The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Governor's Schools


Welcome to the Governor's School

Materials Science and Engineering

Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) is focused on the improvement of existing materials and the discovery of new materials. MSE can often be thought of as a conduit between the natural sciences (biology, chemistry, physics, earth and planetary sciences) along with math and all engineering disciplines. An example of this is the area of biomaterials (hip implants, dental implants, drug delivery, transplant material) that bridges biology and biomedical engineering.

During the four weeks, students will focus on MSE in the afternoons and as small groups will conduct three different hands-on laboratories, each lasting three days. These laboratories will include synthesizing and processing of a spinel ceramic (with an atomic structure that can accommodate many different chemical compositions resulting in a variety of commercial applications), building polymer components using 3D printing and examining the component’s mechanical integrity, and deforming a metal alloy (brass) and examining how the mechanical properties change. One of the important cornerstones of MSE is the relationship between structure, at various scales including macro, micro, nano, and atomic, and the resulting properties. These labs are designed to emphasize this relationship.

In addition to the hands-on activities, the students will hear seminars from several faculty in MSE highlighting their personal research areas. These seminars have been chosen to illustrate the breadth of MSE and include topics such as computation materials science, studying mechanical properties at the nanoscale, how MSE impacts the semiconductor industry, and ``listening'' to materials to determine physical properties. There will also be lectures on various characterization techniques (electron microscopes!), statistical analysis, advanced Excel techniques, keeping track of references, data mining, drawing atomic crystal structures, creating high quality graphics, etc.

Additionally, there will be three local plant/laboratory tours scheduled that complement the laboratory experiences. A tour of the Spallation Neutron Source at Oak Ridge National Laboratory will complement the laboratory on spinels and a tour of the additive manufacturing capabilities at the Manufacturing Demonstration Facility (MDF) will complement the 3D printing laboratory.

Based on their laboratory experiences each team will choose a laboratory that they want to expand upon and suggest follow-on research (experiments, computational, or literature reviews). The student teams will be given some time in the final week work experiments, etc. during the afternoons but will be expected to work as groups on preparing posters, describing their results of their laboratory experience and follow-on research, in the evenings. The MSE GSE portion will conclude with poster presentation event with students presenting their findings.

Course Requirements

The requirements to pass this course are:

Course Instructors

Dr. Claudia Rawn, Course Director

Claudia RawnDr. Claudia Rawn is an Associate Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. Prior to joining the University of Tennessee Knoxville (UTK) full time she was a Joint Faculty Member between the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at UTK and the Materials Science and Technology Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory for twelve years. Some of the primary courses she has taught at UTK include Introduction to Materials Science and Engineering (MSE201) and Principles of Ceramics (MSE360). She received her Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Arizona in 1995. Among Dr. Rawn’s research interests are the following:

Chris Wetteland, Course Director

Chris WettelandChris Wetteland is a lecturer in the Materials Science and Engineering Department at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK). He coordinates and teaches three undergraduate laboratory courses in the department and has also supervised students in the Senior Design Course. Prior to coming to UTK, Chris was a Staff Scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory, and a Research Fellow at the University of Wisconsin. He has a BS in Geology, an MS in Materials Science, and is presently a doctoral student in the Earth and Planetary Sciences Department at UTK. He is a certified solar electric and solar thermal installer and has designed and installed numerous renewable energy systems. His primary research interests include:

Willie Kemp, Teaching Assistant

Willie KempWillie is a senior in Materials Science and Engineering from Gallatin, TN. His interests are in the areas of additive manufacturing and STEM education outreach. Willie was a SULI intern at Oak Ridge National Laboratory this past summer, where his research focused on 3D printing of high performance magnets. Upon graduation in May 2016, Willie will be attending graduate school back at UTK studying Engineering Sciences. On campus he has been involved with the Ignite program, Leadership Knoxville Scholars, student requirement in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, and the Multicultural Mentoring Program. His hobbies include basketball, running, and anything that deals with UT sports.

Aaron Miller, Teaching Assistant

Aaron Miller My name is Aaron Miller. I am a first year PhD student in Biomedical Engineering department. I graduated from UTK with a BS in Biomedical Engineering in May of 2016 and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from UTK in December of 2016. I am working in a lab on campus with a primary focus of monitoring rehabilitation in patients post-stroke using minimally invasive sensors. I enjoy watching TV, playing board games, and getting outside.

Robert Minneci, Teaching Assistant

Robert MinneciRobert is a recent graduate of the University of Tennessee, obtaining his B.S. in Materials Science and Engineering in Spring of 2016. During his time as an undergraduate, he worked as an intern at Oak Ridge National Lab on several projects focusing primarily on composite materials and additive manufacturing, as well as a research assistant under Dr. Claudia Rawn on sol-gel synthesis of ceramic materials. He also served on the Chancellor's Honors Council as a representative and was team leader of his senior design project on the addition of graphene and carbon fiber to polymers for additive manufacturing. He decided to stay at UT as a PhD candidate under Dr. Claudia Rawn studying the residual stresses of additive manufacture space propulsion parts for a project for NASA using Neutron Diffraction and is close to finishing his first year. Robert enjoys hanging out with his friends, reading, and being active.

Brianna Musico, Teaching Assistant

Brianna MusicoBrianna is a senior in Material Science Engineering with an Honors Concentration. Her current research under Dr. Tom Meek is in Urania-based Direct Conversion Neutron Detectors over a range of stoichiometries and grain sizes. After graduating with her B.S in August 2016, she plans to continue this research in graduate school here at UT in the fall and work towards a PhD in Materials Science and Engineering. Brianna has been involved in many groups at UT. She is a member of the Society of Women Engineers, the Engineering Mentors Program, and a former UT diver. In her free time she enjoys cooking, reading, going to the gym and re-finishing furniture.


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