MSE at Maryland Day

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MSE Professor Isabel Lloyd (back center, in hat) walks visitors through a demonstration involving amorphous metals.

Department of Materials Science and Engineering faculty, staff and students were on hand for the 10th annual Maryland Day to show both kids and adults how materials work for us, whether around the house, in devices we use every day, or in new technologies.

Maryland Day is the university's free, all-campus open house event that invites families, friends and neighbors of all ages explore everything UMD has to offer. MSE's exhibits, part of the "Science and Tech Way" tour route, offered visitors hands-on demonstrations designed to teach basic concepts and explain how the unusual and useful properties of certain materials lead to innovations...or just give us an excuse to have some fun!

Holler for the Polymer Activity

MSE students demonstrate some rather unusual sand: one won't dry out, and the other won't get wet...even in water!

Hands-on demonstrations used to explain materials' properties and uses included:

  • Polymers and amorphous metals that absorb impact
  • Combinatorial materials science used to synthesize and discover new materials
  • Materials in biomedical implants for human health
  • Shape memory metal that, when bent or twisted, returns to its original form when exposed to heat
  • How special materials in space shuttle tiles keep astronauts safe from extreme heat on re-entry to the Earth's atmosphere
  • Magnets
  • Super-absorbent polymers
  • Thermoelectric refrigeration
  • The materials science behind Silly Putty
  • Two types of "magic sand"—one that always remains wet and pliable, and one that remains dry even when lifted out of a cup of water

Published May 1, 2008