Archives—December 2008

Ken Brooks Awarded Scholarship

View the Ellwood Group news article
View the Tech Today news article
View the Daily Mining Gazette news article

MSE major Kenneth Brooks has been awarded the Second Annual EGI Metallurgy Scholarship in the amount of $25,000 from the Ellwood Group Inc. (EGI). The scholarship is awarded based on academic performance, talent, and dedication to the metallurgy field as well as the recipient’s interest in the steel industry. The award also includes a 2009 Summer Internship with the Ellwood Group. Photos by Emil Groth.

Materials Possessing Reduced Coefficient of Thermal Expansion

Friday, December 5 2008 3:00 – 4:00 pm
Room 610, M&M Building

Prof. Jon J. Kellar, Chair
Department of Materials and Metallurgical Engineering
South Dakota School of Mines and Technology
Rapid City, SD 57701-3995


There are many industrial applications where dimensionally stable materials arerequired.  Applications include aerospace, catalysis/combustion, optics andelectronics.  Candidate materials for fabrication of dimensionally stable materialsare reviewed and a composite system is studied in detail.  Toward this end, themodel system studied consisted of a lightweight polymer matrix and ceramicparticulate filler.  The polymer used for this study was a cyanate ester resin. Thefiller utilized was zirconium tungstate (ZrW2O8) prepared by two differentsyntheses (sol-gel and inverse-micelle).  The latter synthesis resulted inparticulate filler largely in the form of rectangular rods that were ~3-4 microns longand had a thickness of 0.3 microns.  Next, composite samples were prepared, andthe coefficient of thermal expansion property measured.  It was found that thecomposite CTE was 70% less than the neat polymer.  Compounding methods willbe reported as well as the measured data showing the effects of size and shape inrelation to the coefficient of thermal expansion.  The goal of this research is todevelop a lightweight polymer matrix composite exhibiting near zero expansionbetween -100 and 100 °C.

Spinal Cord Regeneration – A Materials Approach

Friday, December 5, 2008 3:00 – 4:00 pm
Room 610, M&M Building

Dr. Ryan Gilbert
Department of Biomedical Engineering
Michigan Technological University


Following spinal cord injury, neural and glial cells are destroyed.  Those neuronsthat survive the initial trauma must then survive a secondary injury cascade thatarises from inflammation.  Following initial and secondary injury, regeneratingaxons attempt to grow into and through a glial scar environment.  However, theyare typically unable to navigate through a dense matrix filled with cells andinhibitory molecules.  As a result, individuals with spinal cord injury suffer paralysiscaudal to the injury site.  Traditional approaches to heal the injured spinal cordhave focused on application of drug systemically.  However, because of thecompromised state of the vascular system within the injured spinal cord, morelocalized delivery techniques must be pursued.  This talk will highlight our effortsto construct drug releasing natural hydrogels and polymeric guidance channels.Natural hydrogels loaded with therapeutic can be injected near the injury with thegoal of releasing therapeutic locally. Glutathione and interleukin-10 were loadedinto our agarose/methylcellulose hydrogel system, their release rate characterized,bioactivity assessed within an in vitro model, and functional recovery assessedwithin an in vivo model.  Aligned fiber species have the potential to direct axonaloutgrowth.  Thus, polymer guidance structures were created.  Axonal outgrowthon the conduit structure was assessed within an in vitro model, and the ability ofthe structure to guide neurons after spinal cord injury was assessed within an invivo model.  These results suggest that materials can improve regenerationoutcomes and that translational analogs could be used to effectively treat humanspinal cord injury.


Dr. Ryan Gilbert earned his B.S.E. from the University of Michigan in Chemical Engineering.  Afterworking for Aastrom Biosciences and Holcim, Dr. Gilbert earned his Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from CaseWestern Reserve University.  Dr. Gilbert established the Regeneration and Repair Laboratory at MichiganTechnological University, and the laboratory’s main research focus is in the development of biomaterials for spinalcord regeneration.

Drelich Reappointed

Associate Professor Jarek Drelich has been reappointed as member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Adhesion Science and Technology. Drelich has been a board member since 1999.

The international journal provides a forum for “theoretical and basic aspects of adhesion science and its applications in all areas of technology”. It is published by Brill, one of the oldest scholarly publishers in the world.