Current Grants and Contracts

MSP - Math and Science Partnership

A partnership consisting of five universities (Tuskegee University, Alabama State University, Auburn University, the University of Alabama and the University of Alabama at Birmingham), five community colleges (Central Alabama Community College, Enterprise Junior College, Shelton State Community College, Wallace Community College at Selma and Wallace State Community College), nine school districts (Barbour Co., Bullock Co., Dallas Co., Lee Co., Lowndes Co., Macon Co., Montgomery City, Perry Co. and Selma City Schools), McWane Science Center, Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers (MRSECs) at Cornell University and the University of Wisconsin and the Southeastern Consortium for Minorities in Engineering (SECME) has been formed to enhance the science achievement of students in the 6th-8th grades in selected districts of Alabama Black Belt Region.  

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EPSCoR - Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research

The Alabama Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (ALEPSCoR) Research Infrastructure Improvement (RII) award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) (2008-2013 performance period) has created an integrated, statewide partnership among multiple academic institutions, including: Alabama A&M University (AAMU), Auburn University (AU), Tuskegee University (TU), the University of Alabama (UA), the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), and the University of South Alabama (USA).

ALEPSCoR-RII-3 aims to enhance research capacity and competitiveness in the emerging, interdisciplinary area of nano/bioscience and sensors. This focus was developed via statewide efforts over the past several years aimed at identifying strengths and opportunities in Alabama that could be best built upon to enhance research capacity and competitiveness.

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CREST - Centers of Research Excellence in Science and Technology

Center of Excellence in Nanobiomaterials Derived from Biorenewable and Waste

The research focus areas of this center are : (a) synthesis of plant based nanofibers through electrospinning and forcespinning™ methods; (b) production of bacterial cellulose fibers from soy waste products; (c)  synthesis of nanoparticles from biodegradable sources such as egg shells and their use as nano-fillers in advanced composites; (d) synthesis of biopolymers; (e) development and characterization of advanced green nanocomposites using these materials with natural fibers; and (f) product design, prototyping and commercial feasibility studies.

Collaborators from within the USA include Auburn University (AU), Cornell University (CU), the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), and several industry and national laboratories. International collaboration is built upon the existing relationships with researchers from Brazil and India. 

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RISE - Research Infrastructure for Science & Engineering

RISE-1: Studies of Structural Nanocomposites Using Transmission Electron Microscopy.

The thrust of this proposal is directed primarily towards acquiring an HR-TEM to enhance the quality of ongoing research. The two thrust areas of research are: (1) Cure and relaxation  behavior of polymer nanocomposites and (2) structural nanocomposites.

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 : Enhancement of Research Infrastructure in the Materials Science and Engineering Program at Tuskegee University.

The areas that have been identified for enhancement and development with funding through this program include:1) in-house manufacture of carbon nanotubes, 2) manufacture and characterization of advanced fibers reinforced with carbon nanotubes and other nano fillers, 3) research in advanced electronic materials, 4) videoconferencing capability, and 5) development of junior African American faculty members to enable them to join the research and education programs in MSE.

Read more about RISE-2

RISE-3: Strengthening the Ph.D. Program in Materials Science and Engineering at Tuskegee University

Tuskegee University’s first Ph.D. program in MSE, which aims at significantly  increasing the number of African Americans holding the Ph.D. degree in this field.The faculty members associated with this program have realized that in order to produce graduates who can compete successfully in the global market, the Ph.D. program needs to be further strengthened by providing additional depth and breadth in the curriculum and incorporating new areas of research and professional development activities. The involvement of students in the cuttingedge research in advanced materials, particularly, nano-bio materials, and the offering of a wide range of new courses, will lead to the production of graduates who can successfully handle materials development challenges posed by the future technological advancements.

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RISE-4: Enhancement of Research and Educational Infrastructure in Materials Science and Engineering at Tuskegee University.

Through this grant, Tuskegee University (TU) proposed to elevate its Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) program to a higher level so that its impact may considerably be broadened. The three main parts of this program are: a) Enhance research capability in synthesis and characterization of nanoparticles for biomedical and pharmaceutical applications, b) Develop a cohort of students not only at the Ph.D. level but also at the Master’s level so that they can be nurtured and motivated to continue their studies in the Ph.D. program, and c) Groom younger faculty members to enable them to become active in research and education in Materials Science and Engineering (MSE

Read more about RISE-4

DOD - Department of Defense

Fiber Reinforced Polymer Composites (FRPC) are increasingly used in DoD, particularly in the US naval and military applications due to considerable weight and life-cycle cost savings, good corrosion resistance, and improved fatigue performance over metallic counterparts. These structures are expected to have a long service life while operating in marine environment that consists of saline and cold (subzero: dry, wet) water conditions which degrade their performance due to inherent viscoelastic nature of FRPs.  Hence, durability of FRPC for DoD facilities based on the deformation and degradation mechanisms needs to be established, especially under these conditions. These can be developed with the aid of accelerated aging experiments. With the recent developments in the nanocomposites for structural applications, several types of nanoparticles have been established to bring significant improvement in the thermal and mechanical properties of the polymers used for FRP applications. Of these, carbon nanotubes and nanoclay are the most widely used because of excellent stress transfer, strong interfacial interactions and good barrier resistance properties.

Read more about DOD

SBIR/STTR -  Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR)


Title of Project:  Lightweight Insulation Materials for on-orbit Thermal Management
Small Business Partner: Advanced Materials Technology, Inc. Tampa, FL.
Proposal #B045-021-017; DoD STTR, Topic #MDA04T021, Phase-I

  •  The purpose of this investigation is to provide a feasibility study to develop new multifunctional materials for on-orbit thermal management and characterize its thermal and mechanical properties.
  • Various percentages of Clay and CNT’s are  infused into Polyimide foam materials.
  • Thermal and mechanical property results show that the nanophased Polyimide foam materials are superior as compared to the as-prepared neat Polyimide foam


Title of Project: Nanocluster characterization in Volume Holographic Glass gratings
Small Business Partner: Ondax, Inc, Monrovia, CA STTR Proposal # 0640563
Phase-II NSF SBIR Supplemental Grant for CREST Program

  • High resolution TEM will be used to characterize the particle sizes, shapes, voids, amorphous and crystalline nature of the materials at a few nanometer levels.
  • Chemical bonding of nanocluster and glass matrix and nature of the bonds will be identified using an Electron Energy Loss Spectroscopy at nanometer scale.
  • Elemental analysis can be carried out using an Energy Dispersive Spectroscope to study the different elements and composition at the nanoscale


Title of Project:  Role of Nitrogen on Nanocrystalline Diamond Nucleation and Growth Cutting tool applications
Small Business Partner: Vista Engineering, Birmingham SBIR #0349769
NSF SBIR Supplemental Grant for CREST Program-Phase-II

  • For this grant a high resolution TEM (HRTEM) techniques are used to study the role of nitrogen in the nucleation and initial growth of nanocrystalline diamond grown by microwave plasma chemical vapor deposition (MP-CVD).
  • The different mixed ration of a precursor gas ((N2/CH4/ H2)) shown  various crystalline percentages in the as  grown diamond film
  • Crystallinity of a as grown film can be tuned by varying the amount of mixer of precursor gases ((N2/CH4/ H2)


Title of the project: Innovative Isotropic Ultra-High Thermal Conductivity Diamond Composite Materials
Small Business Partner: Performance Polymer Solutions Inc., Moraine, OH 45409
STTR Proposal # 0750177, Phase-II NSF SBIR Supplemental Grant for CREST Program

  • High Resolution TEM Analysis: In this research task the Tuskegee University NSF-RISE team is focusing on high resolution TEM analysis of the P2SI Nf2-M substrates for DMC thermal conductivity materials to identify the mechanisms for strength reduction and the fundamental underlying CVD process that gives rise to the strength reduction
  • CVD Processing: In this task the Tuskegee University team is performing the CVD process investigation to optimize the carbon nanotube CVD process on graphite host surfaces 

Read more about SBIR/STTR 


ONR - Office of Naval Research

The ONR grant to Tuskegee has been in place since 1981. The first Center of Excellence grant was awarded in 1986 under the DoD University Research Initiative (URI) program for the development of SiC/SiC composites for high temperature applications. Current research is focused on developing nanophased composites materials and structures with improved properties for marine applications. ONR funding has helped Tuskegee University to establish state-of-the-art facilities in mechanical  characterization  of advanced materials particularly high velocity impact, high strain rate, NDE, high speed imaging. In addition, computational capability was also enhanced. ONR funding along with that from National Science Foundation has helped Tuskegee University in establishing its first PhD program in Materials Science and Engineering in 1998.  A total of seven PhD students have graduated to date with support from ONR funding. 

 Read more about ONR

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