Demo center lets polymer composite product manufacturers test nanotech waters without risk

Apr. 4, 2007 — The University of Dayton Research Institute has opened what it calls the “world’s first” manufacturing center for product demonstration of nano-enhanced polymer composites. Created in collaboration with the National Composite Center in Dayton, the Center for Multifunctional Polymer Nanocomposites and Devices (CMPND) allows manufacturers to try out nanotechnology for use in their composite products, but without the investment involved in purchasing new equipment and retooling their facilities.

“To introduce a new technology into their products, manufacturers have to either convert existing equipment, or find space in their plants and buy new equipment,” said Richard Garozzo, UDRI composites engineer and CMPND plant manager. “Instead, we’re giving them the opportunity to evaluate state-of-the-art materials without a lot of investment. Then, if they are satisfied with the results and decide these new nano-enhanced polymers make sense for their products, they can transition the technology to their companies.”

In addition to materials testing, services offered at CMPND include prototype development and small production runs. The CMPND facility features a 10-foot autoclave, a 440-ton injection molding machine, a laser profiler and other equipment, in addition to lab and office space.

UDRI promises its staff can also help manufacturers dramatically reduce the time to transition new materials to the marketplace. “We will also partner with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health to ensure all the manufacturing is conducted safely, smoothing the transition to the industry workplace,” Garozzo added. “We want our customers to be successful, because that will make us successful.” The National Composite Center will support CMPND projects with complementary process engineering and manufacturing expertise and equipment.


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