Auburn researchers receive NSF grant for interdisciplinary additive nanomanufacturing research

By Brian Wesley

Published: Jan 15, 2020 9:03:00 AM

Two Auburn Engineering faculty members have been awarded a $400,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to advance the science of additive nanomanufacturing of multifunctional materials and hybrid structures.

The project is led by Masoud Mahjouri-Samani, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, and Nima Shamsaei, director of Auburn University’s National Center for Additive Manufacturing Excellence (NCAME).

The grant will support research to develop an additive nanomanufacturing platform capable of producing multifunctional nanoparticles on demand to fabricate durable hybrid structures and devices layer-by-layer. Printing nano-scale multifunctional materials is challenging because of minimal source materials and inadequate fabrication systems.

As principal investigator, Mahjouri-Samani will generate a stream of multifunctional materials, sinter them on a submicroscopic scale using laser technology and study their behaviors on various printed surfaces.   

“Today, additive manufacturing is mainly focused on metallic and structural components, which are not functional materials,” Mahjouri-Samani said. “What we proposed here is to combine our knowledge of additive manufacturing with a variety of multifunctional materials and, for the first time, creating multifunctional devices that can be printed on any conformal surface. We are hoping this technique can revolutionize the way we are printing multifunctional and electronic devices.”

One of the challenges the researchers face in this project is ensuring the robustness and long-term functionality of these materials. Shamsaei, an associate professor of mechanical engineering, will lend his expertise by evaluating the durability and structural integrity of the 3D-printed hybrid structures.

“We are definitely excited about having this technology and research at Auburn,” Shamsaei said. “At our additive manufacturing center, most of our capabilities lie in fabricating metallic materials with micro-level accuracy. This research will be a new addition not only to our center, but also to the field of additive manufacturing.”

This project has the potential to benefit the U.S. economy through its applications in aerospace, energy, biomedical and the automotive industries by conducting fundamental research on the intersection of additive manufacturing and nanotechnology. Visit the NSF website for more information about the project.

Media Contact: Chris Anthony, chris.anthony@auburn.edu, 334.844.3447

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