Tennessee Tech Sends Two Students To M-STEM 2019 Workshop

Earlier this year, Tennessee Tech (TTU) created and built an innovative mobile 3D printer. After a number of improvements since the launch, the team of Ankit Gupta and Seymur Hasanov, both graduate research assistants and PhD candidates, represented the TechBot project for TTU. 

After his keynote, Ames Lab scientist, Dr. Iver Anderson (and other M-STEM presenters) spent the afternoon reviewing student entries in the Poster competition and interviewing each student or team. If you are interested in a brief overview of his Keynote presentation, you can read about it here and watch a short video compilation of his main points: M-STEM 2019 Keynote: Meet Climate Change Challenges with Clean Energy Innovations.

Editor’s Note: Due to the large and public area where the posters were displayed, it has quite a bit of background noise, however we tried to diminish that as much as possible (which still did not make much of an impact). 

Ankit Gupta and Seymur Hasanov explain how the new TechBot can print with different materials and how they tested each material for its strength and other traits. The TechBot tests currently included paste-based materials, such as cake frosting, floor paint, and concrete. It is also offered as a do-it-yourself (DIY) kit (assembly required). The project is funded through NSF Award 1601587, Additive Manufacturing Workforce Advancement Training Coalition and Hub (AM-WATCH) under the leadership of Dr. Ismail Fidan (Leader) and Dr. Michael Allen (Co-Leader). 

AM News reported in detail on their work: Tennessee Tech Launches New Mobile Multitasking 3D Printer

Update: We forgot to share an important video from earlier in 2019 – it is embedded below, but if you cannot see it in-post, then click the TechBot launch video. It is a must-watch. 

M-STEM 2019 Keynote: Meet Climate Change Challenges with Clean Energy Innovations

With M-STEM 2019 focused on Earth, Energy, and the Environment, Ames Lab scientist, Dr. Iver Anderson’s keynote described how climate change is challenging the scientific community to drive clean energy innovations. 

At the Ames Lab, a U.S. Department of Energy research facility operated by Iowa State University, Dr. Anderson leads out in how materials can renew energy. The future of cheaper, cleaner, and more efficient means of creating energy were areas that Dr. Anderson shared in his keynote at M-STEM. 

As you will see in the short video clip of his talk, he explains how energy and energy generation is changing in the USA and worldwide. His goal included giving participants  new data; statistics and insights into renewable energy and the urgency to do more about it. He starts with looking at global electricity generation distribution, that is, how coal, natural gas, solar, and wind, among other methods are in use today. 

In his keynote, he tackles some of the thorny issues around greenhouse gas emissions by energy type and that Lignite (soft and dirty coal) and Coal are the biggest contributors. These greenhouse contributors are the obvious targets of alternative energy sources, such as wind, solar, and water. The cost of power generation is going down and the price of natural gas is so low and so much more efficient, that coal is going down in use in the U.S. and around the world. 

He highlights that it is important to remember that although Wind and Solar are coming up, Natural Gas and Coal are base load — add electrical capacity all the time, 24-hours a day, and energy from those kinds of power plants are still needed. Wind and solar are not the base load provider, so there has to be a mix. In addition, the average cost of energy in North America shows how solar has decreased in cost to be very close to wind generated power and natural gas costs. 

He closes this video section with who is moving the fastest to convert coal plants to renewable sources and China is the winner there. They have a huge dam as a hydroelectric source and are building large scale wind farms. In Europe, Germany has banned nuclear power and is building offshore power; they are the second biggest producer of wind power behind the United Kingdom. But the one renewable power source that wins every prediction: Solar Photovoltaic (PV). 


Dr. Craig Brice And Adam Savage Prove 3D Printed Titanium Marvel Ironman Suit Is Tough Enough

During his Tuesday M-STEM keynote, Dr. Craig Brice revealed various exciting and challenging engineering lessons for both him and his students.  Adam Savage’s plan — this suit will fly and will go through some ballistics testing — as you will see in the video (in some cases we are showing you a video of a video).  Marvel Studios sent Brice the design files, but they needed to be completely rebuilt in order to actually work.

Adam Savage and team informed Dr. Brice that, as a test,  they planned to fire a 9mm pistol at the titanium metal 3D printed suit, at fairly close range. Dr. Brice then called up a colleague who helped him determine exactly how thick the plates would need to be to withstand the 9mm caliber. Listen carefully and look at the slides he is pointing to and you will see that the suit handles more than he expected, maybe even Ultron level. 

You can jump back to our Day One post where he shares a few quick details while showing M-STEM attendees the 3D printing lab with the EOS metal 3D printer that was used in this project (although EOS ultimately decided to help print many iterations of the project as changes were made to various parts). 

Behind-the-Scenes Look at Marvel Ironman Suit Metal 3D Printing Project at Mines

On Day One of M-STEM, Dr. Craig Brice led a behind-the-scenes tour to the Mines 3D printing lab in the CoorsTek Center for Applied Science and Engineering building. In this short video clip, you can hear Dr. Brice explain a bit about the making of the suit, showcasing one of the chest plates. The Marvel Ironman was a joint project with television host Adam Savage. 

Plus, here are a few photos from the 3D printing lab tour (you may have to click the thumbnails to see them more clearly:


Learn more about the Materials in STEM (M-STEM) grant and workshop here. You can also watch the Denver7 TV station news clip here which gives an excellent student perspective and footage shared by Dr. Brice in his M-STEM talk.

Stay tuned for our second post on Dr. Brice’s Tuesday presentation as well as a cool reveal about how he worked to make the suit tougher for one of the special requests from Adam Savage and team.

M-STEM, sponsored by the National Science Foundation as part of an Advanced Technological Education (ATE) with MatEdU, provides hands-on sessions that bring together students, faculty, industry and business to strengthen understanding of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) principles, especially relating to advancing materials science, and to enhancing a K-20 technology education integration. 

Materials in STEM (M-STEM) Workshop At Colorado School Of Mines (Day Two)

Day Two of the M-STEM event held just as much interest and captivated attention as did Day One. You can read about the two keynotes (brief overviews) and poster session winners here: Materials in STEM (M-STEM) Workshop At Colorado School Of Mines (Day One).  Intensives are a unique way to accomplish a new skill through a more comprehensive format loaded with interactivity and hands-on labs.

There were four intensive sessions that included:

Critical Materials are a set of materials that have been identified as having significant supply risks with no easy substitutes. . Discussion centered around their harvest and production, then how those materials make it into everyday products and finally the recycling of those critical materials. 

The Science of Stuff took a close look at the gaps in traditional chemistry education. Instructors guided their educator peers on how to use solid matter, metals, ceramics, polymers, and composites to find creative ways to fit these into their existing curriculum. Plus a little bit of heat. (See photo below.)


Nanoscience in the Classroom provided a number of novel approaches to helping educators reach students with nanoscience content that can be easily integrated into existing classrooms. This session was organized by Nano-Link, which distributes nanoscience lab materials to educators. 

Pewter Gravity Casting in the Mines Foundry showcased the school’s foundry area and participants learned how casting is used in manufacturing. The class focused on how to safely  handle molten metal and pour it into a mold. Low-temperature desktop heating units were used to show how one could add this to a classroom environment. 

Tuesday’s keynote by Dr. Craig Brice presented the behind-the-scenes details of his Marvel Ironman project that metal 3D printed a complete Ironman suit in titanium. Again, separate post to follow with photos and video.