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New agreement paves way for UC students to work in Air Force labs

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – Materials science and engineering students from the University of Cincinnati now have the opportunity to gain research experience  at the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Materials and Manufacturing Directorate.


The directorate recently signed an Educational Partnership Agreement with the College of Engineering at the University of Cincinnati. An EPA is one type of technology transfer agreement between a defense laboratory and an educational institute to transfer and/or enhance technology applications and to provide technology assistance for all levels of education.


Students will be performing materials research in areas of interest to the Air Force. The effort is being led by Dr. Benji Maruyama, a senior materials research engineer from the Materials and Manufacturing Directorate, and Dr. Vesselin Shanov, a professor of chemical and materials engineering at the University of Cincinnati.


“Under the agreement, students will have access to the unique equipment at Wright-Patterson, such as a high-resolution transmission electron microscope,” said Dr. Shanov. “Because of this, students will be able to conduct advanced research in collaboration with Air Force materials experts.”


Mark Haase, a Ph.D. student from UC, is currently working with Dr. Maruyama under the agreement. Haase is researching the structure and spin-ability of carbon nanotube forests using transmission electron microscopy.


“Yarns made from carbon nanotubes exhibit exceptional strength-to-weight, as well as electrical and thermal conductivity, making them useful for applications from structures to electronics,” explained Dr. Maruyama.


“I wouldn't be able to do the work I'm doing without this partnership,” said Haase. “Beyond that, I've enjoyed my experience working with the Air Force. It's given me the chance to learn from some brilliant people.”


The EPA will involve numerous students over the five-year agreement. In addition to UC students working in RX labs, there is a possibility of Air Force experts assisting with curriculum and course development at the university, as well as co-authoring journal articles with students and UC staff.


“It is our hope that more faculty and students from UC, and researchers from AFRL, take advantage of this unique opportunity for collaboration in the next few years,” said Dr. Shanov.


For more information about EPAs and other types of Air Force technology transfer agreements, please call (937) 904-9830.