Published on Thursday April 26, 2007
The ASM International Philadelphia Liberty Bell Chapter held its 6th annual C.F. Burns Memorial Poster Contest for graduate students on April 19, 2007. The contest was sponsored by Solar Atmospheres, Inc. Three MSE students took home the top prizes. The winners are as follows:
3rd Place ($200): Aaron Sakulich (advisor: Michel Barsoum)
2nd Place ($300): Chris Hovanec (advisors: Surya Kalidindi and Roger Doherty)
1st Place ($500): Jessica Schiffman (advisor: Caroline Schauer)
Sakulich won for his poster titled, "A partial solution to the mysteries of the Great Pyramid." The poster showed the results of studies on samples from the pyramids of Egypt that show irrefutable evidence that they are made of a synthetic reconstituted limestone, and not limestone quarried and hauled into place as was traditonally thought.
Hovanec's winning poster, "Microstructure Evolution and Mechanical Properties of Severely Plastically Deformed (SPD) Aluminum Alloys," focused on solute enhanced strain hardening to produce light weight aluminum alloys with superior combinations of yield strength and fracture toughness, compared to those strengthened by traditional precipitation hardening.
Schiffman earned first place with her poster titled, "Chitosan nanofibers and composite nanofibers: conception to application." The topic of her poster was chitosan, an environmentally friendly, non-toxic, biodegradable, and anti-bacterial biopolymer derived from chitin, the second most abundant organic material. Electrospinning chitosan is an inexpensive method for creating continuous, randomly oriented, nanofibrous mats.However, as-spun fibers dissolve in water; therefore, cross-linking the fibers is an integral step toward developing devices such as filters that would require a stable yet biodegradable, antimicrobial, porous nanofibrous mat. Schiffman and colleagues' research detailed in the poster identifies a novel vapor-phase cross-linking method. Additionally, they have recognized alternate one-step method that cross-links the fibers as they are being electrospun. Various composite fibers containing chitosan with clays, organic molecules, and dyes will tailor the mats towards becoming optical sensors.