President Gretchen M. Bataille and Congressman Michael Burgess look on as U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison speaks during a press conference announcing that the two legislators secured a total of $8.3 million in government funding for our new Institute for Science and Engineering Simulation.
UNT scientists received a multimillion dollar government contract to study the causes of jet engine failure and how to develop stronger, more durable engines.
The university received $2.2 million this year and will receive an additional $6.36 million next year from the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory in Ohio to fund UNT's new Institute for Science and Engineering Simulation (ISES). The project was made possible through congressional appropriations.
Under the direction from the Air Force, professors and researchers from UNT's materials science and engineering and chemistry departments will use modeling, simulation and experimentation to study the performance of aircraft materials.
"With wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a great deal of stress is being placed on the country's aircraft," says Raj Banerjee, the director of ISES and UNT associate professor of materials science and engineering. "The research at UNT will help maintain and extend the life of aging aircraft, prevent catastrophic engine failure and aid the Air Force in developing better materials for the next generation of aircraft."
U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, and U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Lewisville, who helped secure the funding, say the partnership with UNT and the Air Force will be beneficial to both parties, as well as the entire country.
"I am proud to support this collaborative effort between the University of North Texas and the U.S. Air Force to develop more durable engines for our brave military personnel," Hutchison says. "The University of North Texas will be at the forefront of jet engine research and experimentation as the Air Force seeks to improve its next generation of aircraft."
Burgess says: "This ongoing federal investment in University of North Texas research will not only help the Air Force extend the lifespan of its aircraft, it also will yield solid returns for America's national security in the long run."
The funding was the latest piece of good news about significant support for research at UNT. Recently, the university committed to investing $25 million to develop collaborative research clusters that capitalize on our known areas of research strength.
"UNT is one of Texas' best universities and we are committed to excellence in everything we do. Senator Hutchison's and Representative Burgess's commitment to ensuring that our nation's brightest researchers are working to solve serious problems facing the United States military is remarkable and sincerely appreciated," President Gretchen M. Bataille says. "The work that the researchers involved in ISES will be able to do because of this funding will make a tremendous difference."
Two existing and nationally recognized centers at UNT will contribute to ISES: the Center for Advanced Research and Technology (CART) and the Center for Advanced Scientific Computing and Modeling (CASCaM).
The research will be two-fold. An experimental part involves advanced characterization, a process of determining the structure and properties of a material using the unique, state-of-the-art facilities in CART. The modeling and simulation part will use CASCaM's diverse modeling expertise to explore mechanisms associated with failure of aircraft components.
For example, researchers will study how jet engine components react to hostile conditions — such as extreme temperatures and strong winds — in which they must operate.
While the work is being funded by the military, researchers say their findings could be applicable to the aerospace industry as a whole, including commercial airlines.
Tom Cundari, UNT Regents Professor of chemistry and co-director of CASCaM, says UNT's appeal came from its unique ability to attack a set of problems using a wide array of simulation techniques from the atomic to the device level.
"We can combine cutting-edge modeling and simulation with world-class characterization skills and facilities," says Cundari, who is one of the eight professors who will work on ISES. "We're a one-stop shop for the Air Force."
UNT News Service Press Release
Sarah Bahari can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.