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URI to help 3 RI companies with expertise

Dec '20
Pic: University of Rhode Island
Pic: University of Rhode Island
University of Rhode Island College of Engineering will help three Rhode Island companies with its expertise as part of the 401 Tech Bridge Materials Innovation Challenge. The companies, selected as challenge winners from applicants across the country, will leverage the university’s academic resources and work with three advanced materials researchers.

The companies are Canapitsit Customs and TxV Aerospace Composites, both of Bristol, and Nautilus Defence, a Pawtucket-based small business.

URI’s Simon Ostrach Professor of Mechanical, Industrial and Systems Engineering Arun Shukla and Helio Matos, assistant professor of Mechanical, Industrial and Systems Engineering and their Dynamic Photomechanics Laboratory, and Sumanta Das, URI assistant professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, who leads the Multiscale and Multiphysics Mechanics of Materials Research Laboratory, will collaborate with the winners, offering modeling, research, testing and validation assistance and support to accelerate the development of advanced materials and technologies.

“With the collaboration between our laboratories, synergistic application of experiments and computational modeling in these projects will accelerate the design and development of transformative high-performance composite materials for multifunctional applications,” said Shukla.

URI engineering students also stand to benefit as part of the Challenge. Working under the guidance of Shukla, Matos and Das, students will gain valuable hands-on experience in their chosen fields on real-world projects. The projects will allow students to interact with industry professionals as they attempt to solve the challenges presented by the Challenge-winning companies.

“This also provides an excellent opportunity for faculty and students at URI to get involved with applied research projects and help the local industry,” Shukla added.

401 Tech Bridge is an economic development organisation that connects manufacturers, small businesses, research and development entities, trade organisations and state and defence agencies to collaborate in the development of new advanced materials, technologies and products. The Materials Innovation Challenge was formed to help give smaller companies a leg up, realising that while large companies have internal research and development labs, smaller organisations in the advanced materials sector do not.

“401 Tech Bridge is excited to further the innovative work of Canapitsit Customs, Nautilus Defence and TxV Aerospace Composites by connecting them to URI, which is known nationally for its advanced materials research,” said Mary Johnson, manager, 401 Tech Bridge. “The Materials Innovation Challenge helps these companies enhance their internal R and D capabilities with support from the University, creating new solutions and business opportunities.”

Canapitsit Customs is a woman-owned small business specialising in composites design and manufacturing, for clients in the marine, defence and aerospace industries. Support from the Materials Innovation Challenge will enable the company to work with both labs to develop, simulate and validate the company’s design and manufacturing processes for a deep sea pressure vessel that has significant potential in the defence, renewable energy, and offshore oil and gas sectors.

Nautilus Defence is focused on the development and production of textile-integrated systems for monitoring high-value assets and their environments. Funding from the challenge will enable Nautilus to work with the labs to perform electromechanical testing of novel textile-integrated systems, which will help to strengthen the company’s offerings to the defence and commercial markets.

TxV Aerospace Composites is a manufacturer of composite parts and assemblies for the aerospace industry. With its Materials Innovation Challenge funding, TxV will work with URI’s Multiscale and Multiphysics Mechanics of Materials Research Laboratory to characterise the strength and behaviour of material bond line and correlate that data to the performance of hybrid composite structures.

401 Tech Bridge will provide $35,000 per project to the University of Rhode Island to support this collaboration with work slated to begin in early 2021. The Challenge is supported by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and its Manufacturing Extension Partnership National Network, URI’s Business Engagement Centre, the URI College of Engineering and the URI Research Foundation.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk (SV)

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