Many Egyptian/American professionals in Houston identify themselves as Doctors or Engineers that it’s almost a stereotype. Well, this is one man who is both. Dr. Alaa Elwany, assistant professor at the Dwight Look College of Engineering at Texas A&M University, was awarded the $500,000 Early Stage Innovations Research Grant from NASA for his “breakthrough” proposal to the “Space Technology Research, Development, Demonstration, and Infusion” or SpaceTech-REDDI.
“When you get affiliated with research you do for NASA, that’s something to get you excited” Dr. Elwany said. “I was extremely lucky to get this early in my career and eventually seeing my research being implemented in NASA”.
From the shores of Alexandria to the plains of Texas, Dr. Elwany made a career out of innovation. In 2004, he received his Masters of Science degree in Production Engineering from Alexandria University, Egypt. Then in 2009, Dr. Elwany got a Ph.D in Industrial & Systems Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. His career took him to the Netherlands where he was an Assistant Professor at Eindhoven University of Technology, the highest ranked Technical University in Europe. Dr. Elwany moved back to the US to join General Motor’s Research team where his first patent was filed on April 2012. Fast forward to the Lone Star State, in a little over a year Dr. Elwany’s ground breaking research in Additive Manufacturing, aka 3D Printing, grabbed the attention of industries like Aerospace, Biomedical, and Oil & Gas. In other words, his innovative manufacturing methods are optimizing every major industry in Texas.
“3D printing is a relatively clean technology” Dr. Elwany said. “The impact of 3D printing on sustainability is huge”.
Dr. Elwany said more research on manufacturing and applications of shape memory alloys is in his future work. According to Dr. Elwany, these alloys are almost impossible to manufacture using conventional methods and that the most we have got from it so far are wires. He believes that in a period of three years shape Memory Alloys will be used on trips to space.
So keep an eye on Dr. Elwany’s work. He is a true Hero of the Egyptian American Society. May be one day we will get a car body that can be fixed with a hair dryer, a seat that changes shape with every user to perfectly fit or even better, self-tying shoelaces.
Written by Ramy M. Saleh
Edited by Marwa Abdou and Sarah Raslan