Welcome to the Center for Advanced Non-Ferrous Structural Alloys (CANFSA). This is an NSF Industry/University Cooperative Research Center (I/UCRC), launched in 2011, representing a partnership between faculty at the Colorado School of Mines and the University of North Texas who are working with member companies on industrially-relevant projects in the area of non-ferrous structural alloys.
Prior to starting on this endeavor, we communicated with several industries and recognized a common motivation for undertaking the development of this center, namely, the historical decline in US government funding for non-ferrous physical metallurgy research. This decline has resulted in a significant negative impact on these industries since (1) there are presently only a few universities that educate students in the relevant areas of physical metallurgy of non-ferrous alloys and (2) there are few academic research projects focused on non-ferrous alloy research and development that are of significant interest to the industries that develop, manufacture and/or use these alloys. These trends have greatly reduced the synergies that existed previously between faculty, students, and the relevant industries leading to decreased production potential and a smaller pool of qualified employees. Furthermore, based in large part upon feedback from current and potential industrial partners, we reached the general agreement that:
- A funded “Center for Advanced Non-Ferrous Structural Alloys” would fill a critical need not currently addressed by any other such NSF center;
- The Center’s focus on addressing the physical metallurgy of non-ferrous alloys (i.e., alloying and processing effects on microstructure, properties, and performance) was and would continue to be a highly relevant topic;
- The format of a multi-university, multi-industrial partnership would provide many additional opportunities for the participants to co-champion programs to address problems that have a common basis and yet are highly complex, thus remaining unaddressed; and
- There would be many additional benefits to industrial partners, including direct access to students who would have received various levels of focused research experiences on relevant industrial programs as well as royalty-free access to IP developed in the center.
It is important to note that CANFSA is steered by our Industrial Advisory Board (IAB), in which representatives from our member and associate member companies are voting members. Our IAB works with our faculty to insure that we collectively define the research projects in a democratic fashion, and that they are based on the emphasis areas of the member companies and the expertise of the participating faculty. Research projects fall into three topic areas, namely:
“Lightweight Alloys” (e.g., Al, Mg)
“High Performance Alloys” (e.g., Ti, Ni)
“Advanced Alloys and Processing” (e.g., shape memory alloys, novel processing).
On behalf of the faculty members of the Center, we would like to formally invite you to participate in the Center. We suggest that you examine our web site to better understand the Center’s structure, the faculty involved, sample membership agreements, the advantages of membership and ongoing research projects selected by the member companies as the most relevant to their businesses. Additional projects are added as the Center grows, based on proposals from faculty and IAB members voted on at our annual Fall IAB Meeting.
In closing, we very much hope that your company will become a member of our Center. As we proceed, we believe that CANFSA not only will become a World-Class Center on Non-Ferrous Structural Alloys, but also that, as a collective body, we might begin to change and overcome those issues that motivated us in the beginning. Please do not hesitate to contact us with questions regarding the structure and make-up of the Center. We will be happy to provide any additional information that will help ensure that your company will be interested and able to join this Center.