LSU professor lands NSF award to study ultrasonic processing for manufacturing

The National Science Foundation has awarded LSU mechanical engineering professor Genevieve Palardy with a five-year, $585,950 CAREER Award to study the use of polymer composite materials and ultrasonic processing in manufacturing.

Her research seeks to further the development of ultrasonic processing of composites and advance the growth of several applications in the aerospace, transportation, maritime, piping and wind energy industries.

“One specific application I’m researching is called ultrasonic welding, not only for joining, but for consolidation and repair of composites as well,” Palardy says in an LSU press release. Current manufacturing techniques typically require high temperatures and expensive tooling, which limits the use of composite materials as primary structural components in a wide variety of industries. Processing through ultrasonic vibrations provides a promising candidate for an energy- and cost-efficient manufacturing and assembly technique.

Palardy wants to understand how ultrasonic material parameters govern heat generation and crystallization mechanisms through multiscale experiments. She also wants to establish a model based on experimental outcomes that will allow for predicting bond efficiency and scaling up the process.

In addition to the research component of this project is the outreach aspect. Palardy will engage area elementary, middle, and high school students – particularly female students – in STEM activities to promote tools for them to pursue rewarding engineering careers.

She will also participate in ENGage LSU, host hands-on activites with the Louisiana Art & Science Museum, organize workshops with local high schools for composites manufacturing and joining, sponsor a Capstone Design project for a team of LSU undergraduate students to develop an application with augmented reality to teach and train a variety of audiences, and develop a new project-based course titled that will include hands-on manufacturing and simulation analyses for undergraduate and graduate students.