Project Examples

Design of a Synthetic Drain Layer for a Green Roof

Course: 25.216 - Plastics Process Lab II
semester: Spring 2006
Instructor: Carol Barry
Partner:Merrimack River Watershed Council (MRWC)

Partnership Description: During spring 2006, Executive Director, Christine Tabak from the Merrimack Valley Watershed Association requested that the sophomores developed designs for the plastic layer of a green roof. This roof is planned to be installed on the maintenance shed of the Lowell Historical National Park and the soils portion of the roof was an S-L project of the Civil and Environmental Engineering course 14.330 as described above. At the beginning of the project, Christine came to UML to explain green roofs and their impact on the environment. During the semester there was no contact between the students/faculty and the MRWC and Christine was not able to make the student presentations, which, unfortunately, fell on a Saturday. Christine completed the SLICE Evaluation Form by Community Partner and reported that, “in the case of the plastics class, I would have liked to be involved during the semester and [have] more communication.” As of this writing the student designs have not yet been delivered to MWRC.

Project Description: Design of a synthetic drain layer for a green roof. The Plastics Process Engineering Laboratories are designed to familiarize the students with the basic plastics manufacturing and testing techniques. The second laboratory (26.216) introduces the students to basic manufacturing processes: extrusion, injection molding, thermoforming, and blow molding. The laboratories incorporate three elements: 1) group experiments, 2) analysis and reporting of experimental results, and 3) Plastics Safety Lecture. In a two-week-long service-learning component, the sophomores also apply their current knowledge of plastics materials to a practical problem. The “final exam” is a presentation of the service-learning projects. The students spent considerable time researching green roofs and deciding an optimal design and materials for their roofs. The students presented their designs to Carol Barry and the SLICE Coordinator during the final exam period in May 2006.