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LSU mechanical engineering professor receives Danek Award

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Mechanical engineering professor Michael Khonsari was honored with the Danek Award for his commitment to research at the Experimental Program to Stimulate Research’s 2017 Coalition of States Conference.

The Danek Award is named after Joseph Danek, who serves in Washington D.C. as the executive director of the EPSCoR Foundation and senior vice president of the Implementation Group, Inc. This award has only been given out twice since it was created in 2016.

Khonsari currently serves as the project director for EPSCoR for Louisiana and the associate commissioner for sponsored programs at the Louisiana Board of Regents. He has helped to develop a science and technology plan for the state and foster faculty collaboration on research projects.

I’ve been very lucky to be able orchestrate what people are doing and putting my two cents together to win [awards],” Khonsari said.

Currently, EPSCoR has a five-year plan and a $20 million grant grant for research provided the National Science Foundation. Their emphasis is on manufacturing and materials. This involves 3-D printing, and Khonsari said there is now a centralized user’s facility for these printers along with other devices in Patrick F. Taylor Hall.

In the second year second year of this five-year plan, there are several research questions to be addressed regarding manufacturing and materials. Khonsari said there are many scientific issues that need to be resolved involving the types of materials used in these printers and discovering the issues that arise with the use of these devices.

There are two research thrusts – one is 3-D printing, the other is doing a lot of investigation of very, very tiny devices that could perform really well,” Khonsari said. “Just imagine having a credit card sized heat exchanger to remove heat. One of the biggest problems with laptops, or computers in general, was that they couldn’t remove heat. Chips generate a lot of power, so somehow you have to remove that heat, or else everything blows up.”

Khonsari said he hopes to see a growth in the development of the Manufacturing Central User Facility, bring the manufacturing and materials industry to the state and collaborate with the industry. Khonsari said he wants Louisiana to be known for the manufacturing of devices such as 3-D printers.

That’s the ultimate goal: to land a national center of excellence here which in Louisiana we don’t have one right now in science and engineering,” Khonsari said. “That’s what we’re after.”

EPSCoR was developed in 1978 by the NSF to allow states that lacked funding to send in proposals and compete for research grants. Louisiana became an EPSCoR state in 1987 and has become a model state for EPSCoR because of the program’s success.

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