Peter McCamley and Mathew Guenther, senior materials science students at UW-Eau Claire, used their capstone lab course to test plastic injection molding parameters 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 processing and testing procedures of injection molded plastic parts in preparation of the launch of this new lab experience for engineering students.
Mathew and Peter gained hands-on research and development experience working with the new instrumentation under the supervision of materials science and engineering professor Dr. 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 such as bottle caps and key fobs. Peter and Mathew prepared plastic test samples called 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.