Enterprise Students Help 3M Build a Better Taillight

Drivers of many new cars will have better taillights, thanks to a partnership between Michigan Technological University students and 3M.

Michigan Tech’s Consumer Products Manufacturing and Blue Marble Security Enterprise–teams of students that take on challenges faced by industry–tested 3M’s Uniform Lighting Lens (ULL), investigating the optical properties of the material. Four years later, that material is now on the market and will be debuting on more cars in the near future.

The project was “a good example of getting students involved with problems of interest to industry,” said Brett Spigarelli, a PhD candidate is chemical engineering at Michigan Tech and advisor to the Consumer Products Manufacturing Enterprise. on Mountain native, said. “It’s a lot of what you do when you get out there on the job,” explained Spigarelli, an Iron Mountain native who worked on the 3M project as an undergraduate at Michigan Tech.

ULL is designed to better disperse the light of LEDs (light emitting diode), increasing effectiveness while still enjoying the same energy savings compared to halogen bulbs. The challenge was in applying ULL, a film, in industrial applications and ensuring that it would hold up to the manufacturing process. This was where 3M asked Michigan Tech students to step in early in 2009.

For the full story, see taillight.

Published in TechToday by Kevin Hodur, creative writer


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