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UA professor awarded engineering grant

Jessica Ruffin

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University of Alabama engineering professor Yang-Ki Hong recently received a $1.26 million grant for his engineering research from the U.S. Department of Energy. Electrical machines are considered vital to rising energy industries but rely on a limited and expensive supply of resources to function.

Hong, the E.A. Larry Drummond Endowed Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering in the College of Engineering, aspires to exchange these costly and depleting resources for more plentiful resources.

“We can bring up engineering research quality to the nationwide level,” Hong said.

Hong also said since there is an oil industry in Alabama, this research is directly applicable to the state.

“This research project is relevant to the oil industry in developing low costs and using abundant minerals,” Hong said.

These abundant materials, he said, would be used instead of specialty minerals.

Hong will use the grant to test his theory by creating a bulk permanent magnet with only plentiful, low-costing minerals. He will then compare the magnet’s functionality with a magnet comprised of more expensive and depleting resources.

“We want to prove our concept and then manufacture permanent magnets without these rare-earth materials,” Hong said in a press release.

Hong may have accomplished a great feat with the awarding of this grant, but his dreams extend beyond that for the state of Alabama.

“Once we’ve developed [the magnet], hopefully we’ll have a manufacturing facility in the state of Alabama, and that can create more jobs,” Hong said. “Our engineering students will be working for that company, as well as the oil industry here.”

Students who have heard about Hong’s accomplishment are excited about the prestige Hong brings to the University with his work.

“It makes me proud to attend a university at which the faculty is dedicated to taking steps to use more efficient resources,” said Grace Hagemann, a sophomore majoring in American studies.

“The determination and passion Dr. Hong has for his field is amazing,” said Katie Naughton, a junior majoring in communication studies. “Even as a communications major, I am still thoroughly impressed and cannot wait to see all he will accomplish for the University in the future.”


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UA professor awarded engineering grant