Mission and Brief HistoryThe UAB Materials Processing & Applications Development (MPAD) Center serves the automotive, transportation, defense, infrastructure and energy industries for advanced engineered plastics and composites design, analysis, processing, manufacture and product development. The UAB School of Engineering is a leader in engineering education, offering BS, MS, MEng, and PhD degrees. Its undergraduate programs are fully accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, http://www.abet.org. UAB has a significant effort in thermoplastic composite materials research and application development (R&D) within its Materials Processing and Application Development (MPAD) center, a 20,000 sq.ft facility dedicated to advanced composites and metal castings research and applications development.
The UAB MPAD is also the home of the (a) work being done under the Cooperative Agreement with the Army Research Laboratory and, (b) Department of Energy (DoE) Graduate Automotive Technology Education (GATE) center for vehicle lightweight technologies. Over the last ten years, UAB has pursued multidisciplinary, multi-institutional research with emphasis in the areas of advanced materials focusing on lightweight composites and metal castings. The MPAD facility trains on an average 15 graduate, 20 undergraduate and over 50 outreach students per year in the areas of lightweight materials and manufacturing technologies. It has produced over 30 MS and PhD students who are now actively contributing to the US work force in defense labs, automotive, energy and defense industries.
The increasing demand for low cost composites in various applications such as aerospace, transport, mass transit, automotive, energy, military, sporting goods and commodity markets is accompanied by the need for developing innovative and newer material forms and processing technologies. There is high potential for low-cost, very lightweight composites as proven through applications developed by the UAB MPAD center a range of applications.