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Engineering professor winner of Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award

March 2, 2018 - By Kim Delker

Mehran Tehrani, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at The University of New Mexico, has been awarded the 2018 Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award.

TehraniTehrani was one of 31 selected out of 340 applicants to receive this award. Each award is $510,000 over a three-year period. The Young Investigator Program awards are given to scientists whose research holds strong promise across a wide range of naval-relevant science and technology areas.

The title of Tehrani's project is "Next Generation Electrical Wires for Navy Applications." This project will seek to fundamentally understand the effects of combining nanocarbons with metals toward the development of nanocarbon-based cables that significantly reduce weight and increase performance efficiencies for various applications.

"This understanding will allow for faster development and manufacturing of such cables toward the fundamental goal of replacing existing copper-based cables with ones that are based on carbon nanotubes or other related nanostructures," he said. "The current lack of such fundamental understanding of the metal-nanocarbon interactions has led to a steep learning curve for cable development and this project will address such shortcomings and ultimately increase the speed for CNT-based cable development."

Tehrani said this prestigious award will give his research a boost.

"I am very excited about this opportunity for my group to contribute to a very important scientific problem that also has extremely significant economic and societal impacts," he said.

The candidates were selected based on past performance, technical merit, potential for scientific breakthrough and long-term university commitment. All recipients have obtained tenure-track positions within the past five years.

Introduced in 1985, the ONR Young Investigator Program is one of the nation's oldest and most selective science and technology basic research programs. Its purpose is to fund early-career academic researchers-called investigators-whose scientific pursuits show outstanding promise for supporting the Department of Defense, while also promoting their professional development.

The complete list 2018 Office of Naval Research Young Investigator awardees can be found here.