Indiana Manufacturing Institute

Purdue University is seeing more research funding from its corporate partners, a trend that has officials hoping they can be less reliant on public funding.

Purdue gets about a quarter of its research funding from the private sector. An average of 500 companies chip in every year.

But the school’s corporate and global partnerships officer, Dan Hirleman, says the funds those companies contribute have increased from $37 million in 2013 to as much as $55 million the past few years.

Chris Johnson/Purdue Research Foundation / https://news.uns.purdue.edu/images/2016/imi-exterior.jpg

 R. Byron Pipes keeps a Tupperware box of carbon fiber knick-knacks inside his office at Purdue Research Park's Indiana Manufacturing Institute—a building so new it doesn’t even show up on Google Maps.

Apart from a large orange blob, (an interesting polymer-experiment-gone-wrong, he says), the knick-knacks—hinges, chains and molds—are all made of the same feather-light, stormy-gray material: carbon fiber composite.

Erica Gibson / WBAA News

A new Purdue research facility aims to improve manufacturing of lighter-weight and more energy-efficient cars, airplanes, and wind turbines.

Officials broke ground on the Indiana Manufacturing Institute Tuesday in the Purdue Research Park in West Lafayette.

Engineering professor Byron Pipes points to the Boeing 787 commercial airplane as an example of what the technology is used for.