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Contact: Chriss Swaney
(412) 268-5776

For immediate release:
July 23, 2001

Carnegie Mellon Researchers Work To Create A New Version of Genome Project

PITTSBURGH‹Carnegie Mellon University Professor of Materials Science and Engineering Gregory Rohrer and a handful of other interdisciplinary researchers are working on the materials research equivalent of the human genome project. Just like the human effort where researchers are trying to spell out the nucleotides that make up the DNA on all human chromosomes, Rohrer is trying to map out the best properties available to make airplanes stronger and nuclear power plants safer.

The goal of his research is to understand the strengths and weaknesses of materials that make up everything from a car battery to a super sonic jet. These materials, used in applications ranging from planes and trains to integrated circuits, are polycrystallines. They are made up of large numbers of microscopic crystals connected to each other by interfaces called grain boundaries. The properties of these boundaries determine how materials perform, including how long they will last or how they will break.

Rohrer's research is being conducted at Carnegie Mellon's College of Engineering in the Materials Research and Science and Engineering Center which recently received a $4.3 million grant from the National Science Foundation for a variety of research projects.


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