Projects, Careers, and Capabilities Plastics and Composites Engineering
Product Development at Ascend Performance Materials
Applications Engineer at Samson Rope
Design Engineer at Hexcel Corporation
Materials Process & Physics Engineer at Boeing
Research & Development Engineer at Quatro Composites
Process Engineer at R & D Plastics
Structures Engineer at Systima Technologies
JCATI Sponsored Projects
Safer Materials for Aircraft Interior Composites
WWU has been developing new materials for aircraft interiors to improve safety for manufacturing personnel. Current material (phenolic resin) off gasses formaldehyde during processing.
WWU has successfully shown replacement materials meet FAA's stringent flammability requirements, while removing formaldehyde hazards and improving
composite mechanical performance.
Industry Partner: Safran Cabin/Zodiac Aerospace
High Performance 3D Printing Materials for Space Applications
WWU and Tethers Unlimited are developing high-performance materials for additive manufacturing of components for satellites, navigation, high power microwave amplifiers and other space applications.
These materials are intended to function under extreme conditions (high temperature, strong electric fields, ultra high vacuum) while maintaining performance of traditionally manufactured parts.
Industry Partner: Tethers Unlimited
Reducing Aerospace Composite Waste
WWU Is working with Hexcel to develop new composite materials that have longer shelf-lives in order to reduce waste in the aerospace industry. The aerospace industry currently landfills approximately 500,000 lbs per year, of expired materials.
Commercially available composites require expensive freezer storage. WWU-Hexcel developed materials will be storage stable at room temperature.
Industry Partner: Hexcel Corporation
North American Ocean Plastics Recycling
The WWU and OSU Engineering Departments have partnered with the non-profit Ocean Plastics Recovery Project to develop methods for recycling plastics that have been collected from the ocean.
The goal of this project is to create information for the plastics industry to use to incorporate ocean plastics into commercial products rather than sending collected materials to the landfill.
Partner: Ocean Plastics Recovery Project, Oregon State University
Reversible Thermosets for Recyclable Composites
Composite materials, such as those used in the aerospace and automotive
industries, are currently unrecyclable due to their chemical nature. This presents challenges when composites reach their end of life as reuse is near impossible.
WWU is currently working on designing new types of composites that are
chemically reversible in order to enable composite recycling and and reclamation of carbon fiber from composite waste
Principle Researcher: Dr. John Misasi
Compostable Plastics Degradation in the Environment
The WWU Engineering & Design, Biology and Environmental Sciences departments are working to understand how "biodegradable" and "compostable" plastics break down in agricultural environments.
Although these materials have been marketed as improvements over conventional materials, the rates and by-products of degradation are not well understood, and a multi-disciplinary approach is needed.
Partner: WWU Biology and Environmental Science Departments
Student Projects Plastics & Composites Engineering
During their senior year, Plastics & Composites Engineering students design and implement a project of their choosing. Students present their projects to their peers, faculty, and project sponsors at the end of spring quarter. Projects are often in collaboration with companies in industry.
Sponsor a Senior Project
Our Plastics and Composites Engineering students are required to have a year-long senior project before they can graduate. Often times these research projects are industry-partnered. Becoming an industry sponsor is a mutually beneficial opportunity for companies, industry professionals, and Western students.
You can get involved with two approaches depending on the scope of the project:
1) R&D partnerships and other long-term projects (typically involving grant funding) are administered through WWU's Office of Research and Sponsored Projects.
2) Projects of limited scope and duration are handled directly by the TDC.
We welcome you to contact us for any of the following:
- Requesting more information about the TDC
- Providing more information about potential projects
To learn more about becoming a sponsor click the "Become and Industry Sponsor" button below.
Plastics and Composites Engineering Equipment:
- Injection Molding
- Vacuum Thermoforming
- Rotational Molding
- Blow Molding
- Walk-in Freezer
- Accelerated Weathering Unit
Composite and Thermoset Processing
- Compression Molding
- Reaction Injection Molding
- Vacuum Ovens
- Pneumatic Ski Press
- Filament Winder