Hot IN the Press

The last post was about my textbook coming hot off the press, but this is about making it hot in the press. We had previously converted a Carver AutoPellet hydraulic press to operate under an inert atmosphere at elevated temperature using a separate hot chamber. We have updated the setup to be much more streamlined and integrated with the stock structure. Special thanks to Jeff Heger, as he led the second conversion to clean it up.

It has been faithfully serving with no issues. The only downside is that it takes a while to cool down. That is the double-edged sword of good insulation.





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Hot Off the Press

After 5 years of on-and-off work, I finally have a physical copy of my textbook, Materials and Manufacturing: An Introduction to How They Work and Why It Matters. The writing is conversational in tone to make it easier to read, and I produced more than 90% of the 530 figures to directly complement the text. It is particularly useful for programs incorporating laboratory activities, and the content balances depth and basic principles so that someone without a background can understand the general concepts and appreciate the more complex topics. It was a huge undertaking, and I hope that the effort pays off by making these topics easier to understand and more exciting overall. 

The Amazon page is here. The official launch date is not until September 14th.

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Special Issue on Nanostructured Alloys

I am acting as guest editor for a Special Issue in the journal Metals entitled, “Frontiers in Nanostructured Metals and Alloys.” The goal is to collect work that is unusual and rarely reported in the nanostructured alloys community. This is a great opportunity to report on findings that don’t fit neatly into the popular areas of mechanics, processing or microstructural study, such as thermal stability. I look forward to seeing what unique work is going on and hope you can contribute!

The Special Issue website is:

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Alumni Award

I was recently honored with the Distinguished Alumni Award from Penn College, where I completed by Bachelor’s degree. I am grateful to the faculty who provided opportunity and support during my time there, and who still do! The press release is here.

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Cover to cover

The metal foam work we are doing has been really exciting to study, and it makes for some pretty cool artwork. Our work is featured on the cover of Advanced Engineering Materials for a second time. Last time it was the back cover. This time it’s the front cover. The article featured in the most recent issue is a review of solid state foaming. Our most recent article, involving nickel and nickel-copper alloys, is featured in Advanced Science News.


===+Front Cover (Vol. 20, Iss. 7)               =++   Back Cover (Vol. 16, Iss. 2)

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Across the Finish Line

Things came together quickly at the end for the Baja SAE competition. As a first-year team, we are very happy with the results. Many other teams, and even judges, were surprised at the quality of our design and our performance. I am proud of our students for not only getting this off the ground, but doing it well. Our placement in the various events are below. We placed 37th out of 94 teams, and we didn’t even know what to expect for most of these events!

T-45th on Sales Presentation
48th on Cost Analysis
T-68th on Design Report
56th on Acceleration
66th on Hill Climb
54th on Maneuverability
19th on Suspension Course
31st in 4 Hour Endurance

37th Overall out of 94 schools!

 Millersville Baja 2

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Coming Together

The SME student group has been busy turning a pile of tubing and parts in a Baja SAE vehicle, and it is really starting to take shape. As a first-year team, every step is a milestone, but some are easier to see. The whole team has been instrumental to getting us to this point, and thanks to some serious progress by group president, Sam Brennan, and vice president, Sawyer Bisker, who spent their Spring “Break” in the shop, the buggy can now stand on its own. It is going to require a continued commitment to get this ready for competition in April.

You can keep up with the team at their Facebook page or join us at our Get Involved page.

MU baja

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Record Cold

As much of the country is experiencing record low temperatures, we are doing our part to make it a little worse. We completed the first round of testing on our cryoindenter, which was designed and fabricated in-house for the Army Research Lab. We converted a standard LECO microindenter to test samples at approximately -170 deg. Celsius (so far). This is easier said than done as the atmosphere has to be moisture-free and the operator can’t lose fingers to frostbite. Needless to say, both were addressed and we can now move on to warmer prospects, including recent modifications to our custom Hot Press.

Cryoindenter Setup         Temp/Humidity Monitor Cold Trap for Moisture Exhausting the LN2


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Something to write home about

The past several months have been busy for writing, and several publications have recently come out. We still have several more articles near submission, and a significant undertaking on an invited review article was recently accepted for publication. Well done to the students working on those projects. Not bad for working out of storage area! Hopefully that will be changing very soon. The plans for a dedicated lab renovation are in the final phase!

The papers published this semester include:

Solid State Porous Metal Production: A Review of the Capabilities, Characteristics and Challenges. Advanced Engineering Materials; ONLINE FIRST

Getting more porosity from metal powder foams through intraparticle expansion.


Multiscale design of nanofibrous carbon aerogels: Synthesis, properties and comparisons with other low-density carbon materials.

Effects of milling time on the development of porosity in Cu by the reduction of CuO.


Advancing commercial feasibility of intraparticle expansion for solid state metal foams by the surface oxidation and room temperature ball milling of copper.

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