Author: Rhonda Ward

Professor S. Pamir Alpay Elected ACerS Fellow

Dr. S. Pamir Alpay accepts ACerS Fellowship Appointment
Dr. S. Pamir Alpay (right) accepts his Fellow of The Society award from the ACerS President Michael Alexander (left) at the Society’s annual banquet.

Materials Science and Engineering’s own Professor S. Pamir Alpay, Executive Director of the Innovation Partnership Building at UConn Tech Park, has been elevated to Fellow status by the American Ceramic Society (ACerS), a great honor and distinguishment given to individuals who have impacted the ceramics engineering industry through scholarship and enterprise.

Professor Alpay was given this honor at the ACerS Annual Honor and Awards Banquet, in Columbus, Ohio in October. His research in ceramics involves multiscale modeling, electrothermic heating and cooling, HVAC systems, dielectrically tunable oxides and other practical applications of ceramic materials.

The ACerS Fellowship is one of the many honors Professor Alpay has been given this year. He was named General Electric Endowed Professor in Advanced Manufacturing by the UConn Board of Trustees for his extensive work with industry partner collaborations and was given The UConn American Association of University Professors 2018 Excellence in Research & Creativity: Career Award for his continued scholastic service.

The MSE Department is proud to call Professor Alpay one of our team.

UConn, UMass Lowell, Georgia Tech to Collaborate with Industry on 3D Printing Research Supported by NSF

Polymeric structures febricated using 3D printing
Multi-material micro-lattice polymeric structures fabricated using 3D printing. (Kavin Kowsari/UConn Photo)

UConn, the University of Massachusetts Lowell (UMass Lowell), and Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) announced a collaboration to establish SHAP3D, a National Science Foundation (NSF) Industry-University Cooperative Research Center (IUCRC), to address emerging challenges of additive manufacturing, also commonly referred to as 3D printing.

IUCRCs bridge the gap between early academic research and commercial readiness, supporting use-inspired research leading to new knowledge, technological capabilities and downstream commercial applications of these technologies.

“This Center will address the grand challenges that prevent the entire 3D printing field from moving forward,” says Joey Mead, Distinguished University Professor and David and Frances Pernick Nanotechnology Professor in the Department of Plastics Engineering at UMass Lowell. Mead serves as the center director of the Center for Science of Heterogeneous Additive Printing of 3D Materials (SHAP3D).  Read the full UConn Today story.

Meet Garvit Agarwal, 2018 Graduate Student of The Year

Garvit Agarwal is a Ph.D. student studying atomistic and mesoscale modeling of dynamic defect structure evolution during high strain rate loading. He is the recipient of the 2018 Graduate Student of the Year Award, for his exceptional work and dedication to the field of materials science and academic excellence since he joined us in 2014.

“I feel really honored to win the graduate student of the year award,” Garvit said. “I am extremely thankful to my adviser, Dr. Dongare, who not only gave me the opportunity to work on the novel research project but also constantly guided me and taught me a lot of things during the past four years of my graduate career at UConn.”

Associate Professor Avinash Dongare, Garvit’s advisor, said Garvit’s passion and work ethic helped contribute to his accomplishments.

“It’s great to see Garvit mature and grow as a researcher over the last four years,” Dr. Dongare said. “He is very passionate about learning new skills and is keen to put in the hard work required. It is very important for students to get as much exposure as possible while they are still in graduate school and Garvit is certainly making the most of it. His hard work and perseverance has opened up a lot of opportunities for my group to collaborate, and he is a leading researcher in the making. He certainly deserves the Graduate Student of the Year Award.”  Read the full MSE story.

Dr. Cato Laurencin Gives Plenary Lecture at MS&T 18 Conference

Dr. Cato Laurencin Plenary Session at MS&T 18
Dr. Cato Laurencin spoke at MS&T 18 about new avenues for regenerative engineering using MSE principles and new technology.

Dr. Cato T. Laurencin, the University of Connecticut’s 8th University Professor in school history and Professor of Materials Science and Engineering gave the American Ceramic Society’s Edward Orton Jr. Memorial Lecture at the 2018 Materials Science & Technology Conference on October 16. His presentation led the Plenary Session for the scientific meeting.

The prestigious Orton Lecture, which is given by an individual with national recognition in their field, is named in honor of General Edward Orton, Jr., founder of the American Ceramic Society. Laurencin, who is a pioneering expert in the field of regenerative engineering, gave a speech entitled “Regenerative Engineering: Materials in Convergence.”

In the lecture, Laurencin spoke about how different materials, including ceramics, in conjunction with new technologies, are leading to major advances in regenerative engineering:

“Polymer and polymer-ceramic systems can be utilized for the regeneration of bone. Novel systems using graphene-ceramics provide new possibilities for bone regeneration. Hybrid matrices possessing micro and nano-architecture can create advantageous systems for regeneration, while the use of classic principles of materials science and engineering can lead to the development of three dimensional systems suitable for functional regeneration of tissues of the knee,” Laurencin said.  Read the full UConn Today story.

Governor Malloy Visits UConn/REA Resource Recovery Systems Project

Gov. Dannel Malloy, Dr. Richard Parnas, and student Dylan Ramirez
(l-r) Gov. Dannel Malloy, Dr. Richard Parnas, and student Dylan Ramirez

Dr. Richard Parnas of the IMS Polymer Program enjoyed a visit from Governor Dannel Malloy to the site of UConn’s collaborative project with the Greater New Haven Water Pollution Control Authority and REA Resource Recovery Systems LLC on September 27, 2018.

The visit celebrated the first milestone of the project, where the brown grease waste stream from the East Shore wastewater treatment plant is converted to biodiesel fuel in a process patented by Dr. Parnas and which REA licenses from UConn. Dr. Parnas and REA installed a mini-refinery at the East Shore treatment plant with capability to produce approximately 400,000 liters per year of biodiesel fuel from the brown grease.

That system serves as a 1/10 scale demonstration of a typical commercial system the company can install at many of the thousands of wastewater treatment plants throughout the world. For ease of installation, the entire demonstration system was constructed inside of 2 CONEX shipping containers at ProFlow, Inc. of North Haven, CT. Future plans include the installation of a turbo-electric generator to demonstrate a pathway to converting the waste stream to power at a cost much less then required with current biodigester technology.  Read the full story from Westfair Communications.

George Rossetti Article on Piezoelectric Ceramics Featured in August 2018 MRS Bulletin

August 2018 MRS BulletinMSE professor Dr. George A. Rossetti, Jr., in collaboration with Dr. Dragan Damjanovic (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne), has published an article in the August 2018 issue of the Materials Research Society (MRS) Bulletin. The paper, “Strain Generation and Energy-Conversion Mechanisms in Lead-Based and Lead-Free Piezoceramics,” analyzes the origins of piezoelectric activity in technologically important ceramic materials used as actuators and sensors. Concepts discussed in the paper are featured on the journal cover.

Piezoelectric ceramics (piezoceramics) convert electrical into mechanical energy, and vice-versa. They are found in many products encountered in everyday life, including spark igniters, buzzers, ultrasonic cleaners, inkjet printers, fuel injectors and medical ultrasound diagnostic equipment, just to name a few. They are also vital to the sonar systems used in submarines and other undersea vehicles.

For over 60 years, the most important piezoceramic materials have been based on the ferroelectric solid solution lead zirconate-titanate (Pb[Zr1-xTix]O3or PZT). About 15 years ago, however, legislation in Europe and elsewhere restricting the use of lead-containing materials in electronics triggered an effort to find lead-free piezoceramics that could replace PZT in many, if not all, applications. Read the full MSE story.

Diane Burgess Appointed Pfizer Endowed Chair in Pharmaceutical Technology

Dr. Diane BurgessBoard of Trustees Distinguished Professor of Pharmaceutics, Diane J. Burgess, has been appointed as the School of Pharmacy’s new Pfizer Endowed Chair in Pharmaceutical Technology. The Chair, established in 2004 with a $2 million gift from Pfizer Inc., enables the School to appoint a nationally recognized researcher, scholar, and teacher who has made significant contributions to the field of pharmaceutical technology. The late Dr. Michael J. Pikal was the first Pfizer Endowed Chair.

“I am thrilled and honored to be the second Pfizer Distinguished Chair of Pharmaceutical Technology,” says Burgess. “This endowed chair is extremely prestigious and will allow me to help grow research and promote teaching in pharmaceutical technology, thereby ensuring that our School remains at the forefront of this field. It will also be fun to work with Pfizer colleagues on workshops and other teaching activities, as well as continue old and start new research endeavors.”

Burgess received her B.Sc. degree in Pharmacy from the University of Strathclyde, UK in 1979, and her Ph.D. in Pharmaceutics from the University of London, UK in 1984. She was a postdoctoral fellow at the Universities of Nottingham, UK (1984-1985) and North Carolina (1985). In 1986 she joined the University of Illinois in Chicago as assistant and then associate professor. She came to the University of Connecticut in 1993 as an associate professor, and was promoted to professor in 1999. In 2009, she was appointed Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor.  Read the full UConn Today story.

Molten-Salt Reactors: Paving the Way for Future Nuclear Research

Nuclear Reactor

A professor from the University of Connecticut’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Institute of Materials Science, Dr. Wilson K. S. Chiu, has received $800,000 from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Nuclear Energy University Programs to study a promising nuclear technology.

Alternative energy is a hot topic, as it is a viable alternative to traditional fossil-fueled sources that scientists are currently exploring.

One of the main concerns of nuclear energy, however, relates to safety for people and the environment. An exciting technology that has the potential to address this concern is molten-salt reactors.

Molten-salt reactors use molten salt as coolant or fuel. Molten-salts are solid at standard temperature and pressure but liquefy under heat, which means they allow the reactor to run at a higher temperature and are much more efficient than other coolants like helium or traditional water cooling systems. Molten salts can remain in their liquid state without pressurization in temperatures much higher than water. Coolants are an essential part of nuclear reactors as they ensure the core of the reactor stays at a stable, operable temperature and pressure.  Read the full UConn Today story.

Thermo Fisher Scientific Fellowships Announced

Recipients of the first Thermo Fisher Scientific Fellowship have been selected. The recipients are all advisees of IMS faculty members. The award is sponsored by ThermoFisher Scientific in relation to the UCONN Thermo Fisher Scientific Center for Advanced Microscopy and Materials Analysis (CAMMA).

Five fellowships in the amount of $10,000 were awarded this year. Each recipient was required to show research competence in the area of electron microscopy. Ph.D. students are eligible for the award once during their Ph.D. program at UCONN.

‘Smart’ Machine Components Alert Users to Damage and Wear

Sameh Dardona, center, principal research engineer and associate director, United Technologies Research Center, with Anson Ma, associate professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, right, and Alan Shen, a Ph.D. student, look at a prototype wear sensor at the UTC Research Center in East Hartford. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)arc

Scientists at the United Technologies Research Center and UConn are using advanced additive manufacturing technology to create ‘smart’ machine components that alert users when they are damaged or worn.

The researchers also applied a variation of the technology to create polymer-bonded magnets with intricate geometries and arbitrary shapes, opening up new possibilities for manufacturing and product design.

The key to both innovations is the use of an advanced form of 3D printing called direct write technology. Unlike conventional additive manufacturing, which uses lasers to fuse layers of fine metal powder into a solid object, direct write technology uses semisolid metal ‘ink’ that is extruded from a nozzle. The viscosity of the metal ink looks like toothpaste being squeezed from a tube. Read the full UConn Today story.