Associate Professor Caleb Rucker and Research Assistant Professor Ryan Ginder each have a little something extra to celebrate as they begin the new year—a Technology Maturation Grant from the University of Tennessee Research Foundation. The grant includes $10,000 in funding to assist them in advancing new technologies that are on the path to market and benefit society.
Rucker received the grant for his project, “Modular Soft Robot Grippers Using Concentric Precurved Bellows,” in which he is developing technology to make soft robots bend and move.
The grant funds will allow Rucker and his PhD student Jake Childs to prototype and conduct experiments that assess the technology’s suitability for various applications, as well as enable them to fabricate bench-top tested robots to showcase to potential industrial partners. They will also explore different manufacturing methods such as electroforming that can miniaturize the technology down to scales appropriate for minimally invasive surgery.
Ginder received the grant for his project, “Recycling of Wind Turbine Blades into Nonwoven Composites for Fuel Cells,” and will use the funds to demonstrate nonwoven composites molded from recycled glass fiber mats with relevant additives, test and optimize nonwoven composites for mechanical and conductivity performance, and mold and validate the fuel cell composite bipolar plates in test operation.