Mines News

Release Date Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Airbus Americas Donates $500,000 Aircraft Part to SD Mines

From left to right, graduate student James Tomich, materials engineering and science, Todd Curtis, research engineer for the Arbegast Materials Processing & Joining Center (AMP), Christian Widener, Ph.D., faculty member and AMP director, and senior Isaac Markon, civil and environmental engineering.

RAPID CITY, S.D. (Aug. 26, 2015) – Airbus Americas has donated an A320 elevator valued at $500,000 to the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology. The 20-foot-long part designed for flight control on the aircraft’s tail will be used to support education and cold-spray research at SD Mines.

The university is a leader in cold-spray technology, which accelerates metal powders through a supersonic nozzle at rifle speeds to build up metal onto surfaces. Elevators damaged during operation are not always cost effective to repair. Christian Widener, Ph.D., director of the university’s Arbegast Materials Processing & Joining Laboratory, says his research team will help address this need by identifying projects geared toward researching cold-spray repair of aircraft flight control surfaces.

“Airbus is proud to donate this A320 elevator to the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology,” said Barry Eccleston, president of Airbus Americas. “Because the elevator will be used for teaching and research at the school, Airbus views this donation as an investment in our future, and in the future of engineering and science in South Dakota and the U.S.”

Widener, who serves as an associate mechanical and metallurgical engineering professor, says the donation will also be used as a teaching tool, so students gain familiarity with industry equipment. He plans to make a demonstration piece out of part of the elevator to show students the components of a finished aircraft part.

“The South Dakota School of Mines & Technology has been a leading institution in science and engineering for more than 100 years,” said U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), whose office helped facilitate the donation. “This generous donation is an example of how public-private partnerships can help education young men and women for careers that meet the demands of today’s rapidly evolving economy.”

“Mines has done exceptional work for the Air Force, developing new techniques to repair expensive metal parts rather than replace them. We appreciate Senator Thune making this connection so that we can expand opportunities for research,” said Heather Wilson, president of South Dakota Mines.


About SD Mines

Founded in 1885, the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology is a science and engineering research university located in Rapid City, S.D., offering bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. The university enrolls 2,798 students from 45 states and 39 foreign countries, with a student-to-faculty ratio of 14:1. The SD School of Mines placement rate is 98 percent, with an average early-career salary for graduates of $65,600, according to the 2014-2015 PayScale report. Find us online at www.sdsmt.edu, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/sdsmt and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/sdsmt.


About South Dakota Mines  

Founded in 1885, South Dakota Mines is one of the nation’s leading engineering, science and technology universities. South Dakota Mines offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees and a best-in-class education at an affordable price. The university enrolls 2,493 students with an average class size of 24. The South Dakota Mines placement rate for graduates is 98 percent, with an average starting salary of more than $70,036. For these reasons  South Dakota Mines is ranked among the best engineering schools in the country for return on investment. Find us online at www.sdsmt.edu and on FacebookTwitter, LinkedInInstagram, and Snapchat.

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