Case Studies

Case Studies of Recent Research and Development Projects 

While many research and engineering support projects with industry partners are confidential in nature and not available for publication, the following examples of recent research projects, which are approved for sharing general information, illustrate some of CAMMI members’ work.

Fundamental Understanding and Suppression of Microcracking in Three Dimensional Woven Composites During Curing

Industry partner: Albany Engineered Composites; CAMMI Members: Todd Gross, Igor Tsukrov and others

This objective of this project which received funding from the NHIRC, NSF and Albany Engineered Composites was to develop a fundamental understanding of how local stress concentrations and formation of damage during curing are related to the weave architecture and fabrication parameters of three-dimensional woven composites. Numerical modeling tools to predict microcracking during matrix cure and under service conditions were developed and validated by experiments. Experimental studies were performed support the modeling effort and gain a better understanding of the mechanisms of resin pocket cracking.  Analytical work included microstructure characterization using optical and SEM microscopy, microcomputed tomography, traditional mechanical testing, residual stress determination by material removal, and multiaxial stress tests on neat resin.    

Albany Engineering Composites (AEC) is a division of Albany International Corp. (AIC), and is headquartered in Rochester, NH. AEC designs, develops, and manufactures advanced composite components for the aerospace and other high-performance markets, using innovative proprietary technologies.

Evaluation of Selective Laser Sintering (SLS/Additive Manufacturing) for use in Aerospace and Automotive Applications 

Industry partner: Turbocam; CAMMI Member:  Marko Knezevic and Igor Tsukrov  

Additive manufacturing could reduce energy use by 50 percent and reduce material costs by up to 90 percent compared to traditional manufacturing.   Turbocam Energy Solutions, LLC, which is a part of Turbocam International, develops special processes for turbomachinery and has worked with Dr. Knezevic to evaluate the mechanical behavior of the material used by a novel additive manufacturing technology called Selective Laser Sintering (SLS).
The collaboration was made possible by a Granite State Technology Innovation Grant from the NH Innovation Research Center (NHIRC) to support projects under development in the private sector.   “The cutting edge technology developed through our collaboration with the mechanical engineering department at UNH will enable TURBOCAM to launch new products for our aerospace, industrial and automotive customers,” said Turbocam general manager Jonathan Bicknell. “This new process will improve final product quality, increase product production and create new high-quality technician and engineering jobs.”

Lithographic Imaging and Printing with Printing Members Having Fusible Polymeric Particles

CAMMI Member: John Tsavalas Group with the Nanostructured Polymers Research Group

Collaboration with a New Hampshire company to develop a low energy particle based self-assembly approach to lithographic imaging and printing resulted in a patent (NHIRC funded, patent US Patent 8,652758 B2, Lithographic Imaging and Printing with Printing Members Having Fusible Polymeric Particles;  Assignee: Presstek, Hudson NH)

Samples of Current Cross- Discipline CAMMI Projects

The following research projects are underway, some with seed funding by CAMMI.   In each case, the research team includes members from different research disciplines.   The following programs will consider collaborative partnerships with interested industry and government agencies.   The typical collaborative model would include some industry funding as well as the pursuit of additional research grants.

Illuminated flexible displays based on bio-mimetic models where illumination is linked to mechanical load

This new work in the area of conformable photonic systems utilizes a cross disciplined team approach and various analytical instruments.  CAMMI members from Material Science and Chemistry are involved with expertise in polymers, biophysics, mechanical testing and photonics.  This project is led by Dr. Deravi from Chemistry.   

Iron Nitride Coatings deposited by Pulsed Laser Deposition

While Titanium based coatings have become commonly used for machine tool and bearing applications, Iron Nitride may offer significantly lower coefficients of friction and wear rates.  Successful development of a practical deposition process would be of great interest to industry.  The cross disciplined CAMMI team of researchers include Physicists and is led by a Dr. Jim Krzanowski from the Mechanical Engineering Department.

Alternative materials for improved multi junction solar cells (MJSC)

While it is known that MJSC have the ability to better harvest energy across the solar spectrum, practical limitations have prevented their widespread commercial use.   The CAMMI team is working on a method of making a single junction photovoltaic cell from very lightweight, high temperature materials.  The materials are:  thin nanotube sheets, which can be woven, non-woven, aligned or non-aligned consisting of boron nitride, boron-nitrogen-carbon and nearly pure carbon nanotubes.  They are also are considering a method of making a multilayer, multi-junction solar cell of potentially higher efficiency made of several layer pairs of similar nanotube materials or thin films, sufficiently flexible to bend nearly 180 degrees, and capable of operating at very high temperatures.   Both the single junction cell and the multijunction cell have the potential to outperform today’s cells in terms of energy per unity weight.   The team includes Physicists and a Chemical Engineer and is led by Dr. David Lashmore, a Materials Scientist.  

Synthesis of Boron-Nitride Nanotube Based Yarn

(Sponsored by US Government and Rogers Corporation)

The Lashmore Group is developing synthesis routes for the formation of continuous boron-nitride based continuous yarn and tape.  The advances posed by this material include; very high tensile stress values coupled with high fracture toughness. This material also possesses a dielectric constant above about 1.4, has piezoelectric characteristics so it has applications for structural health monitoring and can maintain these remarkable properties at 900 C in air. The specific thermal conductivity exceeds copper but with superior dielectric behavior.