Bearing it all

Marc will be a senior MSE student at OSU this year.  Here’s what he has to say about his summer internship.

I’ve been spending this summer interning with The Timken Company in North Canton, Ohio. Timken is a global bearing and specialty steel business which began in 1899 with Henry Timken’s invention of the tapered roller bearing. Today, Timken grosses over $5 billion annually.

Marc at his Timken internship

Marc at his Timken internship

I work in the TEC Center on the Non-Destructive Evaluation team, using LabVIEW to analyze the validity of case depth measurements of bearing parts. Most of Timken’s products are case hardened in order to extend the parts’ working lives and increase their resistance to wear. A high frequency transducer is used to measure the case depth without compromising the integrity of the part. A plot is then produced from the gathered data, presenting details about the hardened part’s microstructure.

The project began with basic brainstorming of validity requirements and progressed to programming, debugging, and comprehensive studies of plant databases. I’ve completed other smaller projects throughout the summer as well, including a comparative study of two material characterization instruments and a budget for the TEC Center’s Summer Celebration.

Work has been only one aspect of my summer, though. Most of the interns, including myself, live together in a residence hall at Walsh University. Our social activities included an intern volleyball league, rafting in West Virginia, attending an Indians game, several lunches (many of which were longer than the allotted hour), and more. We’ve decorated the conference room board, learned some Chinese, and established a “Word of the Day.”

Overall, we have been able to make a positive and meaningful impact with our summer projects. Not only did I gain technical skills and real world experience, but also several new friends.


NOVA’s “Making Stuff”

Getting pumped for this series, starting this week.

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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