UA lands NASA grant


The University of Akron, already known for its research programs, recently received an award that added to its credibility.

The three-year $704,000 grant from NASA is for pursuing aircraft research. According to Dr. Weislaw Binienda, chair and professor of civil engineering, UA is currently testing the durability of rotating machine components used in aircrafts known as braided components.

Binienda has previously worked with NASA developing a motor model for a jet engine, known as the GenX. The engine is currently being used in the Boeing Dreamliner jets. He has also received the Turning Gold into Reality award for his work on the GenX in July of last year.

This time, Binienda said he was the one to initiate the program between NASA and UA.

"I wrote a proposal to NASA about braided component modeling," he said. "It was selected by the Aircraft Aging & Durability program."

Binienda explained that the new braided components UA is testing will replace the metal components currently used in engines.

"The purpose of the grant is to model and test the effects of aging and dynamic impact performance of advance braided components for jet engine fan casings, and to test the braided containment system." Binienda said. "The components will undergo extreme stress when used in aircrafts, so we must simulate the same types of stress."

According to Binienda, UA will take the braided components and expose them to extreme cold and then extreme heat over and over again for weeks at a time in order to help age each component. Then each component will be tested under tension and compression, and will even be shot at by projectiles flying at over 1,000 feet per second.

"These tests will show us the durability of our components," Binienda said.

According to Binienda, the project is a great step in showing UA's ability to compete with other schools.

"This whole project reflects very highly on UA, especially the engineering department," Binienda said. "It shows that we can use what we are learning to solve real life problems."