Partners establish research institute to develop textile-based composites
Philadelphia University and MAG are establishing the Philadelphia University MAG Composites Institute for research and development of new textile-based composites that could have wide application in industry, including the aerospace, automotive and energy sectors.
The new research institute will be funded in part by $1.1 million from MAG, whose chairman and chief executive officer is Dr. Eng. Mo I. Meidar, a Philadelphia University alumnus and member of the University's Board of Trustees. MAG, headquartered in New York, is the world's leading developer of automation technologies for producing composite structures, as well as one of the largest global suppliers of machine tools and manufacturing automation systems for the durable goods industry.
In addition to the Philadelphia University MAG Composites Institute, the funding also will support a new B.S. in Engineering program with a concentration in composites, one of the only such programs in the country. The first courses in composites will be offered in fall 2011.
"Our partnership with MAG to support new and important research in composite materials and expand our academic programming in engineering has myriad advantages for both MAG and the University, as well as for our students and faculty and the industries that are likely to benefit from the development of new textile-composite materials," said Philadelphia University President Stephen Spinelli Jr., Ph.D. "It's a perfect example of an industry leader and a professional university partnering to create extraordinary opportunities in engineering science and education."
"An educated workforce in advanced composites technology will see increasing opportunities for generations to come. The Philadelphia University MAG Composites Institute represents MAG's commitment to expand the level of research and education in this field," said Mo Meidar, chairman and CEO of MAG. "As the global leader in automated composites processing solutions, MAG is driven to support new business opportunities serving a multitude of industries and we believe this partnership will be a key factor in achieving the full potential for new applications of composite materials."
Composites play an increasingly important role in industrial applications across a wide range of fields.
"Composites are important in industry because they are lighter than steel or aluminum and thus provide engineers with a lightweight alternative for use in a broad array of structures for aerospace, automotive and wind-energy applications," said David Brookstein, Sc.D., Philadelphia University's executive dean for university research. One example: vehicles that weigh less tend to have better fuel efficiency than their heavier counterparts.
In particular, woven and braided textiles have been used for fiber reinforcement in composites for many years, Brookstein noted. For instance, Boeing has announced that up to 50 percent of the primary structure – including the fuselage and wing – of its new 787 Dreamliner airplane will be made of composite materials. Brookstein said some of those are textile-based composites.