Srinath Ekkad, the Rolls-Royce Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Virginia Tech, has been selected as the new head of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at North Carolina State University. He will take over the new position Sept. 18.
Ekkad came to Virginia Tech in 2007 as an associate professor. In his decade in Blacksburg he has been the Director of the Commonwealth Center for Aerospace Propulsion Systems, an affiliate faculty member in the Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering, the Director for the Rolls-Royce UTC for Advanced Systems Diagnostics, the Rolls-Royce Commonwealth Professor of Aerospace Propulsion Systems, and the Associate Vice President for Research. He was appointed a full professor in 2011.
Virginia Tech researchers have created a novel way to 3-D print the type of high-temperature polymeric materials commonly used to insulate space craft and satellites from extreme heat and cold.
Previously, the polyimide could be made only in sheets.
The material, formally known as Kapton, is an aromatic polymer composed of carbons and hydrogens inside benzene rings, which provides exceptional thermal and chemical stability. But because of this molecular structure, the material is notoriously difficult to produce in any format other than thin sheets. Kapton is often used in the multi-layer insulation that forms the outer wrapping of spacecraft, satellites, and planetary rovers to protect them from extreme heat and cold. It often is mistaken for "gold foil."