Q&A with MTU Research Award Winner Gregory Odegard

The 2021 Michigan Tech Research Award winner develops ultrastrong composite supplies
for crewed deep house missions.

Composites are substantially like they audio: supplies composed of different substances. Their
parts can increase their all round toughness, toughness, weight and other qualities
these kinds of as electrical conductivity. For example, deep house exploration needs composites
that are each light-weight but unbelievably strong.

That is why Greg Odegard received into carbon.

Odegard is the John O. Hallquist Endowed Chair in Computational Mechanics in the Office
of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics at Michigan Technological College.
He also leads the NASA Institute for Extremely-Solid Composites by Computational Style (US-COMP) and the Tech Ahead initiative for Sophisticated Components and Production. Odegard specially reports ultrastrong carbon-nanotube-based mostly composites, and he
factors out that not all carbon is equal. Even though all sporting a significant C chemically, the
smooth sheets of graphite vary from the rigid toughness of diamond and the versatility
and electrical qualities of graphene.

In its quite a few types, carbon can complete in quite a few means — and the tough portion with composites
is figuring out how different supplies interact. Computational simulation is fashionable
alchemy and Odegard utilizes modeling to predict what supplies to incorporate, how substantially and
no matter whether they’ll stand up to the depths of house.

“Dr. Odegard has manufactured a sizeable affect in the field of composite supplies investigation
by way of his groundbreaking perform applying computational modeling strategies that hyperlink the
affect of molecular structure on bulk qualities.”Janet Callahan, dean of the College or university of Engineering

Q: What is the significant picture of your investigation?

GO: Building new supplies for aerospace apps is very high-priced and time-consuming.
My workforce utilizes computational simulation to aid this process so we can rapidly
design and style, characterize and make these new supplies.

Q: What is the principal target of your perform suitable now?

GO: We are applying computational simulation to help create the following technology of composite
supplies for crewed missions to deep house. We are doing work with a huge multi-college
workforce on a NASA project to design and style, create and test these new supplies. This perform
is all portion of the NASA Institute for Extremely-Solid Composites by Computational Style
(US-COMP), which acquired a $15 million greenback grant in 2017.

Q: In which did you get the inspiration for the project?

GO: NASA is shifting some of its investigation target from very low-Earth orbit to deep house
exploration. To allow deep house missions with crews, NASA scientists fully grasp
they will require new building supplies for motor vehicles, habitats and electrical power programs that
are lighter and much better than people accessible right now. I am very fired up to be able
to use my team’s computational simulation abilities to help NASA create these supplies.

Q: How have your methods assisted make the project prosperous?

GO: We have been able to help the substance suppliers for these composite supplies,
primarily resin and carbon nanotube companies, to fully grasp the strengths and weaknesses
of their supplies. We have also assisted them fully grasp how to enhance their supplies
for additional ideal general performance.

Research Stats

  • 104 journal publications
  • A lot more than 4 dozen graduate and doctoral students
  • 907 citations on most-cited paper
  • A lot more than $21 million in investigation funding

Q: What do you find most interesting about your perform?

GO: Without a doubt, I have the most exciting doing work with my graduate students and the
broader US-COMP workforce. Our full workforce is fired up about the investigation and our progress,
and this makes for some of the finest investigation meetings I have experienced in my occupation.
As we get nearer to our investigation ambitions, the workforce receives significantly fired up and engaged.

Q: Who added benefits from the investigation?

GO: Not only does NASA and the composite substance market profit from this investigation,
but there is yet another profit to US-COMP’s perform that I a short while ago noticed. With our
huge workforce and repeated conversation, I come to feel we have assisted pioneer a new paradigm
in huge-scale interactions. We have progressed our workforce, which is scattered across the
country from multiple universities and federal government labs, into a tight-knit group that
satisfies on a daily basis to remedy a really advanced issue. I like to feel of it as
a fashionable Manhattan Undertaking for composite supplies.

“Global recognition of Dr. Odegard’s sustained effective investigation endeavors
and groundbreaking investigation strategies in computational modeling exemplify the higher common
of investigation achievement in this article at Michigan Tech.”Bill Predebon, chair of the Office of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

Q: What are the difficulties you faced?

GO: The most critical lesson I have uncovered is that the important to success in huge assignments
is dependable and partaking communication. As the leader of a huge project, I have
uncovered that my most critical task is to make certain all of the scientists, students
and system professionals are actively communicating with every other on their progress,
roadblocks and needs. Even if it means I have to show up at numerous meetings to aid
this conversation, it is a vital necessity of a leader for a prosperous project
final result.

Michigan Technological College is a community investigation college, house to additional than
7,000 students from fifty four countries. Established in 1885, the College provides additional than
one hundred twenty undergraduate and graduate diploma courses in science and technological innovation, engineering,
forestry, business and economics, well being professions, humanities, mathematics, and
social sciences. Our campus in Michigan’s Higher Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway
and is just a couple of miles from Lake Excellent.