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Assistant Professor Carolyn Seepersad giving her acceptance speech at the 20th Annual International Solid Freeform Fabrication Symposium in Austin, Texas on August 3, 2009.

Assistant Professor Carolyn Seepersad giving her acceptance speech at the 20th Annual International Solid Freeform Fabrication Symposium in Austin, Texas on August 3, 2009.

AUSTIN, TEXAS—August 26, 2009

Laboratory for Freeform Fabrication (LFF) member Assistant Professor Carolyn Seepersad is the 2009 recipient of the International Outstanding Young Researcher in Freeform and Additive Manufacturing Award, given annually to recognize an outstanding young researcher early in his/her career. Recipients must be 35 years old or younger on August 1 of the year in which the $1,000 award is presented. The presentation was made at the Awards Banquet August 3 at the 20th Annual International Solid Freeform Fabrication Symposium in Austin, Texas.

Award Citation

Dr. Seepersad's citation reads "For outstanding accomplishments and potential career contributions as a researcher and educator in the field of design for solid freeform fabrication."

Laboratory for Freeform Fabrication

The LFF was founded in 1988, following student Carl Deckard's remarkable invention of Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), one of the first freeform fabrication processes. Faculty in the LFF are active in research in diverse areas related to freeform fabrication. LFF has several sinterstations as well as a number of research machines constructed on the UT campus. The Solid Freeform Fabrication Symposium, first held in 1990, is the longest continuously running annual meeting dealing with research in freeform fabrication.

Freeform Fabrication is a collection of manufacturing technologies with which parts can be created without the need for part-specific tooling. A computerized model of the part is designed. It is sliced computationally, and layer information is sent to a fabricator that reproduces the layer in a real material.

Carolyn Seepersad's Credentials

Professor Seepersad is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin. She received her Masters and Ph.D. degrees from the Georgia Institute of Technology and joined The University of Texas at Austin in 2005. While at Georgia Tech, she held a NSF Graduate Research Fellowship and a Hertz Graduate Fellowship, winning a Sigma Xi Outstanding Dissertation Award. Among her numerous awards is a Rhodes Scholarship, Class of 1996. In 2006, Seepersad won a Student Engineering Council Faculty Appreciation Award.

Seepersad's Research Team in the Product, Process and Materials Design Lab

Honeycombed selective laser sintering models illustrating different mesostructures.

Honeycombed selective laser sintering models illustrating different mesostructures.

Dr. Seepersad's research involves the development of methods and computational tools for engineering design. Much of her work is focused on design for additive and freeform manufacturing, with an emphasis on products with customized mesostructure, including built-in honeycomb and lattice structures. Next-generation topology design methods are being developed that not only arrange material strategically but also account for multifunctionality and sensitivity to manufacturing variability. Applications include the design of functionally graded structures, structural heat exchangers, acoustic and vibration absorbing structures, and deployable structures. In a complementary research project, Dr. Seepersad and her students are developing methods for collaborative design exploration of multilevel and multidisciplinary products and systems. Set-based models are being investigated for generating and exchanging preliminary solutions among designers collaborating across scales and disciplines. This research promises to provide a new foundation for coordinating distributed design exploration, with a minimally iterative approach that supports active designer involvement in the process. Another major project is focused on mechanical innovation and the use of empathic techniques for stimulating innovation. Experiments are being conducted to test the effect of empathic experiences on engineering innovation. Empathic experiences involve interacting with products under challenging circumstances (e.g., earplugs to simulate noisy environments) with the intention of helping designers better understand and improve product-user interactions. Dr. Seepersad is also actively involved in developing fundamental principles and metrics for product flexibility and green design as well as techniques and testbeds for predictive process control, with an emphasis on welding applications.

Dr. Seepersad has published a total of 71 technical publications, including 15 journal papers (published or in-press); 33 peer-reviewed, full-length conference papers; and one forthcoming book (available in December 2009).

The research team's mission is to empower the next generation of technical leaders through research and teaching that promotes critical thinking, creativity, curiosity, and ethical decision-making. Sponsors include the National Science Foundation, Schlumberger and Los Alamos International Laboratory.

Research Team Members

Dr. Seepersad, back row center holding award, with research team and models made by team members and students. Front row, left to right:  James Durand (undergrad), Vikram Sundar, Ray Ely, Lia Kashdan, and Matthew Saunders (master's students). Back row, left to right: Cassandra Telenko, Dr. Carolyn Seepersad and Peter Backlund (Ph.D. students).

Dr. Seepersad, back row center holding award, with research team and models made by team members and students. Front row, left to right: James Durand (undergrad), Vikram Sundar, Ray Ely, Lia Kashdan, and Matthew Saunders (master's students). Back row, left to right: Cassandra Telenko, Dr. Carolyn Seepersad and Peter Backlund (Ph.D. students).

Graduate Students

Undergraduate Students


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