The DREAMS Lab collaborates with several laboratories and departments throughout Virginia Tech in order to explore the multi-disciplinary research questions and diverse applications of additive manufacturing technologies.

Center for Innovation-based Manufacturing

CIbM_logo_sized_whiteDr. Williams is the co-director of the Center for Innovation-based Manufacturing (CIbM). The CIbM is a multi-disciplinary center formed to solve current manufacturing issues and help the university commercialize new technologies. The mission of the CIbM is to create a foundation for innovation in manufacturing systems as a means of accelerating the commercial development of innovative technologies and thus transform and advance the country’s manufacturing infrastructure. The innovation-based manufacturing goal is to boost the commercialization potential of basic research that is currently constrained by the lack of adequate processes and systems and provide new tools to improve current processes. Researchers in the DREAMS Lab work within the CIbM to identify industrial opportunities where the process flexibility and product design freedom offered by additive manufacturing technologies can have a transformative impact.

Virginia Tech Foundry Institute for Research and Education

SONY DSCThe Virginia Tech Foundry Institute for Research and Education (VT FIRE) is the preeminent academic facility for foundry research and education in the United States.  The facility has several furnaces that enable student researchers to pour iron, steel, aluminum and copper/bronze alloys. The DREAMS Lab helps maintain and operate a ZCorp Z510 3D Printer at the facility to enable users to directly fabricate pattern-less molds and cores for sand casting. In addition, the various machines in the DREAMS Lab are used to fabricate patterns for investment casting for the facility. Working with VT FIRE researchers, the DREAMS Lab explores new opportunities for foundry applications for Addtive Manufacturing.


Virginia Tech Department of Engineering Education

ENGE_McBryde_sizedResearchers in the DREAMS Lab are dedicated to improving engineering education. To accomplish this goal, we collaborate with the faculty in Virginia Tech’s Department of Engineering Education (in which Dr. Williams has a joint appointment). Specifically, we have collaborated with the toolsLab and Virginia Tech’s Engineering Communication Center to explore pedagogical innovations in engineering design education. In addition, we work with researchers in the Center for Human-Computer Interaction to identify opportunities for the integration of technology in educational practice.


Virginia Tech Department of Mechanical Engineering

Randolph_Hall2_sizedResearchers in the DREAMS Lab frequently partner with faculty across the Department of Mechanical Engineering to identify innovative applications of additive manufacturing technology. Examples include:

  • Custom-fit bicycle helmets with the Center for Injury Biomechanics (CIB)
  • Functional components for unmanned vehicles with the Unmanned Systems Lab
  • Components for researching fluid flow in heart valves and flying snakes in the Advanced Experimental Thermofluid Engineering Research Laboratory (AeThER)
  • Robotic hands, robotic faces, and even robotic jellyfish for the Electronic Materials and Devices Laboratory (EMDL)
  • Millimeter-scale robots for the Micro/NanoScale Biotic/Abiotic Systems Engineering Laboratory (MicroN BASE)
  • Turbine blades for flow predictions for the Heat, Energy and Fluids Transport (HEFT) Lab

Institute for Critical Technology & Applied Science

Ictas_venn_colored_sizedVirginia Tech’s Institute for Critical Technology & Applied Science (ICTAS) is a research institute that is designed to create a seamless path from fundamental research through applied research and development to technology transfer. Its mission is to enable and engage in path-finding interdisciplinary research at the intersection of engineering, science, biology, and the humanities to advance the frontiers of knowledge, promote economic development and enhance the quality of life in the Commonwealth of Virginia, the U.S., and the world at large, and enhance the educational experience of both undergraduate and graduate students. ICTAS has identified additive manufacturing in its Emerging Technology research thrust area.  In addition, we work with we work with the ICTAS Laboratory for Engineered Nano (LENS) Lab on processing quantum dot nanoparticles.


Macromolecules Innovation Institute

The purpose of MII is to unify Virginia Tech’s internationally recognized interdisciplinary programMIIs in macromolecular science and engineering. Graduate and undergraduate education in an interdisciplinary macromolecular science environment prepare Virginia Tech students for success in a variety of careers in the research, engineering, and technology enterprise. Students conduct basic and applied research in a unique cross-disciplinary environment which is often necessary to solve technologically important problems.
Many times the problems have relevance to answering specific industrial questions.