AU Press Releases

Alfred University science/engineering institute will introduce students to polymers, ceramics

The 2010 Summer Institute in Science and Engineering at Alfred University is a five-day, dynamic, residential summer camp, for high school students who have completed their sophomore or junior years.

Engineering the Elements-Polymers and Electronic Ceramics runs from Sunday, June 27-Thursday, July 1. The institute fee is $795, including $100 which is due with the application by Friday, April 16, 2010.

This program is an opportunity for students to learn more about engineering, to sample life on a college campus, and to meet other students with similar interests and academic ability. Students will participate in “hands-on” laboratory experiences focusing on polymers and electronic ceramics.

Polymers, both natural and synthetic, have unique properties based on their chemistry and physics. Participating students will discover how the absorbency of diapers relates to contact lenses and environmental cleanup while quantifying and modeling the water uptake. Students will also experience the extreme variability of polymer viscosity via student-created slime and consider the effects of viscosity from “molasses in January” to personal armor protection.

Electronic ceramics, also known as “solid state” electronics, are fundamental to 21st century life. Students will get “a good vibe” from ceramics by building a piezoelectric buzzer and understanding the interrelationship of ceramics to speakers, headphones, and sonar (bat, dolphin, and naval). Students will also see how mundane processes like screen-printing are applied to high-end electronics by building their own touch pack. Participants will also check out the hidden electronic insides of consumer products: computers, MP3 players, hard drives, Xbox, etc.

As a concluding activity, program participants will use cryogenic temperatures to illustrate some key concepts from chemistry and engineering, such as to break rubber and make ice cream.

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