US-based NuMat Technologies has received a contract to develop next-generation materials to protect and sustain the modern combatant.

Awarded by the US Army Research, Development, and Engineering Command Chemical and Biological Center (RDECOM C&B Center), the initial $9m contract vehicle will help develop advancements in dual-use technologies for sectors such as defence, microelectronics, life science, energy, and industrial.

The contract will enable NuMat Technologies to use its nanoporous materials called metal organic frameworks (MOF) in the creation of new filtration technology tools to better combat emerging threats from unknown toxic agents.

The company will explore the use of MOFs in reinventing gas masks, breathing apparatus, and other equipment intended to provide new protection for the modern soldier.

NuMat Technologies founder and CEO Benjamin Hernandez said: “We are excited to bring our state-of-the-art technology to the warfighter, including advanced toxic industrial chemical filtration, purification, and abatement.

“NuMat’s unique materials and processes will provide unparalleled protection and support in the field while also creating new capabilities for the future.”

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“NuMat’s unique materials and processes will provide unparalleled protection and support in the field while also creating new capabilities for the future.”

MOFs, which are highly programmable nanomaterials with higher surface areas to absorb toxic chemicals, have already been deployed in the electronics and speciality gas sectors.

NuMat noted that the contract amount will be used to construct a commercial-scale manufacturing site for MOFs and an advanced application development lab for next-generation filtration and purification technologies.

RDECOM C&B Center Chemical Engineering Research Greg Peterson said: “We have already demonstrated that particular MOFs are highly effective at reacting with toxic gases such as nerve agents and toxic industrial chemicals at the lab scale.

“Now our goal is to integrate these materials into a variety of fielded items across the chemical and biological defence commodity area.”