The Materials Science Innovation Program capstone took place on April 24th, during which students were able to showcase the work they have conducted over the course of the year. Partnering with professors at Rutgers University’s School of Engineering, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and with ASM International (a professional organization for materials scientists and engineers), students conducted advanced research and collected data relating to a wide variety of subjects pertaining to materials science.
One group’s focus was on testing systems of water filtration for developing countries, where access to clean water is often limited or absent. The process started with creating water receptacles comprised of a mixture of sawdust and clay. By firing these pots in a kiln, the sawdust burned away, leaving thousands of microscopic pores through which water can flow and thus be filtered. The students’ goal was to test the ratio of clay to sawdust in an effort to determine an optimal mixture for an ideal flow of water.
Another group tested the effectiveness of various materials in a wind belt – a power harvesting device that uses the magnetic vibrations caused by wind blowing across a band of material to induce current and convert wind to electricity. Materials like plastic wrap, aluminum foil, parchment paper, rubber, and satin fabric were stretched vertically and subjected to a current of air. Using a laser to measure the displacement of each band of material as it vibrated in the wind, they were able to determine that a rubber belt would be the most viable material for harvesting wind energy in this study.
Other groups studied stealth technology using radar and either absorptive or reflective materials, the safety of youth baseball bats by testing the “sweet spots” of materials used in the construction of this athletic equipment, and the effectiveness of different panel shapes on wind turbines to determine the ideal formulation for such structures.
The last element of the Materials Science Innovation Program involved one student being placed in charge of outreach, public relations, and creating a website to highlight the work being done – a key component for this kind of work at the institutional level.
The website can be found by clicking here.
To learn more about the Innovation Program at Rutgers Prep, click here.