NetComposites
Attwater

Funding for University of Delaware

23 February 2001

The Office of Naval Research (ONR) recently awarded the University of Delaware Center for Composite Materials (CCM) $2.7 million over two years to continue its investigation and development of automated molding technologies for advanced composites. The Advanced Materials Intelligent Processing Center (AMIPC) was established at UD in 1997 as a national resource to reduce the labor and processing costs of composites manufacturing, with a particular focus on liquid molding processes. The initial AMIPC program was led by Prof. Suresh Advani, associate director of CCM and professor of mechanical engineering. He and John W. Gillespie Jr., CCM director and professor of materials science and civil engineering, are co-PIs on the Phase 3 program.Through the AMIPC program, UD is establishing a virtual manufacturing environment for liquid molding processes. Industry has been involved since the program was initiated to ensure the relevance of the basic research being conducted.The first two phases of the AMIPC program focused on RTM, a mature technology but one that is limited in terms of the scale and volume of parts it can produce. Phase 3 expands on the earlier work to address vacuum-assisted RTM (VARTM), a process that is poised for exponential growth based on its capability to produce large-scale parts.UD has the unique capability to establish "intelligent" workcells to prove out simulations, sensors, and controls for transition to government labs and industrial sponsor sites. One such workcell has been transitioned to the Naval Surface Warfare Center-Carderock Division (NSWC-CD), which is serving as a beta site for models and simulations developed under the AMIPC program.