Knoxville, TN - The University of Tennessee’s College of Engineering has received support from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to join the Manufacturing and Materials Joining Innovation Center (Ma2JIC). Established at The Ohio State University (Columbus, OH), Ma2JIC’s mission was developed with input from industries, national laboratories, and academia, and has been focused on closing the gap in materials development, specifically on materials joining.
The work aims to develop new ways to assess, maintain, and improve welds and other areas where materials join, thereby extending their life and reducing their costs—particularly for use in the ever-changing energy sector.
The UT site will initiate five research projects:
- Large-scale additive manufacturing of dissimilar materials;
- Studying the relationships of additive-manufactured components and dissimilar welds through neutron scattering;
- Developing integrated computational materials engineering tools for the additive manufacturing of materials;
- Looking at metal-polymer composite joining, with a dual focus on process optimization of polymer composites and on their modeling, simulation, and structural mechanics; and
- Nanobrazing—joining two metals through the use of a different filler metal—for electronic packaging and lightweight metal bonding.
UT’s Departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering; Materials Science and Engineering; and Mechanical, Aerospace, and Biomedical Engineering will play critical roles in the project, as will a number of experts from Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL; Oak Ridge, TN). UT’s participation was sought because the center needed more expertise in polymers, ceramics, and hybrid materials, all of which the university researches through its partnerships with ORNL’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility.
The center falls under the NSF’s Industry and University Cooperative Research (I/UCRC) program, which makes the special relationship between UT and ORNL a critical component of UT’s selection.
While the research that will take place is crucial to UT staying at the forefront of innovation within those fields, the chance to work with titans of industry on some of their most critical questions is a benefit that can’t be overlooked. Those partners include everyone from energy companies like ExxonMobil and Shell to automotive businesses like Honda. With input from those partners, the center is conducting studies on subjects such as how certain alloys react during heat treatment, the effects of laser welding, and stress corrosion.