PolymerPlus is teaming with Case Western Reserve University and the U.S. Army on the project

CLEVELAND—The U.S. Army has committed to investing up to $11 million to a research project aimed at developing new approaches to manufacturing high-performance polymer materials.

Peak Nanosystems LLC, through its wholly-owned subsidiary, PolymerPlus LLC, is partnering with Case Western Reserve University researchers and the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command’s Army Research Laboratory on the project. Their aim is to develop new manufacturing approaches for cutting-edge, cost-effective production of high-performance, lightweight polymeric materials, Peak Nanosystems said in a release.

The Army’s new five-year commitment awards $5.4 million—with the potential for up to $11 million—to Case Western Reserve, with a portion subcontracted to PolymerPlus. A portion of the funds will go to two other subcontractors, according to the Army’s award notice.

PolymerPlus, recently acquired in a multi-million-dollar deal by Texas-based Peak Nanosystems LLC, is the primary industry partner for the project. The company will develop and scale-up processing techniques for ultra-tough layered plastics, created in collaboration with the Case Western Reserve researchers.

“Our partnership with the U.S. Army and Case Western Reserve University to advance polymer research builds on a strong foundation of collaboration we have successfully developed with Case over the last few years,” said Chad Lewis, president of Peak Nanosystems, in a statement.

The teams will work with the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Command’s Army Research Laboratory, in Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, to help design components and new manufacturing approaches for high-performance composites, with potential applications in solider-borne and transportation protection systems and weapons.

“The ability of Peak Nanosystems to fabricate, at scale, promising polymeric materials combinations and processing conditions developed at Case Western Reserve University is key to delivering sufficient quantities for rigorous field testing at ARL,” said Gary E. Wnek, lead investigator on the project and chair of the Department of Macromolecular Science and Engineering at CWRU.

The project was supported by two Ohio members of Congress, Rep. Marcy Kaptur (OH-09), and Rep. Tim Ryan (OH-13). Both are members of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense. Kaptur noted Ohio’s “storied manufacturing legacy,” especially in regard to “research and development of products that support our national defense.”

“Partnerships such as this will carry that legacy forward,” she said, adding that she applauded the ingenuity of the scientists involved “as exemplars for future generations to understand how science can improve our weapons and armor systems to keep our service members safe.”

PolymerPlus (https://www.polymerplus.net/) was founded in 2010 by Dr. Eric Baer, Distinguished University Professor, founder of the Department of Macromolecular Science and Engineering and the National Science Foundation-funded Center for Layered Polymeric Systems, and Dr. Michael Ponting, pioneer in the field of nanolayered films.

Peak Nanosystems (https://www.peaknano.com/) works as a “commercialization engine for breakthrough nano-layered film technologies.” The company seeks to streamline the entire process, from nanotechnology research and innovation to rapid prototyping, manufacturing, capital, executive leadership, and distribution.

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