WPI is Among the Winners of the ASM Materials Education Foundation Materials Genome Toolkit Contest

January 10, 2019

Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) was among four universities to receive state-of-the-art materials analysis software from the ASM Materials Education Foundation (ASM MEF) by being named winners of the 2018 ASM Materials Genome Toolkit competition. The other winners were Georgia Institute of Technology, Louisiana Technological University, Montana Technological University.

ASM MEF helps drive technological leadership in design and manufacturing by awarding this software, said the foundation’s executive director, Carrie Wilson. “WPI is part of this trailblazing group that is leading the way in engineering education and the development of a technological workforce equipped for the opportunities and challenges ahead.”

The competition winners, determined by an independent review committee, will receive a toolkit (consisting of software and databases) worth $218,426. Included is a three-year site license for a suite of Thermo-Cale software tools intended to aid in the instruction of computational materials design, an emerging engineering practice deemed essential to the success of the U.S. Materials Genome Initiative (MGI) and global leadership in manufacturing. They were selected based on how they plan to integrate the software tools into their undergraduate engineering curriculum and in senior capstone projects designated for the ASM MEF Undergraduate Design Competition.

Meaningful use of the analytical software, which consists of thermodynamic and diffusion modeling codes and a precipitation simulator, will expose students to the innermost workings of metals and alloys as well as the relationships linking microstructure and material properties. It will also give students hands-on experience with some of the most advanced tools and techniques used in industry today.

“We have been using this software in my research group for years, just recently incorporating it into select graduate courses,” said Danielle Cote, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and director of WPI’s Center for Materials Data Processing, who submitted the winning WPI proposal with assistance from Adam Powell and Yu Zhong, both associate professors of mechanical engineering. “This toolkit allows us to expand the use of the software to the entire campus.”

Sixteen engineering schools have now been awarded ASM Materials Genome Toolkits thanks to Thermo-Cale Software AB and the NIST-sponsored Center for Hierarchical Materials Design (CHiMaD). “We are pleased with the success the Toolkit program is having in bringing the Materials Genome to a growing number of undergraduate programs," said Gregory B. Olson, FASM, who came up with the Toolkit concept in 2009 while serving on the ASM Materials Education Foundation's Action in Education Committee (AEC) and its subcommittee on Computational Materials Engineering. Olson, a professor at Northwestern University, is one of the founders of QuesTek Innovations LLC. He is also co-director of the CHiMaD center, serving alongside Peter Voorhees, Northwestern University, and Juan De Pablo, Institute for Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago.

The ASM Materials Education Foundation provides for the advancement of scientific and engineering knowledge through its support of education and outreach programs. Thanks to the hard work of ASM volunteers, the foundation is able to provide exciting opportunities for young people, encouraging them to pursue careers in materials, science, and engineering.