Composites and Polymer Engineering Laboratory (CAPE)

The Composites and Polymer Engineering Laboratory (CAPE) at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology is a multidisciplinary research and education center specializing in polymers and polymer matrix composites.

CAPE, created in 2004, takes a fully-integrated approach to research and development, encompassing materials science, computer simulations, composite and component design, process engineering and manufacturing technologies, prototyping, and testing. To conduct original research and development, the 10,000-square-foot facility houses an array of polymer and composite processing and prototyping equipment, ranging from bench-scale units to pilot manufacturing capabilities. These capabilities provide students, faculty, and external collaborators an extensive set of tools to create the prototypes for the next generation of advanced composite structures.

Collaboration is key to research functionality at CAPE. Working with industrial, government, and academic partners to explore and develop the next innovations in polymers and polymer composites, CAPE moves from research in materials science and processing technology through to prototype demonstration and testing.

CAPE plays a critical role in supporting polymer and composite research and innovation. Current work in developing composite structures for extreme conditions involves the creation of lightweight composite structures that will help deflect impact and thermal energy from blast waves and projectiles. Research in composite materials with electronic sensing capabilities seeks to develop polymer materials and composites with embedded-sensing, diagnostic, and communications capabilities for use in applications such as the next-generation of advanced combat helmets. Additional research focuses on the advanced processing of thermoplastic and thermoset composites, biocomposites, and more.

In addition to research and development, CAPE plays a key role in producing the next generation of polymer and composite engineers and scientists. CAPE supports graduate students working in areas of interest to the laboratory and offers instruction and practical training in composites processing and characterization to undergraduates. In collaboration with the Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Production (CAMP), CAPE has played a critical role in the successes of many of the student national competition projects. CAPE provides expertise and facilities that have created the first monocoque body for the human powered vehicle team, the unified inverted wing under-carriage for the formula SAE team, structures for several SAE aero design team planes, and the sub-vehicle for the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle team.

Click here for the CAPE website.

Research Inquiries

For inquiries related to SDSM&T Research, contact:

Research Affairs

S.D. School of Mines & Technology
501 E. St. Joseph Street
Suite 102, O'Harra Building
Rapid City, SD  57701

(605) 394-2493