Research and Projects


What is research?

Students are able to participate in projects and/or funded research projects as undergraduate students.

Students also have the opportunity to work with industry partners on year-long projects. 

Click on the link below to learn more about what our faculty and students are working on!

2022-2023 Research


How do I get involved?


Sean Ryan
Research Associate

 Current Research and  Projects

beach clean up

Circular Economy

Learn more about the North American Ocean Plastics Recycling program and research in WWU's Polymer Materials Engineering program.

Window - WWU's Magazine

Ocean Plastics Recovery

Students and faculty have gone to Alaska to help clean up beaches.  They bring items back to the labs and reuse them for new products.  This video was made by a WWU alum.

Ocean Plastics Recovery Project 


Waste to Product

The Waste to Product research team replicates best practices from recycling facilities at a smaller scale.  This work allows students to turn hard-to-recycle plastics into useful products. The primary goal of the team is to promote a circular economy within the university’s campus by collecting “waste” FROM students to be engineered into new products FOR students. The team has also used community outreach to educate others on how post-consumer plastics are valuable materials that are not always utilized. The scope of the project continues to grow as more inspiring areas of improvement are identified.  

Previous Project Examples

The Joint Center for Aerospace Technology Innovation (JCATI) has funded faculty led research at WWU.  These videos showcase student involvement in these projects. 


Industry: Sponsor a Senior Project

Our Polymer Materials 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.

Industry 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:

  • Tours
  • 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. 

Lab Equipment



  • Injection Molding 
  • Vacuum Thermoforming 
  • Extruding
  • Rotational Molding
  • Blow Molding


  • Walk-in Freezer
  • Accelerated Weathering Unit 

Composite and Thermoset Processing

  • Compression Molding 
  • Reaction Injection Molding
  • Autoclave
  • Vacuum Ovens
  • Pneumatic Ski Press
  • Braider
  • Filament Winder