Local assistant professor receives $750,000 grant

(WEAU) - UW-Eau Claire is making strides toward the future of science technology, after receiving a federal grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Dr. Matt Jewel was awarded a 5-year grant of 750,000 dollars for a special research project. WEAU’s Courtney Everett sat down with the assistant professor behind it all, to get an inside look at history in the making.

The idea of the unknown is like hearing a song for the first time and it's what most scientists long to discover, like Dr. Matt Jewell of the Materials Science Center.

"I work on superconductors which are materials that can connect electricity without any resistance, without any loss of energy. The biggest magnets in the world are made out of super conductors. A good example would be an MRI magnet,” said Dr. Jewell.

An idea difficult to comprehend, but it’s one that could change that future of technology.

"We're going to work with a variety of collaborators around the country and other universities, national labs and also a private company here in Wisconsin and were going to take samples from them and send samples to them,” said Dr. Jewell.

For junior Maxwell Dylla and other students it’s a chance at a head start in their careers.

"For me as a student, it's really great because not all the departments here at UWEC have as much funding as were going to have,” said Maxwell Dylla, Junior.

"I have a group of right now 6 students that I work pretty closely with,” said Dr. Jewell.

"It’s definitely a team effort in this research group. Each of us works on the piece of the puzzle with the material,” said Dylla.

For Maxwell, his piece of the puzzle will be tensile testing.

"We take this wire and put it into a bunch of acids to dissolve off the surrounding materials. What we get left with is small filaments like this. These are smaller than a human hair. We take each of these filaments and we individually put them in the tensile tester to test the mechanical properties of them,” said Dylla.

“We look to see where the cracks and the defects are and we can use that to feedback to the companies that made the wires and say look we found this defect in the material,” said Dr. Jewell.

This is the first grant UW-Eau Claire has received from the U.S. Department of Energy.