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WPI, University Of Illinois Receive NSF Grant To Establish Drying Research Center

Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), Worcester, Mass., and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have received a grant through the National Science Foundation's (NSF's) Industry/University Cooperative Research Center program to help establish the Center for Advanced Research in Drying (CARD) — the first U.S.-based center devoted to developing energy-efficient drying technologies for use with moist, porous materials such as textiles, paper, forestry and agricultural products, foods, chemicals and biopharmaceuticals.

The center will comprise a public-private partnership that will accept study proposals from U.S. enterprises with regards to drying-related problems in pertinent industrial sectors. It will be jointly operated by the University of Illinois and WPI, and will involve efforts from various disciplines including mechanical engineering, combustion, food and agriculture, mathematics, electro-mechanical systems, and others.

"Ultimately, research breakthroughs in this area will strengthen the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturers," said Jamal Yagoobi, Ph.D., principal investigator and project director, and chair of WPI's Department of Mechanical Engineering. "In addition to energy efficiency and sustainability, the development of new drying technologies for moist, porous materials will improve product quality, process efficiency, corporate profitability, and global competitiveness."

"CARD will be a highly collaborative center focused primarily on applied research," said Hao Feng, Ph.D., University of Illinois site director, and professor of food science and human nutrition at the university. "Members will submit and vote on the problems that we study. We look forward to working with corporate sponsors, strategic partners, national laboratories, and industry associations to achieve a range of transformative breakthroughs in drying processes."

May 28, 2013