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NEWS | Aug. 27, 2015

NSWC Carderock Division scientist receives Bowen Award

By Jay Pinsky, NSWCCD Public Affairs

Chief of Naval Research Rear Adm. Mathias W. Winter presented the 2014 Vice Adm. Harold G. Bowen Award for Patented Inventions to two U.S. Navy researchers in a ceremony at the Office of Naval Research (ONR) Wednesday, Aug. 26.

The two researchers, Philip Dudt, a scientist at Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock Division (NSWCCD) in West Bethesda, Maryland, and Dr. Roshdy Barsoum, a scientist assigned to ONR, received the award, which recognizes the patented inventions of present or past Navy employees, civilian and military, that are of greatest benefit to the Navy, for their contributions as inventors to the patent “Armor Including a Strain Rate Hardening Elastomer,” a lightweight alternative to armor for ships and ground vehicles. Both men are officially named as inventors on the final patent, U.S. 7,300,893 B2, granted Nov. 27, 2007, while the United States of America, as represented by the Secretary of the Navy, is the final patent holder. The award marks the eighth time NSWCCD has earned the Bowen award.

According to the Office of Naval Research, the men were recognized for their contributions by leading the effort to expeditiously identify, test and exploit an explosive resistant coating that provided a lightweight alternative to armor for ships and vehicles. According to ONR, the increased platform survivability and personnel protection associated with this class of materials provided the operational commander with the potential to reduce personnel casualties and expanded the operational envelope available during combat and peacekeeping operations.

“Without Phil and Roshdy’s vision in elastomeric armor, we would not have these solutions available to our military,” said Dr. Joseph Teter, NSWCCD’s director of technology transfer.

The idea for the patent came during the review of underwater explosion experimental test results and ballistic test results of the explosion resistant coating created at NSWCCD to mitigate future damages similar to those suffered during the Oct. 12, 2000, USS Cole (DDG 67) disaster. “The underwater shock performance of explosion resistant coating was found to be highly capable in suppressing damage to close-in underwater threats,” said Barsoum. Dudt thought if the coating from these tests could work underwater it could work well in other applications. “I’m always willing to try things, you never know where a good idea will come from,” he said.

Dudt’s creativity is no surprise to Alyssa Littlestone, deputy director of technology transfer at NSWCCD, who was mentored by Dudt earlier in her career. “I learned a great deal working with Phil,” she said. “Not only technically, but also in terms of creativity and approach. As a mentor, Phil was supportive of out-of-the-box thinking and accepting of failure, a combination which fosters innovation. I believe his combination of technical knowledge and forward-thinking creativity is what has enabled Phil to become a successful and prolific inventor.”

Dudt shared his idea of applying the elastomer polyurea on metallic surfaces for bulk explosive and ballistic protection with Barsoum, his co-inventor on the patent, who developed the concept to sandwich front and back applications of the elastomer to the armor for blast and ballistic protection. “The amazing property of the explosive resistant coating material is, as the threat increases in severity, the efficiency of the material to resist assault increases,” said Barsoum. Dudt and Barsoum continued to explore the idea, sponsored by ONR, taking the elastomer to the U. S. Army’s Aberdeen Proving Grounds for ballistic testing which showed promise. According to Barsoum, based on these successful, initial tests, a spray up armor was rapidly deployed for the Iraq theater for U.S. Marine Corps vehicles.

Research with the elastomer continues today with global participation inspired by the patent. “This patent was one of the first stepping stones for other people to take this technology further,” said Dudt.

According to Teter, the use of the elastomer led to significant cost savings estimated at $7.8 million in the first year of up-armor production. Additionally, Teter noted the elastomeric up-armor was lighter than the equivalent amount of steel add-on armor, saving 2,000 pounds per vehicle, which put less stress on the vehicle power plant and drivetrain increasing vehicle service life.


“While this invention helped the military to save cost and increase our military capability in terms of vehicle life, and operational envelopes, this innovation most critically helped to increase the protection of America’s warfighters in theater ultimately mitigating and preventing their injuries,” said Teter.


NSWCCD, a field activity of the Naval Sea Systems Command, leads the Navy in hull, mechanical and electrical engineering. Headquartered in West Bethesda, Maryland, NSWCCD employs approximately 3,600 scientists, engineers, technicians and support personnel and includes the Ship Systems Engineering Station located in Philadelphia, as well as detachments in Norfolk, Virginia; Cape Canaveral, Florida; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Memphis, Tennessee; Bangor, Washington; Ketchikan, Alaska; and Bayview, Idaho.