Professor Hebert Leads Successful Research Collaboration Between UConn MSE and Industry

By Ben Crnic

Rainer Hebert, MSE Associate Professor; Castleman Professor in Engineering Innovation; Director of Additive Manufacturing Innovation Center; Associate Director of the Institute of Materials Science (IMS)

MSE professor Rainer Hebert recently led a study in collaboration with the Collins Aerospace Center for Advanced Materials at the UConn Tech Park. Collaborating partners also included Pratt & Whitney, Schlumberger Reservoir Completions Technology Center, and UTC Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence. The study, entitled “Novel Al-X alloys with improved hardness,” centers on high-strength aluminum-based materials for use in 3-D printing, an additive manufacturing process. 

This research is of strong interest to the aerospace industry because materials such as aluminum that are light and strong are used to manufacture small aircraft parts with complex geometries that are difficult to produce with traditional manufacturing.

“Working with Collins and Pratt & Whitney helped us remain focused on the end goal of aerospace applications, and their input is invaluable for bridging the gap from fundamental research to applications,” Hebert said.

The Collins Aerospace Center, established in 2016 and directed by MSE professor Pamir Alpay, is the result of continuing collaboration between UConn and Collins Aerospace, one of the world’s largest suppliers of technologically advanced aerospace and defense products. The center offers funding for studies that focus on areas related to materials development and characterization. It also provides an opportunity for firsthand interactions with an industrial partner whose technologies are used in advanced aerospace and defense applications.

This study is one of several related to 3-D printing that UConn MSE has conducted with the help of the Collins Center. Hebert expects that more collaborations will occur.

“We will continue on this trajectory and have new initiatives underway to collaborate with industry,” Hebert said.

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