March 7, 2014
Compiled by Chris Jarvis
Labs in the School of Science, Engineering and Technology have received an infusion of cutting-edge technology – almost a half-million dollars’ worth – thanks to grants from two top philanthropic foundations. As a result, students in the departments of Engineering, and Physics and Earth Sciences are getting their hands on a bunch of cool, innovative equipment.
The grants — $250,000 from the W.M. Keck Foundation and $200,000 from the Albert and Margaret Alkek Foundation — were used to purchase an array of devices, most of them so technical they are challenging to describe here. So instead of reading lots of technical jargon, take a look at our students and professors interacting with these high-tech gadgets.
This new machinery not only gives St. Mary’s a competitive edge in the fast-growing world of research-based schools, they will be an educational boon for students for years to come. It’s more than just financial support from a foundation to a university; it’s a partnership that serves the public good.
Some gifts really do keep on giving.
- Olympus Digital Ultrasonic Thickness Gauge (38DLP-X-ET-E-EN) Sonic System Researchers in Environmental Science use this device to measure the structural property of any rock.
- Niton (XL3t 500) Industrial Portable XRF Analyzer (and accessories) Not a metal detector, even if it looks likes one. This provides compositional measurements of soil and mining samples for Environmental Science applications.
- ASD FieldSpec 4 Wide-res Spectroradiometer Environmental Science students and faculty use this handheld scanner to collect field data and map vegetation at a high speed.
- FESTO Warehouse MPS 500 This small-scale test environment allows Industrial Engineering students to test theories on optimizing robotic assembly and transportation.
- SolidWorks Software Getting ideas from conception to production is where this product comes in for Engineering students. Complex software turns concepts into computer-aided renderings that can be brought to life using the next two machines.
- Techno Patriot CNC Production Center Engineering ideas go from concept to reality thanks to this device that builds 3-D models made from plastic and wood.
- FARO Edge Measurement Arm and Laser Line Probe This device scans a 3-D image of just about anything and then communicates with other equipment in the Engineering lab to build it.
- Geomagic Studio and Qualify This software works hand-in-hand with the FARO arm to get the images to production.
- Haas CNC/Manual Toolroom Lathe Cuts, sands or drills materials — just about any material, including plastic and metal — with exact symmetry and precision. If an Engineering student needs a unique bolt or screw for a project, this can do it.
- MasterCam for SolidWorks This is another high-tech software product that designs virtual parts for a variety of apparatus and guides machining tool paths on the CNC devices to create them.