Materials Education Symposia - Home

Abstract submission for the 2020 program will soon open. In the meantime, please find the 2019 Program below.

2019 Program
10th North American Materials Education Symposium



Symposium Day One: Thursday, August 8

time session
8.00 am Registration, coffee, and Poster setup
8.45 am Prof. Paul McIntyre, Stanford University, USA
Welcome Address
8.50 am Prof. Evan Reed, Stanford University, USA
Prof. Mike Ashby, University of Cambridge, UK
Mr. Marc Fry, Education Division, ANSYS Granta, UK
Introduction to the Symposium
  SESSION 1: HISTORY AND EVOLUTION OF MATERIALS EDUCATION
9.00 am Session Chairs
Dr Susan Gentry, University of California, Davis, USA
Dr. Ryan Brock, Exponent, USA
Session introduction
9.05 am Prof. William Nix, Stanford University, USA
The Evolution of Materials Education at Stanford – Learning from the Past
9.25 am Prof. James Shackelford, University of California, Davis, USA
Materials education in our balkanized profession
9.45 am Dr. Soma Chakrabarti, Education Division, ANSYS Granta, UK and President, International Association of Continuing Engineering Education, USA
Educating Future Materials Scientists and Engineers
10.05 am Poster Teaser Session
Mr. Marc Fry, Education Division, ANSYS Granta, UK
25 x Poster Presenters invited to give a one-minute presentation
10.30 am One-hour Poster Session
Coffee
11.30 am Mr. Rhett Russo, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, USA
A Pedagogical framework for Coupling Material Behavior with Digital Design
11.50 am Prof. Adrian Lowe, Australian National University, Australia
Using Ourselves as our own Case Study
12.10 pm Morning discussion led by the session chairs
12.35 pm Symposium photograph
12.45 pm Lunch
  SESSION 2: ENGAGING STUDENTS & PERSONALIZED LEARNING
1.45 pm Session Chairs
Dr. Kiara Bruggeman, The Australian National University, Australia
Prof. Evan Reed, Stanford University, USA
Session Introduction
1.50 pm Ms. Emily White, Architecture & Environmental Design, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, USA
Big Glue
2.10 pm Dr. Ronald Kander, Thomas Jefferson University, USA
Transdisciplinary Applied Research: A Tool to Facilitate Curated Personalized Student Learning Experience
2.30 pm Dr. Moisés Hinojosa, Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon, Mexico
Materials Science and Engineering bachelor course taught using Blended Learning
2.50 pm Dr. Ahmad Saatchi, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA
Microproject based Teaching Materials Science and Engineering Fundamentals
3.10 pm Poster Session continued
Coffee/Afternoon Tea
3.40 pm Dr. Jessica Sandland, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA
Developing Electronic, Optical, and Magnetic Properties of Materials as a MOOC
4.00 pm Dr. Susan Gentry, University of California, Davis, USA
Muddiest Points and Video Tutorials: Synergistic activities in two thermodynamics courses
4.20 pm Prof. Glenn Hibbard, University of Toronto, Canada
Prof. John Nychka, University of Alberta, Canada
A State-Space Deconstruction of the Materials Paradigm
4.40 pm Prof. Steve Yalisove, University of Michigan, USA
Circle Time: Mixing Up Active Learning Activities
5.00 pm Afternoon discussion led by the session chairs
5.25 pm Symposium Award Ceremony
Prof. Evan Reed, Stanford University, USA
Prof. Mike Ashby
, University of Cambridge, UK
5.30 pm Introduction to the next Symposia
Mr. Marc Fry, Education Division, Granta Design, UK
Prof. Robert Heard
, Carnegie Mellon University, USA
5.40 pm Close
6.45 pm Drinks reception
7.15 pm Sit-down Symposium Dinner

Symposium Day Two: Friday, August 9

time session
8.30 am Registration and coffee
  SESSION 3: ENTREPRENEURSHIP & INDUSTRIAL PERSPECTIVES
9.00 am Session Chairs
Prof. Steve Yalisove
, University of Michigan, USA
Dr. Danielle Cote
, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, USA
Session Introduction
9.05 am Dr. Kara Johnson, MacGuffin & Co, USA
Materials For Designers, Designer Materials
9.25 am Dr. Prith Banerjee, Chief Technology Officer at ANSYS, Inc., USA
Future of Simulation-based Product Innovation in a Digital World
9.45 am Dr. Waguih Ishak, Chief Technologist - S&T Division VP, Corning Inc., USA
We Need More Data Scientists to Uncover Novel Materials
10.05 am Prof. Ranji Vaidyanathan, Oklahoma State University, USA
Exposure of undergraduate research students to entrepreneurial activities – leveraging NSF Innovation Corps and REU programs
10.25am Coffee
11.00 am Dr. Matthew Sherburne, University of California, Berkeley, USA
Makerspace Creation through Student-Led Collaboration
11.20 am Prof. Luiz Antônio Pereira Machado Júnior, Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez, Mexico
Selection of materials for additive manufacturing applied to automotive design
11.40 am Prof. Pawan Tyagi, University of the District of Columbia, USA
Positive intelligence education for enhancing students focus on skill building and realizing their potential
12.00 pm Dr. Bosco (Hiu Ming) Yu, McMaster University, Canada
A Darwinian approach to teaching materials science: collaboration, iteration, and competition
12.20 pm Morning discussion led by the session chairs
12.45 pm Lunch
1.30 pm Tour of campus and labs
  SESSION 4: SUSTAINABILITY, BIO & ELECTRONICS
2.00 pm Session Chairs
Dr. Ronald Kander, Thomas Jefferson University, USA
Dr. Tanya Faltens, Purdue University, USA
Session Introduction
2.05 pm Prof. Mike Ashby, University of Cambridge, UK
Fibers — the neglected child of the Materials family
2.25 pm Prof. Robert Heard, Carnegie Mellon University, USA
The Evolution of an Environmental Course for Material Science
2.45 pm Prof. Mark De Guire, Case Western Reserve University, USA
Teaching about Biomedical Materials from a Materials Perspective
3.05 pm Coffee/Afternoon Tea
3.35 pm Prof. Donna Ebenstein, Bucknell University, USA
A Hip Implant Case Study to Enhance a Traditional Materials Science Course for Biomedical Engineers
3.55 pm Dr. Qin Ma, Walla Walla University, USA
Nanocellulose-based composites and materials education
4.15 pm Afternoon discussion led by the session chairs
4.40 pm Prof. Evan Reed, Stanford University, USA
Prof. Mike Ashby, University of Cambridge, UK
Concluding remarks
4.45 pm Close and photograph

Talk Abstracts

Circle Time: Mixing Up Active Learning Activities

Prof. Steve Yalisove, University of Michigan, USA

Remember Kindergarten? Circle time is back. The physics education community has developed a pedagogical tool called, Modeling, that incorporates experiential discovery in a team-based learning environment. This talk will describe how modeling is used as part of a team-based approach to teaching introductory materials science and engineering. Modeling, here, is focused on delivery of very open-ended problems that teams of two or three work on for 10-15 minutes. The teams use 2x3 foot whiteboards to record their solution or approach to the problem. Then the class is broken into circles of 8-10 teams and the teams share their work with the group. We also hire senior level materials students as instructional aides (IAs) to work with the class.

We hire one IA for every four teams of two or three students. These IAs meet weekly and are given instruction on how best to help the students discover the solutions on their own. The IAs also facilitate the circle discussions. Examples and lessons learned will be shared in the talk. Other strategies to help prepare the students for this activity will also be presented related to using a textbook in this class. The first introduction to the material has been reading the textbook. However, this is difficult for the students because the textbooks are all too comprehensive and it has become a significant time sink. Instead, 7-8 questions are posed to the students in a web tool called Perusall, that links each question to the part of the text where the answers can be found. These questions are the learning objectives of each reading assignment and are used to scaffold the material, including the modeling activity, that will be presented in peer instruction activities in class.


Transdisciplinary Applied Research: A Tool to Facilitate Curated Personalized Student Learning Experience

Dr. Ronald Kander, Thomas Jefferson University, USA

Applied research is a form of systematic inquiry involving the practical application of accumulated theory, knowledge, methods and techniques for a specific purpose. This includes theories and methodologies taken from (and combined with) the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences. Applied research often addresses real-world, social and ethical issues or client-driven problems. Applied research can be differentiated from basic research by the nature of the questions each type of research addresses. For example, the goal of basic research is typically to develop theories and improve fundamental understanding in order to predict natural phenomena. Applied research, in contrast, addresses normative ethical and social questions of how we ought to change our world or solve specific problems. It develops technologies or techniques to alter natural phenomena to solve specific problems.

Transdisciplinary “applied research” projects are often difficult to manage in traditional academic environments and are sometimes not given the same level of support and recognition as more mainstream “basic research” activities. However, transdisciplinary applied research projects (typically funded by industry) are an outstanding mechanism to facilitate curated, personalized learning experiences for undergraduate and graduate students alike. This presentation will describe Jefferson’s conceptual model for incorporating applied research into the educational experience of our students and into the professional development of our faculty. Jefferson’s Office of Applied Research incorporates Boyer’s [1] model, combining the “Scholarship of Discovery” with the “Scholarship of Integration” and the “Scholarship of Application”. The model promotes interacting types of scholarship that define a unique, flexible, responsive “scholarship-based learning” epistemology that is discipline-agnostic and can be used to articulate a distinctive type of applied research.

[1] Earnest L. Boyer, “Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professorate”, The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching (1990). ISBN# 0-7879-4069-0



Muddiest Points and Video Tutorials: Synergistic activities in two thermodynamics courses

Dr. Susan Gentry, University of California, Davis, USA

Thermodynamics provides the foundation of engineering, but students often struggle to grasp the abstract concepts. Misconceptions can occur for both undergraduate and graduate students, here referred to as novice and senior students, respectively. For instance, students may not understand the difference between the Gibbs and Helmholtz free energies or have difficulties calculating the enthalpy of reaction at an elevated temperature. This presentation will describe two synergistic activities in undergraduate and graduate courses on the thermodynamics of materials. In the undergraduate course, novice students’ weekly homework required them to submit a “muddiest point,” or unclear point from the past week’s learning. The “muddiest point” is a pedagogical tool that can be used for an instructor to understand and address students’ misconceptions [1]. In the graduate course, each senior student created a five-minute video tutorial related to a critical concept of thermodynamics. The tutorial was an authentic assignment that mimicked the interaction between a student and teaching assistant, as topics were selected from previously-submitted muddiest points from novice students. The senior students were challenged to succinctly and clearly explain the muddiest points, reinforcing their knowledge of thermodynamics. Additionally, using real prompts from novice students allowed senior students to practice answering the types of questions that would arise during discussion sections or office hours.

[1] T. A. Angelo and K. P. Cross, Classroom Assessment Techniques, 1993.



A Pedagogical framework for Coupling Material Behavior with Digital Design

Mr. Rhett Russo, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, USA

Architects are now taking an active role to confront a wide range of global challenges that extend beyond our traditional notion of the built environment in order to address the future of our planet. These challenges are complex, hard to define, and they require collaboration across disciplines. Two related global challenges are water and plastics. In the Fall of 2018 the students at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute School of Architecture worked together with Friendship Bottles to envision design applications for their patented interlocking 250 ml water bottle. The studio was posited as an open ended problem to identify applications that were unique to a modular plastic bottle that could have a ‘second life’ after was emptied. Faculty from Architecture, Civil and Systems engineering were brought together in the design studio to advise students on how to reimagine how plastic waste could be reused. The students were asked to consider ways that the bottles could be building blocks to address the needs of an individual, animal or plant species and to speculate on ways that the bottles could participate in a bio-economy.



Nanocellulose-based composites and materials education

Dr. Qin Ma, Walla Walla University, USA

Cellulose is the most abundant organic polymer in nature, the important structural component of the primary cell wall of green plants and many forms of algae. With the quick advance of modern technology, natural cellulose can be further extracted and isolated in the form of cellulose nanocrystals (CNC) and cellulose nanofibrills (CNF). These nanocellulose particles are becoming commercially available on the market with affordable price. In addition to its environmental sustainability, nanocellulose has gained great attention in the scientific world due to its notable superior properties such as its extreme strength, toughness, and light weight, the desired features engineers craved for to various ideas of innovation. It is therefore significantly meaningful to look over carefully through the history on the development of this type of superior material with its production and its eye-dazzling application potential. Most importantly, to discover how the development of an array of nanocellulose-based superior composites affects today’s materials education would impose an interesting discussion.

A senior project themed in the design of a type of new structural composites has been undertaken by a small team of undergraduate students at Walla Walla University (WWU). A comparative study will be given for this type of structural composites with vs. without nanocellulose particles included. In this discussion, we wish to gain more interests on the strategy towards the application of nanocellulose in materials education and discuss how the development of this superior material affects our future materials education in different facets such as through integration and enrichment of traditionally taught intro-to-material-science class, through extra-curricular activities such as design completion, through senior projects and/or through the program of Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU).



Positive intelligence education for enhancing students focus on skill building and realizing their potential

Prof. Pawan Tyagi, University of the District of Columbia, USA

Student attitude towards learning and skill building is strongly dependent on their state of mind that they form based on their past experiences. Students, and in fact most of the humans, possess hidden traits and habits they develop during the growing up period in wide range of socio-economical environments and associated challenges. Based on circumstances many students live in individualistic mindset and misconceptions about the surrounding and opportunities. This paper focus on providing positive intelligence training to college student to arm them with the necessary knowledge to not only unleash their capacity but also to enable other students to give the highest performance. This paper focus on an experiment under which 22 students in the senior level design of energy system course were exposed to the fundamental aspects of positive intelligence. Every student was tasked to demonstrate the depth of understanding about the positive intelligence and then apply it to group members to understand the strength and weakness. Most of the students expressed satisfaction that they were able to understand their own attitude and behavior that they found as an impediment in their progress. Instructor noted that after providing positive intelligence training students maturity level increased and they became more proactive and understanding towards each other.



Selection of materials for additive manufacturing applied to automotive design

Prof. Luiz Antônio Pereira Machado Júnior, Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez, Mexico

The process of additive manufacturing day after day has been gaining greater visibility in the industry. It is not a substitute for traditional manufacturing but a promoter of new design and production possibilities. This talk presents an innovative proposal for the application of additive manufacturing in the automotive area, using different materials and parameters to achieve greater strength and durability of the parts created to propose the suspension system of an electric microcar. The development was carried out from the creation of a material selection methodology based on the CES EduPack software, through which the correct materials are determined according to the properties required for each component. The design process was flexible and changing, that is, the proposed stages suffered alterations of order and development, throughout the investigation, promoting formal and technical changes of the tested pieces. The materials used for the final tests were ASA, ABS, Carbon Fiber and Nylon 12. From this study it was possible to propose a unique and innovative design, the additive manufacturing, with its flexibility, allowed to generate a range of parts with the due structural condition and at the same time customizable according to the taste and need of the user. It shows as a result that having a tool with a great diversity of information allows an adequate selection of materials, reducing failures in the result and expanding the capacity of creation of the designer.



Materials education in our balkanized profession

Prof. James Shackelford, University of California, Davis, USA

As we gather during the celebration of 100 years of materials education at Stanford University, we have an opportunity to also reflect on the general nature of education within our field, broadly defined as materials science and engineering. I do so from a personal perspective. As an undergraduate at the University of Washington, I majored in Ceramic Engineering, a program that had minimal interaction with the nearby major of Metallurgical Engineering. This situation was not dissimilar in other institutions around the United States and beyond. Moving to the PhD program at the University of California, Berkeley, my studies in ceramics and glass were within a Department of Materials Science and Mineral Engineering, with a much more integrated coverage of a broad spectrum of materials categories. Upon joining the relatively new materials program at the University of California, Davis in 1973, that program had been formed under the name of Materials Science and Engineering.

Over the next decade, this MS&E label became the norm, and it seemed that the balkanization of our profession had substantially diminished. Nonetheless, MS&E as a relatively small branch of the overall engineering profession continues to have a relatively large number of professional societies with historical ties to the various materials categories. Some of the societies have broadened their focus, e.g., the American Society for Metals became ASM International in 1986 with its coverage expanding beyond metals to engineered materials in general. Joint meetings and shared educational outreach programs have been helpful, but such collaborations have been limited. My goal is to use this presentation as a forum for discussion among the assembled materials educators as to whether more could or should be done to provide a more unified community of materials professionals and the related educational efforts within that community.



Using Ourselves as our own Case Study

Prof. Adrian Lowe, Australian National University, Australia

As the College of Engineering and Computer Science at the Australian National University (ANU) progresses through its Reimagine Education agenda, improved student experience is paramount. A top priority is around the embedding of high quality contextualization into our course and program offerings through exposing our students to external industrial organizations and real-world engineering systems through a case-study approach. In January 2018, a major new infrastructure development (called Kambri) was opened that comprises several student hubs, halls of residence, teaching facilities and retail parks. This development has transformed the centre of the ANU through innovative design and usage of materials, including the second biggest all-wooden structure in the southern hemisphere. The developer (LendLease) has been working closely with the ANU Engineering school around using some of the Kambri buildings as major case studies in senior design and engineering materials courses. This talk will detail progress so far and will concentrate on how CES EduPack and similar tools have been used to create course-long case studies around the material engineering aspects behind our own universities’ flagship development.



A State-Space Deconstruction of the Materials Paradigm

Prof. Glenn Hibbard, University of Toronto, Canada

The Scottish Physicist Robin Giles attempted an axiomatic treatment of classical thermodynamics in his 1964 book ‘Mathematical Foundations of Thermodynamics’. The central idea of his work was to reduce thermodynamics to a most basic set of relations behind concepts that are ‘true’ as mathematical objects without physical connotations. This meant defining the foundations of thermodynamics in terms of 1) its logical structure (i.e. the mathematical schema in which it is to be understood) and 2) its rules of interpretation (i.e. assigning physical meaning to the theoretical terms). To Giles, thermodynamics was the science of i) states, ii) union of states, and iii) transition between states. For him, thermodynamics consists exactly of those assertions that have an experimental meaning for a primitive observer who can appreciate only these three concepts. Like thermodynamics, the process-structure-property-performance materials paradigm is an experience-based causal framework. The paradigm is based on a schema of categorizing relational dynamics, which necessarily requires comparison of states and their concomitant changes in time and space. Such structural change—the nature of it, the mechanisms for how it happens, and whether it is reversible or irreversible—dictate materials properties and materials performance; the latter of which is teleological causation (i.e., what we want out of a material). In this talk we will explore what it means to consider a state-space deconstruction of the materials paradigm following the approach of Giles and discuss what possibilities this might offer Materials Science and Engineering education.



Big Glue

Ms. Emily White, Architecture & Environmental Design, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, USA

'There is a sea change going on in the world of construction: the shift from assemblage to fusion. In material terms this translates into a shift from mechanical to chemical attachments. More simply, things are built without bolts, screws, nails, or pegs; instead, they are glued.'
-Greg Lynn, “Chemical Architecture”

Big Glue is a collaboration among students and faculty from chemistry and architecture exploring how adhesives can be more broadly used in architecture and design as work increases in size from models to full-scale construction. We reviewed existing adhesive use in construction, where the most common applications are wood lamination and finishes, and in the automotive industry, where adhesives are increasingly used on aluminum and aluminum composites to reduce weight and increase fuel efficiencies. We see potential overlaps between automotive and architectural applications in metal structural skins.

We identified joint types that would typically be welded or mechanically fastened, but showed potential for adhesive bonding. We formulated a custom adhesive based on parameters specific to architecture, then tested this lab formulation and two commercially available epoxies on glued joints at three scales—extra small, small and medium. Our medium scale tests were student-designed furniture. This allowed us to test material interactions on load bearing seams that are structurally analogous to larger scale architectural applications. Using adhesives instead of welds or mechanical fasteners allowed a more fluid workflow between scale models, digital simulations, and final products. This research lays the groundwork for scaling up to larger glued projects.

Initial testing of the lab-made epoxy showed promising results, providing sufficient mechanical strength for furniture. Performance of the lab-made epoxy could be improved by incorporating adhesion-promoting additives. Challenges in using adhesives in construction remain to be addressed. Future adhesives selection parameters will include cost and impact on substrate life-cycles.



A Hip Implant Case Study to Enhance a Traditional Materials Science Course for Biomedical Engineers

Prof. Donna Ebenstein, Bucknell University, USA

In an effort to engage biomedical engineering students in a traditional science of materials course, a semester-long hip implant case study was implemented to complement the textbook Fundamentals of Materials Science and Engineering: An Integrated Approach by W.D. Callister. The case study is kicked off by showing the video “Miracles by Design” which shows the personal story of the ballet dancer Zina Bethune who had double total joint replacements that allowed her to continue dancing. Next, for the first homework assignment, students read Callister’s supplement Case Study 4: Artificial Total Hip Replacement and create a table of the materials used for the different hip implant components (e.g., acetabular cup, shaft), including classifying each material by class (e.g., metal, ceramic, polymer). The nice thing about hip implants is that all three classes of materials are well-represented.

As the course continues, each homework assignment includes at least one question about a hip-implant related material. For example, students calculate the density of iron or titanium, investigate the structure of alumina and zirconia, and compare structure-property relationships in UHMWPE and PMMA. Students also explore how different alloying elements increase the corrosion-resistance of alloys commonly used in hip implants, learn how yttria can be used to toughen the zirconia used in femoral heads, and evaluate metals under development for use in hip implants such as nanostructured titanium. We also take a field trip to visit Carpenter Technology, a manufacturer of high performance metals used in hip implants. The last lecture in the course chronicles the history of hip implant development over time, with an emphasis on how different deteriorative properties (e.g., corrosion, wear) led to changes in the materials used in hips over time. The use of the hip implant case study provides a unifying application in a materials science course designed for biomedical engineers.



Microproject based Teaching Materials Science and Engineering Fundamentals

Dr. Ahmad Saatchi, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA

In the 8th NAMES 2018 at MIT, we reported our experience with Blended Learning model using active learning approach in teaching Introduction to MSE to Engineering students in large ordinary Classes of 200 students. In the past two years, we have been using Active Learning Classes (ALC), with the maximum capacity of 110 students. In these Classes, the students sit around tables in small groups of 5-10 people. Each Table has its own Monitor. Thus we have been developing and improving our group working activities. The course is divided into three sections ending with an exam. In the last week of each section, the students do a micro-project (MP). They are re- grouped in 3-4 and they research about a subject depending upon their Majors and their interest. In the first MP, they fill in a template. In the second MP they prepare a poster, which they present to other Classmates, in a poster session type event. In the 3rd and the last MP, they are directed to do research on a subject and then prepare a research proposal on the subject. On each subject, we select the best work and give the corresponding students some bonus. The students like the MPs activities. They are introduced to the wealth of the topics, processes, and applications in MSE. They also find some information about the points they are curious about. In this talk, we report our experience with MPs, along with other activities.



Materials Science and Engineering bachelor course taught using Blended Learning

Dr. Moisés Hinojosa, Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon, Mexico

In this work we discuss our experience in an introductory Materials Science and Engineering course, taught at the second semester of ten engineering programs in the general fields of mechanical and electrical engineering. We assume that students learn when they work and practice, so we use an enriched blended learning approach that combines elements of flipped classroom, active learning techniques and gamification. There is no lecture. Instead, the students receive instructions that include reading materials and some short web videos to watch. We use the Nexus platform, which is the Virtual Leaning Environment developed by the Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon, Mexico. Before each classroom session, the students must print a worksheet and then proceed to work it out, the worksheet is supposed to be finished in the classroom, a brief written conclusion is mandatory for each exercise. Those students that arrive at the classroom with the worksheet completely solved may receive bonus points in their final score. The instructor then helps the student solve the exercises, in this way it is guaranteed that every student does at least the minimum work needed to develop the expected abilities at a basic level.

The necessary explanations make use of some cheap didactic materials such as marbles, spring, tension specimens, diffractions glasses, a laser pointer, magnetic balls, silly putty, spring, paper clips, and others. before the middle term exam, there is a review session and after this evaluation the students are required to answer again the exam and write a brief essay about what they have learned. The results show a significant increase in students’ motivation and participation. The statistical analysis reveals an increase in performance, measured by the average grading score, of more than ten points compared to the previous more traditional approach used in this course.



Developing Electronic, Optical, and Magnetic Properties of Materials as a MOOC

Dr. Jessica Sandland, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA

In the Spring of 2018, the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at MIT launched Electronic, Optical, and Magnetic Properties of Materials as a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on the edX platform. This course is a core feature of the undergraduate MS&E curriculum at our institute, and it introduces the fundamental principles of quantum mechanics, solid state physics, electricity, and magnetism that describe the origin of the electronic, optical, and magnetic properties of materials. The course covers a wide range of topics in the domains of engineering, quantum and solid state physics, and device physics. Offering Electronic, Optical, and Magnetic Properties of Materials has allowed us to share our materials science curriculum with learners around the world who might not otherwise have access to university-level MS&E courses. It has also allowed our department to develop a set of resources that we can use with our residential students to enhance their educational experience. Professor Polina Anikeeva, lead instructor for Electronic, Optical, and Magnetic Properties of Materials, has traditionally used a creative method of reviewing course material.

Every year, our residential students participate in a Comic Battle where they work together to create comic strips that integrate the physics and engineering topics that they have learned in class. The aim of the yearly Comic Battle is to increase student motivation and engagement, and to decrease student stress while tackling difficult subject matter. Inspired by the residential Comic Battle experience, we created a set of MS&E-themed comic strips for the online course. In addition to sharing these comics with our online students, we studied the effect these comics had on course performance and retention.



Teaching about Biomedical Materials from a Materials Perspective

Prof. Mark De Guire, Case Western Reserve University, USA

In recognition of the increasing role that engineered materials are playing in biomedical applications, a new required course for undergraduates in materials science and engineering launched at CWRU in fall 2015, titled “Materials for Biological and Biomedical Applications”. On a campus with a highly ranked Department of Biomedical Engineering that offers several excellent courses covering biological and biomedical materials, is there a need for such a course? When it is designed from a materials perspective, the answer is yes, as affirmed by students from both materials science and biomedical engineering who have taken biomedical materials courses in both departments. The “materials perspective” entails, for example: comparisons and contrasts between engineered metals, ceramics, and polymers, and versus the biological materials they are called on to replace; the unique engineering demands imposed by physiological environments, the influence of materials manufacturing, overviews of how biomedical materials have evolved to the current state of the art, coverage of topics like light-emitting biological markers, additive manufacturing, and microelectromechanical systems in biomedicine.

Students benefit significantly from having access to both the ASM Medical Materials Database and the current edition of CES EduPack with the Bioengineering database. The complementarity of these two resources helps expose students to a breadth of content and issues that no single biomedical engineering textbook could ever cover. Though the course mostly follows a traditional lecture format, rapid developments in the field of biomedical materials make the subject matter an ever-moving target. A term paper and an oral presentation allow students to explore topics of their choice (within the scope of the course) in greater depth. With no materials-specific prerequisites, the course is designed to be accessible to upper-level undergraduates in any field of engineering and the physical sciences.



The Evolution of Materials Education at Stanford – Learning from the Past

Prof. William Nix, Stanford University, USA

The evolution of materials education at Stanford is described, from its beginnings in the department of Geology and Mining at the turn of the 20th century, through the founding of the Mining and Metallurgy department in 1919, to the present department of Materials Science and Engineering. The aim is to describe the people and events that have made up the history of the MSE department at Stanford and to show how external events have shaped its development. Because the origin of the department was closely linked to mining, the focus of the department was on metals in the early part of the 20th century, much like many other materials departments. That began to change in the 1950s when the needs of the burgeoning aerospace and nuclear power industries became apparent and especially after Sputnik I, when national programs for materials research spurred the creation of materials science departments. Even after the Materials Science department was created in 1960, Stanford, like many others, retained a focus on structural metals.

With the expansion of federal support the department made many faculty appointments and some joint appointments with other departments. Many of the newly appointed faculty came from industrial research labs with broader interests in materials. Thus some work on compound semiconductors was started in the 1960s and research on solid-state electrochemistry, which laid a foundation for work on battery materials early in the 21st century, was initiated. But still the department was late in embracing thin film silicon technology and was to pay a price for that in the 1980s. With low undergraduate enrollments and few faculty appointments in the 1970s and a declining reputation of the department within Stanford, the 1980s and early 1990s was a difficult time, with retiring faculty not being replaced.

After a decade of turmoil this eventually led to a move away from bulk structural materials and to a focus on thin films relevant to silicon technology. It also led to new joint appointments with other departments and other successful faculty appointments. Through these developments the department gradually improved its reputation within Stanford and by the beginning of the 21st century had become the undisputed leader of science and engineering related to materials at Stanford. For the first time faculty were being appointed as much for their exciting work on important societal problems, as for their focus on fundamental materials science, as had been done in the past. The department became known for its work on the development of solar cells, batteries, smart windows, chemical and biological sensors, electronic, photonic and plasmonic devices and stem cell therapies. Judging from this recent trajectory it seems likely that the future department will continue to address the major societal problems such as those that arise in solving critical problems pertaining to energy, the environment, biology and medicine.



Fibers — the neglected child of the Materials family

Prof. Mike Ashby, University of Cambridge, UK

Global fiber production now exceeds 100 million tonnes per year. About 35 % of this is natural fibers – cotton, flax, hemp, coir, sisal and the like – attractive in part because they are renewable and bio-degradable. The rest – 65% – is man-made: polyester, cellulosics, polypropylene, nylon and more, culminating in the newer “super-fibers”: Kevlar, Spectra, Dyneema, Vectran, and Zylon. Such is the scale of synthetic fiber production that it now accounts for about 20% of all plastic production, valued at around $55 trillion in 2017. Their economic importance is high, but so too is their environmental impact: their breakdown is a major source of plastic particulates in rivers and oceans. On the global Materials stage, fibers are big players. Material Science courses and texts include fibers (particularly carbon and glass) but tend give them only limited space, leaving the details to the Textile community whose approach to their characterisation has taken its own independent path. Given their economic and environmental importance and the remarkable properties that some possess, they might be given a more visible role. This talk assembles information about fibers in a format adapted to Materials Science teaching and illustrates its use in engaging case studies.



A Darwinian approach to teaching materials science: collaboration, iteration, and competition

Dr. Bosco (Hiu Ming) Yu, McMaster University, Canada

“Give a person a fish, and you feed them for a day. Teach a person to fish, and you feed them for a lifetime”. This ancient proverb is arguably one of the oldest pieces of philosophy from the past that emphasizes the vital significance of education. Nevertheless, our understanding of what it means to “teach a person to fish” can evolve with time. As the field of materials science has expanded tremendously in recent decades, we now face a unique challenge: how to teach the ever-increasing volume of in-depth, specialized knowledge and constantly changing technical skills. In the future, it will be increasingly difficult to design a curriculum that covers all there is to know about materials science.

We now have the opportunity to re-define our teaching model: to transition from a paradigm that focuses on imparting fundamental knowledge and technical skills, to one that teaches the art of learning itself – the ultimate transferable skill. When designing a new curriculum for an undergraduate course in materials engineering, our aim was to use problem-based learning where the students would be motivated to solve a real-world engineering problem. Moreover, a unique Darwinian learning approach was incorporated in the design project, which promoted a good balance between competition, iteration, and collaboration.

A design competition was used to motivate the students to optimize their design’s performance across a range of factors and constraints. An iterative approach was used, whereby student groups submitted designs each week and received feedback that enabled them to improve the designs. Moreover, the designs were shared with the whole class, allowing students to benefit from ideas and insights from other groups. This collaborative approach greatly accelerated the pace of the students’ learning. Consequently, the evolution of the students’ designs improved week after week, and converged on the optimized solution.



Exposure of undergraduate research students to entrepreneurial activities – leveraging NSF Innovation Corps and REU programs

Prof. Ranji Vaidyanathan, Oklahoma State University, USA

The potential that materials-based solutions hold for global challenges such as in biomaterials, energy, environment and aerospace is undisputed. Therefore, it is imperative to groom undergraduate engineering and science students with a broad-based materials science and engineering back-ground, in order to maintain technological leadership position of the country in the 21st century. Our Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program is based on the premise that interdisciplinary research training including entrepreneurship is essential for a complete research experience in Materials Science. Our objective was to expose undergraduate scholars to a variety of materials research with applications in energy, aerospace, defense, environment and agriculture. Undergraduate scholars were (1) provided hands-on materials research experience in multidisciplinary engineering projects, (2) introduced to cutting-edge materials characterization methods through a 2-day national workshop on Advanced Materials Characterization webcast for easy access, (3) exposed to entrepreneurial routes to commercializing materials research in collaboration with the School of Entrepreneurship by leveraging the OSU Innovation Corps site program, and, (4) educated students about graduate programs and careers.

This hypothesis was tested by including students with an innovation and entrepreneurship background with an undergraduate student performing research and conducting multiple customer discovery interviews to evaluate if the research is needed and if it has commercial potential. It was observed that including entrepreneurial activities such as customer discovery and the Innovation Corps program in the research experience changed the way in which the students viewed the research question. The students were more enthusiastic about their research and were able to communicate their findings and goals in a clear fashion at the end of the REU program. Participation in the REU program has resulted in three graduated students accepting jobs at start-up companies and two of those students to participate in proposal writing activities. One of the significant impacts of this program was in grooming undergraduate engineering and science students to pursue interdisciplinary research with a strong-base in materials science and engineering. We believe that this is critical for developing a workforce to address global grand challenges in energy, aerospace, medicine, environmental sustainability and maintain technological leadership position of the US in the 21st century.



The Evolution of an Environmental Course for Material Science

Prof. Robert Heard, Carnegie Mellon University, USA

For more than a decade a course relating to materials sustainability has been available to the upper level (junior and senior) students in the engineering college at Carnegie Mellon University. During this period, supplemental courses relating specifically to materials science and engineering commercialization were developed and refined and eventually key concepts have been incorporated into the sustainability course. This presentation will discuss the agglomeration and synthesis of content imbedded into the current sustainability course and connect the content to shifts in learning goals as the course was migrating toward a more materials centric focus, inclusive of societal, business, cultural, and policy framework.



Materials For Designers, Designer Materials

Dr. Kara Johnson, Former Portfolio Lead, Materiality, IDEO, USA

Based on 15 years at IDEO and beyond, this presentation is a summary of the designer’s view of materials, material science and materiality. With a focus on product design, we will look at how designers think about materials and why it matters. We will also explore new ways to teach the next generation of industrial designers and kid-sized designers what the stuff that surrounds them is made of.



Future of Simulation-based Product Innovation in a Digital World

Dr. Prith Banerjee, Chief Technology Officer at ANSYS, Inc., USA

Digital transformation refers to the use of digital technologies such as cloud, IOT, AI/ML, to transform the way business is executed. Digital transformation is impacting every industry - automotive, agriculture, logistics, healthcare and manufacturing. In the past, engineered products were designed with mechanical and electrical CAD tools, simulated and validated for correctness with CAE tools, prototypes were fabricated and tested, and products were then manufactured at scale in factories. This process required long product cycles often requiring years to build a new product. Today, one can use unlimited computing and storage available from the cloud to do generative design to explore 10,000 design choices in near real-time, verify these products accurately through simulation (eliminating the need to build physical prototypes) and manufacture the products using additive manufacturing and factory automation (Industry 4.0).

In this talk I will discuss how the ANSYS Pervasive Simulation Platform allows hardware and software developers to work together in all phases of a product development lifecycle including Ideation, Design Manufacturing, and Operations. Companies are increasingly using model-based systems engineering concepts to take high level requirements of products and manage the complexity of product design using concepts of Digital Threads, Digital Twins, and Digital Continuity. A key part of our Minerva Platform strategy is the integration with a Materials Intelligence Platform that we are building as part of the Granta acquisition by ANSYS. We will touch upon some future directions of simulation-based product innovation around AI/Machine Learning, Multi-physics Platforms, Hyperscale Simulation, and the convergence of the Digital and Physical worlds using IOT and Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality.



Makerspace Creation through Student-Led Collaboration

Dr. Matthew Sherburne, University of California, Berkeley, USA

At UC Berkeley, we have implemented an innovative approach of involving students in the development of an entry-level campus makerspace within the undergraduate library. In response to the rise of design thinking curriculum on campus, four campus organizations joined forces to create this makerspace program. Library, information technology, engineering groups partnered with a collective of design-oriented student clubs (nine) to form an experimental, student-led, discovery-based facility. Our niche, in the ecosystem of campus makerspaces, is as a point of entry for students interested in learning the basics of design transformation: digital fabrication (e.g., 3-D printing), immersive reality (e.g., AR/VR), and digital design prototyping platforms (e.g., Arduino, Raspberry Pi), and interactive 3-D big data content environments (e.g., networked visualization walls). This evolving set service offering around design methodologies and digital technologies stem from a successful cooperative, cross-departmental effort, with staff creating operational structures to support student creativity, innovation and teaching.



We Need More Data Scientists to Uncover Novel Materials

Dr. Waguih Ishak, Chief Technologist - S&T Division VP, Corning Inc., USA

In this age of AI and ML, the need for novel materials that can sense, compute, store and fold is on the rise. Many consumer electronic products will depend on how much inventions for novel materials we can come up with in the next few decades. Data scientists will be key to uncovering these novel materials and it is critical that we adapt our education system to help students excel in the areas of machine learning and artificial intelligence. The talk will address the needs and challenges in these areas.



Educating Future Materials Scientists and Engineers

Dr. Soma Chakrabarti, Education Division, ANSYS Granta, UK and President, International Association of Continuing Engineering Education, USA

Materials science has a long pedigree with roots in the ability to manipulate ceramics (10,000 BCE), to alloy metals (2,500 BCE) and to synthesize polymers (1839 CE). The great development of the second half of the 20th century was the blending of these into a Science of materials that drew together the pure sciences (physics, chemistry) and the applied sciences (engineering and design).

Understanding materials, improving them and developing new ones remain principal concerns of Materials Scientists. But our experience in working with our Industrial Partners at ANSYS Granta has shown that the role of the materials expert in the commercial world can be rather different. Materials are traded globally, but the trade is not entirely “free”. Material price stability, supply chain security, restrictions and reporting requirements, concern for the environment, circularity and social responsibility limit access to materials – and it is the job of the materials-expert to advise and guide decision-making in dealing with these. A deep scientific understanding of material remains essential core skill of a materials scientist, but the ability also to think in terms of materials systems – the context in which materials are sourced, used and re-circulated – and the influence of geopolitical and trade constraints on these, become important too.

Do we teach our students about these broader aspects of materials? Materials courses are already overloaded – adding more layers seems impractical. But students should be made aware that these issues exist. A short, well-designed presentation can achieve this in less than 30 minutes. The present talk is a (truncated) version of an attempt to do so.