Student News

2014 Project Presentation Day

On April 24, 2014 Project Presentation Day was held where the seniors of every department presented their Major Qualifying Project. The Mechanical Engineering Department had a poster presentation competition for six different categories (Biomedical, Design, Manufacturing, Materials, Robotics and Thermofluids). Our students from Materials Science and Engineering presented in this competition and the winners are as follows:

First Place: Jaime De Souza, Khalil Badran, Eric Plante and Joshua Morales, Advisor: Diana Lados 
Second Place: Nicole Holman, Karen Paklin and Shikha Shrestha, Advisor: Richard Sisson
Third Place: Brianna Gillespie, Mary Long, Natalie McMillan and Caitlin Walde, Advisor: Nicholas Dembsey (FPE)

Also three groups were chosen to present at the ASM meeting on April 24, 2014 at O'Connors Restaurant in Worcester and among them one of the groups won the $500 scholarship. The winners are Jennifer Baker, Rebecca Draper and Katie Monighetti, Advisor: Satya Shivkumar

Prediction of Fire Test Performance Based onVarying FRP Resin/Fire Retardant Additive Ratios Prediction

Student: Cristina Herrera, Jerome Anaya, Daniel Morgan
Advisors: Nicholas Dembsey (FPE)
Sponsor: Kreysler and Associates

The use of Fiber Reinforced Polymers (FRPs) for architectural applications in the construction industry is subjected to several requirements of the International Building Code: ASTM E84 and NFPA 285. These large scale tests can be costly and detrimental for the development of new FRP systems. These FRP systems use differing ratios of resin and fire retardant additives. How these differing ratios affect performance in ASTM E84 and NFPA 285 are investigated. This study further develops a set of screening tools based on flame extension and flame spread models to predict fire performance. These tools use data from the bench scale Cone Calorimeter to measure material fire characteristics. These characteristics are then used as input for the screening tools to estimate ASTM E84 and NFPA 285 performance. The predicted changes in performance based on changes in resin to fire retardant additive ratios are reported.

Thermal and Electrical Transport

Students: Jeffrey Havill, Steve Thuo
Advisors: Germano Iannachione (PHY), Diana Lados (ME)

The goal of this project was to design, build, and validate a high-resolution apparatus to measure thermal and electrical property changes in heat treatable aluminum alloys. These property changes were caused by the formation and growth of precipitates during the artificial aging stage of the heat treatment. In-situ and ex-situ experiments were designed for two precipitation strengthened aluminum alloys (wrought 6061 and cast 319) to capture and quantify changes in both thermal and electrical conductivity. Measurements were made at different stages during the artificial aging process to understand the effects of precipitates size and distribution on the resulting transport properties of the materials. A comparison of the results from the in-situ and ex-situ experiments was also performed. The selected alloys will also indicate differences in thermal and electrical properties due to the presence of secondary phases (eutectic Si particles). The developments and findings in this study will be presented and discussed.

Quantitative Corrosion Evaluation and Damage Modeling in Ferrous Materials

Students: Khalil Badran, Jaime De Souza, Joshua Morales, Eric Plante
Advisors: Diana Lados (ME), Cosme Furlong (ME)
Sponsor: Gillette

Corrosion is the leading cause of material damage. Quantitatively measuring corrosion effects and understanding the mechanisms are crucial to predicting/modeling this phenomenon and preventing it. The goal of this study is to develop a reliable testing and analysis methodology that allows quantitative evaluation and further prediction of corrosion damage in ferrous materials. To achieve this goal, a testing apparatus was built, and a relationship between corrosion rate and sample volume, environment, temperature, agitation, and time was uniquely created. Stainless steel samples were studied in a saline solution using two standard testing methods with various conditions. The changes in mass were measured, and an original optical methodology for both surface and cross-section damage evaluation was established. Over time, the change in mass showed an asymptotic decrease, whereas surface area damage increased asymptotically. An analytical relationship between corrosion rate and various controlling parameters was ultimately developed for damage prediction in corroded materials. These results and findings will be presented and discussed.

Injection Molding of Chocolate  

Students: Jennifer Baker, Rebecca Draper, Katie Monighetti
Advisors: Satya Shivkumar

Crystallization is vital to the texture, appearance, and taste of chocolate products. The development of ideal type V crystals is maintained through various components of the manufacturing process including tempering and temperature control. Typical chocolate is molded in gravity fed systems at a relatively low rate. The objective of this study is to examine the feasibility of injection molding chocolate to improve the production rate and textural qualities of chocolate. Samples similar to commercially produced miniature chocolate bars were produced using an injection molding machine. The textural properties of these samples were tested using XRD, DSC, and 3-point bend tests. The results indicate that the properties of the injection molded chocolate were improved from the traditional gravity fed cast molded chocolate.

Processing Polylactic Acid with Bamboo Additives

Students: Janelle Boucher, Brandon Okray
Advisor: Satya Shivkumar

The desire for sustainable materials in recent years increased investigations into biodegradable polymers (bioplastics) and improving their capabilities with natural renewable fillers for the purpose of reinforcement. The addition of natural fillers affects processing of bioplastics due to the hydrophilic characteristic of natural fibers interacting with the hydrophobic nature of polymers. The objective of this project was to improve the molding properties of a natural fiber biodegradable composite. For this experiment injection molded samples of polylactic acid (PLA) and bamboo powder were formed. Observed distribution of the powder within the polymer and improvements in mechanical and thermal properties served as indications of processing improvements. In order to deal with the problem of agglomerations of bamboo powder optimal temperatures for the injection molder, pre-heat treatment of the samples, and coupling agents were methods utilized to minimize the effects of the clusters.  

Simulation of the Effects of Temperature and Time on the Tempering Behavior of Carburized Steels

Students: Nichole Holman, Karen Paklin, Shikha Shrestha
Advisors: Richard Sisson (ME), David DiBiasio (ChE)

The heat treating industry needs verified computer simulation tools to predict the carbon concentration profiles and microhardness profiles in carburized steels. Currently tools exist to predict the carbon concentration profiles for many carburization processes including endo-gas and low pressure. The models for the prediction of microhardness profiles as a function tempering temperatures and times are being developed in this project using experimental results and the Holloman – Jaffe analysis. The experimental results have shown that the hardness increases with carbon concentration and decreases with increase in temperature and time. The results of microstructural analysis will be presented and discussed in terms of phase transformations kinetics. The computer simulation will be demonstrated.

Project Presentation Day

April 24, 2014