Monique McClain receives Young Investigator grant from Air Force Office of Scientific Research

The U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) has announced the latest group of grant recipients as part of its Young Investigator Research Program (YIP). Among the 2023 recipients is assistant professor of mechanical engineering Monique McClain, who will receive $450,000 over three years.


McClain studies additive manufacturing, especially in specialized areas such as energetic materials. Her project is entitled “Enhanced Microstructural Control of Plastic Bonded Explosives via Additive Manufacturing.”

“Traditionally manufactured energetic materials have tiny variations in their microstructure, which are challenging to control,” said McClain. “I have proposed a new manufacturing method to more precisely control the microstructure, so that the sensitivity and performance is more predictable. By characterizing the manufacturing process and relevant material science phenomena, we will gain more understanding on how such defects form and how to control them.”

It’s an advancement of the research she started as a Ph.D. student at Purdue, studying how to 3D print extremely viscous materialsHer team will conduct the research at Zucrow Labs, the largest academic propulsion lab in the world.

The Young Investigator Research Program fosters science and engineering development for researchers in their early careers, whose research goals align with the U.S. Air Force. Purdue University has a long history of collaboration with the Air Force, hosting the Midwest Regional Research Hub of the Air Force Research Laboratory, and recently launching the Purdue Institute for National Security to empower its multiple partnerships in national defense.


Writer: Jared Pike,, 765-496-0374

Source: Monique McClain,