Tallahassee engineering students conduct research for the Air Force

Published: Dec. 1, 2021 at 6:56 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - The Air Force is now working with Florida State University, granting them more than $6 million to create and test the next generation of aerospace materials.

The research is underway now at the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering.

Students taking to the lab creating carbon materials the Air Force will use in everything from air planes to rockets.

“We will be working to make composite materials with the properties that the Air Force has requested that we try to achieve and we appreciate that the Air Force has the confidence in us,” Frank Allen, the Operations Director for the High Performance Materials Institute, explained.

Assistant Professor Rebekah Sweat teaches her students to invent new materials using computer simulations.

“So we can better design and predict with them. We can use that information and take it to manufacturing and better optimize the different kind of multifunctional properties. Kind of like electrical properties, strength properties,” Sweat described.

The newly fashioned materials are used to create panels which are then tested by master student Cecil Evers.

“I do a lot of the mechanical testing to see what is the strength, what is the stiffness of the panels, how do they behave in various temperatures. Right, if we start from room temperature and then go up to higher temperatures, how does that change the property of the panels,” Evers said.

Here, Evers is testing a panel’s strength by applying force until the material breaks.

Students are excited to conduct research for the military while still in college.

“Doing this research, you know, it might seem like you’re in a lab and you’re doing these tests but the further implications of what is actually happening is so much bigger than me and it’s so much bigger than a ten minute lab assessment and I think for me just knowing I can go into a lab and work for an hour and that can possibly do all these life changing things is so awesome,” Katelyn Sears, an undergraduate research assistant at the High Performance Materials Institute, stated.

Reaching for the sky, one experiment at a time.

Researchers at the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering are also working on a project for NASA, making materials for deep space exploration.

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