Despite business areas being crippled by the effects of a down-trodden economy, the aerospace industry has seen a burst in technologies and employment growth. In particular, the aerospace manufacturing hub in the state of Ohio has had an upswing of activity due to the stimulus of projects that are geared towards creating a technological hotbed—composites among them. The Ohio Third Frontier Commission has funded projects through a program called the Wright Projects Program, which sponsors project collaborations between universities and businesses to breathe life back into the manufacturing arena in Ohio.

In a report from the Third Frontier Commission, Ohio Board of Regents Chancellor Eric Fingerhut describes how important the funding is to recipients as it sparks new growth in technology within Ohio. “The research conducted at Ohio’s colleges, universities and research institutions is vital to producing innovative products for the marketplace and developing new technologies in the state,” Fingerhut states. “Ohioans are consistently leading the way in creating new products and ideas to assist the growing technology industry and these awards are an important opportunity for us to invest in their ideas.”

The University of Dayton Research Institute (URDI), Renegade Materials, Goodrich and Owens Corning are joint recipients of the program’s funding and will create a multi-functional composite material at a brand new facility in Dayton’s aerospace hub.

On the university side, Dr. Khalid Lafdi is the head of the team for Carbon Materials research at URDI. With the funding from the Department of Defense, Lafdi has spent the past 8 years developing a nanotechnology composite material for military vehicles and equipment. The nanotechnology Lafdi created was a Nano Adaptive Hybrid Fabric (NAHF-XTM) composite material he nicknamed “fuzzy fiber”. “The fabric resembled a baby’s hair, because it’s fuzzy and sticking out in different directions, “he said.