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Gale A. Holmes, Ph.D.

Research Interests

Ballistic Fibers, Nano-Tailored Multi-functional Materials, Embedded Interfaces, Composite Micromechanics, Time-Dependent Relaxation Phenomena in Polymeric Systems

Awards and Honors

  • Department of Commerce Gold Medal (2007)
  • Chair Gordon Research Conference on Composites (2010)
  • Vice-Chair Gordon Research Conference on Composites (2008)
Commonspot Images_002b
Folded and Unfolded PBO Fibers

Research has shown that the mere folding of PBO fibers, the active component in some soft body armor, can cause a reduction of 15 % to 40 % in ballistic performance. This degradation mechanism in conjunction with hydrolytic degradation of these fibers can result in localized weak spots. This could lead to a catastrophic failure of the armor at a faster rate than occurs when only the hydrolytic degradation mechanism is considered. These results led to a revision of the soft body armor certification protocol.

Photo of Gale Holmes


Materials Research Engineer
Materials Science and Engineering
Sustainable Polymers Group

Employment History:

1995-present: Materials Research Engineer, Materials Science and Engineering Division, NIST
1977-1987: Supervisor, Dow Chemical Co.


Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, Texas A&M University, 1994

M.S., Mechanical Engineering, Texas A&M University, 1992

B.S., Chemistry, University of Texas, 1977


Phone: 301-975-5280
Email: gale.holmes@nist.gov
Fax: 301-975-3928