Artificial Intelligence – Assisted Multifunctional Materials Manufacturing (AI-M3) Lab

Our research interests include advanced manufacturing of multifunctional materials, sensor design and manufacturing in harsh environments, process optimization, sensor-based health monitoring and control through artificial intelligence (AI). Our research focus is on manufacturing of multifunctional ceramic materials, especially on their electrical/dielectric, mechanical, and thermal properties, and how to manufacture such materials for high temperature applications. With unique properties such as high melting point, oxidation resistance, chemical and thermal stability, high hardness and strength, etc., ceramic materials are used extensively in extreme condition applications, such as hypersonic vehicles, turbines engines, power plants, and nuclear reactors. Using polymer-derived ceramics (PDCs) as one example substrate, the microstructure and physical properties are tailorable. When doped with other elements (e.g., N, Al, B) or reinforced with other filler (e.g., carbon nanotubes, metallic powders), the material’s electrical, thermal and mechanical properties can be further tuned. Such studies provide great flexibility in design and manufacturing and meet a wide range of application requirements, such as high temperature sensor design, electromagnetic (EM) absorption material, conformable patch antennas, high temperature radio frequency (RF) transparent materials, metamaterial designs for extreme condition applications, etc. One important aspect of advanced manufacturing is to take the advantage of both emerging new technologies (such as additive manufacturing, micro-machining, and artificial intelligence directed and/or physics-informed manufacturing, etc.) and new materials (such as metal matrix composites, ceramic matrix composites, nanostructured materials, etc.). The capabilities to effectively integrate these technologies and materials into applicable devices are critical concerns for industry and the federal government laboratories. Our goal is to become a pre-eminent research group in the field of advanced manufacturing and to apply the knowledge and experience to help bring engineering components and devices for next generation energy, environmental, aerospace and defense applications. Our research interests have been in the field of advanced manufacturing, with specific focuses on the following aspects:

  • Research and development of novel multifunctional materials with desirable structures/functionalities;
  • Developing practical/robust manufacturing processes to transform new materials into engineering components and devices;
  • Understanding the fundamental physics and chemistry of advanced manufacturing processes;
  • Integrating artificial intelligence / machine learning into manufacturing processes.



We are grateful for the support from ONR, AFOSR, ARO, NSF, DOE, NASA, General Dynamics, etc.



Dr. Xu’s interview on AFOSR Twitter 

Summer 2019

Dr. Cheryl Xu @NCState stopped by during a visit to @AFOSR and shared how her experience with AFOSR funding has not only had an amazing impact on her career, but the careers of her students. @ncstatemae @AFResearchLab #BasicResearch #Grants #Funding #Careers

Justin Selected with NASA NIFS Opportunity for Mars Mission

Fall 2017

Justin Morales is a Mechanical Engineering student with a focus in Material Science at Florida State University (FSU). He was awarded with the prestigious NASA NIFS opportunity (Internships, Fellowships & Scholarships) to work on a collaborative project between NASA Langley Research Center (LaRC) and Dr. Xu’s lab. The purpose of this project is to manufacture one kind of flexible, thermally-stable, radiation-shielding-capable ceramic composites for Mars exploration mission. Space is an extreme environment and NASA’s missions require advanced materials that can provide sufficient protection for space vehicles, structures, and astronauts.

News from the FSU 12th Annual Innovators’ Reception

Fall 2017

The Florida State University Offices of Research and Commercialization recognize the members of the university community who have achieved notable milestones in intellectual property and commercialization. Quotes from VP Dr. Gary Ostrander: “Your efforts to commercialize your research are enthusiastically applauded as it is no small task to first recognize the marketplace potential of your work, and then endure the highs and lows of its commercial journey. Each of you is an innovator in the truest form and FSU is fortunate to have access to your vision and expertise as we work together to improve the world.”

Photo taken with FSU President John E. Thrasher.

Dr. Xu won GAP awards to take science from lab to market (Featured in FSU news)

Summer 2017

Dr. Xu developed a novel sensor using ceramic material that can withstand harsh environments, such as the inside of a turbine engine located on a jet or in a power plant. These sensors can provide critical temperature and pressure data, alerting operators to potential problems before they occur.

High Temperature Furnace Apparatus for Dielectric Property Characterization of Ceramic Materials

Spring 2017

In order to measure the electrical properties of ceramic materials, an experimental apparatus has been designed and set up to measure the dielectric properties of ceramic materials at high temperature and in hostile environments, which is one of free space measurement (wirelessly non-contact non-destructive measurement).

FSU researchers won GAP awards to launch ideas to marketplace (Featured in FSU news)

Summer 2016

Dr. Xu is using a 3D printer to create a novel ceramic material that can withstand harsh environments, such as the inside of a high-speed jet turbine. The sensors can provide critical data about heat and pressure abnormalities occurring in the intricate spaces of these turbines that can help predict issues before they occur.

Dr. Xu selected as the 2015 only recipient of the IEEE Education Society Teaching Award

The IEEE Education Society has selected Dr. Xu to be the 2015 recipient of the Mac E. VanValkenburg Early Career Teaching Award. On behalf of the IEEE Education Society, James (Jim) J. Sluss, Jr., Ph.D., President, IEEE Education Society, informed Dr. Xu of her selection as recipient of this award. “For leadership in engineering education innovation and outstanding classroom teaching, providing students with hands-on experience in classes and research, and helping them understand fundamentals using practical examples.”

2011 ONR Young Investigator

Dr. Xu is among the 2011 ONR Young Investigator Awardees.

2011 SME Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineer

The Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineer Award is to recognize manufacturing engineers, who have made exceptional contributions and accomplishments in the manufacturing industry.

UCF Scientists Won Research Grant to Develop Power-Plant Sensor

From Orlando Sentinel, September 1, 2009: A trio of UCF scientists (Drs. Gong, An and Xu) has been awarded $811,186 by the U.S. Department of Energy to invent a tiny-but-tough device that could help solve global warming and reduce energy consumption.

A Textbook: Intelligent Systems: Modeling, Optimization, and Control

A textbook “Intelligent Systems: Modeling, Optimization and Control” authored by Dr. Shin and Dr. Xu has been published in Jan. 2009 by CRC Press, Francis and Taylor Group. This book provides a thorough introduction in the field of artificial intelligence / soft computing / machine learning techniques. It covers every major technique in artificial intelligence in a clear and practical style.

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