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Design of Polymer Processing Activities for Pre-College Students

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

ETD Manufacturing/3D Printing

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

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Paper Authors


Wei Dai Vian Purdue University, West Lafayette (College of Engineering)

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Wei Vian is a clinical assistant professor in the program of Mechanical Engineering Technology at Purdue University Statewide Kokomo campus. She got her Ph.D from Purdue University, West Lafayette. She got her bachelor and master degree both from Eastern Michigan University. Her recent research interests include grain refinement of aluminum alloys, metal casting design, and innovation in engineering technology education.

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Nancy L. Denton Purdue University, West Lafayette (College of Engineering)

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Nancy L. Denton, PE, CVA3, is a professor in Purdue University's School of Engineering Technology, where she serves as associate head for MET. She serves on the Vibration Institute’s Board of Directors, chairing the Academic Committee and serving on the Certification Scheme Committee. She is a Fellow of ASEE and a member of ASME.

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Design of Polymer Processing Activities for Pre-College Students

Plastic products play an important role in daily life. To support manufacture of the massive quantity of polymer products generated every day, the plastics industry currently employs over 900,000 workers and has more than 13,000 establishments in United States (ref1). However, polymer manufacturing processes are not well-known or widely understood by the general public. Helping pre-college students gain experience with common polymer processes affords a fun and useful way to prepare them to be better consumers and potential product designers and manufacturers. This paper presents activities and exercises that introduce students to plastic thermoforming, casting, and extrusion processes that can be completed in a typical science or project-friendly classroom. To highlight the multidisciplinary nature of polymer product realization, science and mathematics applications such as geometric measurements, volume, mass, density, and estimation are embedded into the activities. These activities and exercises are intended for students at the middle school level and above, but some can be easily adapted for groups as young as pre-kindergarten children.

Keywords:Pre-College Plastics, casting process, thermoforming processes

Vian, W. D., & Denton, N. L. (2017, June), Design of Polymer Processing Activities for Pre-College Students Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28121

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