3 Student Posters Win at Materials Symposium

Three Loyola Marymount University engineering students took home prizes for their work presented at the American Society of Materials 2015 Student Poster Contest held in Long Beach earlier this spring.

Tessa George, 21, a mechanical engineering student, took first prize in the undergraduate division for her work on “Evaluation of Long-Term Structural Shading Materials for Use in Djibouti, Africa.” The student project evaluated shading materials to be used in super containerized living units. Sixteen unique materials were tested in five different ways to evaluate their strength, their resistance to wind, abrasion, heat, and their performance.

This long-term study pioneered test methods for shading materials that hadn’t been tested previously. The results of this study weren’t too surprising, George said. “The performance of the darker, heavier materials wasn’t as good as that of the lighter and lighter in color materials – that’s what we hypothesized.”

She was, however, a little surprised at winning first place, since most of her competitors had researched metals rather than materials. “I felt we deserved it – we did really great work.”

Tessa plans to save the $500-prize.

From entering this competition – her first – George said, “I learned to convey what I researched in an interesting and concise way and how to educate others.” George will begin her senior year at LMU in the fall. She plans to continue work on this project, finishing some reports for the U.S. Navy and seeking to publish the results in a professional journal.

Second-prize in the graduate division went to mechanical engineering graduate student Khaled Almahmoud for “Evaluation of the Microstructure and Charpy Impact Toughness of Hot Work Powder Ti-6AI-4V.” Almahmoud presented two posters on Ti-6AI-4V. “[It] is a very interesting material with a unique behavior,” he said. “I will carry on the work with the same material next year in a more detailed project.”

“I didn’t know the type of questions that I was going to be asked since the judges are people from the industry with a lot of experience,” said Almahmoud, noting that some of the questions were quite tough. “But I managed to answer them.”

Almahmoud, 25, is happy with the $300-prize, however, he was hoping for first place. “First place has its own taste and feel,” he said. “Maybe next year I will get first place.”

He will finish his studies at LMU in May 2016.

Electrical engineering graduate student Xiaodong Sun won third place for his poster “Optimization of Heat Treatments and Mechanical Properties of 15-5 PH Stainless Steel for Fastener Applications.” Over two semesters, the student experiment evaluated steel bars from two vendors for aerospace applications, subjecting them to temperatures ranging from 900 degrees to 1225 degrees Fahrenheit from one to four hours.

Sun, 36, who’s from China, said his professor encouraged him to submit the poster, arguing that it would help him to practice his English. “But we didn’t win because of my English,” he joked. “It’s a very good project.”

The father of two young daughters who expects to earn his master’s degree at the end of 2015, Sun said: “I gave the $100 [prize] to my wife – she’s the boss.”

The contest was open to undergraduate and graduate students from Los Angeles area universities on topics related to materials science or metallurgy.