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Two men  working at the MPAD facility. The 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 20,000 square-foot facility is at the heart of significant research efforts in metal castings research and applications as well as in thermoplastic composite materials research and application 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. Many students who have worked in the MPAD have used that experience to find positions in research fields as well as in energy, automotive 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.

Core Competencies

  • 10-year history of Concept-to-Prototype-to-Commercialization for military, transportation, aviation, medical devices, energy and other sectors
  • Applications development focus in most projects
  • Semi-industrial scale labs and experience working with industry (awareness of IP, NDAs and industry-specific project sensitivities)
  • Technologies for metal replacement with lighter, stronger, cheaper composite alternative
  • High-end engineered thermoplastic composites design, development, prototyping & manufacture
  • Thermoplastic Extrusion-compression, Pultrusion, Compression molding, Thermoforming, VARTM
  • Small, medium and high volume production flexibility
  • Commercialization outlet—R&D to commercial transition