0801 ctt pcsa osu fair

0801 ctt pcsa osu fairStudents from Ohio State’s Materials Science and Engineering program and ACerS PCSA demonstrate how well space shuttle tiles (don’t) conduct heat at the Ohio State Fair. The award-winning booth highlighted materials science for young students. Credit: ACerS.

Graduate students and recent alums from the Materials Science and Engineering Department at The Ohio State University (Columbus) teamed up with the ACerS President’s Council of Student Advisors to demonstrate materials science concepts at the Ohio State Fair underway this week in Columbus, Ohio.

The group, including MSE grad student and PCSA president Derek Miller, grad students David Riegner and Ryan Brune, and recent alumnae Tiffiny Trykowski and Jessica West, wound up winning an award for Best Tech Exhibit at the fair.

Demonstrations at the ACerS booth at the Technology Expo in the fair’s Youth Center showcased ceramic and general materials science and engineering technology to engage young fairgoers. Demos included:

  • Levitating superconductor;
  • Nitinol shape-memory alloy wire;
  • Heating a space shuttle insulating tile with a blowtorch to simulating the heat of reentry and the shuttle’s thermal protection system;
  • Bouncing polymer balls versus no-bounce balls;
  • Using movement and a piezoelectric ceramic disk to light an LED.

The team demonstrated and explained materials engineering topics for more than 100 students and 200 adults. “The kids were really blown away by everything,” Miller says in this news release. “We actually had trouble finishing on time because people kept coming over to see the demos.”

Some of the demonstrations performed at the fair are also part of a materials science lab and demonstration kit for teachers developed by PCSA. More information on the kits, including a brief description of each lesson, is available here. Kits should be available this fall.

The MSE demos are over, but the fair continues through Aug. 4. If you’re in the central Ohio area and have a hankering for deep-fried anything, there’s still time to check it out!