Student teams from the University took first and second place in the smart, electronic area of the 2007 Material Design Competition sponsored by the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (AATCC). The AATCC is an organization for the education, technology transfer, and test-method development for the textile design, materials, and wet processing industries.
The material science field is constantly working to make everyday products better.
"Everything is made of materials. This includes everything from what we wear to what we write with," said Mano Misra, who was adviser to both teams and is a University professor of chemical and metallurgical engineering. "We try to make those products more efficient and more recyclable."
The competition, which was developed in August 2006, was opened to both graduate and undergraduate students. The competition's aim was to promote innovative product development from a material structures design perspective.
The theme of this year's competition was "Design of Material Structures." All entries were evaluated on concept originality, design element integration, technical feasibility, clarity of supporting documentation, technical and materials rationale, efficacy of the proposed commercialization of the idea and viability of economic cost analysis.
Brett Pearson, Daniel Peterson and Michael Saterlie were studying material science and engineering and competed in the competition as their senior design project. They took first place with their Electrode-position of Cadmium Zinc Telluride (CZT) Nanowire Arrays for Radiation Detection.
The team's project involved a hand-held sensor that detects radiation. It can be used in airports and in the mass transit system for security purposes.
"The major difference is that this sensor can work at room temperature," said Dr. Misra. "Most usually work with liquid nitrogen and you have to cool them."
Bradley Drake, Hinola Kasuhara and Whip Thompson, who also competed with their senior design project, finished in second place with their Lithium Ion Nano Batteries which can be used in Electric Cars.
The team developed an electric-car battery that only takes 15-20 minutes to fully charge. The battery is extremely lighter than other electric-car batteries that are being tested right now and it is more powerful. A car can go 300 miles on the battery before it has to be recharged. Additionally, the battery will last roughly ten years.
Finalists in each category were asked to submit electronic and physical poster boards for final judging. The first place team was awarded $1,000 and the second place team took home $500.
Both teams will receive complimentary student registration for the 2007 International Conference & Exhibition. Additionally, the July 2007 issue of AATCC Review will include an article featuring the competition winners.