PhilaU Awards Innovation in Research Grants for Mag Composites Institute

Photo from Philadelphia University MAG Composites Institute dedication ceremony on March 20, 2012.

Three Innovations in Research grants were recently awarded to Philadelphia University professors to conduct groundbreaking new research in support the Philadelphia University MAG Composites Institute. The professors will explore new composite materials, from hybrid-glass and innovative building materials to sustainably-produced composites from industrial waste.

The research grants will help fund the professors’ composites-related research and serve as a platform for securing additional funding. The projects that were selected to receive the grant were:

  • Hybrid Carbon-Glass Composites as an Alternative to Carbon Fiber. Chris Pastore, professor of transdisciplinary studies, will explore the use hybrid carbon-glass composites as a potential low-cost alternative to traditional carbon fiber materials. Carbon-glass composites are sturdy, lightweight and capable of being produced in high volume. Pastore will seek to demonstrate that these composites can capture most of the benefits of carbon fiber at a reduced cost.
  • Chicken Feathers to Countertops and Other Sustainable Composites. Brian George, associate professor of textile engineering, and Alex Messinger, professor of interior design, will collaborate to study how particular waste products of industrial processes, such as chicken feathers, flax and hemp, can be used to produce sustainable composite materials. Using epoxies from natural sources, George and Messinger hope to develop new composites that can be used in a wide variety of applications, from building components to countertops, flooring and wallboards.
  • Digitally-driven Fiber Composites for Complex Buildings. Edgar Stach, professor of architecture, and assistant professors of architecture Kihong Ku and Daniel Chung will research how digitally-driven manufacturing of composite materials can assist architects in designing stable, complex-shaped buildings. The team will research complex geometric patterns in contemporary buildings, exploring how digitally-designed fiber composites can be used to reinforce sandwich panels to reduce costs and enhance overall construction efficiency and building performance.

Each of the Innovations in Research grant winners will continue their work over the next year, reporting their findings and taking composites research in new directions.

“These projects are a wonderful reflection of the intensity and diversity of interest in research across the campus,” said D.R. Widder, executive director of innovation at Philadelphia University. “The grants are a statement of commitment to advancing applied research, a key initiative in the University’s Strategic Plan.”

The Philadelphia University MAG Composites Institute was established in 2012 to support research and development of new fiber-based composites that could have broad applications in industry, including the aerospace, automotive and energy sectors. The Institute was funded in part with a $1.1 million contribution from MAG IAS, whose chairman and chief executive officer is Mo I. Meidar, a Philadelphia University alumnus and member of the University’s Board of Trustees.

The Philadelphia University MAG Composites Institute builds on Philadelphia University’s legacy as the nation’s first textile school and its considerable expertise in advanced textile-related research.  For more information, read about the dedication ceremony for the Philadelphia University MAG Composites Institute. Interested students can read more about Philadelphia University’s B.S. in Engineering with a concentration in composites.

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