Prof. Darryl Butt’s research group is engaged in a variety of research programs focused on materials processing and materials performance in extreme environments. Much of his current research is focused on advanced materials for energy and aerospace applications. Prof. Butt’s research group has been supported by
The Department of Energy
The Department of Defense
The National Science Foundation
Idaho National Laboratory
Los Alamos National Laboratory
Center for Advanced Energy Studies
Batelle Energy Alliance
Pratt and Whitney Aerospace
Recently, Prof. Butt’s group has developed an oil sensor capable of monitoring oil/quality conditions under extreme conditions such as those seen by marine aircraft. The sensor was developed as part of a push for the development of Smart Vehicles. Smart Vehicles are equipped with a variety of sensors in order to provide the end-user (i.e. pilots and maintenance staff) with the ability to detect and analyze problems such as sea water contamination. In addition, this sensor has applications in various fields, from the automobile industry to environmental applications. The sensor has been shown to detect small changes in the oil chemistry and water contamination. Therefore, in automobiles, the sensor could be used to monitor oil quality and schedule maintenance. For environmental applications, the sensor could be used to detect oil contamination levels in streams, lakes, and ground water.
Prof. Butt’s group recently developed a novel method of synthesizing refractory nitrides and nitride nuclear fuels using an ambient temperature method. Metal or hydride powders are simultaneously milled and exposed to high purity nitrogen in a relatively simple and rapid process resulting in phase pure nitrides. The technology has the potential to reduce the cost and foot print of future nuclear fuel processing plants.