A version of this story originally appeared on the MSE Website.
By Allison McLellan
With the launch of a new materials and process-engineering (MPE) lab, UTC Aerospace Systems (UTAS) has also announced a materials engineering Center of Excellence opening for collaboration with UConn. Governor Dannel P. Malloy was present at the official announcement on February 25, as he toured the new $8 million facilities with Provost Mun Choi and several other executives and engineers.
Made possible by both private and public investments, the lab will expedite work done by researchers at the high-technology aerospace parts company, making it easier to keep pace with constantly changing technology and promoting more advanced work than done before.
“We are very excited about the new MPE lab which will transform the way engineers and scientists will collaborate to produce innovative solutions using a spectrum of material and manufacturing combinatorial techniques,” said Choi. “The Center of Excellence we’ve established will provide our students with a unique learning experience by working in the lab with UTC Aerospace Systems’ talented engineers.”
As a part of this effort, UTAS will provide a 5-year commitment of $200,000 per year in advanced research in Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) and the Institute of Materials Science (IMS) at UConn, as well as funding for undergraduate education in terms of several MSE co-op positions and senior design projects.
The new UTAS Center for Advanced Materials will cover major topic areas such as Materials Genomics, Materials Characterization, and Advanced Manufacturing. UTAS engineers and scientists will work with UConn students on additive manufacturing, materials-by-design, high temperature composites, and other advanced materials.
Professor Rainer Hebert, MSE, said that the center will allow UConn students to have firsthand interactions with industry, which provides a real benefit to their career prospects.
“Students get to see how industry thinks about research, how even when they’re interested in a science, there’s always an application in mind,” Hebert said.
“It will also help our students when they look for jobs, when their research has been industry funded,” He said. Whether they end up at UTAS or some other company, having that background is beneficial.”
The Center will be managed by several distinguished members of the UConn MSE and IMS faculty including Mark Aindow, Professor of MSE and Associate Director of the IMS, Hebert, who is also the Director of the Additive Manufacturing Innovation Center, and, Steven Suib, Director of the IMS and a Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor in the Chemistry Department.
Dr. Pamir Alpay, Head of MSE, will act as Director of the Center. He shares in the excitement for the opportunities that the facility provides.
“UTAS has a distinguished history in the development of novel materials systems for aerospace applications,” he said. “This will be an excellent research and education initiative through which we will assist in the design and implementation of their next generation of materials.”