Mechanical engineering professor wins $ 542,000 prize


A research proposal by Trevor Elliott, UC Foundation assistant professor of mechanical engineering, won $ 542,000 in funding from the National Science Foundation.

The NSF Faculty Early Career Development Program award is the agency’s most prestigious award and is designed “to support early career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to do advance the mission of their department or organization.

According to the NSF, “the activities carried out by early career faculty should lay a solid foundation for a lifetime of leadership in integrating education and research.”

“I am especially proud for the department, the college and the university that this is the first-ever career award to be presented within the college,” said Mr. Elliott.

Listed for consideration under the Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation Division of NSF, Mr. Elliott’s proposal focuses on 3D printing and developing a deeper understanding of how 3D printing works. as a manufacturing process and ways to make it more efficient.

Industries such as aerospace, defense, automotive, chemicals, energy and healthcare use 3D printing and would benefit from further research, Elliott explained in his proposal.

He also said the research data can be fed into undergraduate courses at the university level and used to educate high school students.

Although he would like to do more research, Mr. Elliott is already familiar with 3D printing.

In early 2020, he and around 30 mechanical engineering students at UTC used 3D printers to make parts of the transparent face shields used by healthcare workers battling the coronavirus.

At the same time, he and his students were also finding creative ways to make respirators and ventilators using off-the-shelf products, Mr. Elliott said. They are also working on designing a version of filtration devices like the N95 mask to fit smaller faces, he added.

“This award is very meaningful for many reasons, one of which is the fact that our mechanical engineering students at the College of Engineering and Computer Science have done an excellent job,” said Mr. Elliott.

“They won the first national title and broke the first world record for the college. The relationship with this award is twofold: it is strongly related to students and awareness, and it is the college’s very first “in-house” career award. This matches the great job our students have done to break into new areas and in important ways! “

This award is not the first national recognition for Mr. Elliott’s work. In 2020, he was selected as one of 132 individuals nationwide to be 2021 Associate Fellows of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

The title of Associate Researcher recognizes persons “who have accomplished or have been in charge of important engineering or scientific work, or who have carried out original work of exceptional merit, or who have otherwise made exceptional contributions to aeronautics or astronautics arts, science or technology, ”according to the organization.