UNT's Department of Materials Science and Engineering and the Department of Physics have been awarded a gift of $100,000 from the II-VI Foundation to fund a project titled, "Polymeric Sealants for Improvement of Effectiveness of Electric Power Generation."
Under the project, the UNT team will develop methods to extend the service life of thermoelectric devices, which provide safe, non-toxic cooling. The research could result in replacing Freon used in refrigerators and also in using waste heat from automobile exhaust to provide cooling inside the vehicle.
The project will be headed by Witold Brostow, Regents Professor of materials science and engineering and director of the Laboratory of Advanced Polymers & Optimized Materials. Graduate and undergraduate students, as well as some students attending UNT's Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science, will assist with the LAPOM project and receive credit for either materials science and engineering or physics.
"We think that it is important to support the students because they are the ones who generate a lot of the results and who do a lot of the research, and they are the ones who are hired by industry," says College of Engineering Dean Costas Tsatsoulis.
UNT is among 17 universities that were awarded funding for their research for the 2010-2011 academic year and will participate in a research cluster that includes Michigan State University, Washington State University, the University of Idaho and the California Institute of Technology, each funded by the II-VI Foundation.
The II-VI Foundation's mission is to encourage and enable students at all levels to pursue a career in engineering, science and mathematics.
With the project already underway, Brostow says the students have generated some preliminary results to report back to the foundation.
"The College of Engineering actively encourages our students to develop their technical communication skills, which is needed to report their results in the project," Brostow says. "Such useful research also helps to show the general public that engineers contribute to the quality of life through such innovations."
Elizabeth Smith with UNT News Service can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.