Explaining the Nanoscale
Course: 25.108 Introduction to Engineering II (Plastics Engineering)
Semester: Spring 2008
Instructor: Carol Barry
Partner:Museum of Science, Boston
The freshmen were first introduced to the nanoscale and the differences in properties at the nano scale, selected nano products, and the societal impact issues associated with nanotechnology. Then, the students (in teams) were asked to design a new give-away for the Museum of Science’s NanoDays events; these give-aways have the goal of explaining the nanoscale. A laboratory session allowed the students to build carbon nanotubes out of balloons, an outreach activity developed at the University of Wisconsin. Four weeks later, the students were given an overview of injection molding at the nanoscale; then they presented their modules to Carol Barry and the Museum of Science science educator Lisa Regalla. The designs were modified and given to Carol Barry and Lisa Regalla. The designs provided by the freshmen included key chains, rulers, rings sets, the NanoCard, the NanoCube, fullerene construction sets, and an innovative idea to fabricate parts with range of properties using just two types of polymers. Lisa Regalla was favorably impressed with the preliminary designs and made suggestions for improvement.