Makers Gonna Make
The Min H. and Yu Fan Kao Innovation and Collaboration Studio is the premier maker space for the UT Knoxville campus. It gives all levels of the student community access to modern, commercial-grade equipment that enables them to create industrial-quality solutions for projects and clients, and to better prepare them to enter the workforce.
Work areas will include:
- Visualization lab.
- Additive manufacturing lab for design and creation with plastics, metals, and ceramics.
- Subtractive manufacturing lab to create and meet precise geometric specifications.
- Welding and tooling shop with vacuum forming and injection molding equipment and tooling.
- Textile cutting, sewing, and embroidery stations.
- Electronics stations for designing, fabricating, repairing, and testing Printed Circuit Board components and electric systems.
- Soft materials shop for rapid prototyping with rod, engineered composites, and plastics.
Throughout, Zeanah features rich, textural space to provide a “living area” with flexible seating for collaboration, informal learning, and relaxation.
Fast Neutron Source
Once completed, our Fast Neutron Source (FNS) will provide a much needed experimental facility for advanced reactor design. It will be a subcritical system that uses AI technology for a reconfigurable design, offering the flexibility to mimic the neutron spectrum of a sodium, molten salt, or lead-cooled advanced reactor. The home of the FNS is a shielded vault with an integrated focus on security and safety.
Advanced Learning Spaces
Three advanced learning spaces on the first through third floors were intentionally designed with the student learning experience in mind, deploying technology at the forefront of engineering education. The layout of these classrooms encourages engaged instruction and interactivity—leaving behind the traditional lecture hall for spaces that inspire collaboration and experiential learning. Each has 126-person capacity and is fitted with a Skywall that can be deployed to rapidly and safely divide the room into four quadrants for focused, small-group work.
High-Tech Flexible Labs
Flexible-use labs throughout the complex employ a variety of utilities, benching, and mechanical infrastructure, allowing for research in a wide range of different engineering sub-disciplines. The complex opened with 29 labs equipped with fume hoods and the ability to add 30 more as new research calls for them. These include 17 wet labs, with chemical usage expected; nine dry labs, with non-chemical usage expected; and seven support labs that offer tools and equipment that enhance the work in the other labs.
The roofs of the two southern wings of the complex are green roofs, which boast 6,000 square feet of greenery interspersed with a pattern of perennials with orange and white blooms. These will be visible from the upper floors of Neyland Stadium, aircraft, and via satellite. The plants grow from an irrigated layer of soil, a foot or so deep, on top of a waterproofing membrane for rubberized asphalt. These green roofs help manage the ZEC's stormwater runoff, help insulate the structure and protect the roofing membrane from UV damage, prolonging the life of the roof itself.