Below is a list of potential research projects for students joining the Bredesen Center. Please note these are only a few of the projects available for students admitted to the program. Please feel free to contact any ESE or DSE faculty researcher with questions.Application Info
Dr. Duty’s research group is investigating new materials that are suitable for 3D printing (additive manufacturing). In contrast to conventional desktop printing of simple thermoplastics, Duty’s group focuses on printing of high temperature reinforced composite materials and novel printing techniques, including Big Area Additive Manufacturing (BAAM) which prints structures on the order of several meter at a rate of 200x faster than conventional techniques. Duty’s research group works closely with ORNL’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility on projects such as:
- “Printability” Model: A viscoelastic model that maps appropriate processing conditions for printing of high performance polymers and reinforced composites.
- Liquid Nails: A patent-pending approach for 3D Printing that uses “liquid nails” to improve the bond between printed layers, which has traditionally been the weakest link in 3D printed structures.
- Controlling Distortion: As plastic solidifies, it shrinks. For 3D printing, this produces a large amount of distortion, especially for large parts. Duty’s research is working to change the print paths and the local material composition to develop methods for controlling distortion in a printed part.
- High Temperature Tooling: Aerospace and automotive companies use large and complex molds (or “tools”) to define the shape of composite parts, which are formed at high temperatures and pressures in an autoclave. In collaboration with ORNL, Duty’s group is using the high temperature materials they’re developing to print and test these tools for production, cutting the time and money required for making components significantly.
- Fatigue Life: Several applications where 3D printing of metals is attractive are limited by fatigue behavior. Duty’s group has been investigating how different printing conditions affect the microstructure of the material, and how this in turn affects the fatigue life of high performance titanium parts.
Wetland Soil Biogeochemical Cycling Project
This work will focus on soils, geochemistry, and microbial communities. Research topics will be experimental in nature and will be designed to improve the model representation of redox-active microbial functions in tropical wetlands and soils. Expertise or interest in microbial community function, wetland biogeochemistry, greenhouse gas emissions, and redox reactions in subsurface materials is desired. Students will have the flexibility to explore interests in microbial community function, wetland biogeochemistry, greenhouse gas emissions, and redox reactions in subsurface materials.
Students will have the opportunity to interact closely with a team consisting of soil biogeochemists, modelers, and a bioinformaticist to investigate relations between geochemical and microbiological features of wetland soils and greenhouse gas releases. The research will involve lab- and field-scale measurements of greenhouse gas emissions, microbial metagenomics, and soil geochemistry. Students are expected to work closely with modelers who will utilize experimental data and observations to improve and develop microbial models. Research will involve literature review and data analysis. Participation in scientific conferences and publication of results is expected.
Qualities essential for this position are:
- A real passion for understanding the natural world
- The ability to communicate clearly and effectively, in oral and written forms
- Competence in statistical techniques
- Self-motivation and goal setting skills
- Ability to work in a collaborative environment
- BS or MS in Environmental Science, Biogeochemistry, Microbiology, Soil Science, or a related discipline