Dr. Pnina Ari-Gur’s research is in the field of smart and advanced materials. One of her research projects in this area, which was funded by grants from NSF and CRDF Global, is focused on developing advanced new alloys that will help achieve an environmentally-friendly high-efficiency refrigeration and energy-saving technology. Freon, which has been used for many years as a liquid refrigerant, is being phased out because of its contribution to the depletion of the ozone layer. A combined theoretical and experimental approach is used in the framework of the project to develop new alloys that will produce no emissions and operate quietly and efficiently. She collaborates on this project with scientists from the Russian Academy of Sciences. Other related research projects include developing nanostructured NiTiCu for nano-tweezers and other applications. At WMU, she supervises a Ph.D. student from the physics department and various CEAS undergraduates. For example, Zachary Reinke (ME), Magreth W Haji (AE), Eric Allen Pietrowicz (ECE) and David Chukwuemeka Ajoku (AE) are recipients of the undergraduate research award who work with her on advanced materials research in this academic year. Carlos Soto (ME), who has participated in the magnesium alloy research, was the 2nd runner up in the MSC Ground Vehicles and Heavy Machinery Users Conference Poster Session in September 2015 and also presented the research at the 2016 LSAMP Research Symposium Poster Session in National Harbor, Maryland.
In an entirely different research area, Dr. Ari Gur has an NSF grant for developing computer-game style 3D virtual laboratories. The laboratories have been in high demand and about 100 institutions around the world have requested and received them. Two students, Eric A. Pietrowicz and Tyler W. Bayne (ECE), who are working with her on this NSF grant, presented at the 21st International Cultural and Academic Meeting of Engineering Students (ICAMES) in Turkey a paper on a computer-game style 3-D virtual scanning electron microscope (SEM) that is fully interactive. The presentation was very well received by audience and referees alike, and the team won the 1st place award.