Students do hands-on research
When Adam Morris and Omar Alquaddoomi, then juniors majoring in
mechanical engineering, first learned of an international
competition to build, design and operate a small robotic
submarine, their enthusiasm meter went well into the red.
Louis Whitcomb, assistant professor of
mechanical engineering, remembers when the two students
approached him a little over a year ago to tell him how excited
they were about entering the competition, which would be held in
August in Panama City, Fla.
"They asked, 'Well, can we build one?'"
"I said, "Sure, it sounds like a great idea,' "
Then he had to bring them down to earth. "I
told them first they need to get some money."
Whitcomb advised the two to consider the option
of applying for Provost's Undergraduate Research Awards.
Powerful microscope is
To build a better jet engine, Kevin Hemker believes you have
to start small. Very small.
Hemker, an associate professor of mechanical
engineering in the Whiting School of Engineering, is starting
with a powerful new microscope that allows him to see how rows of
atoms are arranged in metal alloys. Knowing how these atoms
arrange themselves, he says, can help predict how well these
materials will be able to withstand the high temperatures,
centrifugal forces and corrosive gases that exist inside a jet
engine. By looking at defects in the geometric patterns formed by
atoms, Hemker and his students are collecting information that
may someday help scientists use a computer to devise durable new
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