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Benjamin Partridge wins Young Investigators Award

February 6, 2024

Headshot of Benjamin Partridge.

Congratulations to Benjamin Partridge for winning a Young Investigators Award from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR)! Fewer than 50 academics received this award in this cycle. The Young Investigators Program from AFOSR identifies academics early in their career in the U.S. who “show exceptional ability and promise for conducting basic research.”

Dr. Partridge’s proposal was titled “Impact‐Resistant Soft Materials Engineered by Hierarchical Noncovalent Energy Dissipation." This project is inspired by biological materials that can withstand acute, repeated impacts—such as a foot walking thousands of steps a day or a woodpecker drilling into a tree. This is possible because biological materials have something called “sacrificial bonds” which are designed to break and get rid of impact energy safely. The bonds later reform, restoring the material’s strength.

“I’m excited about this research because not only will we explore lots of fundamental questions, but we’ll also have the opportunity to leverage that new fundamental understanding to create something useful,” Dr. Partridge explains. “Soft impact-resistant materials will find value as protective materials, whether that is as cushions for precious electronic components, sandwiched between fabric layers in force-resistant garments, or as coatings on medical implants to enhance their durability and patient comfort.”

Congratulations again to Benjamin Partridge and his group, and best of luck with this exciting research!