UNT professor working with Corning Inc. to improve glass materials

Jincheng Du
Assistant professor of materials science and engineering
Friday, December 2, 2011

DENTON (UNT), Texas – From car windshields to smartphone screens consumers expect their glass products to be strong and durable and have high optical quality. Achieving this combination of properties can be a challenge for manufacturers working with the naturally brittle material.

Dr. Jincheng Du, an assistant professor in the University of North Texas' Department of Materials Science and Engineering, recently received a grant from the National Science Foundation to study ways to improve the properties of glass materials using sophisticated modeling techniques.

Du received $363,745 from NSF's Grant Opportunities for Academic Liaison with Industry (GOALI) program to work with Corning Inc., a fortune 500 company specializing in glass and ceramic materials. During the four-year project, Du will investigate how the mixed glass former effect alters the structure and properties of glass compositions.

In multicomponent glass materials, glass formers are compounds such as silicon dioxide, aluminum oxide and boron oxide that form the backbone structures of the material. The UNT team will use sophisticated computer simulations to study how mixing these compounds changes the mechanical, electrical, thermal and other properties of glass materials . The team also will study the structural origins of these changes. The simulations efforts at UNT will be correlated closely with experimental research carried out at Corning Inc. 

The complicated structure of glass materials has historically prevented a detailed understanding of the relationship between structure and properties. Through atomistic computer simulations paired with experimental validation, a more rational approach can be developed to design glass compositions for various technological applications. This approach should result in a more efficient, and subsequently less expensive, design and development process for the next generation of glass materials.

The project will involve several undergraduate and graduate students who will have the opportunity to work closely with scientists and engineers at Corning Inc.

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