Warren - NSF CareerDepartment of Mechanical Engineering Assistant Professor Roseanne Warren has been awarded a National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) award. The CAREER program is one of NSF’s most prestigious award programs, with awards of up to $500,000 over 5 years in support of early-career faculty with potential to serve as academic role models in research and education. The research grant, entitled “CAREER: Roll-to-Roll Fabrication of Porous Materials Using Nanobubble Templates,” will explore new methods of fabricating templated porous materials that are compatible with high-throughput, scalable manufacturing protocols, including roll-to-roll fabrication.

“In many applications, controlling pore sizes and distributions at the nanoscale is critical to material performance,” explains Warren. “Electrochemical energy storage–including batteries and supercapacitors–is one of those applications. There is an urgent need to increase the energy density of rechargeable batteries for electric vehicle applications. In addition to battery chemistry, electrode structure including porosity and pore size distribution should be optimized to maximize ion and electron conductivity through the cell. We need to find new manufacturing approaches that can achieve this, and these manufacturing approaches need to be compatible with large scale manufacturing approaches, such as roll-to-roll fabrication currently used in the battery industry.”

Professor Warren’s research will explore a new porous material manufacturing approach that uses nanoscale bubble templates in place of traditional hard templating materials, thus enabling precise control over the resulting porous structure while eliminating process complexities and waste associated with removal of the hard-templating material. The research is integrated with an educational plan that supports the training of graduate and undergraduate student researchers, enhances educational opportunities in the field of nanomanufacturing, and creates new opportunities for underrepresented minority groups in STEM, with a focus on Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander students through collaboration with the University of Utah’s Pacific Islands Studies program.

For more information on Prof. Warren’s research group, the Advanced Energy Innovations Lab, please visit: https://advancedenergy.mech.utah.edu . For the NSF award abstract, please visit: https://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward?AWD_ID=1943907