The Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation is a 122-member, UT-led consortium of the world’s leading manufacturers across the supply chain with universities and national laboratories pioneering advanced composites technology development and research.

This $259 million public-private partnership led by the University of Tennessee is funded by $70 million from the U.S. Department of Energy and $189 million – including the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development – from partners in six states.

Because of the record-high federal funding for a single venture of its type, U.S. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden visited Tennessee to announce UT’s selection to join four other U.S. Department of Energy institutes backed by the White House in a push to accelerate advanced manufacturing.

What will IACMI’s focus yield? Something generally known as advanced fiber-reinforced polymer composites—which combine strong fibers with tough plastics to yield materials both lighter and stronger than steel.

Advanced composites are already being used in aircraft, military vehicles, satellites and luxury cars, but they’re expensive and require large amounts of energy to manufacture and are difficult to recycle. IACMI seeks to develop low-cost, high-production, energy-efficient manufacturing and recycling processes for advanced composites, overcoming current barriers to their use. Success in this area could yield UT-led intellectual property development, boosting Tennessee’s economy.

IACMI partners include the top five states for automotive employment and companies representing 70 percent of U.S. automotive manufacturing. The consortium’s work is organized around five focus areas:

  • Vehicles (Michigan)
  • Wind turbines (Colorado)
  • Compressed gas storage (Ohio)
  • Design, modeling and simulation (Indiana)
  • Composite materials and processing technology (Tennessee supported by Kentucky)

Corporate contributors and commitments include:

  • Automotive composites supply chain leaders including Ford, Volkswagen, Dow Chemical Company and DowAksa
  • Major national manufacturers such as Boeing and Lockheed Martin
  • Small and medium innovation enterprises such as:
    • Strongwell Corporation, world’s leading pultrusion company
    • Local Motors, the world’s leading 3D-printed car company
  • More than 90 companies across the supply chain

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