Particle physics laboratory

Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Tuskegee University Collaborate on Advanced Research on Bioderative Materials


Newswise – The Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Tuskegee University have formed a partnership to develop new biodegradable materials for use in buildings, transportation, and biomedical applications. The collaboration combines ORNL’s expertise in biosciences, high performance computing and advanced manufacturing with Tuskegee’s focus on biomaterials research and fosters opportunities for joint research and information exchange between the institutions. Students at Tuskegee’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering will work with ORNL Manufacturing Science researchers and have access to the DOE Manufacturing Demonstration Facility at ORNL through a memorandum of understanding agreement.

“We look forward to working with Tuskegee University to provide innovative solutions in bio-derived materials research in support of a clean, efficient and prosperous economy,” said Xin Sun, associate laboratory director for the ORNL energy science and technology. “This partnership reinforces ORNL’s commitment to fostering the diversity of thought and talent necessary for cutting-edge and impactful science.”

ORNL has been named one of the main supporters of historically black colleges and universities for 2021 by a panel of deans of the HBCU engineering programs and the business-academic alliance Advancing Minorities’ Interest in Engineering.

As a world leader in materials science with a focus on wood and plant biomass and bio-derived materials such as nanocellulose, lignin and hemicellulose, ORNL advances research from raw materials to conversion to demonstration. MDF researchers are working with industry, universities, and government partners to develop new bio-derived materials for large-scale additive manufacturing or 3D printing.

Recent achievements include the creation of an evolutionary processing technique that uses lignin, a by-product of the biofuels process, to produce a new material for 3D printing; develop bio-derived polyurethane coatings and foams from biorefinery lignin by-product streams; and generate a renewable shape memory material that offers an inexpensive alternative to conventional conductors and sensors. ORNL also worked with an academic partner to produce a large-scale 3D printed boat mold from bio-derived materials.

“This major collaboration between TU and ORNL is the result of the pioneering work of Merlin Theodore, who leads ORNL’s advanced fiber manufacturing efforts and who earned three degrees at Tuskegee University in Chemical Engineering. , mechanics and materials science, ”said Shaik Jeelani, vice president of Tuskegee. president of research and dean of the doctoral school. Jeelani recruited Theodore for the university’s first PhD program in Materials Science and Engineering and mentored her with Mahesh Hosur.

“Tuskegee has been my home and family for many years and has provided a stimulating, diverse and thriving environment in which to be successful. I had the opportunity to travel the world and present my own research on carbon fiber as a student, ”said Theodore. “I look forward to working alongside this next generation of Tuskegee graduates, providing the same level of support I have received while enabling groundbreaking research. “

Tuskegee has made significant scientific advancements in the synthesis of nanoparticles from agricultural waste, the development of biopolymers from vegetable oils such as tungwood and flaxseed oils, and the processing of green composites with fibers and resins of vegetable origin. Current research focuses on the extraction of nanomaterials from residual resources, the design and synthesis of biopolymers, and the development of advanced green composites. Tuskegee’s research efforts aim to have a global impact by generating a new class of sustainable biodegradable materials with properties comparable to non-biodegradable materials.

“Our scientists are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Tuskegee to push the boundaries of what is possible in sustainable materials and advanced manufacturing,” Sun said. “This agreement offers our research staff new opportunities to mentor and share ideas with students of diverse backgrounds, while ensuring that the country’s transition to clean energy is something we all have a part in.” .

Tuskegee University is a national, independent, state-linked institution of higher education located in Tuskegee, Alabama. The university has distinctive strengths in science, architecture, business, engineering, health and other professions, all structured on a solid foundation in the liberal arts. In addition, the university’s programs focus on the development of high-level intellectual and moral qualities in students and emphasize the connection between education and the highly qualified leadership that Americans need in general, especially for education. workforce of the 21st century and beyond.

UT-Battelle manages ORNL for the Office of Science of the Department of Energy, the largest support for basic research in the physical sciences in the United States. The Office of Science works to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit