Joint Research Seeds Next Generation of Materials and Processes

Rich Martukanitz brings a broad and global perspective on technology innovation and adoption to the University of Virginia School of Engineering. Recently named additive manufacturing fellow to the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing, under the auspices of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Martukanitz will catalyze joint research in additive manufacturing materials and processes in support of the nation’s aerospace, energy, and medical device industries.  

Martukanitz sees mutual benefits from UVA Engineering’s participation in the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing, a Prince George County, Va.-based consortium of university, government and industry, through collaboration across a broad range of technology readiness levels with the ultimate goal of making  advanced manufacturing more effective, efficient and profitable. UVA is a founding member of the center, and UVA Engineering Dean Craig H. Benson leads the center’s board.

“UVA materials science and engineering students and faculty will gain deeper insight into industry needs, to drive research. It allows us to change the paradigm from technology push to technology pull,” Martukanitz said. The partnership also offers more immediate and customized opportunities to validate research findings in real-world industry settings, he added.

In exchange, UVA can help center members tap into the innovations that come from exploring fundamental questions in materials science and engineering. Martukanitz observed that the center has traditionally focused on the near-to-market technology readiness levels: levels four through seven on a nine-point scale developed by the federal government in which nine is a technology proven in critical missions and everyday use.

“Through consistent, substantive collaboration with UVA materials science and engineering, the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing can extend its reach into technology readiness level three. It is the research at this level that seeds innovations that ultimately become the next generation of materials and processes,” Martukanitz said. 

UVA materials science and engineering faculty have already kicked off two programs with the center’s innovation fund that leverage UVA Engineering’s  strengths in integrative process and materials modeling. Professors Leonid Zhigilei and Bi-Cheng Zhou are contributing to the effort, joined by Rolls-Royce Commonwealth Professor Chris Li, a faculty member whose primary appointment is in UVA’s Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.