Faster, Stronger, Higher

Metal pour
High-tech alloys and other materials developed by UAB engineers have been used in everything from bridges to body armor.

A century after molten iron began flowing from Birmingham, UAB’s School of Engineering has earned an international reputation for advancing metals-casting technology and developing stronger, lighter, and more economical materials.

Manufacturers took notice when casting expert Charles Bates, Ph.D., brought his expertise and equipment to UAB in the early 1990s. “He turned UAB into a leader,” says Barry Andrews, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. “People came from across the country to solve their casting problems, and many more read columns that he wrote for foundry magazines.”

Andrews and others took UAB’s capabilities to an even higher level. Teaming with NASA researchers, Andrews placed pioneering experiments aboard the space shuttle. Because alloys normally separated by gravity remain together in orbit, Andrews could create composite materials never before seen on Earth.


More new materials have sprung from the research of UAB’s Uday Vaidya, Ph.D.—including lightweight, high-strength parts for buses, bridges, and body armor—saving money, the environment, and quite possibly some lives.


Read more breakthrough features in UAB Magazine.