An advanced materials society succeeded in bringing its major conference and exhibition to the East Coast for the first time and is contemplating a return possibly in 2009.
In another first, the Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering named a person from outside the United States - England's Bob Griffiths - as its president.
SAMPE '07 was held June 4-7 in Baltimore.
Keynote speaker Douglas Comstock, director of innovative partnerships at NASA, called for rejuvenating the relationship between the agency and SAMPE members. He touched on some of NASA's ``benefits to humanity,'' such as the heart pump and ingestible thermometer.
A macrofiber composite actuator and sensor, developed at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., was selected as the agency's invention of the year and has been used on space missions, Comstock said. Under license, Smart Material Corp. of Sarasota, Fla., is commercializing the device, which consists of rectangular piezo ceramic rods sandwiched between layers of adhesive and electroded polyimide film. Interdigitized electrodes transfer voltage to and from the ribbon-shaped rods.
Another SAMPE keynote speaker, Rep. Donald Manzullo, R-Ill., vocalized his support of American manufacturers by criticizing federal regulatory burdens, current trade and immigration policies and International Traffic in Arms Regulations.
Manzullo asked manufacturers to write their legislators, encourage facility visits and communicate their business needs through their political representatives.
Starnes Walker, a third keynote speaker and research director at the Department of Homeland Security, discussed the role of materials and processes in the scope of the department's broadening mission.
Conference activities included 280 technical presentations, 12 tutorials, a nanomaterials forum and five technical panels.
Of the presentations, more than 50 papers involved nano-related materials and composite and technology subjects, and 17 dealt with infrastructure and civil engineering topics.