Strategic investments made by Ohio Third Frontier have resulted in a thriving advanced materials industry cluster and are leading the way for technological breakthroughs that will help the state compete on a global level.
"Ohio's dominance in iron and steel, polymers, and various chemicals has positioned our state to make scientific and technological breakthroughs in new, advanced materials that are revolutionizing many industrial and consumer products," said Lisa Patt-McDaniel, Director of the Ohio Department of Development.
Ohio Third Frontier's most recent contribution to the advanced materials cluster is a $3 million award to the University of Dayton Research Institute to fund the scale-up and production of a new multifunctional, multitasking nanomaterial. The new material, known as Nano Adaptive Hybrid Fabric (NAHF-X™), is nicknamed "fuzzy fiber" for its multiscale capabilities in electrical and thermal conductivity, chemical sensing and energy storage and conversion.
Researchers at the University of Dayton Research Institute say the material is "game-changing" due to its ability to be produced in customized sizes, much like other fabrics.
"Thanks to the investments made by Ohio Third Frontier, the United States Air Force, Army and Ohio's aerospace industry, along with the groundbreaking research conducted by the University of Dayton Research Institute, we are creating a whole new way of thinking about materials," said Khalid Lafdi, group leader at the Research Institute and inventor of NAHF-X™. "By manufacturing structural material that can serve multiple functions, fewer parts are needed for any given application, which means reduced cost, lighter weight and greater efficiency."
At a critical time in Ohio's technology-based economic development advancement, Ohio Third Frontier, an unprecedented and bipartisan commitment to create new technology-based products, companies, industries and jobs, initiated a focused effort aimed at developing Ohio's breadth and depth of world-class competencies in the area of advanced materials. To date, Ohio Third Frontier has awarded $200 million dollars to Ohio's advanced materials cluster alone.
"Ohio Third Frontier's investments in advanced materials have created a platform on which we can build superior capabilities in many rapidly growing industry sectors," John Griffin, director of the Ohio Third Frontier technology and innovation division. "The impact of these new materials on the global advanced materials industry is one that could put Ohio on the map for its materials expertise."
In addition to the advanced materials cluster, Ohio Third Frontier has fostered the emergence of new technology clusters across the state, including fuel cells, photovoltaics, and biomedical imaging.
According to the 2009 "Making an Impact" report conducted by SRI, Ohio Third Frontier's strategies for investing in Ohio's high-tech clusters contain all the elements associated with global best practices in technology cluster development, and indicate that these investments are already generating positive economic outcomes for Ohio's economy in terms of growth in technology sector employment, output and wages. Since its inception, the Ohio Third Frontier has created, capitalized or attracted more than 600 companies, has created nearly 55,000 direct and indirect jobs and helped create $6.6 billion in economic impact in Ohio, a 9:1 return on investment.