Sandia National Laboratories and UA to collaborate in materials science


Sandia National Laboratories and The University of Akron have approved a Master Research Agreement that enables collaborations in such areas as additive manufacturing and advanced materials research.

Sandia selected UA because its College of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering is one of the world’s premier academic and research programs, with capabilities that incorporate polymer chemistry and polymer physics groups with specialized labs for all categories of synthesis and state of the art measurements. The University of Akron’s long history of innovation with global partnerships has provided many creative solutions to polymer engineering challenges, giving a strong platform for this new collaboration with Sandia.

“The powerful combination of diverse university and Sandia capabilities will improve our knowledge of materials structure, properties and performance and help expand our processes to produce, transform and analyze materials,” says Terry Aselage, director of materials science at Sandia. “Further, we anticipate access to more than 350 polymer science and engineering students and postdocs will foster a strong hiring pipeline for organic chemistry and polymer science and engineering research staff.”

Collaboration extends to many areas

The agreement will allow Sandia and University of Akron researchers to work together in such areas as carbon nanomaterials and conjugated polymer developments, as well as investigate and understand the role adhesion, friction and wear play in coatings, lubricants and adhesives. Both parties hope to help develop novel materials in these areas. Sandia and the University of Akron anticipate also learning from nature by studying biomimicry with the goal of creating advanced adhesives for engineering applications and biological adhesives. Technologies such as carbon nanotube-based coatings will be developed to reduce drag, inhibit ice formation and provide better heat transfer. The agreement also establishes a framework for managing intellectual property that may be developed during the collaborations.


The Master Research Agreement between Sandia National Laboratories and The University of Akron will enable collaborations in such areas as additive manufacturing and advanced materials research.

“At The University of Akron, we are enthusiastic about the collaboration with Sandia that will enable new discovery and innovation for both institutions,” says Dr. Eric Amis, vice provost of research and dean of the College of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering.

“Together we will collaborate to develop new scientific insights and material innovations to benefit the Laboratories’ missions and the materials research community,” says Mike Valley, senior manager for materials science R&D. One goal is to improve the ability to predict and assess the behavior of materials as they age, with potential benefits to critical civil and national security applications.

This collaboration will highlight Sandia and the University’s shared interest in additive manufacturing research. The University of Akron’s National Polymer Innovation Center, a facility for advanced polymer processing techniques and roll-to-roll hybrid film fabrication, includes the Akron Functional Materials Center, which focuses on coatings, biomaterials, additive manufacturing and flexible electronics.

This capability complements Sandia’s advanced manufacturing research, which has the potential to enable model-based design, rapid prototyping and agile manufacturing of small production lots. Sandia has pioneered several additive technologies, including the Laser Engineered Net Shape, DirectWrite and Robocast technologies.

Sandia’s Material Science Research Foundation is leading efforts in materials assurance and process diagnostics and controls. In addition, Sandia’s Advanced Materials Lab is fielding the first Micro-Gravure printing system within the DOE complex. The technology can print features 1/100th the thickness of a human hair, which could lead to advances in printed flexible electronics and in energy and biomedical applications. The printing system is based on research in nanomaterials synthesis and process science to create novel nanoinks — research specialties of Dr. Yu Zhu of The University of Akron and Sandia’s Hongyou Fan.

About Sandia

Sandia National Laboratories is a multi-mission laboratory operated and managed by Sandia Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corp., for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. With main facilities in Albuquerque, N.M., and Livermore, Calif., Sandia has major R&D responsibilities in national security, energy and environmental technologies, and economic competitiveness. 

About The University of Akron

The University of Akron is the region’s most influential public research university, contributing to the resurgence of the local economy and providing a workforce highly trained in a full range of undergraduate and graduate majors. Its internationally renowned College of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering draws top students and distinguished partners from around the world. The wealth of expertise at UA has helped establish Northeast Ohio as “Polymer Valley.”

Media contact: Dan Minnich, 330-972-6476 or

Eric Amis

Eric Amis