Thursday, June 15, 2006

University of Virginia Professor Robert Kelly’s Rust Research Proves Valuable to Pentagon 9/11 Memorial

June 15, 2006 — UVA Top News

Today in Arlington, Va., there will be a formal groundbreaking for the memorial to commemorate the 184 people killed when hijackers slammed an airplane into the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001. Among the 150 family members and other guests invited to attend the event is Robert Kelly, professor of materials science and engineering at the University of Virginia, who has lent his expertise to the project.

Designed by two young architects from New York, Julie Beckman and Keith Kaseman, who won a
Robert Kelly
worldwide competition that attracted 1,126 entries, the memorial will consist of 184 simple, streamlined metal benches — one for each of the people killed during the terrorist attack — cantilevered over lighted reflecting pools. The benches will be oriented differently, depending on whether the victim was in the building or on the plane. Behind the benches of those killed in the building, visitors will see the Pentagon; behind the benches of those killed in the plane, visitors will see the sky.

Soon after winning the design competition, the architects contacted Kelly and Edgar A. Starke Jr., former dean of U.Va.’s engineering school and professor of materials science and engineering. Starke is a well-known authority on aluminum alloys. The architects sought advice on the best material to use for their benches.

“They wanted to use aluminum for the memorial units for each of the victims,” Kelly said. “But aluminum alloys are not the best materials to use because they’re not particularly resistant to corrosion.”

The environment surrounding the memorial has more than its share of corrosive elements — deicing salts from nearby highways, gases from vehicle emissions and a saltwater tidal basin. Also, the memorial design calls for a highly reflective surface on the metal benches, which is difficult to achieve and maintain with aluminum.

Kelly, whose expertise is in corrosion, began to look for a stainless steel alloy that would meet the needs of the architects — corrosion resistance, high reflectivity — while remaining affordable and easy to work with.

After five castings of sample benches using different steel alloys at a foundry in St. Louis, Mo., Kelly believes the project team is closing in on a stainless steel alloy that will work. A commercially available product — SS 316LN, an austenitic stainless steel — is a likely candidate. It is a stainless steel that, along with iron, is composed of chromium (18 percent), nickel (12 percent), molybdenum (2.5 percent) and nitrogen (0.13 percent).

“The steel is about two and a half times more expensive than aluminum, but it will resist corrosion much better and cost less to maintain,” Kelly said. “The design goal for the memorial is to last 100 years.”

About $10 million has been raised for the memorial, which is expected to cost about $22 million. Organizers plan to raise an additional $10 million to ensure the memorial’s maintenance. The federal government has contributed about $1 million to the project, which is being funded primarily by private donors. Kelly provided his services on a pro-bono basis.

Monday, June 5, 2006

U.Va. Engineering Joins Statewide Partnership for Nanotechnology, Wins $600,000 NSF Innovation Grant

 June 5, 2006 — UVA Top News

The University of Virginia's School of Engineering and Applied Science, one of six institutions that comprise the newly formed Virginia Partnership for Nanotechnology Education and Workforce Development, recently won a "Partnerships for Innovation" grant from the National Science Foundation.

The award, which totals $600,000 over two years, will enable the Partnership to offer distance-learning graduate courses and certificate programs to students across Virginia.

The Virginia Partnership for Nanotechnology and Workforce Development is a collaboration of the science and engineering programs at George Mason University, the College of William & Mary, Old Dominion University, the University of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University and Virginia Tech. The U.Va. School of Continuing and Professional Studies is also a participant.

The Partnership builds on the state's Commonwealth Graduate Engineering Program and Virginia Microelectronics Consortium. The Commonwealth Graduate Engineering Program was founded in 1984 to offer distance-learning engineering education at the master's level. The Virginia Microelectronics Consortium was founded in the mid 1990s to support development of the microelectronics industry in Virginia through corporate-university collaboration.
James Groves

"Nanotechnology is a very broad field, and educationally it's difficult for any one institution to cover the entire spectrum," said James Groves, assistant dean for research and outreach at U.Va.'s School of Engineering and Applied Science and state chairman of the Commonwealth Graduate Engineering Program. "By connecting students and faculty statewide, allowing students to benefit from the knowledge of faculty who specialize in many of the different aspects of nanotechnology, we're creating a great, comprehensive graduate experience."

The partnership will begin sharing graduate-level engineering classes in the spring of 2007. Distance-learning courses will be organized around five educational tracks: nanomanufacturing, nanomaterials and characterization, nanomodeling and simulation, nanoelectronics and nanobiotechnology. In addition to contributing courses for use in traditional graduate degree programs, the partnership will also offer opportunities for working engineers to study a specific aspect of nanotechnology that interests them. By completing a sequence of four to five classes in a specific area of nanotechnology (e.g., nanoelectronics), engineering professionals can earn a certificate in a program that may not have been taught when they went to school.

"Engineers can now have access to courses that were not available 15, 10, even five years ago," Groves said. "We help the state's corporate residents by providing their workers with cutting-edge continuing education opportunities that might not otherwise exist." Groves said that industry-centered "short courses" are planned for corporations whose workers are interested in learning about specific aspects of the growing field. The program is also sponsoring two annual nanotechnology workshops in Virginia, with the first one this month, June 11-13, in Newport News, Va.

"The Virginia Partnership for Nanotechnology Education and Workforce Development is carefully crafted so as to provide an important service to the state's academic and corporate engineering communities," said Sara Nerlove, director of the NSF Partnerships for Innovation program. "Engineering students and professionals statewide will benefit from this collaboration, which orchestrates and leverages the expertise available in the state, not only to make available a variety of nanotechnology curricula, but also to provide deep understanding of the complex issues surrounding nanotechnology."

Corporate partners for the program include Luna Innovations Inc., Materials Modification Inc., Micron Technology Inc., NanoSonic Inc., nanoTITAN Inc., Northrop Grumman Newport News, Philip Morris USA Inc., and Qimonda AG (formerly Infineon Technologies AG).
"I am delighted that the Virginia universities have partnered with Micron Technology in this endeavor," says Terry Leslie, manager of university and academic relations at Micron Technology Virginia and member of the Virginia Research and Technology Advisory Commission. "This collaboration builds upon the global momentum surrounding nanotechnology and illustrates the state's dedication to research and development in this growing field."