LeTourneau University has been awarded a $64,300 grant to develop
novel materials joining technologies of thermoelectric elements. The funding comes from
the II-VI Foundation (“Two-Six Foundation”) of Pittsburgh, Penn., and an electronics component
manufacturer that chooses to remain anonymous.
The II-VI Foundation is a private foundation which was formed in
May 2007 and operates numerous programs with the mission “to encourage and enable students to
pursue a career in science, engineering and/or mathematics.” In pursuit of this mission the
Foundation has undertaken a new initiative called the Undergraduate Research Program. LETU is
the first university to be part of this new undergraduate initiative.
LETU materials joining Endowed Chair and Professor Dr. Yoni Adonyi
and Associate Professor Robert Warke will be co-investigators directing the undergraduate students.
They will challenge students to perform cutting-edge research on an advanced materials project
aimed at improving interface stability of bismuth and lead telluride semiconductors. They will also
research the efficient conversion of heat to electricity (reclaiming automobile exhaust
heat). Up to 10 engineering undergraduates will work on the first year of the project which
will also provide a practical, real-world experience for some of the students as a senior design
The grant also offers LETU new possibilities for welding/materials
joining research in the electronics industry. In the past 15 years, the LETU materials joining
program has provided research experiences for over 100 students and attracted more than $2 million
in grant funding. Other ongoing research projects involve development of a hybrid process
using friction stir welding and high frequency welding, as well as research into the contamination
effects on nickel-based, super-alloy deposits for the nuclear industry.