It’s still safe to fly

This summer, I’m interning for the second time at GE-Aviation in Cincinnati. I’m working in structural materials application engineering, which is comprised of a group of engineers who essentially try to fix somewhat current materials-related problems in the non-moving parts of the jet engine. Last summer, I worked in the development side of structural materials, so that was all work geared toward a final destination some five or ten years from now. It’s been a nice change of pace!

So far I’ve actually been making some connections between coursework and the metals I’ve been looking at, which is pretty exciting. That didn’t really happen for me last summer, although after last summer’s internship, I felt like I’d learned a lot and was ready to take on the junior year coursework with my fists at the ready. (Then I experienced fall quarter’s thermodynamics course, MSE 401, and quickly dropped my fists.) This summer, I’ve been thankful Dr. Clark’s class (MSE 543) is still fresh in my mind! Little by little, more pieces of the materials science puzzle are falling into place in my brain…

During my first week back at GE, I was working with some parts from a combustor. Since the combustor of a jet engine is ridiculously hot, developing and maintaining materials for use in this section is quite a challenge. In all my nerdy glory, I found myself fascinated by the thermal barrier coating (TBC), since I hadn’t yet learned anything about coatings in my MSE travels. The TBC on most of the parts had the coloring of a perfectly toasted marshmallow. However, there were a couple of parts that looked like they’d fallen into the campfire. As I frowned at a particularly nasty-looking region of one of the crispy samples, my manager walked by.

“Ohh, that doesn’t look good!” he commented.

I shook my head in agreement.

“Well, don’t worry,” he said. “Just remember, it’s still safe to fly!” Grinning, he walked away.

What a kidder.

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About Caitlin
I'm a senior Materials Science & Engineering student at The Ohio State University.

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