Florida Agricultural And Mechanical University - Carnegie Mellon University

Peter N. Kalu

Principal Investigator , Florida Agricultural And Mechanical University

What are PREM’s objectives?

This program has four specific objectives, namely:

  • To provide opportunities for minority students to participate in Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) research at FAMU and CMU,
  • To strengthen the quality of the MSE curriculum at FAMU,
  • To strengthen the MS and Ph.D. programs in MSE at FAMU, by creating courses andattracting new graduate students to the program, and
  • To strengthen the materials research program at FAMU by creating a set of research collaborations between FAMU and CMU.

How does it work?

  • Undergrads: Undergraduate students participate in paid research work during the academic year at the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering. Some of these students are selected each year to participate in the PREM Summer Research Experience at CMU. This is a paid ten-week program which begins in late May or early June each year.
  • Grads: This program provides for the mentoring of graduate students in the field of Materials Science and Engineering. PREM also covers graduate tuition and provides stipends over the course of the student’s entire degree program at the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering. The research areas covered by PREM include (magnetic) processing and characterization of a whole range of materials.

Research: The PREM students and faculty (FAMU and CMU) are organized into teams working on four broad areas of research: A) Superconducting and Magnet materials – The subtasks are: (i) Magnetic field processing of Bi2Sr2CaCu2O8+x/AgMg wires and tapes for enhanced texture. (ii) Mechanical and Electrical Properties of Polymer-CNT Composites at Cryogenic Temperature and After Neutron Irradiation. (iii) Assessment of the Microstructural Stability of Modified 316 LN Type-Steel. B) Polymer materials – The task include understanding the crystallization behavior of random propylene copolymers. C) Thin Films for functional applications – The subtasks include (i) The influence of Ni-P and Ni-Mo Back Contacts on the Properties of CuInSe2 Solar Cell on Flexible Substrate. (ii) Supported nanocomposite metal nanoparticles for environmental and biosensor applications. D) Processing via severe plastic deformation – There are five subtasks which utilize severe plastic deformation (wire drawing, ECAE and Friction stir processing) as a means of fabricating materials for either fundamental research or magnet applications. One of the projects is the fabrication and characterization of nanostructured Cu-based composites.

Education: A key educational component of our PREM program is our method of jointly teaching Materials Science courses live via the web. Through this method, students and faculty at both institutions can interact in real time; asking questions, getting answers and exchanging ideas. Some of the courses offered so far are Texture, Advanced Materials Characterization and Materials for Energy Systems. This multi-media component has greatly enhanced the availability of Materials Science courses offered to our undergraduate and graduate students as well as provided regular live teleconferencing between the students and faculty at FAMU and CMU. These joint classes have also been made available to other universities including Drexel and Lehigh. Based on the success of the jointly-taught classes, our faculty at FAMU have been able to offer a Nanomaterials class to Tuskegee University through a similar method. Impact of PREM on Education: Historically, undergraduate engineering students at FAMU saw Materials Science as a required elective that was necessary for graduation but somewhat tangential to their primary discipline. Through PREM and the interdisciplinary research of the participating faculty, the students now realize that Materials Science is a discipline in and of itself and an important career option to be considered. The PREM program, especially the summer research experience at CMU, has helped more students to become involved in materials research. Involving students in Materials research earlier in their undergraduate education has resulted in more students pursuing graduate degrees involving Materials Science and Engineering research. Furthermore, because PREM exposes them to interdisciplinary research, they better understand that the “real world” is always interdisciplinary.

Publications:

T. D. Shen, X. Zhang, K. Han, C. A. Davy, D. Aujla, P. N. Kalu and R. B. Schwarz, “Structure and properties of bulk nanostructured alloys synthesized by flux-melting”, J Mater Sci., Vol. 42, p1638–1648 (2007).
D. Foxx, E. E. Kalu, "Amperometric Biosensor Based on Thermally Activated Polymer-Stabilized Metal Nanoparticles", Electrochem. Commun. Vol. 9, p584 - 590 (2007).
Chiari YL, Vadlamudi M, Chella R, Jeon K, Alamo RG., “Overall Crystallization Kinetics of Polymorphic Propylene Ethylene Random Copolymers: A Two-Stage Parallel Model of Avrami Kinetics”, Polymer, Vol. 48, 3520 (2007)

Jane Doe

Research Scientist, California State University

Hans Hanley

Electrical Engineering, Princeton University