Looking towards the future are five universities in Louisiana that have been awarded a collective $20 million federal grant to build a sustainable research and education program in Louisiana in addition to designing complex alloys and polymers for 3D printing, as detailed in an Associated Press release this summer.
The award establishes the Louisiana Material Design Alliance (LAMDA), a board of scientists and engineers at five Louisiana universities and will have a big focus on 3D printing – Louisiana Tech, University of Louisiana Lafayette, Southern University A&M, Tulane University and LSU. The Louisiana Board of Regents is administering this grant.
The project is aiming to introduce new technologies and materials to boost a range of manufacturing industries, with federal support from the National Science Foundation, or NSF, as 3D printing technology holds the potential to reinvent the manufacturing industry, but currently available materials do not meet the needs for structural safety and integrity.
To solve this, Louisiana University scientists, engineers, and other collaborators will be discovering and testing the composition, processing, microstructure, performance, and structural integrity of materials that can be used in advanced 3D printing.
“This game-changing work is at the frontiers of science, engineering and education. We are committed to connecting our research discoveries to industry, so they can have real-world impacts,” said Michael Khonsari, the Dow Chemical Endowed Chair in Rotating Machinery in the LSU Department of Mechanical Engineering, who is the project director for the newly established LAMDA and 3D printing initiative.
The overall project aims to forge new collaborations among LAMDA institutions and establish new partnerships with federal agencies and industries to build a sustainable research and education program in Louisiana as well as development of a skilled and diverse STEM workforce which includes 3D printing. It includes summer training programs for community college faculty to provide them with educational tools to incorporate in their own classrooms, a conference series and other outreach activities.
“This is a great win for Louisiana and the economy that will provide a much-needed boost to the manufacturing industry in our state and across the U.S. We are thankful for the National Science Foundation’s support of the research expertise at LSU and throughout Louisiana,” said LSU Interim President Tom Galligan.
“The manufacturing industry plays a critical role in both state and national economies, and 3D printing will help take it to the next level,” said Sen. John Kennedy, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said. “This funding will help educate university students and better equip Louisiana’s workforce.”
“We are delighted that NSF has recognized the immense value of the collaborative work of researchers across Louisiana institutions, public and private, around cutting-edge manufacturing,” said Commissioner of Higher Education Kim Hunter Reed. “The project’s dual emphasis on research and education ensures the broadest possible reach of the work.”
The grant will pay 14 new faculty members to work in the 3D printing program at the five universities, LSU said in a news release.
In addition to their research, the faculty will develop new courses and student-led research projects to increase Louisiana’s STEM workforce.
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