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University of Dayton Opens Composite Demonstration Center

by Editor1 last modified November 28, 2007 - 20:32

The “world’s first” manufacturing center for product demonstration of nano-enhanced polymer composites has opened at the University of Dayton Research Institute. In collaboration with the National Composite Center in Dayton, the Center for Multifunctional Polymer Nanocomposites and Devices (CMPND) allows for testing composite nanotechnology products without the investment of reorganizing their facilities and purchasing new equipment.

University of Dayton Opens Composite Demonstration Center

In addition to materials testing, services offered at CMPND include prototype development and small production runs. The CMPND facility features a 10-foot autoclave, a 440-ton injection molding machine, a laser profiler and other equipment, in addition to lab and office space.

"To introduce a new technology into their products, manufacturers have to either convert existing equipment, or find space in their plants and buy new equipment," said Richard Garozzo, UDRI composites engineer and CMPND plant manager. "Instead, we're giving them the opportunity to evaluate state-of-the-art materials without a lot of investment. Then, if they are satisfied with the results and decide these new nano-enhanced polymers make sense for their products, they can transition the technology to their companies."

UDRI promises its staff can also help manufacturers dramatically reduce the time to transition new materials to the marketplace. "We will also partner with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health to ensure all the manufacturing is conducted safely, smoothing the transition to the industry workplace," Garozzo added. "We want our customers to be successful, because that will make us successful." The National Composite Center will support CMPND projects with complementary process engineering and manufacturing expertise and equipment.

Researchers say the new facility will be a boon to polymers – Ohio’s largest industry – and help stimulate the manufacturing of these new materials in the state. The commercialization of polymer nanotechnology will help Ohio maintain and even strengthen its competitive edge in polymers, reducing the outsourcing of polymer processing and manufacturing jobs to competitors overseas.

UDRI’s CMPND is part of a larger program for the development of polymer nanomaterials and devices funded by Ohio’s Third Frontier Project. Other partners in the umbrella program are Ohio State University, working in the area of biosensors, and the University of Akron, working in polymer photonics. It is one of a number of state-funded programs for new technologies designed to position Ohio as a world-class center of nanotechnology, giving existing businesses a manufacturing edge, fostering new business and creating high-wage jobs.