Primary Goal: Research programs better aligned to support the defense industry.
Under UDMC, 63 research projects that support defense manufacturing by Utah’s research institutions have been identified. Further, assistance was provided in submittingleast 19 STTRs.
Focused defense research programs include:
- 2020 – Defense Round Table, where Utah’s defense community and industry met to identify opportunities to work together
- 2021 – Defense Manufacturing Research Symposium – DOD program overviews
- 2021 – HAFB Workforce Needs, presentations by HAFB on workforce requirements
- 2022 March 24 CrossTalk Aerospace & Defense Opportunities for Advanced Manufacturing
- 2022 – April 20 Defense Manufacturing Research Symposium – Utah research presentations
- 2023 – April 5 Defense Manufacturing Research Symposium – DOD program overviews
The direct benefit to the DoD is the growing collaboration between Utah’s research community, industry, and the defense community for research to support the war fighter. The 2021 Defense Manufacturing Research Symposium – DOD program overviews resulted in new collaborations between Idaho National Labs and the Nuclear Weapons Center related to high temperature materials. The collaboration between INL, AFNWC, Northrop Grumman, AFWERX, and UAMMI is focused on creating a new research center to be known as the MERC (Missile & Energy Research Center).
Coal to Carbon Fiber
Weber State University (WSU) completed business plans to support the market potential for the use of coal to produce carbon fiber. WSU found that carbon fiber has become a major player in the composites industry due to its high strength-to-weight ratio and its high elastic modulus. Unfortunately, traditional PAN-based carbon fiber is prohibitively expensive for many applications. Using established processes, cheaper carbon fiber can be produced from coal pitch. While the coal-pitch-based carbon fiber is cheaper, it has different yet valuable material properties including an ultra-high elastic modulus, a property consumers would generally refer to as stiffness or rigidity.