SURME

                  Summer Undergraduate Research Mentored Experience

Return to list

Dr. Calvin Stewart

Department of Mechanical Engineering

An integrated mechanical testing and characterization system for thin-engineered materials

Preferred major field of study or minimum required skills

  • Mechanical testing experience
  • Microsoft office
  • SolidWorks or other CAD software
  • MathCAD

Scholarly significance/intellectual merit

The objectives of this interdisciplinary research project is to develop an integrated mechanical testing and characterization system for investigations into thin- engineered materials including metals subjected to environment assisted cracking, thin film photovoltaics, and hydrogel biomaterials. In 2009, a Bose Biodynamic 5160 test instrument ($40k+) was procured by the UTEP Department of Mechanical Engineering. This 200 Newton machine, based on ElectroForce technology, is capable of applying millions of mechanical cycles into small specimens at a high frequency. A bioreactor environmental chamber was also procured that enables testing in a physiologically-relevant environment where a flow rate controlled aqueous and/or gas solution is circulated within a chamber enclosing the specimen. These unique abilities, enable the characterization of the ultra-high-cycle properties of materials under various mechanical-chemical environments.

Research question(s)

Can an integrated mechanical testing and characterization system be developed that will enable the study of environment assisted cracking, thin film photovoltaics, and hydrogel biomaterials?

Methods/techniques/instruments to be learned/utilized

Task 1 - Integration of the Test Instrument
Task 2 - Service and Training by TA Instruments
Task 3 - Bioreactor Upgrade for Temperature Control
Task 4 - Testing and Characterization

Task4a - Environment Assisted Cracking
Task4b - thin-film photovoltaics
Task4c - hydrogel biomaterials