The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) on Dec. 15 announced up to $71 million in funding through its Technology Innovation Program (TIP) for 20 new cost-sharing projects that will support innovative, high-risk research in new technologies that address critical national needs. The awards will be matched by other funding sources to achieve nearly $150 million in new research over the next two to five years.
TIP is a merit-based, competitive program that provides cost-shared funding for research projects by single small- or medium-sized businesses or by joint ventures that also may include institutions of higher education, nonprofit research organizations and national laboratories. The 20 projects announced today were selected from a TIP competition announced on March 26, 2009, seeking projects addressing two broad areas of national interest:
1. The practical application of advanced materials including nanomaterials, advanced alloys and composites in manufacturing
2. The monitoring or repair of major public infrastructure systems, including water systems, dams and levees, and bridges, roads and highways.
TIP focused on developing new materials based on nanotechnology, advanced composites and so-called “superalloys” or smart materials—and expanding the capacity to incorporate these materials into new products—because many experts consider accelerated development of these advanced materials critical to potential growth in U.S. manufacturing. TIP’s second area of focus—civil infrastructure technology—built on TIP’s 2008 solicitation for new sensor technologies to improve the monitoring of large-scale civil infrastructure, including bridges or pipelines. This year’s competition emphasized technologies to detect structural damage in water resource systems like water and wastewater pipelines, dams, levees and waterway locks, as well as bridges and roadways, and added a second focus on new technologies for repair and retrofit of existing structures.
“President Obama is leading an effort to drive economic growth and solve national problems by deploying a 21st Century economy,” U.S. Commerce Deputy Secretary Dennis Hightower said. “These new projects will develop new technology and material that will play a critical role in modernizing infrastructure and developing the manufacturing sector across the country.”
Composites-related projects selected to receive funding include the following:
Functionalized Nano Graphene for Next-Generation Nano-Enhanced Products; Angstron Materials LLC (Dayton, Ohio); project duration: 3 years; projected TIP contribution: $1.494 million; total project cost (est.): $2.988 million. Goal: Develop processes for mass-producing chemically modified (“functionalized”) nano graphene for next-generation products, particularly for the energy industries.
Homogeneous Three-Dimensional Pultruded Processing of PEEK, PEI, and PPS High Temperature Thermoplastic Composite Profiles; Ebert Composites Corporation (Chula Vista, Calif.); project duration: 2 years projected TIP contribution: $1.866 million; total project cost (est.): $4.018 million. Goal: Develop a state-of-the-art manufacturing process to automate, on a large scale, the production of three-dimensional fiber composites with high-temperature thermoplastics.
High-Risk, Low-Cost Carbon Nanofiber Manufacturing Process Scale-Up; eSpin Technologies Inc. (Chattanooga, Tenn.); project duration: 3 years; projected TIP contribution: $3 illion; total project cost (est.): $6.006 million. Goal: Develop a commercial-scale manufacturing process for producing self-supporting, non-woven fabrics of both natural and activated carbon nanofibers.
Development and Scale-Up of Nanocomposites with Sub-10nm Particles; Pixelligent Technologies LLC (College Park, Md.) and Brewer Science Inc. (Rolla, Mo.); project duration: 3 years projected TIP contribution: $4.089 million; total project cost (est.): $8.178 million. Goal: Develop new processes and technologies for scaling up the production of high quality nanocomposites, by incorporating nanocrystals with precisely controlled size, shape, and surface chemistry into a polymer matrix for demanding and high-volume industrial applications.
Distributed Fiber-Optic Sensing Technology For Civil Infrastructure Management; Optellios Inc. (Newton, Pa.); project duration: 3 years; projected TIP contribution: $1.930 million; total project cost (est.): $3.917 million. Goal: Develop a distributed fiber-optic sensing technology to enable real-time monitoring, identifying and locating disturbances and changes over long stretches of pipelines.
Robotic Rehabilitation of Aging Water Pipelines; Fibrwrap Construction Inc. (Ontario, Calif.), Fyfe Co. LLC (San Diego, Calif.) and The Regents of University of California, (UCI; Irvine, Calif.); project duration: 5 years; projected TIP contribution: $8.462 million; total project cost (est.): $17.582 million. Goal: Develop a prototype robot to apply carbon fiber reinforcement inside water transmission pipes, allowing trenchless repair and rehabilitation, even in smaller pipes, as much as 11 times faster than human crews.
A Rapid Underground Pipe Rehabilitation Technology; LMK Enterprises Inc. (Ottawa, Ill.); project duration: 2 years; projected TIP contribution: $1.701 million; total project cost (est.): $3.411 million. Goal: Develop an advanced trenchless technology to rehabilitate the nation’s network of underground pipes by employing a novel dynamic resin-injection, molded-in-place pipe (MIPP) process, which can incorporate nanomaterials.
Development of High-Toughness, Low-Viscosity Resin for Reinforcing Pothole Patching Materials; The Regents of the University of California, (UCLA) (Los Angeles, Calif.) and Materia Inc. (Pasadena, Calif.); project duration: 3 years; projected TIP contribution: $1.499 million; total project cost (est.): $3.051 million. Goal: Develop an innovative pothole repair technology for asphalt pavement in both warm and cold weather using an ultra-high toughness, nano-molecular resin as a reinforcement or binder for the asphalt-aggregate pothole repair material.
Advanced Coating Technology for Infrastructure; MesoCoat Inc. (Euclid, Ohio), EMTEC (Dayton, Ohio and Polythermics (Kirkland, Wash.); project duration: 3 years; projected TIP contribution: $1.792 million; total project cost (est.): $3.956 million. Goal: Develop a novel coating technology using a high-intensity infrared light source to fuse and bond nanocomposite metal coatings and claddings to large steel structures such as bridges, oil rigs and pipelines.
For a complete list of projects funded by the TIP, click here.