Banquet 2022


Joint meeting with the Metal Working Club to let UCMA metalwork in the forge.

UCMA got together with the blacksmithing club to have a joint meeting and let us metalwork in the forge

UCMA Fall BBQ, October 2021

photo of UCMA members


April 27, 2018,  Design Day!

Congratulations to all the seniors in UCMA on their achievements and their great projects! Thank you for all the contributions you made to UCMA and the MSE community at UConn, you will be missed!

April 26, 2018

Christina Powell, Failure Analysis engineer from Pratt and Whitney gives a talk about the failure analysis investigation process and shows some case studies.

March 29, 2018 

Adam Wentworth teaches UCMA about Prince Rupert's Drops and gives a demonstration on how they're made and how they break.

April 13, 2018
5th Annual Materials Science Banquet



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Fundraising Banquet

The UConn Material Advantage Chapter would like to invite you to our fundraising banquet, "Forging the Bonds of the Future." This event will begin with cocktail hour, followed by dinner, and a few exciting speakers with a number surprises in between. This year, we are expanding the range of our event not only to MSE and IMS students, faculty, and staff, but the entire School of Engineering, alumni, and many companies as well.

When: April 17, 2015 at 5:30 pm
Where: Rome Commons Ballroom
Cost: Students: $25 before 3/13/2015, and $35 after
Professors and Professionals: $40

***There is an early bird student special for ticket prices!

Cash or check can be brought to Lorri in the MSE main office. Please address checks to "ASM/TMS Student Chapter."


Congratulation to Material Advantage for winning both Disc Golf Events at MS&T 2014.

2014 Disc Golf Contest organized by Keramos. Congratulations to contest winner Noveen Delaram, University of Connecticut, and Allie Clark, also of UCONN, who took home the award for Most Aesthetic Disc.

MSE Students Get Hands-on Experience with Lost-Wax Casting

By Giorgina Paiella

MSE Lab Manager Adam Wentworth, along with seven students, (Alexandra Merkouriou, Brenden Mil-Homens, Lauren Salisbury, James Kos, Joe Pacheco Jr., Nick Poulos, and Wieslaw Kapalczynski) recently visited MIT to observe the lost-wax casting process that MIT uses to make medallions for their graduating class. The group coordinated the visit with Mike Tarkanian, MIT research affiliate and technical instructor. Tarkanian also runs the MIT Department of Materials Science and Engineering (DMSE) Foundry.

The lost-wax casting process involves the creation of a master object and a silicone mold, into which melted wax is poured. A tree consisting of a sprue, gates, and pieces is then created and contained within a box so that a ceramic investment mix can be poured around it. Once the wax is melted and residue burned out, molten metal is poured inside. The pieces are then broken off the tree, colored with a patina, sanded to highlight raised features, and dipped in lacquer to protect the surface.

Here at UConn, the student team in MSE 3056 (Mechanical Behavior Lab) is learning about investment casting and are creating an improved process and design to produce medallions for the graduating class. The team is comparing the attributes of milled acrylic (top-down) and 3D printed (bottom-up) designs, and will eventually cast bronze medallions in the foundry of IMS. Adam notes, “The junior-level lab allows students to get a taste of the Capstone design process and experience working through technical challenges. Students work in small teams and develop vital skills related to project management, experimental design, and effective communication.”

medallion3_w   medallionFinished




UConn Material Advantage Tours Laser Joining Technologies

By Giorgina Paiella

(From left to right) Lauren Salisbury, Gregory Castator, Alexandra Merkouriou, Brenden Mil-Homens, Katherine Urena-Pimentel, Ben Thieken, and James Lee
(From left to right) Lauren Salisbury, Gregory Castator, Alexandra Merkouriou, Brenden Mil-Homens, Katherine Urena-Pimentel, Ben Thieken, and James Lee

In the middle of September, UConn members of Material Advantage had the unique opportunity to tour Laser Joining Technologies in conjunction with the ASM Hartford chapter.

The informative and educational tour of the company’s facilities in East Granby, Connecticut allowed students to view laser welding and electron beam welding systems. Such systems are utilized in a variety of fields and applications, including medical devices, wind turbines, and pistol manufacturing. The additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing, facility was undergoing quality control inspections at the time of the tour, but the group hopes to organize another trip to view this futuristic technology.

Material Advantage would like to thank Matt Francoeur and John Lucas for a fantastic tour and their willingness to answer student questions.

The Material Advantage Student Program is an organization for students who want to optimize their Materials Engineering experience. For a single, low membership fee, Material Advantage provides access to several distinguished engineering societies, including The American Ceramic Society and The Materials Information Society.

The UConn chapter of Material Advantage is one of the most active and successful chapters in the nation, garnering the prestigious “Chapter of Excellence” award from 2008-2010, in addition to the “World Materials Day Outreach Award” for each of the past eight years. The chapter focuses on outreach and membership development, featuring activities such as panel discussions on future career options in the field and local outreach among K-12 students.

Material Advantage Holds Elections, New Officers Elected

Left to right: Aliya Carter, Nathan Martin, Rheanna Ward, Nathan Lussier, Alexandra Merkouriou, Alejandro Lluberes

The Material Advantage Chapter here at UConn elected new officers for the upcoming year on March 6, 2013. Elections were conducted in democratic fashion, with nominees simply being those who would be interested in upholding the responsibility required for officers. New this year, was the selection of two new class representatives (upcoming sophomore and junior.)

The new officers are:
President: Alexandra Merkouriou
VP/Event Coordinator: Nathan Martin
Secretary: Alejandro Lluberes
Treasurer: Nathan Lussier
Sophomore Representative: Aliya Carter
Junior Representative: Jestine "Rheanna" Ward

Comments from outgoing President, Jason Chan:

"It has been a pleasure to be a part of such a great student organization that has been recognized as a chapter of excellence for many years. I have been a member since the second semester of my freshmen year, and each subsequent year, I had seen myself getting more and more involved.
As the department continued to expand and grow, so too did the organization. I had the pleasure of working closely with the department and communicating with faculty and students, both undergraduate and graduate, to make things "happen."
Running and managing the organization was a challenge, but it was absolutely rewarding. On a personal level, it has enriched my professional development since it had allowed me to network with industries as well as other science and engineering organizations on campus. More importantly, the opportunity has allowed me to work with others, with the goals of expanding the materials science and engineering discipline at UConn and making it aware to many students.

As a great source of networking and outreach opportunities, I am honored to have held this position. I would certainly like to thank the faculty and staff, including our chapter advisers, for working with us, the students. I would also personally like to thank the other officers as well as the numerous volunteers who volunteered (or will volunteer) for the open houses, outreach, involvement and awareness fairs and demos, co-op events with other organizations, industry tours, and the upcoming materials camp.

It is my pleasure to welcome the new officers that will take over after I graduate. It is promising, and I look forward to their success! It is my hope that the organization continues to allows those who are involved to better yet enhance their experience here at UConn.

-Jason C.

The new president, Alexandra Merkouriou, is optimistic about her plans for the next year:

"As president of Material Advantage I plan to bring a new face to the organization. For outreach events, let's not only focus on Materials Engineering, let's get kids excited about science. For internal affairs, let's have more organization and increased membership. But overall, let's make the UCONN Materials Advantage chapter not just recognized on campus, but nationally as well! We are capable of great things and now is our time to show it."

-Alexandra M.

Ulbrich Shaped Wire, Industry Tour

Ulbrich-Shaped-Write-Group-2013After the surprise snow storm on Friday, four members of Material Advantage attended an industry tour at Ulbrich Shaped Wire in North Haven. Attending members were Jason Chan, Alexandra Merkouriou, Steven Onorato, and Brenden Mil-Homen (on the photo left to right).

The group was greeted by Erica Pehmoeller, a Uconn MSE alumnus who graduated in 2012. Erica lead the group first through a short safety presentation, then to the tooling section, and then finally to the wire shaping plant itself. The group was introduced to some of the senior engineers as well as the operators who demonstrated the several different methods of obtaining shaped wires for inconcel, nitinol, and steels. The group was surprised to learn that shaped wire plays a role in everyday life such as meshes and even blender blades


UConn Materials Science Visits Bacon Academy High School

From left to right: Materials Science & Engineering (MSE) Seniors Jason Chan, Jillian Falcetti, Gabe Paun, Tim Plourde, MSE sophomore Alexandra Merkouriou, and MSE lab technician Adam Wentworth "UConn BS 2009, MS 2011"
From left to right: Materials Science & Engineering (MSE) Seniors Jason Chan, Jillian Falcetti, Gabe Paun, Tim Plourde, MSE sophomore Alexandra Merkouriou, and MSE lab technician Adam Wentworth "UConn BS 2009, MS 2011"

On December 21st, 2012 six members of the UConn Materials Advantage Student Chapter (UCMA) went to Bacon Academy high school to educate and promote Materials Science to integrated science students. The UCMA members used demos such as the insulating effect of a space shuttle tile, the Meissner effect of a high-temperature superconductor, and exhibition of novel materials such as shape memory alloys and the world’s lowest density solid, silica aerogel, to showcase the diverse and far-reaching applications and potential of the discipline. They explained how material research and discovery leads not only to exotic applications like space shuttle tiles, but to everyday items such as smaller computers, long-lasting LED lights, and efficient transportation. The Bacon Academy high school students learned that engineering as a career choice means they can be involved in new, evolving technologies like biocompatible implants, carbon fiber applications, and nanomaterials. They also learned that choosing Material Science as a major allows them to work in many industries including sports, transportation, energy, electronics, biomaterials, and more.

ASM President Visits IMS

The current president of ASM International, Professor Chris Berndt, visited the School of Engineering, the Chemical Materials, and Biomolecular Engineering Department, and IMS on April 16. Professor Berndt delivered an inspiring and thought-provoking presentation on career choices and best practices for graduating students. Several junior and senior chapter members attended the presentation, which is available online.

ASM Hartford Area Materials Camp

materialscamp2012About 55 high school juniors attended the fifth annual ASM Hartford Area Materials Camp on April 16 at the Institute of Material Sciences, University of Connecticut. After a brief introduction the students split up into eight groups and then embarked on a tour of materials science and engineering learning stations. The eight stations covered many important aspects of materials science and engineering, for example materials processing (casting of Al-Zn alloys in the IMS foundry, orbital welding of steel tubing), characterization (materials identification), and property determination (mechanical behavior).

The camp could not have taken place without the help of student and industry support. The participating companies for this year’s camp include Yankee Casting (support for foundry), Swagelok (orbital welding station), Ultimate Wireforms, Inc. (shape memory alloys), and Pratt&Whitney. Additional support came from CRISP (Yale’s Center for Research on Interface Structures and Phenomena) and IMS.

Annual Student Speaking Contest

Three students presented their research on April 10, 2012 during the ASM Hartford Chapter's Student Night. Shown, from left, are Joe Kubinski (Past ASM Hartford Chair), Rainer Hebert (Faculty Advisor), Greg Wrobel (graduate student), Erica Pehmoeller (undergraduate student), and Rishabh Jain (graduate student).
Three students presented their research on April 10, 2012 during the ASM Hartford Chapter's Student Night. Shown, from left, are Joe Kubinski (Past ASM Hartford Chair), Rainer Hebert (Faculty Advisor), Greg Wrobel (graduate student), Erica Pehmoeller (undergraduate student), and Rishabh Jain (graduate student).

For our annual student speaking contest, sponsored by the ASM Hartford Chapter, we had two graduate students and one undergraduate student presenter this year. Erica Pehmoeller kicked off the presentation part of the evening with an overview of her senior design Capstone project. The presentation A process to avoid grain boundary penetration by copper and associated cracking of high strength steel weld-clad with NiCu filler highlighted the importance of welding metallurgy for applied industry problems, in this case for Electric Boat. Up next was Rishabh Jain who introduced an innovative spray deposition technique for thin films in his presentation (Reactive Spray Deposition Technology and its applications in thin film deposition). Rishabh joined the Materials Science and Engineering graduate program just about two months ago and the project he started using the novel spray deposition technique aims at clean energy applications. The third presenter, Gregory Wrobel, then demonstrated how new nanoscience-based coatings can retard the flammability of textiles (Synthesis and Thermal Degradation of Fire-retardant Zinc Hydroxystannate Nanocube Coated Textiles). At the end of the evening the audience had the chance to vote for the best presenter and the runners up and Greg took the first price while Erica and Rishabh came in at a tie. With 26 attendees this year the annual speaking contest continues to attract more and more attention and we look forward to an even bigger turnout and equally interesting presentations in 2013.

Material Advantage Chapter Visit at Pratt & Whitney Materials and Process Engineering, March 2012

PattWhitneyVisit_03_2_2012Sixteen Material Advantage Chapter members along with the chapter faculty advisor and the Materials Science and Engineering laboratory manager visited Pratt & Whitney’s Materials and Process Engineering (MPE) group on Friday, March 2. The visit was hosted by Senior Fellow Discipline Lead, Dr. David Furrer, and staff engineer/specialist Larry Percival and included a guided tour of the main MPE facilities. The Material Advantage chapter members learned about P&W’s efforts on casting advancements, coating development, non-destructive testing, mechanical testing for research and for modeling validation on a component level, and microstructure characterization. The tour furthermore included the “canon” section with a shock tube for impact testing and the section for vibration and shake testing. The students were thoroughly impressed with MPE’s capabilities and equipment. Yet, it became also clear that the Materials Science and Engineering curriculum at UConn provides a very useful basis for the students to work at P&W’s MPE section. We will therefore hopefully see more UConn Material Advantage Chapter students in internship or full time positions at MPE in the future.


ASM Student Speaking Contest

From left to right: Jyothi Suri, Dr. Sam Christy (ASM Hartford chapter chair, Pratt&Whitney Global Engineering, front), Dr. Rainer Hebert (Assistant Professor and Materials Advantage faculty advisor), Joseph Rajan, Gregory Wrobel"

Three MSE students competed during the 2011 ASM student speaking contest on April 12, 2011. Greg Wrobel (advisor: Prof. Puxian Gao), Jyothi Suri (advisor: Prof. Leon Shaw)—both graduate students—as well as undergraduate student and Material Advantage chapter outreach chair Joseph Rajan presented their research in front of about 25 attendees. Greg presented his research on ZnO nanorods, Jyothi gave an overview of her carbothermic reaction synthesis methods for silicon nitride and carbide composites, and Joe introduced his senior design capstone project on residual stress measurements of sapphire. A seemingly impressed audience voted at the end of the evening for their favorite presentation and the contest ended almost with a tie. Greg slightly edged out Joe and Jyothi and the students will receive small monetary awards for their participation.

4th Annual ASM Hartford Materials Camp

materialscampOver 60 high school students from the Academy for Engineering and Green Technology and the Greater Hartford Academy for Math and Science and their teachers visited IMS on Monday, April 11 for the 4th annual ASM Hartford Materials Camp. The students learned about materials science and engineering in eight hands-on learning stations that ranged from jet-engine materials, to welding and casting. Industry support came this year from Swagelok, Pratt & Whitney, and Yankee casting. The half-day event concluded with certificates for each student, but more importantly, the students gained and impression of materials science and engineering. We hope to see some of the students back on campus as MSE freshman and chapter officers!

MSE Students visit Brookhaven National Laboratory

brookhaven2011Twelve graduate and three undergraduate students visited Brookhaven National Lab for a lab tour on March 25, 2011. Joseph Rajan, chapter outreach chair, organized the trip that was supported by the CMBE department and Brookhaven National Laboratory. The students toured the Center for Functional Nanomaterials that has ongoing initiatives in areas such as renewable energy and medicine, the National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS), and the instrumentation lab that examines interactions between nanomaterials and the biochemistry of humans and animals.  The students were genuinely impressed with the Laboratory and its breadth of activities.


MS&T Meeting 2010

MS&T-2010-Tuesday-190As in previous years, Material Advantage chapter members attended the MS&T meeting. The 2010 meeting was held in Houston, TX. The students participated in different student events, for example, the popular student mixer. The student mixer allows students from different chapters to mingle and furthermore talk to professional engineers and faculty. The MS&T meeting brings together engineers from different disciplines and professional organizations.
A highlight of the conference was the Award Ceremony on the floor of the exhibition hall. Our chapter once again won a Chapter of Excellence Award—for the third consecutive year! Only four chapters nationwide are bestowed with this award. The photo to the right shows (from left to right) UConn Material Advantage students Brian Zimmer, Kathryn Czaja (president and ASM student trustee), Nicole Marino (chapter vice president), and faculty advisor Rainer Hebert.
The 2011 MS&T meeting in Columbus, OH (October 16-20) will provide another opportunity for our chapter members to meet with fellow MS&E students, faculty, and potential employers