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Georgia Tech Leads Industry Effort to Tackle the Composite and Hybrid Materials Challenge
New NSF center to use analytics, AI to modernize how manufacturers repair composites
Composites and hybrid materials will define the future of manufacturing – and with good reason: These strong yet lightweight materials that comprise half of all commercial twin-aisle airplanes and most electrical vehicles are lighter and more fuel efficient, lessening their carbon footprint.
However, because composites are unique (combining different materials), it is difficult to model how they will degrade and fail during use. Also, impact damage may not be visible or may be barely visible, making it harder to detect than damage to metallic structures. Furthermore, repairing these materials and structures is both time-consuming and expensive due to the complexity of composite parts and lack of experience or knowledge and data.
Based at the Georgia Institute of Technology, the Center for Composite and Hybrid Materials Interfacing (CHMI) intends to dramatically improve how composite and hybrid structures are joined and repaired. The Center is one of four active NSF Industry/University Cooperative Research Centers (IUCRCs) at Georgia Tech.
Funded for five years with an NSF IUCRC grant, the Center will work closely with an industry consortium of leading manufacturers and government organizations that will underwrite research projects.
Housed in the Georgia Tech Manufacturing Institute (GTMI), the Center incorporates three university research teams from Georgia Tech, Oakland University, and University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UT). Each research and development partner brings decades of composite and hybrid materials research focus in specific industries: Georgia Tech in aerospace, Detroit-based Oakland University in automotive composite systems, and UT in infrastructure and medical devices.
“The study of the interface between composite, metallic and other electronic materials is really the future of manufacturing,” said Ben Wang, executive director of GTMI. “The Center amplifies the thought leadership of Georgia Tech advancement in composites. It also puts us in the nexus of three areas -- advanced manufacturing, innovative materials and data analytics.”