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Department of Defense (DoD) selects Tuskegee University to receive equipment/instrumentation award

December 13, 2021

Contact: Kawana McGough, Office of Communications, Public Relations and Marketing

TU Chemical Engineering graduate student working with a  Zeta potential analyzer.
TU Chemical Engineering graduate
student working with a Zeta
potential analyzer.

The Department of Defense (DoD), through the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering USD(R&E), has listed Tuskegee University as a recipient of the fiscal year (FY) 2021 DoD Equipment/Instrumentation award under the Research and Education Program for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority-Serving Institutions (HBCUs/MSIs).

The award totaling $101,625 will support the acquisition of a Zeta potential analyzer and an Advanced Automated Goniometer/Tensiometer. Dr. Shahryar Jafarinejad, assistant professor of the Chemical Engineering Department and Tuskegee University faculty senate member, served as the project's principal investigator, and Dr. Nader Vahdat, professor and head of the Chemical Engineering Department, served as the co-principal investigator.

The Zeta potential analyzer is an instrument that can measure and study the surface charge, surface functionality, the specific interaction of dissolved compounds with a solid surface, and liquid-on-solid surface adsorption processes. The Zeta potential measurement has vital applications in developing pharmaceuticals, medicine, ceramics, electronics, and water treatment materials. The Advanced Automated Goniometer/Tensiometer can be used to measure and study static and dynamic contact angle, advancing and receding contact angle, contact angle hysteresis, roll-off angle, surface energy, and surface and interfacial tension. Generally, this measurement plays a critical role in helping material scientists, and engineers design/develop materials in polymers and plastics, textile and fiber, semiconductors, metallurgy, etc.

"This award from the DoD can enhance our Department's ability to conduct research and develop new specialized materials and processes in different fields including water/wastewater treatment, polymers, and composites, nanotechnology, etc. In addition, the grant will help attract students to pursue studies leading to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers and strengthen the present capabilities of the interdisciplinary research and training at both the undergraduate and graduate levels at Tuskegee University," explained Jafarinejad.   


"In particular, acquisition of these instruments can improve analytical capabilities in our institution. In other words, the Zeta potential analyzer can increase our ability to gain information on the surface charge and surface functionality rapidly; and the Advanced Automated Goniometer/Tensiometer can help measure contact angle and surface and interfacial tension. These measurements play an important role in developing materials for applications mentioned above in our research," he continued.

The award recognition comes as a result of a merit competition administered by the Army Research Office (ARO), the Office of Naval Research (ONR), and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) under policy and guidance from the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering. The FY 2021 funding opportunity announced awards to 70 university researchers at 57 institutions totaling $30.4 million. Individual awards will be received as grants and range up to $600,000 throughout the 12-month performance period. 


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