Mechanical engineering professor Mostafa Yourdkhani has been awarded the National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Award for his research on advanced manufacturing of composite materials.
The CAREER award is one of NSF’s most prestigious awards, recognizing “early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization.”
Yourdkhani’s research program at CSU has been focused on 3-D printing of composite materials, including carbon fiber. These lightweight and strong materials are widely used in air and ground transportation and wind energy industries for everything from airplane wings to wind turbine blades. Current methods for producing these composites can be expensive, slow, and energy intensive.
“We have developed new techniques for making these fascinating materials in just minutes, with minimum energy usage and at a much lower cost,” Yourdkhani, an assistant professor, said. “By using additive manufacturing or 3-D printing, we eliminate the need for costly molds traditionally used in the industry to shape composites.”
Over the next five years, the CAREER award will support the continuation and advancement of his additive manufacturing research and his teaching. Yourdkhani plans to develop hands-on activities related to composites to encourage Colorado’s middle and high school students, particularly women and Hispanic/Latinx students, to pursue STEM education.
“I am excited to develop new courses and experiential activities to train the next generation of the composites workforce,” said Yourdkhani
Yourdkhani has involved students from high school to those pursuing a Ph.D. in the Multifunctional Polymers and Composites Laboratory, involving them directly on his cutting-edge composites research. “We welcome students from various backgrounds and disciplines, from engineering to chemistry to computer science, in our lab to explore new and exciting concepts that have the potential to make a meaningful impact on society and the environment.”
“It’s an incredibly high honor for a faculty member to win the CAREER award, and Mostafa is incredibly deserving of this honor,” said Christian Puttlitz, department head of Mechanical Engineering. “Receiving this award is a true testament to the salience of Mostafa’s work and research.”