The has announced a grant of $1 million from the to support research into the properties of glass formation.
The grant will support the efforts of three University of Akron researchers — David Simmons, assistant professor of polymer engineering and principal investigator; Alamgir Karim, associate dean for research; and Kevin Cavicchi, associate professor of polymer engineering — to explore how glass is formed and, eventually, create an algorithm that informs the development of glassy materials that are both impermeable and flexible. The research could lead to improvements in a range of consumer electronics, coatings that protect bridges and roads from corrosion, and vaccines that can survive without refrigeration.
"We are using bio-mimicry — repurposing the process of evolution to evolve a better material," said Simmons. "If we really understood how to design a glass with material properties we wanted, we could drive the next generation of advanced technologies and push forward standard of living."