Advanced Lightweight Materials and Composites Bolstering US Tactical Vehicles


IDGA Q&A: Dr. Uday Vaidya, Director, Materials Processing and Applications Development Composites Center

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IDGA: First, could you tell us a little about your background and current responsibilities?

UV: I received my PhD from Auburn University and have been working in the area of lightweight advanced composites for over twenty years. I serve as the Director of the Materials Processing and Applications Development (MPAD) Composites Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and am a Professor of Materials Science & Engineering at UAB.

The MPAD center works closely with industry to provide comprehensive solutions—from concept design to prototype and commercial manufacture of value added materials. Our lightweight materials and manufacturing technologies are applied in defense, energy, transportation, automotive, biomedical and sporting applications. Examples include lightweight helmets, body gear, vehicle armor, air and missile defense products, mass transit doors and frames, power plant components, crutches and bicycles—all areas where weight reduction, high performance and cost-effective solutions are important.

IDGA: You’ll be discussing advanced lightweight materials and composites at IDGA’s Tactical Vehicles Summit. What are the primary program drivers for lightweight materials use?

UV: With increasing Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE?) standards for fuel economy for car manufacturers and need for weight reduction in buses, trains, trucks, aircraft etc., lightweight, high performance materials are becoming increasingly important. Integrated design, modeling and manufacturing are important in achieving optimal value added solutions with advanced lightweight materials. Lightening the weight helps in reduced energy consumption, less road wear, ability to carry more payload and reduces wear and load on structures—overall reducing the carbon footprint.

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Dr. Uday Vaidya is Director of the Materials Processing and Applications Development Composites Center at the University of Alabama ( Dr. Vaidya will be speaking at the Future Armor Technology Focus Day for IDGA’s 5th Annual Tactical Vehicles Summit, to be held from April 23-25, 2012 in Washington, DC. For more information on the event, visit or call 1-800-882-8684. For comprehensive defense and government news and information, visit