Student News

2011 Project Presentation Day

Highlights from the 2011 Project Presentation Day

Mechancial Engineering Department
Materials Science and Engineering

April 21, 2011
1st Floor, Washburn 105

The Effect of Moisture on Nonferrous Raw Separation

Team Members: Mason Ruffing
Advisors: Prof. Diran Apelian
Sponsor: Schnitzer Steel Industries


The goal of this project was to improve the liberation of nonferrous metals from nonferrous raw material at Schnitzer Steel Industries. The objectives were to understand the mechanics of cohesion between molecules and determine the effects of cohesion on screening and liberation efficiency. By conducting moisture analysis and sieve tests, an understanding of agglomeration and cohesiveness was developed. The moisture was determined to be the cause of clumping and has a direct effect on screening capabilities. The results conclude specific moisture contents have negative effects on screening capability at specific size ranges. Due to time constraints, further research must be conducted on a molecular level to verify that moisture is the cause of cohesion. In addition, the effects of moisture on industrial screening processes and liberation yield efficiencies should be studied.

Lobster Trap Design

Team Members: Drew A. Domnarski
Advisors: Prof. Satya Shivkumar


Lost and improperly disposed of lobster traps are a problem because they hinder conservation efforts, pollute the marine environment, risk the lives of mariners, and endanger civilians.  Information regarding current lobster trap materials and industry practices was gathered and a solid model of a typical lobster trap was created using computer aided design software.  This model was then used to perform finite element analysis and will ultimately lead to the development of new lobster trap technology.

Layer by Layer assembly of cross-linked polymers

Team Members: Andrew Vickery, Michael Blaess
Advisors: Prof. Satya Shivkumar


In recent years, the utilization of smart polymers has achieved physical swelling, and shrinking, under a variety of external stimuli, such as temperature, pH, and even magnetic fields. The use of multiple cross-linked smart polymers allows for tayloring of both the conditions, and the degree to which, swelling and shrinking happens. Layer by layer (LbL) assembly, using polystyene as a non-polar barrier, can be used  to achieve controlled crosslinking throughout the polymer sample. The use of multilayered polymer hydrogels for the controlled release of a variety of substances (ex: pharmaceuticals) is in an infantile stage of research and currently relies on this method of assembly. The objective of this MQP was to amass both pNIPAM (poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) and PAA (Poly Acrylic Acid) by LbL assembly in order to look into the potential for the effects of swelling under external stimuli (temperature and pH respectively).

Mechanical Properties and Degradation of Commercial Biodegradable Plastic Bags

Team Members: Jonathan Buckley, Dax Druminski, Amelia Halliday, Antonio Lewis
Advisors: Prof. Satya Shivkumar


The properties of six biodegradable commercial plastic bags, including BioBag, Flushdoggy, Green Genius, Oxobiodegradable, Rascodog, and World Centric, were examined. The effects of UV radiation, moisture exposure, weathering and thermal degradation on the tensile properties were studied. The creep and tensile behavior of the bags were also investigated. Most of the bags exhibited mechanical properties similar to traditional bags. One bag that had extensively higher properties was the Flushdoggy bag, which is based on PVA. All the bags generally start to degrade thermally at around 400°C. BioBag and World Centric exhibited significant mass loss around this temperature. Other bags were not affected appreciably. Exposure to UV light did not have much of an effect on tensile properties. Oxo-biodegrable and Flushdoggy became especially brittle after accelerated aging, although Flushdoggy still exhibited strong tensile properties.  The data indicated that biodegradable plastic bags may offer an alternative to traditional plastic bags.

April 22, 2011

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