McCormick Students Win Undergraduate Design Competition

September 2008

At the McCormick School of Engineering, undergraduate students tackle some tough design problems, like how to create robots, or how to design medical devices for developing countries.

But they also undertake problems with potentially fun solutions, like how to make a gum that can be blown into a huge bubble.

One undergraduate team did just that and recently won the ASM Materials Education Foundation Undergraduate Design Competition for their efforts. The team, consisting of Alexander Kuo, Shengyao Li, Kelly Luckasevic, Kari Nigorizawa, and Sean Tseng, will get a $2,000 prize.

Advised by Gregory Olson, Wilson-Cook Chaired Professor in Engineering Design and professor of materials science and engineering, and Les Morgret, a materials science and engineering graduate student who recently received his PhD, the team — students in the Materials Design course — used a science-based materials design approach to predict the composition of a gum base that would allow 12-inch bubbles. Regular bubble gums can usually only be blown into three-inch bubbles. Such research shows the potential of applying materials science to processed food technology.

Winners will be recognized during the Material Science and Technology conference this fall in Pittsburgh.