Materials Science capstone leads to plastics careers

Peter McCamley and Mathew Guenther, senior materials science students at UW-Eau Claire, tested plastic injection molding for the new MS+E materials processing lab. This new lab is equipped with instruments to prepare future engineers for careers in materials science by providing hands-on experience in plastics, ceramics, and metals processing, and 3D printing. For their capstone experience, Peter and Mathew worked as a team to develop the processing and testing procedure of injection molded plastic parts in preparation of the launch of this new lab experience for engineers.

Mathew and Peter gained hands-on research and development experience working with the new instrumentation under the supervision of materials science faculty Elizabeth Glogowski. They used the injection molder to melt and inject plastic pellets into molds to generate plastic parts, which can be shaped for parts from bottle caps to key fobs. Peter and Mathew prepared plastic dogbones using various processing conditions to determine how changing material processing affects the mechanical properties, a core concept in materials science.

Both Mathew and Peter turned this capstone experience with plastics processing into jobs at graduation in the plastics industry. “Being able to work closely with faculty and instruments gave me a unique experience that set me apart from the rest of the crowd” said Mathew. Mathew is working at a plastics company in Wisconsin as a Quality Engineer, and  Peter is at a plastics company in Minnesota as a Process Engineer.

Interested in learning more about this capstone project or the new MS+E materials processing lab? Contact Dr. Liz Glogowski at glogowem@uwec.edu.