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Associate chair of mechanical engineering receives international award

Chad Ulven, associate professor and associate chair of mechanical engineering, recently received a 2017 Scientist Medal from the International Association of Advanced Materials at its annual European Advanced Materials Congress in Stockholm, Sweden. 

The association includes more than 50,000 members from 139 countries. Ulven was one of 36 researchers to receive the medal, honored for his “notable and outstanding contribution in the field of advanced materials science and technology.”

Ulven’s presentation at the congress was based on research of photodegradable and recyclable biobased composites conducted within the Center for Sustainable Materials Science.

“In our study, a basic fiberglass and/or natural fiber reinforcement is combined with innovative phototriggered resins to create a new sustainable type of composite material in which all components can be recycled based on the use of different wavelengths of light,” Ulven said. “Because light energy is used to break down and recycle these composites, a much more sustainable method is demonstrated than with a solvent-based method where byproducts need to be disposed of or further hazards for the environment are created.”

The European Advanced Materials Congress provides a global platform for researchers and engineers to present results and activities related to research of advanced materials and technology.

The Center for Sustainable Materials Science includes interdisciplinary researchers from NDSU, the University of North Dakota, Mayville State University, Minot State University, Sitting Bull College and Turtle Mountain Community College. NDSU researchers include Ulven; Andriy Voronov, associate professor of coatings and polymeric materials; Dean Webster, professor and chair of coatings and polymeric materials; and Muk Sibi, University Distinguished Professor of chemistry and biochemistry.

Ulven also conducted research with former NDSU faculty member Jayaraman Sivaguru.

“This sort of successful research just wouldn’t happen without collaborative work across different disciplines,” Ulven said. “I’m fortunate to receive this recognition, but it really is reflective of an ongoing team effort.”

Ulven joined NDSU in 2005. Originally from rural Walcott, North Dakota, Ulven earned his bachelor’s in mechanical engineering at NDSU. He earned a masters and doctorate in materials engineering at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Ulven also is chief technology officer of c2renew inc. He is a member of the Society for the Advancement of Materials and Process Engineering, ASTM International and the Society of Plastics Engineers.

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