Low-Cost Physical Models of Proteins
DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The goal of this project is to develop the technology needed to produce accurate, low-cost physical models of proteins and other molecular structures by an injection molding approach. Two different technical innovations are required to make this possible. First, new software will be created to allow the unfolding of the complex geometry of a protein into a collection of fragments, each of which is moldable. Second, further development of the PHAST rapid tooling process will be required. In this process, ceramic molds are first cast from a complex master-pattern created by rapid prototyping. The final metal injection molding tool is then created from powdered metal packed against the ceramic mold and infiltrated at high temperature with a molten copper alloy. This approach creates a hard metal injection mold with a complex geometry that would be virtually impossible to create by traditional methods, at a fraction of the cost of traditional machining.
The successful completion of this project will result in the production of a collection of physical models that can be used to introduce students to concepts of molecular structure and function. No other technology currently exists with which physical models of these structures can be produced at a cost that will allow their widespread dissemination. The physical models of proteins and other molecular structures that will result from this project will be used in science classrooms at both the secondary and undergraduate levels to attract a broader spectrum of students to careers in the molecular biosciences. These physical models are especially useful in capturing the interest of under-represented minority students who might not otherwise develop an interest in pursuing careers in science.
Small Business Information at Submission:
3D Molecular Designs
3D Molecular Designs 2223 N 72Nd St Wauwatosa, WI 53213
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