UA partners with two universities in research for NASA



The University of Akron has partnered with California State University at Los Angeles and Cleveland State University to collaborate on two research projects for NASA and the International Space Station. The universities have received an $840,000 research grant through NASA’s Physical Sciences Research program to work on projects examining how different materials solidify in space with the absence of gravity.

Dr. Sergio D. Felicelli, professor and chair in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at UA, is the principal investigator from UA and has been contributing to the research for the two projects. His area of expertise is in computational modeling of solidification processes.

Work could advance material manufacturing process

“My colleagues and I are honored to have been selected in a highly competitive process to work on this important research for NASA,” said Felicelli. “Solidification is difficult to understand and conceptualize in different atmospheric conditions and it is a crucial part of the material manufacturing process. The grant from NASA will help continue our research in understanding the properties of materials when solidified in space.” 

The first project will develop computational models that will use the experimental data gathered from the International Space Station to study the defects produced by bubbles or gases when a liquid material solidifies in space. The second project will compare the properties of materials processed in terrestrial and space conditions.

Both projects will be used to support the development of new and better materials for the aerospace industry as well as benefit other areas of material processing and manufacturing. The conclusions from microgravity research in space can have industrial, economic and social impact on everyday life, which include the automobile and power generation industries.

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