U.S. Department of Transportation Taps Gateway to Test Innovative Materials

GREENSBORO, NC – September 1, 2020 – The U.S. Department of Transportation Volpe National Transportation Systems Center has contracted with the Gateway Materials Test Center (GMTC) to test materials for commercial vehicles, enabling them to be lighter weight, cost efficient and more durable. Parts made with Fiber Reinforced Plastic (FRP) composites are expected to arrive in early September to undergo rigorous testing at Gateway South.

“Gateway is a regional hub for innovation, and we’re delighted our Materials Test Center was selected to be part of the U.S. DOT’s efforts to improve commercial vehicle transportation throughout the nation,” said Jim Westmoreland, Interim Executive Director, Gateway Research Park. “This is our first major federal testing contract and as you might imagine, our GMTC team is very excited and eager to get started serving the Volpe Center on this important project.”

The U.S. Department of Transportation Volpe Center, with a mission of advancing transportation innovation for the public good, works to anticipate emerging transportation issues and address the nation’s most pressing and complex challenges. Its work emphasizes safetyinfrastructure and accountability

The Volpe Center plans to use the information generated by these tests to provide performance data for the manufacture of cargo tank motor vehicles that use FRP composites. Sample panels made of these materials will undergo testing for strength, impact resistance and flexibility; the GMTC test results will provide engineers at Volpe with the information needed to create numerical models on how the tanks would perform. These performance models will enable the U.S. Department of Transportation to establish a standardized means of permitting tank construction for tank manufacturers to employ in the design of vehicles constituted with FRP composites.

The Gateway Materials Test Center provides chemical, analytical and physical testing that helps companies develop better products, get them to market on time, save time and money, and minimize risk. Organizations throughout the U.S., Europe and South America depend on the advanced equipment and knowledge of science and engineering at GMTC.

GMTC would also like to thank and recognize Dr. Ajit Kelkar, Chair of the JSNN Department of Nanoengineering, for his help in landing this important work item with the USDOT.