Research experiences for undergraduates in micromanufacturing
Texas A & M University provides research experiences to undergraduate students for micro turbomachinery development. The NSF-sponsored summer program allows undergraduate students, selected from a large pool of students nationwide, to work closely with TAMU investigators and graduate students on topics related to the design and manufacturing of micro turbomachinery. Some students study materials, dynamics, or thermal aspects of turbomachinery, while others explore and develop various micromanufacturing technologies for microturbine fabrication. The nature of micromachinery requires the development of novel micromanufacturing technologies for superalloys and other robust engineering materials. The selected participants study micromilling, electrical discharge micromachining, electrochemical micromachining, and vacuum assisted microcasting. They complete a research methodology workshop and then apply to their own projects through setting objectives, planning schedule, performing experiments, documenting data, presenting results at the campus-wide poster session, and then publishing on national conference proceedings. The program also allows balanced time between technical projects and group activities. The participants tour other research facilities, visit relevant industries, and complete a series of seminars on research and graduate school preparation. Students are carefully selected from an applicant pool with special attention to those from underrepresented groups and coming from schools with limited research facilities. About 33% of participants are female; they are among the 57% of underrepresented group in this program. At the end of the 2009 summer program the participants successfully designed and fabricated the first prototype of micro turbomachinery. They overwhelmingly enjoyed the program and majority of the participants would like to continue their research careers at graduate schools. © American Society for Engineering Education, 2010.
author list (cited authors)
Hung, W., Leon, J., & Andres, L. S.