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NDSU receives research award from Navy, federal funds for laboratory space

Published: 18 May 2012

A research team at NDSU is receiving $480,000 in a competitive grant award from the Office of Naval Research for research on coatings for ship hulls. Dean Webster, chair of the department of coatings and polymeric materials, will receive the award over three years for research, titled “Tailoring the Surface Properties of Coatings through Self-Stratification.”

In addition, scientists and engineers at NDSU’s Center for Nanoscale Science and Engineering and three Centers of Excellence at NDSU are receiving $1.4 million in sponsored research and competitive grant awards from global companies such as Triton Systems, PPG Industries, Starkey Laboratories and other organizations for research in coatings and microelectronics. Additional federal funds from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, a non-regulatory federal agency in the U.S. Department of Commerce, and Centers of Excellence enhancement funding has been awarded to NDSU to add laboratory space.

The NDSU research funded by the Office of Naval Research supports development of coatings that prevent barnacles and other sea life from attaching to ships. Barnacles slow ships down, resulting in increased fuel cost due to drag and resistance; dry docking to clean ships results in lost time; resistance or drag affects the ability of aircraft carriers to attain speeds needed for jets to launch from shipdecks; and current removal methods are very toxic. Research underway works on solutions to these problems. Think of it as a non-stick coating for ship hulls.

NDSU scientists previously had received such funding through earmark awards for research from Congress. “This new research funding was awarded on a competitive basis, showing the expertise of NDSU researchers in competing for funding with other research enterprises across the country,” said Philip Boudjouk, vice president for research, creative activities and technology transfer. “Their expertise and scientific proposals merited the awards.”

NDSU is internationally known for its coatings research and Boudjouk says this type of research allows for eventual transfer to commercial market applications. It’s one of the factors leading to a 35,000-square-foot addition to the Research 1 building located in the Research and Technology Park. This will primarily contain additional laboratories where researchers develop technologies with private companies that can be transferred into the marketplace.

Construction of the additional laboratory space is expected to begin in early May and be completed in the third quarter of 2013. The addition is funded through a federal $5 million construction award received from the National Institute of Standards and Technology and a $4 million enhancement award from the North Dakota Economic Development Centers of Excellence Program. The Centers of Excellence Commission approved the award in 2009. Additional labs will be connected to the south of the existing Research 1 building.

“This infrastructure is expected to provide a platform to move a larger number and broader spectrum of technologies to market. We expect the net result to be enhanced economic development in the state,” Boudjouk said.

For example, early technologies being developed from NDSU’s coatings research protect against corrosion, for metals; mold, for wood and fiberboard; and oxidation, for statues, medallions, works of art. Commercialization of technologies in catalysis, photovoltaics/solar cells, flexible electronics, advanced batteries and other coatings also are targeted.

According to a National Science Foundation survey, NDSU ranks nationally in the top 100 research universities in chemistry, physical sciences, social sciences, computer science and agricultural sciences. NDSU is among the top 108 universities in the country with very high research activity, as determined by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education. NDSU is a student-focused, land-grant, research university – an economic engine that educates students, conducts primary research, creates new knowledge and advances technology.

NDSU is recognized as one of the nation's top 108 public and private universities by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education.


Student Focused. Land Grant. Research University.

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Last Updated: Thursday, April 17, 2014 8:58:52 AM