Fall 2016

Material matters

A new Advanced Materials Center (AMC) at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) will focus on cutting-edge research, education, and partnerships in the emerging field of materials science, in which UMD is a regional leader.

Made possible by a generous gift from Kurt and Beth Heikkila, founders of Tundra Companies, the AMC is housed within the Swenson College of Science and Engineering. Its administrative home will be in the Chemistry and Advanced Materials Science building when that building is completed. The center includes faculty and students from chemistry, biology, chemical engineering, civil engineering, and mechanical engineering.

“The center will enable students to focus on new areas of industrialization, then apply what they learn in their careers,” says Kurt Heikkila, ’79 M.S., whose companies specialize in producing nanotechnology composite materials for the automotive, ballistics, and fishing industries. “Advancing product design will require low-cost materials with certain physical properties—materials that don’t currently exist. AMC will further innovations in composites on a state and national level.”

Priorities for the center include a new undergraduate minor, a proposed master’s program in materials science, and expanded partnerships with regional businesses.