Summer with Cessna

Rachel also visited the Rocky Mountains.  This is NOT Wichita!

Rachel visited the Rocky Mountains while she was part of the way there. This is NOT Wichita!

Reporting from Wichita is MSE junior Rachel who tells us about her summer internship working with Cessna Aircraft .

Rachel CessnaI am doing a materials internship this summer in Wichita, Kansas at Cessna Aircraft (now part of Textron Aviation), in the metals group of the Materials and Processes Engineering division.  My internship requires me to inspect returned parts and parts from the production line, and to write condition reports on the pieces. I spend a lot of time in the lab, often getting dirty, and am consistently busy. I have been fortunate to be able to observe the entire production line, from raw material to finished airplane, for both Cessna and Beechcraft aircraft.

There is something special about working for an airplane manufacturer. No matter how tired, hungry, or ready to go home I am, it is awe-inspiring to walk through the hangar and see the lines of planes in production, and to realize that, in some way, no matter how small, I am a part of it.

Rachel Ground SchoolAs for the rest of the summer, I also look forward to Engineering Fastener Training, Private Pilot Ground School, and a trip to San Francisco and Yosemite.


Man of Steel… products

From Joel, MSE Senior

Time has flown and there are only 6 weeks left till classes start again!

Joel at the Charter Steel shipping yard

This summer I have been interning at Charter Steel in Cuyahoga Heights, Ohio (of Charter Manufacturing) which produces round bar, rod, and wire steel products.   Sizes range from 7/32 up to 1-9/16 inches and almost all common grades of steel are produced.

I work with the Quality and Technical Manager for the rolling mill. The two major projects I work on involve improving the yield of product as it rolls through the mill, and organizing and consolidating the cooling practices that the steel undergoes. These projects will reduce downtime for the company, and increase revenue of the final product.

Making the Slinky

We melt scrap with an Electric Arc Furnace (EAF) and strand-cast ~34-foot long billets that are 7×7 inches in cross-section. The billets are reheated in the rolling mill (where I work) and then rolled down from square cross-section to their final diameter.  A series of consecutive rolls (31 intotal) reduce the billet size. One 34-foot billet can produce up to 4-5 miles of steel rod. One billet weighs about 2.5 tons and is wrapped at the end of the rolling mill, much like a slinky.  One ring overlaps the next, which overlaps the next. The “coil” of rings is wrapped into a tight package which is then shipped to customers via truck or train. Common product uses include roller bearings, springs, welding wire, fasteners/bolts, and rebar for concrete.


Freshly-made Coil

Charter Steel ordered a set of uniforms and steel-toed boots for me so that I fit in with the hourly crews. I often get free lunch and I have taken a few business trips to customers’ facilities. It is a very laid back atmosphere at Charter, but everyone is a very hard worker when they need to be. There have been a few times throughout the summer where I actually had to pull out my old MSE 205 book to review some things with my boss.  It felt good to get some use out of my college knowledge.

Graduation looms at the end of fall quarter for me, but after this second internship, I feel better prepared for the real world. Now all I have to do is find a job….

Top Blog

Pleased that we were listed in Top 50 Nanotech & Biomaterial Blogs in HealthTechTopia.  See #19 under Materials Science.

Materials and the Winter Olympics

OSU MSE prof explains the science behind hockey’s slapshot:

The Science of Sports

The 2010 Winter Olympics don’t begin until February, but Ohio State’s Kathy Flores, associate professor of Materials Science and Engineering, is helping explain the science of ice hockey in an NBC “Science of the Olympic Winter Games” video series segment.

NBC traveled to Columbus to film Flores explaining the physics involved in the sport of hockey. The segment will be broadcast during the Winter Olympics, to be held in Vancouver beginning Feb. 12. As a warm-up to the Olympics, NBC’s Today Show featured Flores’ hockey segment on their Dec. 9 morning broadcast.

The complete “Science of the Olympic Winter Games” video library is available online at View the “Slapshot Physics: Hockey” segment to see Kathy Flores explaining why hockey is the high-velocity sport that it is.

Dr. Flores also is featured in the Safety Gear segment.
And learn about the importance of materials in the Science of Skates.

We Move In Packs

One of the most different parts of being a graduate student is the idea of having an actual group; in undergrad I had my capstone project research group, and the set of people I did homework with every week, but we were always ships passing in the night as the semesters changed. We had our own traditions and space (a group of us adopted the first floor conference room for daily homework problem debates), but we were all interested in very different things, and ended up in very different career paths.
In grad school you have a dedicated group of people who share the same advisor, space, and general research interests. A major tip I was given as a senior applying to Ph.D. programs was to choose an advisor and group I felt comfortable with. The idea was to find your niche within a larger program, so that when you needed something (from choosing classes to learning a new polishing trick), you could turn to the guy/girl sitting next to you and ask with reasonable results.
Coming from a smaller (I graduated with about forty other mechanical engineers), very tightly knit undergraduate program, I knew I was going to need something more than just office mates. As I searched for my perfect program several things became immediately obvious to me. One of these was how well all of the professors and students got along, not only with each other but also within the groups in smaller settings. I visited and interviewed with several big universities during the summer and Fall of my senior year, and had incredibly different opportunities at each one.
When I visited Ohio State a few months later during a dreary February weekend, I entered Watts Hall and found a great program. I met many of the students I would be working with (and decided I’d love to carve myself place in their circle), I found a professor I respected and knew I’d love working with for the next few years of my life, and decided I was going to be a Buckeye.
So here I sit, five months later. I have five officemates, and there are several more group members who occupy the next few rooms down in our corner of Fontana Labs. They are definitely a unique set of engineers, each from a different undergraduate background, and several from very different parts of the world than Buckeye country. They’ve all adopted me, and have made a space for me within the group. Each one of them is more than happy to answer my seemingly unending lines of questioning. And once every few hours, we make our way down to the third floor for coffee and tea, always in a pack.

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