Contact: James Carskadon
STARKVILLE, Miss.—Mississippi State University is taking another step to advance research and economic development in Mississippi with the opening of the Marvin B. Dow Stitched Composites Development Center at the MSU Advanced Composites Institute.
The university is hosting an open house and grand opening ceremony on April 12. The festivities begin with a 9 a.m. open house, followed by a 10 a.m. grand opening ceremony and recognition of pioneering NASA scientist Marvin B. Dow.
Boeing, the world’s largest aerospace company, selected MSU to create a stitched, resin-infused composites lab that will advance the development of composite structures technology. Through an agreement with the university, Boeing donated lab equipment and provided MSU researchers with additional resources to support the Advanced Composites Institute.
Housed at MSU’s Raspet Flight Research Laboratory in Starkville, the Advanced Composites Institute continues the land-grant university’s legacy of innovation in aerospace and materials research and development. ACI is led by director Dennis Smith, head of the MSU Department of Chemistry. With a focus on applied inter-disciplinary research, the center has affiliated faculty members with expertise in chemistry, chemical engineering, mechanical engineering and aerospace engineering. The collaborative environment provides distinct opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students, and enables MSU to work with partners in government and industry to develop new knowledge in composites research and solve complex problems.
Boeing donated the equipment from one of its research facilities to support MSU’s composites research activities. The company also provided initial research funding and made two experts available over a two-year period to help establish the ACI.
While working at NASA Langley Research Center, Dow worked with McDonnell Douglas, which is now part of The Boeing Company, to develop advanced stitched composite designs and manufacturing methods. The new research center combines the rich legacy of MSU’s Raspet Flight Research Laboratory with Dow’s original vision to conduct stitched composites research that will revolutionize the way future aircraft are designed, built and flown.
The Advanced Composites Institute is a member of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Joint Advanced Materials and Structures Center of Excellence. The center works to maintain a global leadership position in the field of composite materials science, engineering and manufacturing—including resin chemistry and infusion and stitched composites, followed by high temperature cure of large parts in ACI’s new state-of-the-art oven, which measures 50 feet by 20 feet by 10 feet. ACI supports economic development by boosting collaboration, technology transfer and entrepreneurship, in addition to serving as a workforce development and training center for strategic partners and suppliers.
Raspet Flight Research Lab has served as an incubation space for multiple composite manufacturers that now have permanent Mississippi homes. The lab has served as an incubator for Mississippi-based manufacturing operations of several aerospace companies, including GE Aviation, Airbus Helicopters and Stark Aerospace.
For more on the Marvin B. Dow Stitched Composites Development Center, visit www.aci.msstate.edu.
MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.