Michigan Technological University in Houghton, MI, hosts one 20 university-level programs certified by the Foundry Educational Foundation, and one of our goals as an FEF school is to continue delivering the metalcasting message to the next generation of students. At Michigan Tech, Materials United (MU) — a combination of the student chapters of two professional societies, Material Advantage and the American Foundry Society — is involved in multiple events each year to extend the message to students at Michigan Tech and to the broader Copper Country community.
An important part of this outreach is the annual Materials Science and Engineering Dept. Open House. This event is open to all Michigan Tech students, but in particular it targets the first-year students who visit the University’s different engineering departments as part of their “Introduction to Engineering” class (ENG1101).
The Open House starts with a presentation by our department chair describing the various details of the MSE discipline and the career courses involved in the pursuit of an MSE degree.
Following that presentation, students are invited to explore the Materials Building and relevant demonstrations are conducted to engage students with materials science and engineering concepts and techniques. A tour of Michigan Tech foundry includes demonstrations of metal pouring, shape-memory alloys, and scanning electron microscopy, and using liquid nitrogen to make ice cream.
Additionally, the Materials United chapter participates in local science fairs, to help younger students understand how much can be learned from materials science. MU members guide the youngsters through the mold-making and tin-casting process using the Karl Rundman Foundry-in-a-Box demonstration kit. Another demonstration the MU volunteers run at the science fair is the “bobby pins and blow torches” demonstration which shows the effects of heat treatment on the strength and ductility of steel1.
Not only do these activities help to promote the metalcasting message to a larger audience, they also provide Michigan Tech students with experiences that help to broaden our leadership and industrial skills. It’s also fun, because we enjoy sharing our enthusiasm with future metalcasters.
1. 2016-2017 Michigan Technological University MSE Annual Report