A researcher at Michigan Technological University has received a $255,000 grant from NASA. His work in developing computer models for tiny materials could result in stronger, lighter aircraft.
Greg Odegard, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, creates these models to predict the strength of nanomaterials. One nanometer is equal to one-billionth of a meter.
“The materials we use, called nanotubes, are so small that we must rely on computer models to determine their stiffness and strength,” Odegard said. “It is very expensive to do this through experimentation.”
Scientists typically add these small nano-particles to other materials to take advantage of a specific property; for example, strength or resistance to corrosion.