Interview with Megan Lynch

Interview with Megan Lynch, U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Army Research Laboratory, on the Army’s research and development into magnesium alloy plate for light weighting of equipment and platforms.

Interview by Bruce Davis, Director of Technology, Luxfer Graphic Arts

January 2021

We were honored to interview Megan Lynch from DEVCOM Army Research Laboratory (ARL) about her work with magnesium sheet and plate development. Megan is a successful female engineer whose career started with Engineering Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Rutgers University. Her first placement was with the Army’s Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) located at Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey. She transferred to ARL at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland where she has held several positions. She began in the field of computational biomechanics modeling the human body to improve protection systems, then took a developmental assignment as a Technical Assistant to the Director. She then moved on to her current role as a Program Manager of manufacturing-related technology projects, where she has been for five years.

ARL is the Army’s corporate research laboratory, conducting basic and applied research to address the Army’s biggest challenges. The lab is divided into five directorates plus the Army Research Office, who manages collaborative research efforts with outside entities such as universities and industry. The five directorates are responsible for certain technology areas, which include robotics, sensor technologies, artificial intelligence (AI), and biotechnology. Megan works for the Weapons and Materials Research Directorate (WMRD), which is focused on advancing technologies and materials for lethality and protection.

ARL-WMRD partnered with Luxfer to develop ultralight weight magnesium armor. ARL’s interest in this stemmed from the Army’s need to manage the weight of its equipment and platforms. Heavy items are hard to transport and difficult to maintain. Increased vehicle weight leads to higher fuel consumption, shorter traveling ranges, and greater wear on parts. As part of looking for lightweight materials, ARL gravitated towards magnesium to save weight in place of aluminum or steel. 

The project had two phases. Initially the work focused on primary manufacturing processes to develop high strength magnesium plate. The second phase looked to mature the secondary manufacturing processes for magnesium, such as welding and coatings to protect against corrosion, to make prototype demonstration pieces. The project successfully established a new magnesium plate alloy called Elektron 43 that is commercially available from Luxfer, and developed solutions and processes for fusion and friction stir welding as well as coating solutions.

Listen to the pod cast to learn more about this work at