Materials Science & Engineering Summer Institute Goes Virtual

For the ninth summer, the Drexel University Materials Science & Engineering Summer Institute hosted groups of high school students during the one-week program that gives aspiring scientists and engineers the chance to learn about how atomic elements arrange themselves to form the materials that are all around us. This year’s Materials Summer Institute was branded as a “Home Edition” with the program being held virtually through Zoom. Two sessions of the one-week program were held with 41 total students in attendance.

Students were mailed a care package containing an MSE T-shirt, MSE Summer Institute bag and supplies for at-home experiments including a multimeter, solar cell, shape memory alloy and mechanical testing samples.

The first day of the program gave a broad introduction to the field of materials science & engineering with interactive presentations, videos, poll questions, and demonstrations.

The second day of the program focused on polymers and mechanical properties of materials. As part of the day, students took measurements of mechanical testing samples used in three-point bending. Teaching Professor Christopher Weyant performed the three-point bend test for the students using a setup with a force gage and pennies as the mass.

The third day of the program focused on semiconductors and electronic properties of materials where students used their multimeter to determine the resistivity of various materials. In addition, they determined the power output of a solar cell as a function of light intensity.

The fourth day of the program focused on optical properties and sustainability. Students explored an optical fiber at home while learning about how total internal reflection enables fiber optic communication. Resource utilization, environmentally conscious life-cycle design, and bio renewable polymers were highlighted as part a discussion on sustainable practices in materials science and engineering.

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