Cluster of defense and aerospace industry firms
More than 1,000 Department of Defense contractors are currently operating in the region. Charlotte is home to Goodrich Corporation’s global headquarters, as well other significant Department of Defense contractors, such as: General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products, BAE Systems, Northrop Grumman, Michelin Aircraft Tire and Curtiss-Wright Flight Systems.
- Michelin Aircraft Tire Corporation – aircraft tires
- General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products – firearms and ordnance
- BAE Systems – troop protection products
- Curtiss-Wright Controls – aircraft parts
- Defense Technologies – electronic circuit cards
- Northrop Grumman Space & Technology – military/industrial components
- DSM Desotech – high-tech UV-curable coatings
- Turbomeca Manufacturing – helicopter engines
- Ultra Machine & Fabrication – welded armored sub-assemblies
- Tyco Scott Technologies – fire protection apparatus
- Goodrich Corporation – aircraft parts & equipment
- MacLean Jameson LLC – lighting equipment
- Newgard Industries – aircraft parts
The Charlotte Research Institute (CRI) provides a portal for business-university partnerships at UNC Charlotte through centers of innovation for industry-driven research:
Center for Precision Metrology
- High-speed parts machining, specialized sensors, aerospace industry applications
- Attracted companies such as Caterpillar, Mitutoyo and Boeing for collaboration
- Recognized as National Science Foundation Center of Excellence in New Industry Collaboration in Nanoscale Science and Engineering
Center for Optoelectronics and Optical Communications
- Design and fabrication of photonic devices
- Integrated optical circuitry
- Assembly and packaging of optical systems
- Optical materials
- Methods of precision optical metrology
- Optical imaging
- Inverse methods for wavefront synthesis
- Research allies include Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Duke University, member of the Carolinas MicroOptics Triangle and the North Carolina Photonics Consortium
- Facility has won three DARPA grants in past three years
eBusiness Technology Institute
- Expanding into research in bioinformatics and homeland security
- Technology applications include information privacy and security, intelligent data analysis, systems integration and information visualization
Center of Carolinas MicroOptics Triangle, formed by UNC Charlotte, Western Carolina University and Clemson University to integrate specialized R&D programs for defense & aerospace industry
Defense & Security Technology Accelerator, located at UNC Charlotte’s Ben Craig Center, connects military establishments, higher learning and centers of innovation.
- Offers business assistance, access to resource network, including professional expertise and one-on-one coaching
- Tailored to needs of early-stage military and dual-use technology companies
Windshear Wind Tunnel in Concord, N.C., A2 Wind Tunnel and Aerodyn Wind Tunnel in Mooresville, N.C., offer full-scale, rolling road wind tunnel testing.
The University of North Carolina at Charlotte’s Water Tunnel, housed in the Mechanical Engineering Motorsports Center, is ranked the fifth-largest hydrodynamic research facility in the U.S.
Institute for Homeland Security Solutions (IHSS) is a collaborative initiative between RTI International, Duke University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the North Carolina Military Foundation. Located in North Carolina’s Research Triangle region, IHSS draws upon the expertise of a unique combination of industry-leading applied research organizations, world-renowned research universities, and an entrepreneurial private sector that will be required to meet complex research challenges. IHSS is federally funded and coordinates its research activities with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Human Factors/Behavior Sciences Division, a branch of the Science and Technology Directorate.
NCSU Nano Energy Lab, located in Raleigh, N.C., is a multi-departmental research effort at NC State University to advance the field of nanomaterials and nanostructures for renewable energy devices and systems.
- Photovoltaics Process and Analysis Facility located on Centennial Campus at NC State University.
Biofuels Center of North Carolina, located in Oxford, N.C. on the 420-acre Biofuels Campus, is able to adopt a comprehensive approach to biofuels development by having access to laboratories, greenhouses and all within walking distance, space to obtain agronomic data from field trials.
- Private, nonprofit corporation funded by the North Carolina General Assembly to implement North Carolina's Strategic Plan for Biofuels Leadership and to reduce the state's dependence on imported liquid fuel
- Developing a sustainable, statewide biofuels industry to reduce this dependence, creating jobs, opportunity and prosperity for North Carolinians
- The goal: By 2017, 10 percent of North Carolina’s liquid fuels – or about 600 million gallons a year – to be produced in-state from locally grown biomass
Future Renewable Electric Energy Delivery and Management Systems (FREEDM) Center, located in Raleigh, N.C., is headquartered on NC State University's Centennial Campus.
- Gen-III Engineering Research Centers (ERC) established by the National Science Foundation in 2008
- Partners with universities, industry and national laboratories in 28 states and nine countries to develop “smart grid” technology to revolutionize the nation's power grid and speed renewable electric-energy technologies into every home and business
Center for Energy Research and Technology (CERT), located in Greensboro, N.C., conducts interdisciplinary energy-related research, development and training.
Energy Center at Appalachian State University, located in Boone, N.C., has programs in the areas of energy efficiency, renewable energy technology, biofuels, policy analysis, forecasting and economic development.
Center for Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials, located in Winston-Salem, N.C., began by exploring the fundamental nature of charge transfer between conjugated polymers and nanophase dispersants in ordered composites
- Wake Forest University program
- Has expanded to consider novel device architectures that more efficiently utilize the capabilities of nanocomposites
- Holds several key pieces of intellectual property in the field of solar energy based on organic devices
Solar Energy Research Center, at UNC Chapel Hill, has received a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy and President Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The grant is expected to be valued at $17.5 million over five years for innovative interdisciplinary research center to:
- Develop solar fuels to integrate light absorption and electron transfer-driven catalysis in molecular assemblies and composite materials to create efficient devices for splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen, and reducing CO2 to methanol and hydrocarbons
- Research next-generation photovoltaic technology to focus on structurally controlled molecular assemblies and composites