The UConn Material Advantage Student Chapter, consisting of MSE undergraduates Amanda Agui, Victoria Reichelderfer, and Joe Tracey, along with MSE assistant professor, Dr. Seok-Woo Lee showed off their material science prowess to the next generation of scientists at the STEAM Night, held at East Farms Elementary School at Farmington, Connecticut.
The STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) Night is the annual event that invites more than 200 elementary school students and immerses them in the exciting world of STEAM, taking a multifaceted approach in order to encourage young thinkers to work and collaborate across the disciplines.
The Material Advantage Student Chapter ran several demonstrations, showing the students the weird and wonderful ways different materials can be manipulated.
Their famous liquid-nitrogen frozen marshmallow trick drew a crowd. The undergrads dunked the sweet treat into a nitrogen bath and shattered it in front of the students’ eyes, showing how temperature can affect the structure and behavior of an everyday material.
The group also demonstrated how certain metals can become liquid—without the need for a smelter or a blowtorch. Gallium is liquid at 30°C, and will melt in your hands, which drew gasps and giggles from the students. MSE Advantage’s 3D printed figurines also attracted kids with their innovative custom designs.
Dr. Seok-Woo Lee helped the kids visualize the world of the microscopic by having the students build 3D crystalline structures. Using marshmallows and toothpicks, the students started with the structure for graphene. However, after some additional construction, it morphed into a very complex, very sweet and yet-to-be-discovered crystalline structure.
Other groups that participated included the UConn Farmington Health Center and the Farmington High School Robotics team, who used their know-how to, along with Material Advantage, help foster the builders, shakers, and movers of the future.