The National Science Foundation is funding a collaborative effort between NASA and the University of Buffalo's Department of Physics to develop a new type of shock-absorbing system that may one day protect skyscrapers, bridges, shops, and automobile bumpers from powerful impacts. Surajit Sen, an associate professor of physics at the university, designed the new shock-absorbing system that consists of a long, cone-shaped chain of spheres. The sphere positioned closest to the expected source of a shock impulse is the largest. Each subsequent sphere is slightly smaller, with the smallest sphere positioned closest to the thing needing protection from shock. As mass is reduced, the energy of the impulse is distributed, according to Sen. He envisions a structural material embedded with chains of the spheres. For more information, call (716) 645-5000, send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.buffalo.edu.
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