USM receives research grant from NASA

USM receives research grant from NASA

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - The University of Southern Mississippi received part of a $5.7 million grant from NASA.

Teams from USM, the University of South Carolina, Boise State University and Benedict College will all participate in research funded by the grant.

Officials say the four-year grant is being used to help transform the way and speed in which aircraft are made.

USM Polymer Science and Engineering Professor James Rawlins explains to mission of the grant.

“Expedite the rate with which you produce parts for thermoplastic aerospace and aircraft parts," said Rawlins. "Airplanes are put together with lots of, if you’ve ever looked at the edge of them you see lots of rivets and fasteners and things holding them together. Well that takes a lot of time to do that, so the cost goes up, and so we’re trying to develop technology platforms that would allow each of the parts to be assembled in a rapid manner.”

He details USM’s part of the research, which is all about thermoplastic tape.

“This is the blank stock that we produce," said Rawlins. "This is put together many layers, and then we’re going to press this. We’re going to take it from this area here, grab it with the robot. It’ll insert it to the oven. When it inserts it to the oven, it’ll warm this to just at the right temperature so that it’s preheated, and the we’re going to put it into a press that’s behind me and shape it into something that’s three dimensional.”

The University of Southern Mississippi received $2.6 million for its portion of the total grant.

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