The National Science Foundation (NSF) has granted Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering William LePage a Faculty Early Career Development award for his work in The University of Tulsa’s College of Engineering & Computer Science. Known as the CAREER award, it is the NSF’s most prestigious in support of early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education.
“This CAREER award will help my group launch new and exciting pathways in research and education,” LePage mentioned. “I am extremely grateful to all of the students, colleagues, and mentors who helped me toward this grant.”
This NSF award, which is expected to total $682,316 over five years, will support research by LePage and his group — the Advanced Materials Design Group (AMDG) — on sustainable metal 3D printing. The project also involves substantial education efforts to equip K-12 and college students through inspiring stories and hands-on materials science activities.
LePage’s new research efforts will address critical questions surrounding a type of metal 3D printing called binder jet. Binder jet is one of the most promising ways to make sustainable metal parts on a large scale. Since metals account for about 40% of industrial greenhouse gases, LePage argues that “one of the central aspects for our sustainable future is doing more with less in the production and application of metals.” LePage’s group will focus on nanoscale additives to unlock new paradigms for the performance and predictability of high-volume, high-efficiency metal parts fabricated by binder jet.
During the five-year project, LePage’s team will develop hands-on learning activities that bring the science of metal 3D printing to life for K-12 students. Additionally, LePage and the students in AMDG — in partnership with TU’s local student university chapter and the global office of the National Society of Black Engineers — will inspire the next generation through incredible stories of Black scientists and engineers.
Andreas A. Polycarpou, inaugural dean of TU’s College of Engineering & Computer Science, congratulated LePage on his accomplishment. “Sincere congratulations for this well-deserved award. Not only is this a testament of Will’s magnificent work for The University of Tulsa, but it will launch research that will help identify and build the unique qualities of his career path. We are honored to have William LePage as an esteemed colleague of our university,” Polycarpou said.