Engineering research featured in the UWM Research Foundation 2023 Annual Report

three men, standing and looking at the camera.
Deyang Qu (from left), Brian Armstrong and William Dussault are working to make batteries safer.

The research and intellectual property of several faculty members from the College were among those highlighted in the UWM Research Foundation 2023 Annual Report, which came out Feb. 29. These projects represent faculty who received funding or filed new patents from the foundation in the last year.

Two Catalyst Grants were awarded to engineering researchers. Supported by the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation and Clarios, the grants seed-fund promising researchin areas where UWM has the greatest potential to impact the regional economy through commercialization. Winning projects have led to 62 issued patents and 30 license/option agreements in the last 15 years.

  • Brian Armstrong and Deyang Qu (mechanical engineering) and William Dussault (electrical engineering)
    The team is developing a novel system to monitor the internal health of batteries, making them safer. The approach allows continuous operation of the batteries, while bypassing faulty components. Their first targets are lithium-ion and lithium-metal batteries.
  • Yin Wang (civil & environmental engineering) and Xiaoli Ma (materials science & engineering)
    The researchers have teamed up with Shangping Xu in geosciences to create a two-step process that extracts lithium from currently untapped sources. This technology could help the United States become a bigger player in meeting the exploding global demand for lithium.

The Bridge Grant Program is for UWM faculty, staff and students with licensed intellectual property from the Research Foundation. This program leverages a $200,000 matching grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation with individual donors Clarios and Bader Philanthropies to invest in new startups. Recent recipients include three startups associated with the College.

  • Concretology LLC
    Konstantin Sobolev (civil & environmental engineering) formed Concretology to commercialize a long-lasting spray-on water repellent coating that can be used on concrete, ceramic, metal and wood surfaces. The coating can confer corrosion protection, hinder transport of chemicals through porous materials, prevent icing and provide antimicrobial properties.
  • Intelligent Composites LLC
    Pradeep Rohatgi (materials science & engineering) and Intelligent Composites are developing metal matrix composites that make aluminum stronger and stiffer than traditional aluminum alloys.
  • NanoAffix Science LLC
    Founded by former UWM professor Junhong Chen, this startup is developing a handheld device to test for lead and harmful compounds in drinking water.

New patents applications were filed by three engineering faculty members featured in the foundation’s annual report:

  • Chanyeop Park (electrical engineering)
    Park has created a patent-pending material that reduces aging and improves performance of electronic devices involved in energy infrastructure.
  • Nikolai Kouklin (materials science & engineering) and Konstantin Sobolev (civil & environmental engineering)  
    The pair have devised a novel process to fabricate a water-based semiconductor that could advance the science of lasers, light waves and medical diagnostics by making their electronic components smaller, faster and more reliable.