MSE Undergraduate Laboratory Facilities

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The STEM building is new in 2021

For the Freshman Cornerstone Engineering classes, the College provides in Wilson Hall one 40 seat computer lab, one 30 seat computer lab, and a 1300 square foot design lab including workbenches and a full complement of light shop equipment.

The MSE department offers five laboratory courses dedicated to undergraduate study and education.  Each supplements lecture material presented by faculty members in regular academic classes.   We have had an on-going program to upgrade both the physical facilities and the equipment and instruments used in each of these laboratories, as described in more detail below.  A department technician, Rob Selden, is shared between the ChE and MSE programs.  He provides basic machining, and ordering of materials needed for laboratory classes.

 Materials Science and Engineering (MSE 250) is a Sophomore level course (2 hours lecture, 1 recitation and 2 hours of lab per week).  It is taken by approximately 500 students per year.  It is the first undergraduate course for Materials Science majors, and is required of all Mechanical Engineering students. In addition, many students majoring in Applied Engineering Science, Chemical  Engineering, Civil Engineering, Mechanics, Packaging, and Physics enroll in the course.  Students explore the structure and properties of metals, ceramics, and polymers. They study basic crystallographic structures, phase diagrams and thermomechanical treatments for strengthening, and learn to measure physical and mechanical properties.

All of the laboratories used by undergraduates are in the Engineering Building (EB).  Room 2570 is a multi-purpose laboratory which primarily serves MSE 250 students. Room 3528, recently reorganized, is dedicated to metallographic specimen preparation and now segregates all of our equipment that uses abrasives from labs with sensitive apparatus.  MSE 250 students learn about polishing but do not perform any hands-on metallographic polishing.  Suite 3507 is used for upper division MSE laboratory courses and houses a Scanning Electron Microscope, a benchtop X-Ray diffractometer, several metallographs, two stereo microscopes, macro- and micro-hardness testers, a mechanical test frame, and furnaces.  Suite 3510 houses older x-ray diffractometers.  A list of equipment commonly used by undergraduate students is below.

 In Room 2570, students use optical microscopes to characterize and explore the microstructures of a variety of materials to help better understand how these structures influence physical properties.  We have three Nikon inverted metallographs interfaced to computers giving image display, storage capability, and image analysis software, and have added three micro-hardness testers and three more stereomicroscopes to increase student access to these instruments.  Additional instruments housed in this laboratory include Rockwell hardness testers, microhardness testers, a large Charpy impact tester, an 100 kN Instron materials testing machine, and several general purpose furnaces and an old rolling mill. The Metallographic Sample Preparation Laboratory is in room 3528EB. 

 Materials Characterization Methods-I (MSE 331) explores basic metallographic polishing/etching techniques, phase diagram construction, thermal analysis and optical and scanning electron microscopy to characterize microstructure-property relationships (using laboratories in the 3507 EB suite). Also studied are the effects of processing on microstructure, properties, and fracture surfaces in metals, ceramics, and polymers The purpose is to improve learning in MSE 320.  MSE 331 students also use DSC to examine curing of thermosetting polymers, formation of 2nd phase precipitates in metallic alloys, DMA to investigate the recovery processes in cold-rolled metals, viscoelastic response of polymers, sintering process of powder ceramics.  

Materials Characterization Methods-II (MSE 381) extends the exploration begun in MSE 331 to include X-ray crystallography (in lab suite 3510 EB), and infrared spectroscopic analysis to characterize microstructure-property relationships and study processing effects (laboratory in 3545 EB).  In the past couple years, quantitative functional material characterization has begun, such as impedance spectroscopy, using portable equipment from faculty research labs, some of which has been transferred permanently to the teaching lab.  Some of the laboratory experiences involving more sophisticated equipment not for general use by undergrads take place in the Composite Materials and Structures Center laboratory on the first floor of the EB in room 1130.

Design and Failure Analysis (MSE 466) is the MSE capstone course, which primarily uses the upper class lab in 3507, but also takes advantage of equipment in 3528, 3510, 2570, the College of Engineering Machine Shop, and various faculty research laboratories, as necessary.  It fosters integration of knowledge of phase equilibrium and diagrams, microstructure, kinetics, mechanical properties, stress analysis, and processing methodologies to determine how design, fabrication, and service conditions lead to real world failures. Legal, economic, and societal impacts of materials failure are also studied. 

Laboratory Equipment Commonly used by MSE Undergraduate Students

Room 2570 (MSE 250 Teaching Lab)

     (3) Nikon SM 2645 Stereomicroscopes
     (3) Nikon Epiphot 200 Inverted Metallographs with digital camera
            PC's plus Displays to support microscopes and image analysis
     Instron 5982 100 kN Screw Drive Tensile Load Frame
     (3) High Temperature Furnaces
     (3) Medium Temperature Ovens
     Large-scale Charpy Impact Tester
     (3) Clark Microhardness Testers
     (3) Clark Rockwell Hardness Testers
     Fenn 4-inch Rolling Mill
     Mettler Toledo AL204 Microscale          
     Jet SS8T Benchtop Shear

Room 3528  (Sample Preparation Laboratory)

     Mounting Press,
     Polishing Wheels,
     Sectioning Saw,
     Diamond Saw,
     Belt Sander,
     Hand Sanders,
     Inverted Metallographs

Room 3507 (Dedicated Upper Division MSE Laboratory)

     Leo 1450 VPSE Scanning Electron Microscope
     Bruker D2 Phases X-ray Diffractometer
     Nikon MA200 and MA 100 Inverted Metallographs with digital cameras
     Nikon ME 600 Optical Microscope with digital camera
     Nikon SMZ 800N Stereomicroscope with digital camera
     Zeiss Stemi SV6 Stereomicroscope digital camera
     Instron 4302 Load Frame
     SEIWA SFW-412 Spot Welder
     Various Furnaces
     Assorted Micro and Rockwell Hardness Testers

Room 3510 (Common X-Ray Diffraction lab)

     2 Scintag Diffractometers, one with Pole Figure Goiniometer   
     Laue X-ray CCD camera (Microphotonics Coolview FDI), Orient Express analysis software

Room 3545 (Andre Lee’s Research Lab)

     Differential Scanning Calorimeter Metler Toledo DSC827e
     Dynamic Mechanical Analysis Rheometric Scientific RSA III

Room 1130 (Composite Materials and Structures Center)

     Tescan SEM (used when the LEO is down, and some demo lab topics)
     FT-IR (used with small fee provided by the department)