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Two Alfred University professors awarded FuzeHub Manufacturing Grants

Alfred University | 9/02/19

Two Alfred University professors have been awarded FuzeHub Manufacturing Grants which will support a pair of manufacturing projects utilizing three-dimensional printing.


ALFRED, NY – Two Alfred University professors have been awarded FuzeHub Manufacturing Grants which will support a pair of manufacturing projects utilizing three-dimensional printing.

The grants, from the Jeff Lawrence Innovation Fund, are administered by FuzeHub, a non-profit agency that provides New York State manufacturers with guided access to its extensive network of industry experts, programs and assets to solve productivity, commercialization, research and development issues, and other challenges to growth.

Dr. S.K. Sundaram, Inamori Professor of materials science and engineering, and Dr. Junjun Ding, assistant professor of materials science and engineering, were each awarded $50,000 in grant funding.

Ding’s grant project partners Alfred University with Bonbouton, a smart fabrics manufacturer based in Long Island City, NY, which provides comprehensive preventative health solutions using wearable graphene sensors and connected software.

Bonbouton is developing shoe insoles that can detect early signs of diabetic foot ulcers in patients before they form. A continuous foot temperature monitoring system will offer a remote readout, providing real-time notifications to the user, and a connected dashboard accessible to healthcare providers and caregivers.

The project will develop an extrusion-based 3-D printing technology to manufacture conductive one-dimensional fibers and two-dimensional patterns for flexible and functional textiles using carbon nanomaterials-based composites of polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), a widely used silicon-based organic polymer. Ink containing a composite of graphene – a material consisting of a single layer of carbon atoms, tightly bound in a hexagonal honeycomb lattice – will be used to 3-D print conductive/flexible material which can be used in a host of medical applications, including Bonbouton’s shoe insole.

According to Bonbouton, the insoles are comfortable to wear, simple to use, and can help prevent the approximately 200 diabetes-related amputations that occur in the United States daily.

Ding and Chao Liu, a second-year doctoral student at Alfred University, will conduct research on the project from Ding’s research laboratory. They are working with officials from Bonbouton, including company founder Linh Le, to complete the project.

“We’re so excited to collaborate with Dr. Junjun Ding and Alfred University to develop novel printing technologies for textile-based sensors,” Linh Le said. “This work will tremendously expand Bonbouton’s technical core competency in manipulating graphene-based materials for a variety of wearable applications, offering a new way to 3-D print graphene on textile substrates.”
           

Sundaram’s project partners with Lithoz America, LLC, a Troy, NY-based company that has developed a system for the additive manufacture of ceramics suited for industrial and medical applications. Additive manufacturing is a process that produces layers of materials that, when placed together, create three-dimensional objects. The project will utilize the Lithoz CeraFab 8500 3-D printer housed in Alfred University’s Ceramic Research Education and Technology Enterprise (CREATE) Center.

In Sundaram’s project, 3-D printing technology will be used to develop a model for additive manufacturing of solid state fuel cells and batteries. This project will be the first step towards making all solid-state energy devices using additive manufacturing on a commercial scale. Solid-state energy devices have numerous advantages in terms of energy efficiency, compactness, form factor, low corrosion with no liquid or melt, and longer life.

The additive manufacturing will also dramatically cut the cost to manufacture with significant reductions in material loss due to generally reductive approaches used in manufacture of these materials and devices. It is expected to be finished in one year, with a graduate assistant working with Sundaram on its completion.

Alfred University’s Lithoz CeraFab 8500 3-D printer, manufactured by Lithoz America, LLC was purchased last year through a U.S. Department of Energy Nuclear Energy University Program grant that covered 80 percent of the $509,850 cost of the equipment. The Inamori School of Engineering contributed the remaining 20 percent through its New York State-funded Center for Advanced Ceramic Technology (CACT). Alfred University alumnus Shawn Allan ’02 (B.S., materials science and engineering) is vice president of Lithoz America.