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Cadets Honored by Headquarters U.S. Air Force for Material Degradation Research

Mentor Galyon Dorman (second from left) joins U.S. Air Force Academy cadets Ben Hoff, Sarah Collins, and Tim Reid as they accept a team award from the Headquarters United States Air Force for material degradation research on behalf of six cadets from the Engineering Mechanics and Biology departments. Photo courtesy of U.S. Air Force Academy/CAStLE (Center for Aircraft Structural Life Extension.)

U.S. Air Force Academy (USAFA) cadets continue to make inroads into the field of materials degradation research, under the auspices of a program overseen by a premier university laboratory, the USAFA Department of Engineering Mechanics Center for Aircraft Structural Life Extension (CAStLE).

Brigadier General Dana Born, Dean of the Faculty at USAFA, added her congratulations to CAStLE's team of six cadets after they won the 2012 U.S. Air Force Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Cadet Team award.

The cadets' multi-disciplinary research project formed part of a larger CAStLE research program sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense Corrosion Policy and Oversight Office. Specifically, the research project investigated the effect of a particular type of bacteria on slowing crack growth in a commonly used aircraft aluminum. The bacteria are common in both highly clean and hostile environments and their presence has been observed to slow fatigue crack growth. The award, titled, "The Effect of Bacteria on Corrosion Fatigue in 7xxx Series Aluminum Alloys," was the culmination of a one-year cadet project.

"This cadet project is a vital element of the larger, ongoing CAStLE program that seeks to quantify and predict the impact of environmental degradation on crack growth and structural integrity," noted Gregory Shoales, CAStLE director.

Headquarters United States Air Force presented the award during an August 23, 2012, ceremony at Wright Patterson Air Force Base. Recipients from the USAFA's Engineering Mechanics department included Ben Hoff, Dan Henning, and Sarah Collins. Winners from the Biology department included Tim Reid, Ryan Young, and Henry Binzer. Besides Shoales, CAStLE representatives who accompanied the cadets included Col. Andy Szmerekovsky, Engineering Mechanics department head; and Sarah Galyon Dorman, CAStLE support contractor from SAFE, Inc.

"Ms. Galyon Dorman was the mentor for this project, and she continues to successfully oversee multiple ongoing cadet projects in the field of corrosion and material degradation," said Shoales.

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