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News Archive 2001 - 2010

Professor Works to Reduce Effects of Terrorist Actions

March 6, 2003

Professor Frank Lu normally investigates the mysteries of hypersonic flight, but now he’s using his knowledge of shock waves to study the blast effects of terrorist-type explosions. And he’s doing it with the help of a Russian scientist.

Lu, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at The University of Texas at Arlington, and his partner, Victor V. Golub of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ High Energy Density Research Center, are conducting one of six projects funded by the U.S. Civilian Research and Development Foundation (CRDF). The teams of U.S. and former Soviet scientists in Russia, Ukraine and Georgia will be finding innovative solutions to minimize the impact of terrorist threats. Lu and Golub will be developing materials and techniques to protect buildings from blast waves from terrorist-type explosions.

“Through this initial effort, we will be establishing connections that will lead to additional collaborative efforts. There’s a lot of expertise out there that has not been applied to anti-terrorism” Lu said. The other five projects funded by the CRDF (totaling over $500,000) include researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Pennsylvania State University, the University of Minnesota - Minneapolis/St. Paul, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Lu and Golub’s project is titled “Protecting Buildings from Terrorist-Type Explosions with Fail-Safe Construction Techniques.” “No building has a totally ‘fail safe’ design,” said Lu. “Our aim is to discover new materials and construction techniques that will protect a building’s occupants and allow them time to evacuate before the building collapses.” Lu will be working with researchers in other engineering departments to develop new instrumentation. This won’t be the first time Lu has been involved with the investigation of structures; his esoteric background includes aiding the construction of a dam in Nebraska.