OSU STEM Event for High School Juniors

It’s not easy for college students to get up early on a Saturday morning, but 5 OSU Materials Science and Engineering students did that today to talk to visiting high school juniors about “Materials for Everyday Use.”

Two groups of 35 students visited the MSE demos.  They divided into 4 groups, then rotated to the 4 stations of materials demos.

Click the photos for more info and fun.

Katrina plays with oobleck

Katrina plays with oobleck

1) Oobleck
MSE sophomore Katrina showed students “oobleck,” a mixture of cornstarch and water that has the properties of a non-Newtonian fluid. This means that it behaves as a liquid or a solid, depending on the kind of force that is applied to it. Punch it, and it turns to a solid. Gently touch it, and your fingers get sticky.

Materials with similar properties are being used in protective gear where there is danger of stabbing. Kevlar has been used to bulletproof the gear, but sharp objects like spikes can fit through the woven Kevlar fibers. A non-Newtonian fluid can be interspersed with the Kevlar, and stop the entry of a sharp weapon.


2) Shape Memory Alloy – Nitinol
Graduating senior Eric demonstrated the ever-popular Script Ohio made from nitinol. Nitinol is a “shape memory alloy” made of nickel and titanium.

Its “memory” properties mean that its shape can be deformed, and then brought back to its “remembered” shape with the addition of some energy (heat, electricity, etc.)  First discovered in the 1950s, the alloy was not widely used until recently when advanced technology allowed for its machining and processing.
Everyday uses: eyeglasses, orthodontics, heart stents, safety equipment

Look, Ma. No heat!

Look, Ma. No heat!

3) Solid State Welding
Few materials are useful in building and manufacturing unless they also can be joined or welded.  Junior Maryellen showed students an example of solid state welding with a hand-held wire welder.

In this example, two pieces of copper wire are welded by the machine that squeezes the wires in such close proximity to each other that the metals’ electrons bond, forming one continuous piece.

This particular machine is used to join electrical wire.  Other examples of solid state welding are explosion welding and and friction stir welding.

And that's why they get such a saggy bottom.

And that’s why they get such saggy bottoms.

4) Materials in Disposable Diapers
Ever dissect a wet diaper? Freshman Rachel and Junior Janelle demonstrated the absorption power of Pampers while discussing the various materials they’re made of. Superabsorbent polymer balls are the secret ingredient to the cotton and paper pulp diaper filler. Diapers contain elastics, waterproof layers, and adhesives all put together in a complex manufacturing process.

Other considerations for materials engineers: processing, disposal, hygiene, compatibility with babies’ skin, ease of use

So despite the early start on a Saturday, we had a lot of fun sharing everyday uses for the materials we study.

Now, it’s time for nap!


Summer Planning in February

The lack of blog posts over the last few months is an indicator of 1) how busy we are and 2) how we’re still adjusting to the semester system at OSU.  While Autumn semester seemed long, it was fairly relaxed, with the usual fall traditions at college.

Spring semester, however, is a shock!  We have to get ready for summer and all the normal end-of-the-year events in just 14 weeks, rather than the 20 we used to have.

Here are a few highlights of MSE happenings:

Winter 2012 MSE Grads

Winter 2012 MSE Grads

  1. Seven MSE students graduated in Autumn Semester with their Bachelor of Science degrees in Materials Science and Engineering. Thirty-four are expected to graduate in May.
  2. This semester we welcomed 65 new students to the Materials Science and Engineering major.
  3. The Material Advantage / MSE Club has sponsored several speakers from industry, has held a few Happy Hours, and continues to raise funds for their TMS meeting in San Antonio in March. This year we have a team registered for the Materials Bowl, and 16 of our students will compete in the research poster contest at the conference!
  4. Students participated in the annual SWE Engineering Career Fair, where more than 150 employers congregated to meet potential interns, co-ops, and career employees.
  5. Those students returning to OSU next Autumn are filing the FAFSA and OSU scholarship applications by the February 15 deadline.

Jake, a junior in MSE, was excited to already hear that he has been accepted for a 2013 summer REU at the Colorado School of Mines.  REUs – Research Experience for Undergrads – are opportunities for undergraduate students to spend the summer doing research at another university on a National Science Foundation-sponsored program. It’s a great way for students to see MSE outside their own university, and for universities to recruit the best and brightest students in the country for their graduate school programs.
Good luck, Jake.  Send photos from Colorado!

And, believe it or not, they still take classes fulltime!

Creative Prototyping Summer School

MSE seniors Angela and Elisabeth share their adventure to Belgium to learn about creative prototyping and design techniques.

For a week this fall, we attended the Creative Prototyping Summer School at Howest University College West Flanders in Kortrijk, Belgium. We went to two workshops a day and learned about prototyping techniques like 3D printing and scanning, thermoforming, Makey Makey Arduino, welding, wood turning, laser cutting, photography, clay modeling, and high-density foam modeling. Numerous industry speakers from companies in and around Belgium came and led the workshops — Jürgen Heinl, former modeler for BMW, led the clay modeling lab; Lékué came and donated silicone products for an initial introduction to prototyping; Pilipili shared their high-density foam designing methodology; and two of the best wood turners in Belgium helped us make bowls.

It was an eye-opening experience to attend these workshops and meet students and professionals from Belgium, The Netherlands, Canada, France, Israel, Germany, and the US with backgrounds ranging from industrial design to technical communications to various engineering disciplines. In the evenings we biked around the city, ate tasty Belgian snacks (they have ham flavored Lays and amazing orange-chocolate cookies!), hung out, and continued working on projects.

More information about Howest can be found here: http://www.howest.be/summerschool2012/

Slovenian Summer

OSU MSE 3rd-Year student Rob reports on his summer mission trip.

For six weeks this summer I went to Ljubljana, Slovenia, on the northeast side of Italy, for a missions trip with Cru. I went with about 40 people, talking with college students about the purpose of life and why we do what we do.

During the week we went to several colleges in the city and started conversations with different people. On the weekends we had some time to travel.

Rob and friends at Smarna gora in Slovenia

The picture is of me and two friends sitting at the top of a hill called Smarna gora. Ljubljana is just on the far right of the picture.


This one time, at Materials Camp….

Report from Katrina, an OSU MSE student, beginning her 2nd year.

Katrina, Eric, and Rachel volunteered at ASM Materials Camp

Last week I had the unique opportunity of serving as a junior mentor at the 2012 Eisenman Materials Camp, hosted by ASM, the Materials Information Society, at their headquarters in the historic Materials Park, Ohio outside of Cleveland.

The purpose of the camp is to expose high school students to the exciting world of materials through a hands-on case study of a failed object. The yearly camp selects by application about 30 talented students from across the country and focuses on teaching them how to strategically analyze and solve their failures using state-of-the-art laboratory equipment.

The students were divided into groups of 6 or 7 to simulate a true work environment. The lead mentors, also volunteers, were noted professionals in their field. Each one brought different backgrounds and expertise to the table, creating a collaborative environment among both the mentors and students.

I was joined by two fellow Buckeyes—Rachel (incoming OSU freshman) and Eric (OSU senior). As

Phase diagrams are fun!

graduates of the camp, we offered a unique perspective into current materials science college education and internships.

We worked with an experienced mentor to guide students in their investigation—answering most questions with “Look it up!” or with yet another question. At the end of the week, each group presented their failure, solution, and suggestions for improvements to the other students, mentors, and ASM guests.

Students who knew nothing about materials prior to camp made presentations regarding everything from dezincification in cartridge brass to incorrect heat treatments in silverware and nylon-lined nuts.

Serving as junior mentors gave us the chance to share our knowledge and love of materials, as well as make some of our own connections with leaders in the materials field. We might have given the students a little push towards Ohio State too!

For more info: http://www.asminternational.org/portal/site/www/foundation/students-and-parents/

ASM 2012 Eisenman Campers, Mentors, and Junior Mentors

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