Mission: The mission components of partnership between Tuskegee University’s Center for Advanced Materials (T-CAM) and Cornell University’s MRSEC are to form long term collaborative research program aimed at strengthening Tuskegee University’s research activities in advanced materials and to develop collaborative education and outreach program to ensure that there is an adequate number of minority students who are well prepared and motivated to study materials science and engineering at graduate level.
The vision of the PREM program between Tuskegee University’s Center for Advanced Materials (T-CAM) and Cornell University’s Center for Materials Research (CCMR) is to form a long-term collaborative research program aimed at strengthening Tuskegee University’s research capability in advanced materials and to develop collaborative education and outreach program to ensure that there is an adequate number of minority students, who are well prepared and motivated to study materials science and engineering at the graduate level.
Research: Faculty and students at T-CAM have established close partnership with the faculty from CCMR that has resulted in several graduate students carrying out their research during the academic year and summer at Cornell University working on various research tasks outlined in the PREM program. SiC nanoparticles were sonochemically coated by three types of polyhedral oligomereic silsesquioxane (POSS) namely: OctaIsobutyl (OI), EpoxyCyclohexyl (EC) and GlycidylEthyl (GE) POSS. The XPS (X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy) analyses were carried out to explore the chemical composition and surface characters of SiC nanoparticles and POSS coated SiC nanoparticles. In another study, cobalt oxide (Co3O4) nanocubes were synthesized and their rheological behavior in suspensions of low molecular weight oligomers was characterized. This system is of interest because suspensions of cubes are expected to exhibit enhancements over traditional spherical particles for applications such as liquid body armor. In another work, Amine functionalized MWCNTs were incorporated in epoxy resin system and their effects on the mechanical, morphological and fracture behavior was studied. Additional of functionalized MWCNTs showed to increase crystallinity of epoxy systems. In addition, they provided covalent bonding with epoxy thereby increasing their mechanical properties. AS a result, energy required to fracture the samples increased as MWCNTs provided torturous path for crack propagation. Fundamental study to understand the interface between single fiber and nanoplatelets was undertaken. Carbon fibers were also treated with ethylene/ammonia polymerizing plasma to obtain a coating containing amino groups. Plasma treated fibers showed significant increase in IFSS compared to untreated fiber for all resins, with or without nanoplatelets. Outreach Activities: Tuskegee and Cornell faculty involved with the PREM program participated in a number of outreach activities in summer and fall 2009. These activities included research experience for high schoolers, undergraduates and teachers. In addition, events like nano-bio science academy for teachers (NBSAT) science and technology open house were held. These activities were organized to educate school teachers, government official, local school children about the opportunities and the science activities that are being conducted in the area of nanotechnology and bio-technology in the state of Alabama. Cornell faculty and graduate students participated in these activities providing useful hands-on experience to the teachers. Teachers were asked to submit proposals based on their learning from NBSAT to describe how they would implement the knowledge they gained through the program. Ten of them were selected and provided with funding of $1,000 each to implement their proposals. In addition, graduate student workshop was held in November 2009 wherein four senior PhD students from three different Universities participated and presented their views on the graduate education. The goal of this program was to attract more students to graduate program.
Figure 1: TEM images showing a) POSS OI on SiC nanoparticles, b) POSS EC on SiC nanoparticles
Figure 2: FE-SEM Micrograph of Cobalt Oxide Cubes (Cube Edge Length is ~ 60nm)
Nano-Bio Science Academy for Teachers (NBSAT): Tuskegee University held the first Nano-Bio Science Academy for Teachers (NBSAT) on June 22-23, 2009, which focused on the professional development of teachers with an emphasis of nano and biotechnology. In addition, the academy provided strategies proven effective with at-risk and diverse learners to increase minority participation in STEM. The academy provided strategies proven effective with at-risk and diverse learners to increase minority participation in STEM. Presentations were made by faculty from Cornell, Tuskegee and Alabama State Universities. It is expected that over 900 students will be impacted by the activities of the NBSAT through the teachers that attended.
Figure 3: Participants in Nanobio Science Academy for Teachers (NBSAT), June 2009
- 1.Mahesh V. Hosur, Tamanna Rahman, Sandrea Brundidge-Young, Shaik Jeelani, “Mechanical and Thermal Properties of Amine Functionalized Multi-walled Carbon Nanotubes Epoxy Based Nanocomposite”, Composite Interfaces, 17, 2010, 197-215.
- 2.H. Kumar, M. V. Hosur and A. N. Netravali, “Characterization of interface properties of clay nanoplatelets filled epoxy resin and carbon fiber by single fiber composite technique”, Journal of Adhesive Science and Technology, 24 (1), 2010, pp. 217-236.
- 3.Dwayne Vickers, Lynden Archer and Tamara Floyd-Smith, “Synthesis and Characterization of Cubic Cobalt Oxide Nanocomposite Fluids”, Colloids and Surfaces A, 2009 (348) 39-44.
- 4.D. Baah, D. Vickers, A. Hollinger, T. Floyd-Smith, “Patterned Dispersion of Nanoparticles in Hydrogels using Microfluidics”, Materials Letters, 2008, (62) 3833-3835.
- 5.Vijaya K. Rangari, Mohammed Yousuf, Shaik Jeelani, Merlyn X. Pulikkathara and Valery N. Khabashesku, “Alignment of carbon nanotubes and reinforcing effects in Nylon-6 polymer composite fibers”, Nanotechnology, 19, 2008, 245703-245712.