Mechanical Engineering Professor Gbadebo Owolabi Receives $794K DOD Grant for Advanced 3D Printing Materials Research

Professor Gbadebo Moses Owolabi

Mechanical engineering professor Gbadebo Moses Owolabi, Ph.D., recently received a $794K grant from the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) for his research on enhancing advanced materials produced with additive manufacturing technology (AM), commonly known as 3D printing technology.

“I am excited about this new award. It will provide my research team the opportunity to engage in frontier research in an area that is of great importance to the defense sector,” said Owolabi.

The four-year grant is the result of a merit competition administered by the Army Research Office under policy and guidance from the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering and will support Owolabi’s research project titled “Enhanced Microstructures and Mechanical Performances of Additively Manufactured Metallic Alloys”.

Selected from over 130 proposals following the FY 2023 funding opportunity announcement, the proposal was evaluated by the three military service research offices. Totaling over $98M, only the most meritorious of the proposals were selected for awards.

This project will enable Owolabi’s research team to address several fundamental issues that are relevant to military aircraft, armor plates and platforms, namely optimizing the microstructures of 3D-printed alloys to enhance their resistance to catastrophic failure under extreme environments. The postdoctoral fellows and graduate students on the team will have a unique opportunity to interact with DOD scientists to learn how to address the complexities of advanced materials synthesis, processing, and dynamic responses in real world problems rather than simply addressing this proposed research from an academic perspective.

Owolabi anticipates that his research will be of significant benefit to DoD in its current bid to increase the use of 3D-printed metallic alloys in armor plates, military aircraft, and ground vehicles.

“This research grant is a testament to our top-notch program in the area of materials and additive manufacturing and will further strengthen the department’s research portfolio while providing unique solutions for defense applications,” said Nadir Yilmaz, Ph.D., PE, professor in and chair of the Howard University Department of Mechanical Engineering.

An overarching goal for this project is to diversify the field of 3D printing and further enable Howard University to recruit, train and produce graduates that are equipped with the knowledge and skills to address critical issues in the specialized area of the synthesis and processing of 3D-printed metallic alloys and the performance of these materials in an extreme environment.


College of Engineering and Architecture and Mechanical Engineering