MSE Professor Blair Brettmann and CHBE student Alexa Dobbs Spend Summer at LLNL Exploring Materials Processing and Manufacturing
Sep 21, 2023 —
MSE Professor Blair Brettmann and CHBE doctoral student Alexa Dobbs decided to spend a summer at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) to collaborate with the Lab’s materials science experts and learn more about LLNL’s experimental resources. During Brettmann’s faculty mini-sabbatical, she collaborated with researchers from LLNL’s Energetic Materials Center to refine material manufacturing techniques.
According to LLNL materials scientist Kyle Sullivan, who sponsored Brettmann’s mini-sabbatical, she helped his team take a fresh look at their methodology, enabling them to identify ways to streamline a highly complex process.
“Many of our material development activities start with multi-faceted problems,” Sullivan said. “We were eager to draw from Blair’s experience in pharmaceutical manufacturing to help us identify an efficient methodology to apply to our research.”
Brettmann’s research focuses on material processing, including how a material’s properties influence the optimal processing approach, as well as how novel processing techniques can be used to develop materials with the features needed for specific applications. Her goal is to better understand options for real-time monitoring of material processing, including effective data collection tools, as well as knowing which experimental data would be beneficial to analyze. As she heads back to Georgia Tech to start another academic year, Brettmann is hoping that the insight she gained during her mini-sabbatical will help her research team as they test new analytical techniques for their material formulation experiments.
Dobbs spent her summer at LLNL investigating material formulation techniques. She helped design and conduct experiments that explored ways to optimize material mixing and she developed a new process for analyzing experimental data. During her internship, Dobbs met with LLNL experts in materials processing and advanced manufacturing, who helped her frame her experiments.
“It was great to expand my understanding of the entire manufacturing process and learn about key challenges in the field," Dobbs said. “The opportunity to spend time with energetics experts was one of the highlights of my internship experience.”