MSE in the News
Department faculty and students recently assisted the Birmingham Zoo when a longtime resident developed a common problem in need of a unique engineering solution.
Materials engineering involves the development, production, modification, and application of engineering materials to meet the specific needs of society. It is based on an understanding of the structures and forces that control the engineering properties of metals, ceramics, polymers, and composites. Through the development of this understanding, the student learns how to control the properties of materials through various industrial manufacturing processes, how to select the optimum material and predict its behavior under various environmental and service conditions, and how to alter this behavior through materials design, research, and development. Materials Engineers are employed in every major industry, including aerospace, chemical, automotive, metals casting, biomedical, and microelectronics.
Siddhartha Brahma, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, has been awarded the SPE Composites Division–Harold Giles Memorial Scholarship for his research. Brahma is pursuing his Ph.D. dissertation under the mentorship of Selvum (Brian) Pillay, Ph.D.
Brahma’s research focuses on in-situ polymerization of PA6 on continuous and discontinuous carbon fibers via ring opening synthesis of caprolactam. Brahma received his bachelor of engineering in mechanical from RVCE in Bangalore, India, in 2008. He completed his master of science in 2012 at University of Auckland, New Zealand. During his graduate study at UAB, Brahma won first and second place in the poster presentation at the SPE Automotive Composites Conference & Exhibition (ACCE), respectively, in 2015 and 2014.
Brahma has also been honored as the UAB School of Engineering 2016 Graduate Student of the year in Materials Science and Engineering. He was selected as the Graduate Student of the Year for Material Science and Engineering by the Engineering Council of Birmingham (ECOB) for 2016. Brahma has maintained a 4.0 GPA. He is a member of Alpha Sigma Mu and also serves as the president of the SPE student chapter at UAB.
Thirteen UAB engineering students spent May Term studying materials engineering in Germany on a Study Away trip lead by assistant professor Amber Genau, Ph.D.
Based in the medieval city of Esslingen, near Stuttgart, the students were hosted by the Esslingen University of Applied Science, which organized excursions to the Mercedes headquarters, Porsche, and other nearby attractions. In addition to an intensive German language course, underclassmen in the program were enrolled in an introduction to materials course, while upperclassmen took a course that traced the evolution of engineering materials from the Stone Age through the Industrial Revolution.
On the weekends, the students took advantage of the opportunity for independent travel to destinations like Paris, Rome, Munich, and the Black Forest.
Each summer the MSE department, led by assistant professor Amber Genau, Ph.D., hosts high school students from around the area for a week-long Materials Camp. The 2016 camp included nearly 20 students who were introduced to the field of materials science and engineering through a variety of hands-on activities and projects.
Working in department labs, campers created their own sand molds for metal castings, melted polymers, and broke pieces of steel using a Charpy tester.
Throughout the week, students worked in groups to design and build model rockets using 3D printing and high-tech carbon fiber composites, which were launched for family and friends on the final day.
The camp also included a field trip to American Cast Iron Pipe Company (ACIPCO). Among those assisting with this year’s camp were Kelly Dillon and Rachel Guthrie, both former campers who are now undergraduate students in the MSE department.