Education

FAMU awarded $4.9m for 3D printing micro and biomedical materials

In the latest wave of grants from the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) Florida A&M University (FAMU) and the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering have received an award for $4.9 million dollars.

To be delivered in instalments from September 2017 through August 2022, the grant will help the institutions establish the Center for Complex Materials Design for Multidimensional Additive Processing (CoManD Center).

In this time, it is expected the prestigious Centers of Research Excellence in Science and Technology (CREST) program will directly impact over 450 students, making the center a world competitor in the field of nanomaterial innovation.

From FAMU News Professors Ramakrishnan, Dickens and Sachdeva (left to right) in front of the high-resolution 3D printer that will be used to manufacture novel materials and devices.
From FAMU News: Professor Subramanian Ramakrishnan (director of the CoManD Center) and Professors Dickens and Sachdeva (left to right) in front of the high-resolution 3D printer that will be used to manufacture novel materials and devices.

3D printing on a sub-millimeter scale

Comprised of a multidisciplinary team from engineering, chemistry and physics schools at FAMU/FAMU-FSU, the CoManD Center will focus on 3D printing for a range of technologies including composite materials and photonics.

The center will also develop microfluidic devices and tissue engineering platforms that will be instrumental to cancer research and testing chemotherapy drugs.

Cancer Cells Dividing, Biology, McDougal Littell, 2008
False coloured image of cancer cells dividing. Image by McDougal Littell from Biology, 2008

Space is the place

The first project to be undertaken at the CoManD Center will be to develop an advanced material for applications in magnetic shielding. Engineered on a micrometer scale, the shielding material has the potential to be used to make radiation resistant wings for airplanes and space exploration vehicles.

The project is especially pertinent when considering FAMU’s existing agreement with multinational aerospace manufacturer Lockheed Martin.

Signed in November 2016, the agreement sees the two parties working on NASA’s Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) Program and other Lockheed space projects.

Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) assembly at Lockheed Martin's Vertical Testing Facility in Colorado. Photo via: NASA/Lockheed Martin
Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) assembly at Lockheed Martin’s Vertical Testing Facility in Colorado. Photo via: NASA/Lockheed Martin

In addition, the FAMU-FSU team will be working with Harvard University, MIT, Army Research Labs and Air Force Research Labs on the materials research projects.

Education with impact 

The funds will be used to launch a number of undergraduate materials science courses at FAMU, including those in additive manufacturing, nanomaterials in biology, and nanoparticles in medicine.

According to the official NSF Award Abstract, “The Center will produce 15 Ph.Ds., directly impact 40 undergraduates and influence 100 graduate students and 300 undergraduates through collaborations and coursework.”

Speaking to FAMU News Dr. Subramanian Ramakrishnan, director of the CoManD Center and associate professor at FAMU-FSU, says, “This grant will give us a chance to make a bigger footprint in materials and biological research at FAMU and to create a pipeline of new science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) professionals to address the challenges of the future”

Other recent projects to be funded by the NSF includes light-bending nanomaterial research between the University of Central Florida (UCF) and the University of Texas (UT).

To follow the latest 3D printing research grants and stories, sign up to the 3D Printing Industry newsletter, and keep up to date with us via Twitter and Facebook. 

Sign up to our 3D printing jobs site here.

Featured image: Main entrance to the Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University. Photo via FAMU News

© Copyright 2017 | All Rights Reserved | 3D Printing Industry