Vijaya Chalivendra, professor of Mechanical Engineering at UMass Dartmouth, has received a $430,631 award from the National Science Foundation’s Division of Materials Research for his project “REU site: Advanced Interdisciplinary Materials Research for Maritime Applications.”
“The REU site will advance the knowledge and develop new methods or processes to fabricate novel materials with maritime applications,” Chalivendra explains. “The projects will leverage and advance a wide range of studies on novel materials currently underway at UMassD including, nonaqueous redox flow batteries, multi-functional sandwich composites, functional composite materials for structural energy storage, underwater super-hydrophobic surfaces, tactile sensors, bioinspired photonic materials, meta-materials, granular materials, and nanostructured surfaces for antifouling.”
The site will also engage low-income, academically talented students who have limited opportunities for research experiences at their local community college institutions. The multi-disciplinary site integrates faculty from the College of Engineering’s Bioengineering, Chemistry, Civil & Environmental Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering departments who have strong records of accomplishment in mentoring undergraduate and graduate students.
A summer cohort of 10 community college students will conduct cutting-edge research on advanced marine materials relevant to the region’s marine economy. Faculty mentors will collectively offer scientifically stimulating and challenging projects designed to encourage and prepare students for the research. Students will be involved in various additional activities, including, professional growth sessions, professional advising to help prepare for STEM-based careers, visits to local companies addressing commercial materials challenges in marine technology, and a concluding symposium
Graduates will have skills in experimental design, state-of-the-art instrumentation, data acquisition, modeling, and data analysis related to advanced materials. Through targeted recruitment, engaging research experiences, and professional development activities, this REU site will assist students with pursuing jobs in STEM fields, help them seek education at four-year research universities, and improve the maritime economy of the South Coast region of New England.
“Overall, the REU site will prepare scholars to address challenges in advanced materials and fill critical gaps in knowledge on materials needed to transform marine technologies,” says Chalivendra who has maintained a strong commitment to advising undergraduate students for research for the last 16 years at UMassD.