Four for the future

Missouri S&T’s expertise in advanced manufacturing recently led to a partnership with the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD). S&T is one of 23 universities that are part of the Digital Lab for Manufacturing, a Chicago-based research center for advanced digital manufacturing and design. The center was created through a $70 million award from the DOD.

Advanced Manufacturing is one of four “signature” areas chosen by Missouri S&T Chancellor Cheryl B. Schrader as areas of emphasis for research and instruction. The signature areas were chosen based on their distinctive strengths that position them to be among the nation’s best.

In the area of advanced manufacturing, S&T will focus on additive manufacturing; energy manufacturing; micro- and nano-scale manufacturing; network-centric and cloud manufacturing; advanced materials for manufacturing; and intelligent, sensor-enabled manufacturing.

Using cloud-based manufacturing, S&T and other Digital Lab partners can connect through an open-source online platform to share and analyze manufacturing design data on projects that address the manufacturing challenges facing the DoD and industry.

Other signature areas include:

Advanced Materials for Sustainable Infrastructure, which will focus on the rehabilitation of urban mass-transportation centers, including highways, bridges, tunnels, rail, airports, and port and water navigation channels, as well as utility infrastructure. Researchers from four S&T research centers and six academic departments are working on projects such as a study of high-performance concrete. They are adding new materials, like old concrete, fly ash, ground-up tires and glass, and fibers, to traditional concrete and testing how well the mixtures perform in bridges, airports, rail systems, and port and harbor facilities.

Enabling Materials for Extreme Environments, which will focus on developing new materials for applications involving extreme temperatures, heat fluxes, neutron radiation levels and other stresses. With expertise in chemistry, materials science and engineering, mechanical engineering, nuclear engineering and physics, researchers in this area are developing the ultra-high-temperature ceramic materials that may one day form the leading and trailing edges of future hypersonic aircraft.

Smart Living, which will draw on S&T’s strengths in cyber security, sustainable energy research, big data analytics, architectural design, behavioral and environmental psychology, and transportation and infrastructure to lead research and development efforts toward a more secure and sustainable society. Current projects include an experimental microgrid that joins the houses in Missouri S&T’s Solar Village and allows them to manage and store renewable energy. The multidisciplinary smart living initiative will feature faculty from computer science; civil, architectural and environmental engineering; business and information technology; chemical and biochemical engineering; electrical and computer engineering; engineering management and systems engineering; mathematics and statistics; mechanical and aerospace engineering; and psychological sciences. <

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