Discipline: Technology & Engineering
Subcategory: STEM Research
- Tuskegee University
Through the HBCU-UP Research Initiation Award Grant, the Department of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) at Tuskegee University (TU) developed its research capabilities in Computational Nanomechanics and Nanoscale Testing. These areas of research are essential to the development of a deeper understanding of the interaction of nano fillers with the matrix materials and their role in enhancing the mechanical properties of composite structures. The specific activities performed through this grant include: 1) Setting up the initial structure with various amount of cross-linking between SWCNT and Epon molecule and with a varying diameters of SWCNT, 2) Determination of interfacial binding energy and frictional stresses between carboxylic (COOH) functionalized SWCNT and Epon composites, 3) Measurement of frictional stresses as a function of the density of chemical bonds between COOH-SWCNT and Epon composites, 4) Quantification of how these stresses scale with the surface area of COOH-SWCNT, 5) Determination of interfacial strength using fiber pull-out and nanoindentation tests to compare the trends in shear strength with respect to SWCNT size and density of interfacial bonds observed in MD simulations, and 6) Involve undergraduate students in this research. Development of atomistic computational models and experiments at the nanoscale provided significant knowledge about the behavior of advanced composite materials that can be used in a variety of applications. The knowledge developed through this research project benefitted the ongoing research projects in MSE, while enhancing the research and mentoring capabilities of the PI. This also allowed TU to introduce new research area and academic course to prepare students. In addition, this enhanced capability also broadened the areas of research for students involved in the research and educational activities of the MSE department. We, therefore, were able to recruit a larger number of African American students at the undergraduate levels, some of whom have successively moved on to pursue graduate studies at Tuskegee University and elsewhere. These graduates will help bring much-needed diversity to the nation’s advanced technological workforce.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): NSF HBCU-UP RIA-HRD1409918
Faculty Advisor: None Listed,