Archive for the 'Careers' Category

14
Nov
16

Strut Mount was Chassis & Hardware Category Winner @ 46th #SPEInnovationAwards

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The Strut Mount on the 2016 Cadillac CT6 luxury sedan from General Motors Co. was the Chassis & Hardware Category winner in the 46th-annual SPE® Automotive Innovation Awards Competition. System supplier and material processor, ContiTech North America, Inc. and material supplier, BASF Corp. also were named on the award.

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For more information, see http://speautomotive.com/inno and http://speautomotive.com/awa .

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® SPE is a registered trademark of the Society of Plastics Engineers. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

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12
Nov
16

Structural Front End Module with Active Grille Shutter was Body Exterior Category Winner @ 46th #SPEInnovationAwards

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The Structural Front End Module with Active Grille Shutter on the 2016 Ford Super Duty pickup from Ford Motor Co. was the Body Exterior Category winner in the 46th-annual SPE® Automotive Innovation Awards Competition. System supplier and material processor, Shape Corp. and material supplier, Celanese Corp. also were named on the award.

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For more information, see http://speautomotive.com/inno and http://speautomotive.com/awa .

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® SPE is a registered trademark of the Society of Plastics Engineers. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

31
Oct
16

Dr. Uday Vaidya Named SPE® Composites Person of the Year

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The board of directors for the SPE® Composites Division have named Dr. Uday Vaidya, University of Tennessee/Oak Ridge National Laboratory (UT/ORNL) governor’s chair in Advanced Composites Manufacturing and professor in the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace & Biomedical Engineering (MABE) at University of Tennessee-Knoxville (UTK) as well as chief technology officer for the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI) as the recipient of the group’s 2015-2016 Composites Person of the Year award. Vaidya was recognized at a special ceremony during the 2016 SPE Automotive Composites Conference & Exhibition (ACCE), September 7-9 in Novi, Mich. in the Detroit suburbs.

 

First given in fiscal year 2004-2005, the Composites Person of the Year award publicly acknowledges a contributor who has provided significant aid to the SPE Composites Division, particularly during the prior year, as well as made broader contributions to the composites industry as a whole. Nominations are reviewed by the board and one recipient is selected by the current division chair in consultation with the current division awards chair.  Previous winners of the award and their employers at the time include:

 

  • 2004-2005: Dan Buckley, American GFM,
  • 2005-2006: John Muzzy, Georgia Institute of Technology,
  • 2006-2007: Jim Griffing, The Boeing Co.,
  • 2007-2008: Fred Deans, Allied Composite Technologies LLC,
  • 2008-2009: Peggy Malnati, Malnati & Associates LLC,
  • 2009-2010: Dale Grove, US Silica,
  • 2010-2011: Dale Brosius, Quickstep Composites LLC,
  • 2011-2012: Creig Bowland, PPG Industries,
  • 2012-2013: Michael Connolly, Huntsman Polyurethanes,
  • 2013-2014: Jim Griffing, The Boeing Co., and
  • 2014-2015: Dan Buckley, American GFM (Lifetime Achievement).

 

uday_headshotExplaining why he selected Vaidya, Dr. Michael Connolly, SPE Composites Division chair and program manager-urethane composites at Huntsman Polyurethanes said, “Uday was chosen for his long-time contributions to the SPE Composites Division, including nine years of leadership on the education committee and eight years organizing the SPE ACCE student poster competition. Last year he created a new program under the education committee that helps universities apply for funding from the Composites Division — with university matching funds — to purchase teaching materials and laboratory equipment. In addition to these contributions, his effort fostering student development by organizing and advising a new SPE student chapter at University of Tennessee-Knoxville benefits all of SPE as well as the plastics and composites industries. And last, but certainly not least, we wanted to recognize his considerable contributions to the composites industry, including numerous patents, publications — including two books — and presentations at SPE  and other industry meetings, industry training workshops, and efforts writing SPE education grants for universities. He has a passion for engineering education and has mentored hundreds of young engineers who’ve now made their way into our industry, including over 60 Master’s and doctoral students.”

 

In addition to his academic responsibilities, in his current role at IACMI, Dr. Uday Kumar Vaidya chairs the technical advisory board, oversees technology roadmapping efforts, and helps shape high-value industry-led projects for the institute. Since joining UTK, he also has led the establishment of the 10,000-ft2/929-m2 Fibers and Composites Manufacturing Facility (FCMF) to serve IACMI and the Tennessee Manufacturing Ecosystem.

 

Prior to joining UT/ORNL, Vaidya served as department chair for Materials Science & Engineering and as center director for the Composites Center at University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). He also helped establish and then, as director, led the Materials Processing & Applications Development (MPAD) center at UAB, which focused on leading-edge manufacturing and commercialization of engineered plastics, polymers, fibers, composites, and metal castings.

 

During his career, he has contributed extensively to research and development of engineered polymers, fibers, and composites and has experience with a broad range of composites for defense, transportation, and industrial applications. Additionally, he has served as principal investigator (PI) or co-investigator (Co-I) on more than 100 projects worth over $22 million USD to date.

 

Vaidya has 29 years’ teaching experience at five academic institutions (UTK, UAB, North Dakota State University, Tuskegee University, and Auburn University) where he has developed and taught a variety of engineering courses to students from freshmen to graduate levels, and has been recognized with a variety of prestigious teaching awards, including Outstanding Faculty Member Award for the College of Engineering at UTK (2016), the Presidential Teaching Award for Excellence at UAB (2005 and 2013) and also UAB’s Graduate Dean’s Excellence in Mentorship Award (2014). In 2001, he received the Outstanding Teacher of the Year award at North Dakota State University’s School of Engineering, and received the Outstanding Faculty Award for Research in 1996 at Tuskegee University.

 

A prolific writer, Vaidya has been published in over 180 peer-reviewed international journals and over 350 conference proceedings.  He has contributed four book chapters, is the author of Composites for Automotive, Truck and Mass Transit, a book published by DesTech Publishers, and he is completing a second book on Composites for High Schools, Community Colleges, Hobbyists and Freshmen Engineering Students. He also contributes extensively to organizations and events such as SPE, CAMX (the Composites & Advanced Materials Expo), SAMPE (Society for the Advancement of Materials & Process Engineering), the ACMA (American Composites Manufacturers Association) and ICCM International (the International Conference on Composite Materials) as a session organizer, panel discussion coordinator, presenter, exhibitor, invited speaker, and think-tank discussion participant. Furthermore, Vaidya has organized several conferences and workshops himself dealing with composites and plastics research and education. His contributions were recognized in the August/September 2012 issue of CM (Composites Manufacturing) magazine as a B.E.S.T. (a bright, energetic, skilled trailblazer) from across the composites industry.

 

An entrepreneur as well, Vaidya is a principal and co-founder of Innovative Composite Solutions (ICS), an Alabama company that was established in 2009 after winning first place and $100,000 USD in the Alabama Launchpad Competition that year.  ICS has commercial ventures with high-tech, lightweight composite products for the infrastructure/buildings, power transmission, defense, biomedical devices, and commodity markets. Vaidya also has served as consultant for a number of companies producing fiber-reinforced plastic piping, power/energy, and plastic products.

 

He holds a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Karnataka University in India where he was first in his graduating class. He earned an M.S. degree in Mechanical Design Engineering at Walchand College of Engineering (also in India) and received a doctorate in Mechanical Engineering at Auburn University in the U.S.

 

About the SPE ACCE

 

Held annually in suburban Detroit, the ACCE draws over 1,000 speakers, exhibitors, sponsors, and attendees and provides an environment dedicated solely to discussion and networking about advances in transportation composites.  Its global appeal is evident in the diversity of exhibitors, speakers, and attendees who come to the conference from Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia / Pacific as well as North America.  Fully one-third of attendees indicate they work for automotive and light truck, agriculture, truck & bus, or aviation OEMs, and another 25% represent tier suppliers.  Attendees also work for composite materials, processing equipment, additives, or reinforcement suppliers; trade associations, consultants, university and government labs; media; and investment bankers.  The show has been jointly sponsored by the SPE Automotive and Composites Divisions since 2001.

 

The 17th-annual SPE ACCE will be held September 6-8, 2017 at The Diamond Banquet & Conference Center at the Suburban Collection Showplace, 46100 Grand River Avenue, Novi, MI 48374.  For more information about the SPE ACCE, see http://speautomotive.com/comp.htm, or http://specomposites.com.

 

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® SPE is a registered trademark of the Society of Plastics Engineers. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

30
Oct
16

Safety Category Finalists Announced for 2016 #SPEInnovationAwards Competition

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The Automotive Division of the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE®) today announced the Safety Category finalists for its 46th-annual Automotive Innovation Awards Competition, the oldest and largest recognition event in the automotive and plastics industries. Nominations were first subjected to a pre-qualification review and then were presented before a panel of industry experts on September 29-30, 2016. That panel sent forward the most innovative nominations (category finalists) to the Blue Ribbon judging round, which was held October 10, 2016. Category and Grand Award winners selected during the Blue Ribbon judging round will be announced on the evening of November 9, 2016 during the 46th SPE Automotive Innovation Awards Gala.

 

CATEGORY: SAFETY

Seat Cushion Frame and Storage Door

OEM Make & Model: 2016 Ford Motor Co. Ford Super Duty pickup

Tier Supplier/Processor: Royal Technologies Corp.

Material Supplier / Toolmaker: Celanese Corp. / Vortec Tooling Solutions, Inc.

Material / Process:  Celstran GF40-20 LFT-PP / injection molding

Description:  For the first time, a polymer composite has replaced magnesium in a structural seat-cushion frame and under-seat storage lid for a front center 20% seat with integrated restraint system. The application is weight neutral and lower cost (≈$4 USD/unit), and satisfies all safety and crashworthiness requirements. Its flexible architecture allows for updates with future enhancements. Injection molded 40% LFT-PP is used to mold the frame, which also features an expanded polypropylene (EPP) antisubmarine foam block and a lockable ergo-latch. The assembly represents a significant reduction in carbon footprint vs. magnesium and has yielded 2 awarded and 2 pending patents.

Next Generation Armrest for Side Impact

OEM Make & Model: 2016 Ford Motor Co. Ford Super Duty pickup

Tier Supplier/Processor:  Yanfeng USA Automotive Trim Systems Company, Inc.

Material Supplier / Toolmaker: LyondellBasell / ToolPlas Systems Inc.

Material / Process:  SG702  PP & multiple / injection molding

Description:  Minimizing door intrusion during side impacts usually requires intensive body-structure countermeasures. Abdomen criteria for 5th and 50th percentile dummies are primarily driven by door-trim armrest stiffness during side impacts. This new door-trim armrest improves safety as a tuning component by acting as a load limiter and absorbing energy. Comprised of a skin, foam pad, PP-nonwoven trampoline fabric, ABS armrest substrate, and PP trampoline frame, the system is significantly softer than previous designs, substantially outperforming static and dynamic functional requirements without adding countermeasures, cost, or weight. Further, armrest durability improves 6 times, and costs and weight are reduced $31.80 and 3.8 kg per vehicle.

Modular Composite Front-Seat Cushion Pan

OEM Make & Model: 2017 Ford Motor Co. Lincoln Continental luxury sedan

Tier Supplier/Processor: Leggett & Platt, Great Lakes Trim & Grammer Industries / Engineered Plastics, Grand Traverse Plastics & Johnson Electric

Material Supplier / Toolmaker: BASF Corp., Advanced Composites, Inc. & DuPont Automotive / MacLean-Fog, Commercial Tool & Die & Johnson Electric

Material / Process:  ULTRAMID B3ZG7 OSI PA, ADX 5017 TPO, Delrin 100P NC010 POM / injection molding

Description:  This patent-pending, plastics-intensive, modular composite front seat-cushion pan (in impact-modified 35% GR PA), side-airbag deployment back panel (in talc-filled TPO), and power head-restraint drive nut (in POM) create a robust and dynamic crash-energy management system for front impact protection, side airbag deployment, and energy management for occupant impact protection. Further, the system enables modular assembly and scalable features for assembly ease.  Already 83 patents have been filed and 12 granted on this innovative seat system.

Interested in attending this year’s event?  There is still time to buy individual tickets or tables of 10 seats. Register here.

For more information, see http://speautomotive.com/inno and http://speautomotive.com/awa .

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® SPE is a registered trademark of the Society of Plastics Engineers. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

29
Oct
16

Process, Assembly & Enabling Technologies Category Finalists Announced for 2016 #SPEInnovationAwards Competition

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The Automotive Division of the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE®) today announced the Process, Assembly & Enabling Technologies Category finalists for its 46th-annual Automotive Innovation Awards Competition, the oldest and largest recognition event in the automotive and plastics industries. Nominations were first subjected to a pre-qualification review and then were presented before a panel of industry experts on September 29-30, 2016. That panel sent forward the most innovative nominations (category finalists) to the Blue Ribbon judging round, which was held October 10, 2016. Category and Grand Award winners selected during the Blue Ribbon judging round will be announced on the evening of November 9, 2016 during the 46th SPE Automotive Innovation Awards Gala.

 

CATEGORY: PROCESS, ASSEMBLY & ENABLING TECHNOLOGIES

Zipper Clip

OEM Make & Model: 2017 General Motors Co. Chevrolet Malibu midsize sedan

Tier Supplier/Processor: 3 Dimensional Services Group

Material Supplier / Toolmaker: Celanese Corp. / 3 Dimensional Services Group

Material / Process:  Celcon M90 POM / injection molding

Description: The zipper clip is a plastic solution that gives the holding benefits of a stud-and-nut combination while reducing production limitations. Ideal for use where a nut is desired but not feasible, this is the first stud insert with 4 ratcheting control features and a self-centering 2-way locator that holds over 120 lb/54.43 kg of weight while it requires low ergonomic effort (5.11 lb/2.32 kg) for assembly. The design reduces spring back as well as weight and cost and eliminates the need for assembly equipment as well as an isolator, since it protects the stud from corrosion.

Hot-Gas Welded Thermostat Housing Assembly

OEM Make & Model: 2017 Ford Motor Co. 3.5L V6 Cyclone TiVCT GTDI engines

Tier Supplier/Processor: Plastic Tec – Bocar Group

Material Supplier / Toolmaker: DuPont Automotive / Schweiger GmbH & Co. KG

Material / Process:  Zytel HTN HTN51G35HSLR BK420 PPA / injection molding & hot gas welding

Description:   Hot-gas welding joins both halves of this 35% GR-PPA thermostat housing assembly. The part has a small welding-flange footprint but high weld strength because there is no fiber/material degradation during the joining process. In fact, it is the only welding process that permits bridging of glass across the joint. The weld distance is held within 0.1 mm, enabling parts to package into very limited spaces with tight tolerances. Since the part is not touched during welding, there is no sticking. Versus previous aluminum solutions, the PPA assembly is 30% lighter and 40% less costly.

Two-Shot Map Lamp Lens

OEM Make & Model: 2017 Ford Motor Co. Lincoln Continental luxury sedan

Tier Supplier/Processor:  Flex Auto (Flextronics)

Material Supplier / Toolmaker: SABIC / Flex Auto (Flextronics)

Material / Process:  Lexan 143R HFD1830 PC / 2-shot injection molding

Description:  A redesigned capacitive touch lens produced via 2-shot molding eliminates molding defects while maintaining an ideal bonding surface and clear aperture for best light intensity. Eliminating a second tool, the Fresnel pattern is molded into the core of the first shot, which becomes the cavity of the second shot as the latter is layered over the former, keeping both outer surfaces smooth. Using 2 grades of PC with a 40o difference in heat-deflection temperature (HDT) eliminates the problem of the second shot melting the first during overmolding. Eliminating a tool reduced costs 25%.

Robotic Laser Cutting and Welding of TPO Fascia

OEM Make & Model: 2017 General Motors Co. Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 sports car

Tier Supplier/Processor: Magna Exteriors, Inc. / Magna Exterior – DexSys

Material Supplier / Toolmaker: LyondellBasell / Jenoptik AG

Material / Process:  Hifax TYC1168X TPO / injection molding

Description:  A hydraulic punch and sonic welding operation was replaced by robotic laser cutting and welding of a Class A exterior fascia. Unlike other welding processes, it is not necessary to thicken wallstock in weld areas to prevent readthrough with robotic laser welding of brackets on the backside of the part, and that reduces weight slightly. It also eliminates the need for contoured horns and punches. Clean cuts can be made in 1 sec on the painted side of the part. The dual-function process provides greater flexibility between programs and reduces floor space and tooling costs.

Assisted Positive-Locking Junction Box

OEM Make & Model: 2016 General Motors Co. Chevrolet Camaro sports cars

Tier Supplier/Processor: Yazaki North America Inc.

Material Supplier / Toolmaker: DuPont Automotive / Yazaki North America Inc.

Material / Process:  Multiple / Multiple

Description:  This tool-less, single-lever, self-locking underhood bussed electrical center (UBEC) guarantees proper connections for 4 connectors from 4 different wire harnesses using 1 hand and low assembly effort. There is no need to re-orient the UBEC to install mating connectors during OEM assembly. The result is a robust, high-circuit-capacity design that s ergonomically friendly to assembly-line workers. Additional benefits are a 7% weight savings, 8% additional spare electrical content, 10% reduction in overall footprint, better water-ingress protection, and 30% less assembly time.

 

Interested in attending this year’s event?  There is still time to buy individual tickets or tables of 10 seats. Register here.

For more information, see http://speautomotive.com/inno and http://speautomotive.com/awa .

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® SPE is a registered trademark of the Society of Plastics Engineers. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

22
Oct
16

Aftermarket Category Finalists Announced for 2016 #SPEInnovationAwards Competition

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The Automotive Division of the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE®) today announced the Aftermarket Category finalists for its 46th-annual Automotive Innovation Awards Competition, the oldest and largest recognition event in the automotive and plastics industries. Nominations were first subjected to a pre-qualification review and then were presented before a panel of industry experts on September 29-30, 2016. That panel sent forward the most innovative nominations (category finalists) to the Blue Ribbon judging round, which was held October 10, 2016. Category and Grand Award winners selected during the Blue Ribbon judging round will be announced on the evening of November 9, 2016 during the 46th SPE Automotive Innovation Awards Gala.

 

CATEGORY: AFTERMARKET

Dual-Option Insert Carbon Fiber Composite Fuel-Filler Door

OEM Make & Model: 2017 General Motors Co. Chevrolet Camaro sports car

Tier Supplier/Processor: Polytec FOHA Inc. / NOVO Plastics Inc.

Material Supplier / Toolmaker: Mitsubishi Rayon Co., Ltd., SABIC, & Basler / Integrity Tool & Mold Inc.

Material / Process:  Pyrofil carbon fiber, Noryl GTX modified-polyphenylene ether (MPPE)/ polyamide (PA 6); Urethane TR; clearcoat / injection or compression molding

Description:  This fuel-filler door design features inserts of either injection molded and painted MPPE/PA6 (in black, metallic silver, or red to match body paint) or compression molded and clear coated carbon fiber-reinforced composite with visible weave. The unique design of the system accommodates either the 2.0 mm-thick injection molded or the 1.0 mm-thick compression molded insert. The specially designed tool enables the Camaro name (with a 0.25 radius) on the fuel-filler door to be painted. Proprietary material is used for the visible-weave carbon composite version and a special clear coat on that insert offers 75% cost savings.

 

Carbon Fiber Composite Spoiler

OEM Make & Model: 2016 General Motors Co. Chevrolet Corvette sports car

Tier Supplier/Processor:  deBotech, Inc.

Material Supplier / Toolmaker: Solvay / deBotech, Inc.

Material / Process:  Solvay MTM5790 epoxy

Description:  This 1-piece aftermarket epoxy/carbon fiber spoiler provides a premium carbon composite appearance and enables the same aerodynamic performance as production 3-piece spoilers with different aero variants while also reducing mass by 40%. The spoiler’s unique design and proprietary tooling combines solid wickerbills and an open cavity blade plus integral threaded inserts to facilitate manufacturing and assembly. The 1-piece construction offers a cleaner appearance due to reduction of fasteners. The spoiler is offered in both clear coat with exposed weave and painted in carbon flash metallic paint.

 

Interested in attending this year’s event?  There is still time to buy individual tickets or tables of 10 seats. Register here.

For more information, see http://speautomotive.com/inno and http://speautomotive.com/awa .

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® SPE is a registered trademark of the Society of Plastics Engineers. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

11
Aug
16

SPE® Announces Winners of Rehkopf, #SPEACCE Scholarships

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Today organizers for the SPE® Automotive Composites Conference & Exhibition (ACCE) announced the winners of the group’s three annual SPE ACCE scholarships sponsored by the Michigan Economic Development Corp. as well as two new Dr. Jackie Rehkopf scholarships from an endowed fund that has been set up to honor the long-time SPE ACCE committee member, SPE Automotive Division board member, and automotive composites researcher.

ACCE scholarship winners are required to present the results of their research at next year’s SPE ACCE show, September 6-8, 2017, while Rehkopf scholarship winners are required to either present the results of their research at next year’s SPE ACCE or publish them in an SPE journal. Both scholarships are administered as part of the SPE Foundation®.

The two winners of the SPE ACCE graduate scholarships ($2,000 USD each) were Mr. Lu Wang of University of Maine-Orono and Mr. Srikanth Raviprasad of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. A third ACCE scholarship (also $2,000 USD) for a student attending a university or college in the U.S. state of Michigan was won by Ms. Mariana Batista of Michigan State University. The two Rehkopf scholarships ($5,000 USD each) were won by Mr. Sebastian Goris of University of Wisconsin-Madison and Mr. Robert Hart of University of Iowa.

 

Lu-WangUMaineLRCroppedLu Wang won his SPE ACCE graduate scholarship with the topic:  Cellulose Nanofibrils Reinforced Polypropylene by 3D Printing for Lightweighting.  About his project and its potential impact on the automotive composites industry, Wang said, “CNF [cellulose nanofibrils], a type of nano-scale cellulose fibers, have extraordinary potential to be used as a reinforcement in polymers. They are estimated to be as strong as steel, but five-times lighter and with stiffness equivalent to high-performance aramid fibers. Compared to other kinds of reinforcements, CNF has lower density, higher specific strength and modulus, lower cost, worldwide availability, recyclability, and biodegradability. On a related subject, 3D printing has been found to benefit the automobile industry, especially for prototyping design and testing. However, two obstacles exist for 3D printing some semi-crystalline polymers like polypropylene (PP). First, the PP molecule crystallizes during printing, which leads to residual stresses and warpage of the printed layers. Second, the mechanical properties of printed polymers are only 60-80% of their injection-molded counterparts because the printing process generates many voids inside parts. Hence the two objectives of my research are to explore the use of CNF in 3D printed PP and to make printed PP parts equally strong as their injection molded counterparts.”

Wang holds a B.S. degree from the Department of Wood Science at Central South Forestry University (Changsha, Hunan, China). He continued to study bamboo-based engineering composites at Nanjing Forestry University (Nanjing, Jiangsu, China) and graduated in 2013 with an M.S. degree. He currently is a Ph.D. candidate in Forest Resources at University of Maine working under the supervision of Prof. Douglas Gardner. He has had seven journal articles published and has two more awaiting publication. To date, papers Wang has either authored or co-authored have been published in six journals (including two review articles) and two conference proceedings, and he also has authored a chapter in the book Progress in Adhesion and Adhesives. His work has been featured on posters and presentations given at conferences in the U.S., Canada, and China. He was the winner of a graduate student poster competition for the SPE Polymer Nanocomposites Conference in 2014. He also won the George L. Houston Scholarship (2014) and Blumenstock Family Forest Products Graduate Student of the Year Award (2015) from the School of Forest Resources at University of Maine. In addition, he co-mentored two students from the National Science Foundation-Research Experience for Undergraduate (NSF-REU) program for research on cellulose nanofiber modification and 3D printing. After graduation, Wang plans to continue working in research in the field of polymer nanocomposites at an industrial research center or a university.

Srikanth Raviprasad_croppedSrikanth Raviprasad won his SPE ACCE graduate scholarship with the topic:  Novel Structure-Material System to Resist High Velocity Impacts.  Explaining the significance of his work on the automotive composites industry, Raviprasad said, “My aim is to elevate the current technology for sandwich structures by introducing a novel cellular architecture ― triply periodic minimal surface (TPMS) ― made of polymers (primarily polyamide) as the core material in order to improve the impact response and increase the energy absorption of composite sandwich structures.  The sandwich panel’s face sheets will be designed using glass-fiber laminates of different fiber-volume fractions, with its stacking and orientation criteria inspired by examples found in nature ― like architectures of armadillo and stomatopod shells ― to effectively transfer impact load across the surface rather than through the thickness of the structure. Results from both computations and physical experiments will be compared against those obtained from traditional aluminum-core sandwich structures used today to see if we can achieve a better material response with our novel technology. If we are successful, it could effectively lead to both lighter weight and lower cost components for rough-terrain vehicles that are prone to impact loads from ground, weather, and the other conditions.”

Originally from India, Raviprasad earned his Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Manipal University (Manipal, Karnataka, India) in 2015 and graduated as his department’s Special Achiever for two consecutive years. During his tenure as an undergraduate student, he served as the subsystem head of the Structures Thermals and Mechanisms team for his university’s student satellite project where he guided the project through a successful preliminary design review phase with the Indian Space Research Organization. Raviprasad has published over 10 papers in conference proceedings and journals, was selected as a GE Foundation Scholar-Leader in 2013, and also received a Sir Ratan Tata Travel Grant in 2015. Additionally, he was awarded a Bronze Volunteer certificate for work with the Volunteer Services Organization. As an intern, Raviprasad has worked on diverse projects in the healthcare, aero-structures, composite materials, and aerodynamics industries while at General Electric Co., United Technologies Corp., National Aerospace Laboratories, and the Indian Institute of Science. He currently works as a graduate research assistant and a graduate teaching assistant at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign under Dr. Iwona Jasiuk. He extended his professional experience by interning at Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. this summer and plans to graduate by the end of 2016 with an M.S. degree in Aerospace Engineering.  He also is a certified Lean Six-Sigma Green Belt, McKinley Toastmaster, PADI-certified Open Water scuba diver, and a student member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).

LR_Mariana Batista-squareMariana Desireé Reale Batista won her SPE ACCE Michigan scholarship with the topic:  Hybrid Cellulose Composites: Lightweight Materials for Automotive Applications.  Describing the research she will do on this project, Batista says, “Lower weight, high strength, and high stiffness are often identified as desirable properties for parts used in both the aerospace and automotive fields. In order to achieve these engineering goals, meet the fuel economy and emissions mandates in many parts of the world, and contribute to global sustainable development, cellulose fibers have attracted considerable attention within the transportation industry. As a class of reinforcing agents for polymer composites, they have been widely studied because of their low cost, low density, high mechanical properties, and considerable environmental benefits. My proposed research is focused on development of hybrid composites combining cellulose fiber with glass fiber, carbon fiber, and talc in matrices of polypropylene or biobased polyamide, and on evaluating the mechanical and thermal properties of the resulting composites for automotive underhood and body interior applications. In this project I am investigating synergetic effects of combining various fibers, looking for the ideal concentration of each constituent, and also qualifying the fiber-matrix interphase. It is worth mentioning that hybrid composites reinforced exclusively with cellulose fibers are less frequently developed, but they also are potentially useful materials with respect to environmental concerns for automotive applications. The hybrid cellulose composites from this research may replace or reduce the use of synthetic fibers in many automotive applications leading to weight and cost savings. Therefore this new approach to the development of eco-friendly and lightweight composite materials should be beneficial to the transportation industry.”

Originally from Brazil, Batista graduated summa cum laude with a B.S. degree in Mechatronics Engineering in 2011 and received an M.B.A. degree in Administration and Business Management in 2014, both from Universidade Salvador (UNIFACS, Salvador, Brazil). After graduating, she worked at Ford Motor Co. in Camaçari, Brazil as a product development engineer in the powertrain department, where she was awarded a certificate of excellence in 2012 in recognition to her good performance leading manual transmission development for Ford’s South American Operations. After several years at Ford, in 2014 Batista received a full-time scholarship from the Brazilian government (CAPES) to pursue a doctorate degree in the U.S. She currently is a doctoral student in Materials Science & Engineering at MSU working under the supervision of Prof. Lawrence Drzal. There, she works in the Composite Materials and Structures Center where her research is focused on carbon fiber-reinforced polymer composites, specifically modification of the fiber-polymer interphase with cellulose nanowhiskers. Batista’s work has been featured on posters at conferences in the U.S. During the summer of 2016, she interned at Ford Motor Co. in Dearborn, Mich., U.S.A., where she worked as a visiting scientist in the Sustainable Plastics and Biomaterials Research Group. She has been involved in many organizations as a volunteer, providing assistance in outreach activities and student competitions. After graduation, she plans to work in the automotive industry investigating the development of polymer composites. Batista says she hopes to share her experiences and inspire new students and researchers in the field of sustainable materials.

Goris_LRSebastian Goris won his Rehkopf scholarship with the topic:  Experimental Evaluation and Numerical Simulation of the Process-Induced Fiber Configuration in LFT Injection Molding.  About his work and its potential impact on the automotive composites industry, Goris says, “During moldfilling of LFT [long-fiber thermoplastic] materials, the fiber configuration significantly changes as reflected by fiber attrition, excessive fiber orientation, fiber jamming, and fiber-matrix separation. A major challenge in the field of LFT processing has been and remains the lack of availability of reliable measurement techniques to allow accurate fiber property measurements of sufficiently large samples in a timely manner. The goal of my research is to gain an in-depth understanding of the underlying physics behind fiber motion and the process-induced microstructure of the fibers. As one part of my research, I’m developing novel measurement concepts to evaluate the process-induced fiber microstructure to validate simulation results by using sophisticated techniques, including micro-computed tomography. Additionally, I am working on new simulation approaches and models to better predict changes in fiber configuration during processing ― in particular to control and predict the reduction of fiber length in LFT processing, which affects mechanical properties of the resultant part. As we develop expertise in measurement techniques and modeling approaches, we’ll be able to apply them to study the relationships between microstructural parameters and unsolved phenomena, such as fiber attrition and fiber agglomeration in injection molded parts. Eventually, the results of my work will translate into an improved understanding of the damage and motion of fibers during injection molding, which is necessary to fully exploit the lightweight advantages of LFT materials.”

Originally from Germany, Goris holds a B.S. degree from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at RWTH Aachen University (Aachen, Germany). While completing his undergraduate degree, he focused on polymer processing and worked as a research assistant at the university’s Institute of Plastics Processing (IKV). In 2012, he received a full one-year scholarship from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) to attend graduate school at UW-Madison where, under the direction of Prof. Tim Osswald, he completed his M.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering and now is pursuing a doctorate in the same discipline plus a minor in Business Administration. Already Goris has authored or co-authored papers in six conference proceedings as well as a chapter on Composites Manufacturing Processes for the Mechanical Engineering Handbook, 2nd edition. Additionally his work has been featured on posters and presentations given at conferences in the U.S., Germany, and Israel. Besides working as a graduate research assistant, Goris also holds the position of chief engineer at the Polymer Engineering Center (PEC) at UW-Madison. In 2013, his course project placed second in the Ratner Award Competition at UW-Madison. The following year he was a recipient of an SPE ACCE graduate scholarship from the SPE Automotive and Composites Divisions as well as an Academic Achievement Award from the Division of International Studies and International Services at UW-Madison. In 2016, he also won a Dr. Jackie Rehkopf Best Paper award for excellence in technical writing on a topic he will present at the 2016 SPE ACCE. After graduating, Goris plans to work in research on composite materials and processes in the transportation industry.

LR_Robert HartRobert Hart won his Rehkopf scholarship with the topic:  Multi-Physics Effects in Carbon Fiber Polymer Matrix Composites.  Discussing why his research will be of interest to those working in the transportation composites field, Hart notes, “My project will focus on developing theoretical models for designed optimal composite structures for multifunctional applications. I’ll explore the use of new, advanced reinforcement media (e.g. carbon nanotubes, buckypaper, and graphene) that provide optimum combinations of electrical, thermal, and mechanical properties.  My areas of interest include damage modeling and the influence of damage on the multi-physics response in advanced composites. This research should eventually lead to the development of “smart structures” with capabilities like real-time damage sensing that will be of interest to manufactures of aerospace as well as ground vehicles.”

Currently a doctoral candidate at the College of Engineering at the University of Iowa, Hart also is a U.S. Department of Defense SMART Scholar and works in collaboration with the U.S. Army Tank and Automotive Research and Development Engineering Center (TARDEC). Before starting his Ph.D. study, Hart worked for three years as an R&D and project engineer in the plastics industry for Centro Inc. (North Liberty, Iowa, U.S.A.). In that role he led the design, budget proposal, and construction of an industry-leading laboratory for material testing of cross-linked polymers. He also served as the plastics materials expert on a team that developed a novel fire-retardant, multilayer-composite fuel tank for applications in extreme operating environments. The tank was successfully commercialized and is now the flagship product produced at a new manufacturing facility Centro operates in Brazil. Upon returning to university, Hart served as a graduate teaching assistant for a mixed graduate/undergraduate course on composite materials where he was able to draw on his industry experience to guide students as they developed their own composite design projects.  He also served as a guest lecturer when the primary instructor was traveling. He holds both B.S. and M.S. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Iowa. After graduating with his doctorate in 2017, Hart will work at TARDEC full time and continue to advance composites research in the ground-vehicle sector.

Held annually in suburban Detroit, the ACCE draws over 1,000 speakers, exhibitors, sponsors, and attendees and provides an environment dedicated solely to discussion and networking about advances in transportation composites.  This year’s show will be held September 7-9, 2016 at The Diamond Banquet & Conference Center at the Suburban Collection Showplace, 46100 Grand River Avenue, Novi, MI 48374.  Learn more: http://speautomotive.com/comp.htm, or http://specomposites.com.

 

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