Dr. Alaa Elwany, assistant professor in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Texas A&M University, along with Dr. Ibrahim Karaman and Dr. Raymundo Arroyave from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering was awarded a $500,000 Early Stage Innovations (ESI) Research Grant from NASA for their proposal in response to the NASA SpaceTech-REDDI Research Announcement. Elwany is the PI on the proposal, while Karaman and Arroyave are the co-PIs.
A panel of subject matter experts assessed submissions against the criteria: relevance to NASA’s objectives, technical approach, management approach, and cost.
Early State Innovations is a part of the Space Technology Research, Development, Demonstration, and Infusion 2014 program. The program is an umbrella of research grants by NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate seeking aggressive technology development efforts that may require undertaking significant technical challenges and risk to achieve a higher potential payoff.
The grant money will support three Ph.D. students to be supervised by the project team members to investigate the fabrication of nickel-titanium shape memory alloys, commercially known as Nitinol, using selective laser melting (a laser-based additive manufacturing process).
“The award grant will be used by the team to study the additive manufacturing (3D Printing) of shape memory alloys," Elwany said. "These alloys are very sensitive to manufacturing process parameters, and the focus of this project will be on reducing the variability in the performance of printed (manufactured) parts through microstructure control and design. Shape memory alloys have very promising application potential across many industry sectors, including the automotive, aerospace, and biomedical sectors.”