By Eric Lanke
I recently attended the October 2018 Summit of the Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power (CCEFP) at the University of Minnesota. This is one of the meetings this fiscal year where the fluid power research projects supported by our new NFPA Research Supplement Program were presented.
In our efforts to increase the number of university students educated in fluid power, the NFPA Education and Technology Foundation has provided ten $10,000 research supplements to ten academic faculty members working on fluid power research at six universities. This helps to engage current and build the careers of future university faculty who are and will be in a position to teach fluid power to undergraduate engineers on their campuses. The research supplements provide travel support so that each faculty member and one of their graduate students can attend to present their research at designated industry conferences and research summits like the one hosted by the CCEFP.
One such faculty member is Professor Tequila Harris of the Georgia Institute of Technology, who presented on her project, “Science of Pattern Coating onto Heterogeneous Surfaces Using a Hybrid Tool,” at the CCEFP Summit. The goal here is to develop and implement a slot coating-inspired approach for heterogeneous micro-scale pattern features, an approach that, if successful, could be applied to help make fluid power components with ultra-low friction, high wear resistance, and superior lubricity. Working with funding provided by the National Science Foundation, Harris and her team have been able to:
- Mitigate the de-wetting issues often associated with coating with multiple fluids
- Exercise independent control over coating pattern geometry and film thickness
- Demonstrate micro-scale pattern features
A copy of Harris’s presentation slides can be accessed here.
Collectively, the research projects supported by NFPA Research Supplements represent more than $4.9 million in funding from a variety of organizations, including the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, and the Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power (CCEFP). They are an excellent sample of the growing body of fluid power research being funded by the federal government and other research organizations.
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