Rounds Announces $11.2 Million Grant Awarded to South Dakota School of Mines and Technology for DoD Cold Weather Research

Funding for this project has been Rounds’ top defense appropriations request for three years

WASHINGTON — Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) today announced that South Dakota School of Mines and Technology has been awarded a $11.2 million grant to partner with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Engineer Research and Development Center’s Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL). This new project called “Materials and Manufacturing for Cold Regions” will be conducted over a five-year time span, with funding going to faculty and student research at the School of Mines from multiple engineering and science disciplines. The team will develop advanced materials and manufacturing technology in support of the U.S. Army’s global military objectives in cold and remote regions.

“I congratulate South Dakota School of Mines and the Army Corps of Engineers on this important collaborative research effort,” said Rounds. “Thanks to the work that has already begun, the conditions have been set for the research team to design enduring systems and processes for use in cold and remote conditions. The success of this vital program is critical to the joint force’s ability to meet National Defense Strategy objectives to fight and win in extreme cold weather environments.”

“U.S. Senator Mike Rounds along with members of the US Senate Armed Services Committee and other members of our congressional delegation have been instrumental in supporting this sort of research that is critical for our military to protect the nation’s interests in cold regions of the world,” said Dr. Grant Crawford, professor of materials and metallurgical engineering at South Dakota Mines. “Through this partnership we will apply materials and manufacturing research expertise and infrastructure, developed over the past two decades by numerous Mines faculty, staff and students, to support the critical needs of our nation’s armed forces. It’s a perfect opportunity for us and we look forward to the new partnership.”

“This research has the potential to be a win-win,” said Dr. Jim Rankin, President of the South Dakota Mines. “It will aid our nation’s defense and it will lead to new technology, new materials and new manufacturing processes that will spin-off into start-up companies right here in the Black Hills. This translates to more local high-paying jobs for our graduates and an economic boost to our community.”


CRREL solves interdisciplinary and strategically important challenges for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Army, Department of Defense (DoD) and the nation by advancing and applying science and engineering to complex environments, materials and processes in all seasons and climates, with unique core competencies related to the Earth’s cold regions.

School of Mines faculty and students will focus on three main research areas in support of CRREL.

Advanced Materials: This includes lightweight composites that offer thermal insulation and low temperature ballistics capability to support armor for soldiers, equipment, vehicles and structures. This also includes multifunctional shape memory materials that can be used for damage tolerant devices and energy harvesting in cold environments. 

Advanced Repair and Manufacturing Technologies: This includes friction stir welding/processing and cold spray technologies that can be used to repair broken parts and produce lightweight structures in cold regions.

Advanced Coatings: This includes both thick and thin film coatings that offer advanced wear and corrosion resistance, anti-icing capability, and are tailored for use in earths cold regions to extend the lifetime of equipment, structures and devices.

School of Mines faculty and researchers involved in the project include Dr. Grant Crawford, Dr. David Salem, Dr. Bharat Jasthi, Dr. Nick Bruno, Dr. Forest Thompson, Dr. Satish Bhattiprolu, Dr. Leila Sorkhi, Joshua Hammell, Todd Curtis, Michael Carter and James Tomich. Thirteen members of CRREL and the Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) joined Mines researchers for a meeting on the Mines campus last week.