Girl Scouts join Ohio State engineers for sustainable energy event

 

Some members of the Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland recently explored the science behind sustainable energy with engineering staff and students at The Ohio State University.

 

Girl Scouts attending “Scoping Out Solar Energy” at Ohio State’s Institute for Materials Research (IMR) Nanotech West Lab and Center for Electron Microscopy and Analysis (CEMAS) took part in discussions and hands-on science and technology activities with College of Engineering volunteers.

 

Throughout the day, the nearly 20 Girl Scouts learned about energy use, conversion and storage, as well as energy consumption of electric vehicles. The topics complemented concepts learned in school and introduced them to new ideas regarding renewable energy and electron microscopy.

 

Through each activity, the elementary school-aged girls also had an opportunity to consider their potential roles as science and engineering leaders in the future.

 

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Air Force Research Laboratory looks to Ohio State for materials innovation

The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and The Ohio State University’s Center for Electron Microscopy and Analysis (CEMAS) have established a long-term research collaboration platform for advanced materials characterization.

 

The Air Force Research Laboratory’s Materials and Manufacturing Directorate (AFRL/RX) develops materials, processes, and advanced manufacturing technologies for aircraft, spacecraft, missiles, rockets, and ground-based systems and their structural, electronic and optical components. Precision is critical in these endeavors, and CEMAS equipment and expertise will be leveraged to achieve optimal results.

 

A five-year $4.25 million grant will fund a cohort of post-doctoral research fellows (PDRFs) focused on precision measurement tools for advanced functional and structural materials characterization. Material classes of interest include metals, semiconductors, ceramics, polymers, composites, functionally graded materials, nanomaterials, electronics, sensors and biological materials.

 

The PDRFs will be embedded in the research groups at AFRL/RX offices at Wright-Patterson AFB and will have a faculty advisor at CEMAS to ensure access to the latest developments and capabilities.

 

“These outstanding young researchers will be the conduit between our two research enterprises,” said CEMAS Director David McComb. “There they will learn the materials and advanced manufacturing challenges that impede AFRL’s progress. Here they will have access to state-of-the-art microscopy equipment and the nation’s leading experts in materials characterization to help solve those challenges and innovate to improve our national defense.”

 

Read more about the CEMAS-AFRL collaboration at the College of Engineering site.

 

Two Members of Technical Staff Receive University Honors

All of us at the Institute for Materials Research are so proud of the well-deserved staff service awards to two of IMR’s Members of Technical Staff over the past week – Mark Brenner and Denis Pelekhov.  The two scientists were recognized for their commitment to supporting researchers, mentoring students, and ensuring safety in their respective research facilities.  Both Mark and Denis are IMR Members of Technical Staff through our research enhancement programs providing financial and logistical support of core materials research facilities on Ohio State’s campus.  Congratulations, Mark and Denis, on these recognitions of your excellent service to Ohio State’s materials community!

 

 

SEAL Lab Manager Mark Brenner receives his award from Electrical and Computer Engineering Department Chair Joel Johnson

Mark Brenner, Lab Manager with the Semiconductor Epitaxy and Analysis Laboratory (SEAL), was recently honored with the College of Engineering’s “Exemplary Support or Advancement of Research” Above and Beyond Award.  Given at the 2017 College of Engineering Staff Appreciation Luncheon, Brenner was recognized for his  service and dedication to faculty recruitment, as well as student and research support across multiple departments.

 

“Mark is a unique and outstanding part of our team and college,” his nomination letter states. “Without Mark here, we would not have been successful at recruiting the quality of faculty members that we have been able to nor would those faculty members have been able to grow their programs so successfully. Mark’s commitment to student learning and student research also sets him apart. He takes time to train students on the various aspects of the lab and explain why certain procedures are in place. He will always drop what he’s doing to answer a student’s question or assist them if they are having difficulty. He is a great mentor.”

 

NSLF Director Denis Pelekhov with his John G. Whitcomb Distinguished Staff Award

Denis Pelekhov, Director of NanoSystems Lab (NSL), received the John G. Whitcomb Distinguished Staff Award, which recognizes exceptional accomplishments, leadership, and service to the Department of Physics and its missions of research, teaching, and service.  Awarded this week at the Physics department picnic, Pelekhov was recognized for his strong commitment to safety, student mentorship, and consistently outstanding service to NSL users.

 

“Denis provides excellent service to users at NSL that is timely, thorough, inclusive, and equitable. I am particularly impressed with his respect for all levels of research: he treats graduate and undergraduate students with the same respect and care he shows to faculty… In addition to offering quality service, Denis is a shining example of scientific and research safety. He goes above and beyond to ensure that our students are following safety protocols- often adding his own for good measure- so that our students can learn and grow without fear or danger. I have personally witnessed Denis drop everything multiple times to address a safety issue with all the gravity and importance it deserves (and more) to protect a student.”

 

COSI Academy Students Experience Science in Action at Nanotech West

IMR staff recently hosted a group of high school students from COSI Academy, an exploration program for high school students interested in STEM and STEM related careers.  Run through the Center for Science and Industry (COSI), Columbus’ science museum, the COSI Academy connects students with professionals in the areas of engineering, biotechnology and health and medicine through site visits to local science-based corporations, organizations, and universities, guest speakers, and hands-on activities.

COSI Academy students watch an instrumentation demonstration at Nanotech West Lab – courtesy of the Center for Science and Industry (COSI)

 

Twelve students toured the Nanotech West Lab facility on April 8, including its cleanroom and Materials Innovation Lab, and learned about different career paths in STEM fields. Nanotech West Lab is Ohio State’s nanofabrication research facility and the largest and most comprenhesive micro- and nanotechnology user facility in the state of Ohio. The lab is home to more than 50 large pieces of user accessible material synthesis, fabrication and metrology equipment and research capabilities include e-beam lithography, nanolithography, device fabrication, MOCVD epitaxy, device processing, and clean room processing.

 

IMR Member of Technical Staff Aimee Price discusses nanotechnology with COSI Academy students in the Materials Innovation Lab – courtesy of the Center for Science and Industry (COSI)

COSI Academy students gowned up to tour the Nanotech West cleanroom – courtesy of the Center for Science and Industry (COSI)

 

This outreach event was well received by the COSI Academy students and their chaperones, and our staff enjoyed the opportunity to share their work with the next generation of scientists. Students particularly enjoyed the monochromator demonstration by Nanotech West engineer Dave Hollingshead, and seeing the plotter in action on the feature wall of the Materials Innovation Lab.

 

Senior Technology Integrator Kari Roth explains the Materials Innovation model being developed through IMR’s Materials and Manufacturing for Sustainability program – courtesy of the Center for Science and Industry (COSI)

All photos courtesy of the Center for Science and Industry (COSI)

Using Food Waste as a Sustainable Rubber Filler

Katrina Cornish, Ohio Research Scholar and Professor of Horticulture and Crop Sciences and Food, Agriculture and Biological Engineering, Cornish’s lab at Ohio State’s Wooster campus designs natural rubber alternatives using crops of guayule and Buckeye Gold dandelion, combined with eggshells and tomato peels.

Cornish Barrera

Professor Katrina Cornish with Postdoctoral Researcher Cindy Barrera in the group’s research facility

Through the Program of Excellence in Natural Rubber Alternatives (PENRA) research facility, Cornish’s research group found that partially replacing carbon black with ground eggshells or tomato peels in rubber enhanced its overall strength, elasticity and softness. Both materials offer practical advantages in tire manufacture. Tomato skins offer high-temperature stability, while the porousness of eggshells enable it to bond well with rubber. Additional testing led the researchers to widen their applications of these alternatives beyond tires to other rubber products such as gaskets, hoses and rubber gloves.

Researchers from The Ohio State University have developed a patent-pending, greener—or, more accurately, reddish-brown—alternative to the carbon black filler used in tires.

Natural rubber is a vital resource for any developed country and is used in over 40,000 commercial products. By 2020 the USA may suffer a supply shortfall of 1.5 million metric tons of imported natural rubber. While the use of synthetic rubber has surpassed natural rubber in quantity, there are particular properties and high-performance applications that make natural rubber irreplaceable by synthetic rubber.

As carbon black supply dwindles, eggshells and tomato skins abound. America alone consumes almost 100 billion eggs and 13 million tons of tomatoes annually, with their shells and skins going to landfills. Cornish expects the food factories that dispose of these items to become the go-to source for new filler material.

Cornish explains that the technology has the potential to address three problems: allow more sustainable tire manufacturing process, reduce the tire industry’s dependence on foreign oil, and keep waste out of landfills.


Cornish’s research has been covered by several national media this month, which served as sources for this article:

Wall Street Journal: https://www.wsj.com/articles/making-tire-filler-from-eggshells-1489093113

US News & World Report: https://www.usnews.com/news/national-news/articles/2017-03-09/incorporating-food-waste-into-tires-may-sustain-industry-long-term

How Stuff Works: http://now.howstuffworks.com/2017/03/10/food-waste-wheels-researchers-turn-tomatoes-tires

Yahoo! News: https://sg.news.yahoo.com/tires-made-eggshells-tomato-skins-081804297.html