NASA TeamA team of researchers from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Utah along with collaborators from 11 other institutions have been awarded a five-year, $15 million grant to establish a NASA-funded Space Technology Research Institute (STRI).

The new Institute for Ultra-Strong Composites by Computational Design (US-COMP) will be led by Michigan Technological University professor Greg Odegard, along with University of Utah assistant professor Michael Czabaj (pictured, left), Florida State University professor Richard Liang, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology associate professor John Hart.

The  US-COMP will serve as a focal point for partnerships between NASA, other federal agencies, industry, and academia. Its main focus is to:

  • Enable computationally-driven development of carbon nanotube-based, ultra-high strength and toughness, lightweight structural materials.
  • Educate highly skilled scientists, engineers and technologists in this emerging field to enhance the U.S. leadership in critical lightweight structural materials. The official NASA press release can be found here .

The University of Utah team includes Czabaj from the Composites Laboratory (UCL), assistant professor Ashley Spear (pictured, right) from the Multiscale Mechanics & Materials Laboratory (MMM Lab), and professor Dan Adams (pictured, center) from the UCL. The US-COMP includes 18 other faculty members from Florida A&M University, University Of Minnesota, Johns Hopkins University, University Of Colorado at Boulder, Georgia Institute of Technology, Pennsylvania State University, and Virginia Commonwealth University. Nonacademic partners include Nanocomp Technologies, Solvay, and the U.S. Air Force Research Lab.