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I am a fourth-year undergraduate student, currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) at Michigan Tech. I have been involved in the Michigan Tech Open Sustainability Technology (MOST) Research Group for almost a year. I am also involved with Advanced Metalworks Enterprise (AME), Materials United (MU), Water Polo CLub, and Roller Hockey Club. This will be my second year as a member of AME, and I have worked on one project with the enterprise so far. I have also worked with Consumer Product Manufacturing (CPM) Enterprise on the nanoMAG Hockey Blade team, and BoardSport Technologies (BST) enterprise on the Smart Board team. This semester, I am taking three MSE classes: Semiconductors, Materials Characterization II, and Materials Processing. Open source technology is new to me, but I am looking forward to learning about its growing amount of real-world applications. Composite materials and recycling have always been of great interest to me. My current dream job is to work with composite materials to make stronger, lighter, and more durable sports equipment, especially hockey sticks. I have volunteered for many recycling/conservation related activities with my Boy Scout troop while on the path to Eagle Scout.
Glass-polymer composite 3-D Print (current project)
This is my first project relating to open source technology. I am working in the MOST Research Group to fabricate a 3-D printable polypropylene-glass composite. Recycled materials in the form if granulated polypropylene and powdered soda-lime glass are used for this project to improve sustainability. The goal is to be able to improve the mechanical properties and dimensional qualities of 3-D printed composite parts compared to those of neat (pure) polypropylene. Tensile bars of 0-50 weight percent glass (in increments of 10% glass) are being 3-D printed on a Lulzbot TAZ6 for initial mechanical testing. This project is also my first experience with 3-D printing and I am very much enjoying it. My research with this continues for the summer term, funded by a SURF fellowship.
In this project, I helped design a “smart” snowboard by integrating various electrical sensors into the core of a snowboard. The board is to be connected via Bluetooth to a smart watch that the rider wears to give the stats about his/her runs on the slopes. Max speed, jump height, and rotation are some of these. The system also includes a homing beacon so the rider can be easily located in case of an emergency.
For this project, the team was partnered with ArcelorMittal, who were experiencing problems with their pusher slab furnaces. Under these high temperature conditions, nodules were forming the refractory ceramic material. These nodules caused gashes to form on the surface of the steel slabs, which were then rendered as defective. The team hypothesized that increasing the composition of spinel (one of the components in refractory) would arrest, or at least reduce the nodule formation reaction. The reaction was simulated in crucibles of varying composition, which were fired at the temperature where the reaction occurs. The project remains ongoing, with no concrete conclusion to the hypothesis yet. Certain trends were noticed, however, in the crucibles and how the reaction propagated.
Hockey blade nanoMAG
Create a hockey blade with a magnesium alloy insert. This helps absorb impact in order to improve puck handling and control when on the ice. Four different blades were designed. The shape was held constant, but the positioning of the insert was varied. My involvement with this project was limited, as I was not an official team member. I toured the lab and learned the process of how the blades were made, and helped with a field testing session on the rink the next day. This was to compare each of the four blade types according to performance and ease of use on the ice.