JiangUNT Engineering assistant professor Yijie (Steven) Jiang earned the prestigious 2020 Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award from Oak Ridge Associated Universities for his research into passive control of internal structures in 3D printed composites.

Jiang and his team of researchers will explore a new method of the 3D printing process that could result in better performance of composite materials. The new method, working together with direct ink writing 3D printing, involves controlling the orientation of the materials internally through designed channels, rather than using traditional methods that require very strong external mechanical interventions to make the fibers align in the desired direction.

“We are using a novel passive method to control the fiber orientation,” said Jiang. “We’ll be investigating the new method of the 3D printing process, fiber composites, new biomaterials and high-performance lightweight materials.”

Jiang says the new technology has wide applications, depending on the design used, including lightweight protective layers for aerospace and softer, more flexible materials that could be use in robotics.

The Powe award enhances the research and professional growth of young faculty and is awarded to professors teaching engineering, sciences, mathematics, policy management or education. Awards from Oak Ridge, a consortium of 127 major Ph.D.-granting universities nationwide, can be used as funds for graduate student salary, travel, equipment or other assistance relevant to the faculty member's research.

Jiang is a member of UNT’s Center for Agile and Adaptive Additive Manufacturing, one of the most advanced university research facilities in the nation for 3D printing and materials analysis. CAAAM was launched in 2019 with a $10 million appropriation by the State of Texas Legislature.

Take a look inside the UNT CAAAM lab here.