic growth and manpower development. A government-commissioned study showed that advanced materials-related activities bring an estimated $18.3 billion gross value-added contribution to the U.K. economy, equivalent to about $91,000 per employee.

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