Category Archives: Nano

Local high school students spend six weeks at A&T working as bioengineering researchers

Members of the 2012 ERC Young Scholars program

Faculty advisor Vernal Alford and the 2012 ERC Young Scholars (from left): Shira Chandler, Dondre McCaskill, Brianna Hargett, Aditya Badve, Ephraim Bililign and Aditya Garg.

If you ask Greensboro high school student Brianna Hargett what she did over the summer, you won’t get a typical answer. She’ll tell you about her research in automatic imaging analysis of biomaterials.

Ms. Hargett and five fellow students from local high schools didn’t have ordinary summers. They spent six weeks as hands-on bioengineering researchers at the Engineering Research Center (ERC) at North Carolina A&T.

As participants in the ERC’s Young Scholars program, they worked on the center’s core projects alongside N.C. A&T professors and graduate students, as well as eight local high school and community college teachers and nine undergraduates from universities around the nation.

Details on the research teams and their projects.

Shira Chandler and Dondre McCaskill worked on the design and analysis of biodegradable magnesium screws to reconstruct knee ligaments.

For Ephraim Bililign, it was design and testing of biomedical materials, and Aditya Garg worked on corrosion testing of magnesium alloys.  Aditya Badve was part of a team working on how to improve those studies.

They’re all excellent students, but when ERC researchers talk about them, another word that keeps coming up is “driven.”

“It’s big stuff that they’re working on, but they love it because they’re hanging with the big guys,” says Dr. Jagannathan Sankar, ERC director and professor of mechanical engineering.

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Reminder: Summer conferences include ethics workshop, nanomanufacturing

North Carolina A&T will be involved with two significant events for researchers in August. If you’re interested in either one, now is the time to register.

  • Ethical Dimensions of Coupled Natural and Human Systems Research: Monday August 13-Tuesday August 14, all day each day, Fort IRC, Room 410.  N.C. A&T and Penn State faculty will conduct a this workshop for A&T faculty, post-docs, and doctoral students in the sciences and engineering who are interested in integrating the ethical dimensions of coupled natural and human systems into their classes. Registration continues through July 15.
  • Nanomanufacturing conference: Wednesday, August 15, all day, at the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering. Nanotechnology and nanomanufacturing are creating jobs in clean energy, aerospace, medicine and biotech, materials and other areas. The Nanomanufacturing Conference is one of the nation’s premier Advanced Manufacturing conferences, featuring national and international nanotech innovators, leading researchers, government leaders and visionaries.

JSNN to host nanomanufacturing conference

The science and technology of nanomanufacturing will be the subjects of a conference this summer at the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering.

The one-day Nanomanufacturing Conference will be held Wednesday August 15. The conference website contains program and registration information.

Sessions will focus on nanomanufacturing for such applications as aerospace, energy, and  biotechnology.

The keynote speakers will be Dr. Altaf Carim, assistant director for nanotechnology, Office of Science and Technology Policy, Executive Office of the President; and Dr. Jeffrey Morse, managing director of the National Nanomanufacturing Network.

The conference is organized by the JSNN; COIN, the Center of Innovation for Nanobiotechnology; the Nanobusiness Commercialization Association; and the North Carolina Aerospace Alliance.

Advaero’s technology from A&T gaining notice

Cover of May-June 2012 issue of Composites Manufacuring magazineThe current issue of Composites Manufacturing magazine includes a report on Advaero Technologies’ “breakthrough” in the manufacture of a new carbon fiber capable of carrying 24,000 pounds in weight.

“Not only would this technology make composites competitive against metals, it could be an entry card for applications in new markets,” the magazine reports.

Advaero licenses its technology from N.C. A&T.  It was developed by Advaero co-founder Dr. Ajit Kelkar, A&T faculty member in the College of Engineering and chair of the Department of Nanoengineering at the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering.

Chinese scientists to speak on magnesium alloys and their biodegradability in biomedical devices

Two scientists from the Institute of Metal Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, will visit the NSF Engineering Research Center for Revolutionizing Metallic Biomaterials at N.C. A&T on Wednesday.  Drs. Jian Xu and Ling-ling Shi will give a presentation followed by discussion and a lab tour. The research institute is one of the leading research centers for biomedical magnesium alloy research in China.

Their talk will begin at 10 a.m. in the Fort Interdisciplinary Research Center, Room 328.

Topic: Biodegradable Mg-Zn-Y alloys with long-period stacking ordered structure for orthopedic applications

Abstract: Due to their degradability in physiological environments, magnesium alloys exhibit significant advantages in promoting bone growth and avoiding secondary surgery. Thus, they are highly expected as new generation of biodegradable orthopedic devices. However, fast degradable rate, hydrogen release and lower strength remain current challenges. Mg-Zn-Y alloys with long period stacking ordered (LPSO) phase were claimed to have high yield strength. Their potential for orthopedic application is investigated from the perspective of mechanical properties and in vitro assessment of biodegradable rate. Ternary Mg100-3x(Zn1Y2)x (x=1, 2, 3) alloys were studied to evaluate the effect of volume fraction of LPSO phase on mechanical properties and degradability. As indicated, volume fraction of the LPSO structure increases with increasing the Zn/Y concentration. It results in an increase of yield strength and decrease in plasticity, together with the promoted degrading in physiological condition. Minor addition of Zr plays a role of grain size refinement. The alloy with Zr exhibits not only higher strength (~165 MPa) but also mitigates the degradable rate.  Half-life time of alloy corrosion measured by in vitro assessment can be used as a parameter to evaluate the degradability of alloy, which scales with electrochemical passivity behavior.

A&T partnering on nano conference in India

Logo for Nanocon 012 conference in Pune, IndiaN.C. A&T and the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering are among the partners for the international Nanocon 012 conference in Pune, India, this fall. The host institution is Bharati Vidyapeeth Deemed University. The conference will be held October 18 and 19.

Tuskegee University and the Centre for Materials for Electronics Technology of India are also partners.

The theme of the conference is, “NanoTechnology – Innovative Materials, Processes, Products, and Applications.”  Deadline for submission of papers in May 31.  Registration is under way through September 30. Details are in the conference brochure.

Anatomy of an elevator pitch to the NSF

Chart: "Anatomy of an Elevator Pitch"Last fall, the National Science Foundation introduced a new competition for its Engineering Research Centers:

“The ERC Elevator Pitch Competition was inaugurated as as a means to embed entrepreneurial thinking within the centers, a task that represents a cultural shift within academia, where startup activity is usually not part of the tenure process. The competition featured undergraduates, Masters students, PhDs and post-docs all competing for the Innovation Accelerator-sponsored $5,000 prize. Though the contestants were all technology students, they had to speak in business terms, some of them for the first time.”

The ERC for Revolutionizing Biometallic Materials, led by N.C. A&T, won the competition.  Da-Tren Chou, a PhD student in bioengineering from ERC partner the University of Pittsburgh, was the designated pitcher. Here are the details, as reported by the New Venturist website.

“The US needs more Da-Trens – researchers who cross the chasm from the lab to the marketplace by morphing basic research into products and services that can change the world.

Local manufacturing rises, aided by A&T, JSNN

Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering

Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering

The News & Record editorializes about the Greensboro Partnership’s 2012 State of the City Report:

“Manufacturing increased its share of Greensboro’s workforce from 11.1 percent in 2009 to 11.5 percent in 2010. At the same time, average pay in that sector rose by 5.3 percent to $54,017.

“This is one of the industry segments economic development leaders have focused on for years, with considerable help from the education community. Programs at GTCC, the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering, even Guilford County Schools’ recent decision to place a STEM school — science, technology, engineering and math — at N.C. A&T, are critical efforts to provide skilled workers for a rejuvenated manufacturing sector.”

Advaero: Trial of carbon composite successful

Advaero Technologies logoAdvaero Technologies, a nanotechnology spin-off of the N.C. A&T College of Engineering, has successfully completed initial trials of “a revolutionary carbon composite product,” the company has announced. The product is designed to make aircraft components lighter and less expensive.  It uses a new fabric technology and a new resin infusion process from Advaero.

“Utilizing Advaero’s novel resin infusion process, the higher strength-to-weight performance of this new composite and the projected lower processing costs are significant – making it particularly attractive and potentially a ‘game changer’ in the manufacture of commercial aircraft components,” the company said.

Advaero is working on the project with Stanford University’s Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics and Chomarat Textile Industries.  Dr. Ajit Kelkar, an A&T engineering professor and chairman of the Department of Nanoengineering at the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering, was a founder of Advaero.  The company is located at the Gateway University Research Park, South Campus.

The complete announcement is here.

$3.5 million for nanoengineering research

Three A&T nanoengineering professors at the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering (JSNN) have been awarded research grants totaling $3.5 million.

“The Department of Nanoengineering is off to a fast start in research,” said Dr. James Ryan, dean of the JSNN.  “Competing successfully for $3.5 million in research funding in the department’s first year and a half of operation is a tribute to both the quality of these researchers and the value of their work.”

The awards are:

  • “Computational Modeling and Enabling Technologies for Nano and Bio Systems and Interfaces,” $1.2 million from the Army Research Office. Dr. Ajit Kelkar, professor and chairman of the Department of Nanoengineering, is the principal investigator. This research will focus on the computational modeling of nano and bio systems and interfaces. It will explore the molecular-level interaction of material systems and biological constituents through molecular nano modeling.
  •  “Nano to Continuum Multi-Scale Modeling of Cementitious Materials under Dynamic Loading,” $1.8 million from the Army Research Office.  Dr. Ram Mohan, associate professor of nanoengineering, is the principal investigator. This project will focus on the nano-to-continuum modeling of hierarchical and nanoengineered cementitious materials. Project research efforts will enable the better understanding of the performance of cementitious-based protection materials for defense and civilian uses and will help to develop advanced cementitious concrete panels. For more on Mohan’s research, see the coverage inThe Business Journal.
  •  “A Study of GaAsSb (gallium arsenide antimonide) Nanowires by Molecular Beam Epitaxy for Near Infrared Applications,” $563,497, from the Army Research Office.  Dr. Shanti Iyer, professor of nanoengineering and electrical engineering, is the principal investigator.  This research will focus on semiconductor nanowires, the building blocks for next-generation integrated nanosystems. The project will focus on the synthesis of GaAsSb-based heterostructure nanowires on silicon by molecular beam epitaxy for the fabrication of infrared lasers and photodetectors.  The research will potentially lead to efficient, inexpensive, flexible, portable, and tunable lasers for infrared countermeasures, integrated sensor/detection systems, and other areas of photonics.