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Faculty, students, alumni take part in Materials Research Society meeting


Meeting of the minds: Back row, from left, are Nicholas Dunn ’11, Steven Gacin ’12, Anna Mueller ’11 and Smitesh Bakrania ’03. Front row, from left, are Suzanne Estok ’11, Mary Carroll, Ann Anderson, Lauren Brown ’11 and Matthew Sherman ’09.
Meeting of the minds: Back row, from left, are Nicholas Dunn ’11, Steven Gacin ’12, Anna Mueller ’11 and Smitesh Bakrania ’03. Front row, from left, are Suzanne Estok ’11, Mary Carroll, Ann Anderson, Lauren Brown ’11 and Matthew Sherman ’09.

Three Union faculty members, five students and several young alumni participated in the fall meeting of the Materials Research Society, held in Boston last month. Professor Rebecca Cortez (mechanical engineering) and Bernadette Peace ’10, who is currently enrolled in the masters program at Union Graduate College, attended the  conference. Peace presented a poster on her interdisciplinary research under the direction of Cortez and professor Michael Hagerman (chemistry). The poster was titled “Atomic Force Microscopy Examination of Polymeric Nanocomposite Layers” in the Polymer-Based Nanocomposites Symposium. Other co-authors on the poster were Michael Topka ’09, Kenneth Skorenko ’10 and Adam Kowalski ’10.

Professors Ann Anderson (mechanical engineering) and Mary Carroll (chemistry) gave an invited paper on “Adventures in Aerogel Preparation via Rapid Supercritical Extraction” as part of the Aerogels and Aerogel-Inspired Materials Symposium. Five student members of Union’s interdisciplinary Aerogel Team attended the conference; three presented poster papers. Lauren Brown ’11, a mechanical engineering major, presented a poster on “Characterization of Titania-Silica Aerogels Fabricated Using Rapid Supercritical Extraction.” Nicholas Dunn ’11, a chemistry major, gave a poster on “Alumina and Nickel-Alumina Aerogels Prepared via Rapid Supercritical Extraction for Green Automotive Catalysis Applications.” Suzanne Estok ’11, a chemistry major, presented “Fabrication and Analysis of TEOS-based Aerogels Prepared via Rapid Supercritical Extraction.” A co-author on Estok’s poster was Thomas A. Hughes IV, who participated in research in Union’s Aerogel Lab as part of the Science Research in the High School at Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School. Hughes is now an undergraduate at Roberts Wesleyan College.

They met with two Union alumni who performed their undergraduate senior projects in Union’s Aerogel Lab. Matthew Sherman ’09 gave a talk in the symposium based on his masters thesis research in the mechanical engineering program at Tufts University,  “Measurement of Alcogel Thermo-physical Properties during the Aging Process.” Smitesh Bakrania ’03, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Rowan University, presented a paper titled “An Investigation of Titanium-nitride-flouride (TiNF) as a Working Electrode Material for Dye-sensitized Solar Cells” in the Solar Energy Integration poster session.