Into the Lab: Polymer and fiber engineering

From left, professor emeritus Roy Broughton and David J. Branscomb, '12 doctoral graduate in polymer and fiber engineering

David J. Branscomb, ’12 doctoral graduate in polymer and fiber engineering, recently won the “Best and Brightest” student poster competition at the American Composites Manufacturers Association’s Composites 2013 conference in Orlando, Fla. Branscomb’s poster, “Design Process for Open Architecture Composites,” describes his research exploring a process to design and manufacture a high strength-to-weight composite truss structure using 3D computer-aided design, finite element analysis and conventional braiding technology. His research was directed by Roy Broughton, professor emeritus in polymer and fiber engineering, and David Beale, faculty member in mechanical engineering. Broughton’s research interests include the chemistry of polymers and fibers, antimicrobial materials, fiber extrusion, microscopy, computer aided design of fabrics, statistical analysis of fiber properties and nonwovens engineering. Beale’s research looks at virtual and physical machine prototyping; the design, simulation and construction of automatic machinery and mechanisms; and applications to manufacturing equipment for composites and braiding machinery. Vladimir Quinones, graduate student in polymer and fiber engineering, and Austin Gurley, senior in mechanical engineering, assisted Branscomb with his poster presentation. His was one of 15 entries from eight universities with research concentrations in composite materials.

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