AUSTIN, Texas—Jesse "J.R." Garcia and Dustin Shaw, senior mechanical engineering students at The University of Texas at Austin, have been awarded a 2001 Undergraduate Research Initiative grant from the Materials Research Society. Garcia is from McAllen and Shaw is from Houston.
The Materials Research Society is an organization of scientists, engineers and research managers sharing research on new materials of technological importance. Garcia and Shaw were awarded the $1,000 grant for a research proposal entitled The Effects of Cold Work on the Thermal Expansion of Metals.
Their research is based on an effect they observed in the lab of their faculty advisor, Dr. Lew Rabenberg, UT Austin associate professor of mechanical engineering. They noticed that the thermal expansion of copper was reduced by mechanical deformation. In other words, deformed copper does not seem to lengthen with temperature at the same rate as copper that is not deformed.
The students were able to measure significant changes in the effect for various temperatures, depending on the amount of deformation of the material. Rabenberg said this is a new discovery about the properties of metals that may have important implications for design of materials with reduced thermal expansion.
For more information, call Becky Rische at the College of Engineering at (512) 471-7272.