Army veterans Jeremy Artman and Nathan Derrick are now using their skills as engineering students at the University of North Texas to help design the next generation of tactical shelters for the U.S. Army.
Their team at UNT, along with teams from Northeastern University and the University of Southern Mississippi, has been granted $2.6 million by the U.S. Army to work on the project.
Artman, who served during the Iraq War, remembers the tactical shelters well. They used the structures for medical bays, base offices and sometimes even temporary homes.
"It plays a huge part, and everything's old and outdated,” said Artman.
In fact, the current shelter design is the one that’s been in use for about 30 years.
Artman and Derrick said the structures were often cumbersome and time consuming to put up.
So, their team is working to make more efficient, durable and lightweight shelters for future troops.
They’re trading in old aluminum materials for newer cold-formed steel and are working with material scientists at UNT’s Discovery Park to even rethink that metal; making it work in the best way possible for this job.
"We are actually engineering these materials,” said Associate Professor of Material Science Sundeep Mukherjee. “Naturally you cannot get these materials so we try to mix and match different elements."
Over the course of the next two years or so, they’ll take the design through numerous phases and testing until they’ve created something that will work best for the troops they still feel a close connection to.
"Hopefully I'll make somewhere down the line some infantry Joe's life a whole lot easier,” said Derrick.