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Freshman Year

Solar Water Heater

Background: With a budget of only $100, our team was assigned to make a solar water heater for the people of the California Valley. The water heater would have to heat 5 gallons of water and with a pump supplied for us. Copper piping was the chosen material due to its high thermal conductivity. The pipes were to be painted black in order to absorb the suns rays. The heater would be insulated with wood paneling and top layer of glass to prevent heat loss through convection.

Procedure: When designing our water heater, we focused on maximizing the amount of surface area of exposed copper pipe. We determined that 60 ft of copper pipe with a diameter of inch would heat the water to sufficient enough temperatures for the users in California Valley. The water heater was positioned at the optimum angle of 35 for optimum sunlight exposure.

Results: In order to save money on costly elbows, the pipes were not cut and were left 10 ft in length. Over a period of 24 hours, our water heater was able to reach a maximum temperature of 144.1F at an ambient temperature of 72F in partly cloudy conditions. The average temperature over the 24 hour period was 62.4 F. The temperature obtained by our heater was higher than any competitors in the class. The design was awarded Most Innovative Design.

Conclusions: A thermo-siphon design could have been utilized instead of the pump which would have heated our water to a higher maximum temperature. This would have involved positioning the storage tank above the heater, and allowing the heated water in the pipes to rise and naturally circulate.

Griffin Beemiller

Freshman Year

ASI Childrens Center Needs Assessment

Background: Our team was asked to volunteer at the ASI Childrens Center on campus and review what their biggest needs were. Organization seemed to be one of their biggest struggles as children often left toys laying around the yard. Their outdoor storage bin was old and falling apart. We therefore decided that they needed a new storage unit that would be large enough to remove clutter from their outdoor play area.

Procedure: After mapping out the best location in the backyard for the shed foundation we determined that a cement foundation would be best due to its durability and long life. We constructed the wooden forms to identify the boundaries of the foundation border and a wire mesh to add structural support.

Results: Once the cement foundation dried, the fabrication of the shed began. The 8 ft x 6 ft shed was purchased as a kit from the hardware store and offered simple sliding doors with a locking mechanism. The corners of the shed were able to be anchored into the cement for stability. Shelving for the interior of the shed was also provided to reduce disorder.

Conclusions: With a budget of $650 our team was successfully able to provided needed storage for the childrens center. The shed reduced the amount of clutter in the backyard and provided a safe, fun learning environment for the children.

Griffin Beemiller

Sophomore Year

Composition of American and Canadian Coins

Background: A study was conducted to determine the metallic composition of one dollar American and Canadian coins. The results will indicate whether there is any gold in the coins.

Procedure: Four samples were mounted in an acrylic mold: two U.S. one dollar coins and two Canadian one dollar coins. One of each type was cut in half to obtain a cross section view and were mounted standing up in epoxy. The two uncut samples were mounted in epoxy laying flat. The samples were grinded and polished prior to microscopy. XRF was then performed on the exterior and interior of the different layers of the two coins.

U.S. Coin: Surface: Outer Layer: Inner Layer: Canadian Coin: Surface: Inner Layer: 78.14at% Cu 78.8 at% Cu 99.67 at% Cu 12.13at% Zn 11.84 at% Zn .23 at% Zn 5.48at% Mn 5.65 at% Mn .07 at% Mn 4.3 at% Ni 3.72 at% Ni .03 at% Ni

Conclusions: The surfaces of the American coin and Canadian coin are primarily brass and bronze, respectively. The general population probably thinks that they are gold because gold has a similar band energy and absorption peak as brass and bronze.

89.57 at% Cu 99.9 at% Ni

9.09 at% Sn 0.1 at% Mn

1.34 at% Ni

The results of the XRF indicate that there is no gold in either of the two coins. The American coin is about half copper, half brass-manganese-nickel alloy. The Canadian coin is primarily nickel with a bronze coating.

Canadian Coin

American Coin

Griffin Beemiller

Sophomore Year

XRD and DSC of Tin-Bismuth

Background: Samples of a 20 at% Sn-Bi were obtained for testing with an X-ray diffraction (XRD) machine and a differential scanning calorimeter (DSC) in order to determine crystal structure, chemical composition, and material properties. Tests should indicate whether Sn-Bi has a low enough melting point to be a suitable replacement for Pb-Sn solder.

140.2Cel -0.32mW

238.3Cel 0.50mW

Results: DSC test results expressed a transition temperature at 238.3C and a eutectic temperature at 140.2C. XRD test results confirmed the composition of the sample to be 20 at% Sn-Bi or 12.4 wt% Sn -Bi

Conclusions: Using the results of the tests of various compositions of tin-bismuth, a phase diagram was able to be constructed and the eutectic region was confirmed at 40 at% Sn-Bi which was concluded to be the best composition for solder.

Griffin Beemiller

DDSC mW/min

Procedure: By sharing results from different groups with different compositions of the Sn-Bi alloy, a phase diagram was able to be constructed. A schematic of the 20 at% Sn-Bi microstructure is seen below. The dark regions of the microstructure represent the proeutectic bismuth phase.

Sophomore Year

Interactive Wall for Daycare Center

Background: Our team was asked perform a needs assessment at the daycare center on the Cal Poly campus. We were told by staff members that the children were not playing outside on the porch. They also felt that the steel fence surrounding the porch was not aesthetically appealing and did not promote child play. The daycare center requested a suggestion for a product design that would be useful to the childrens well being and environmentally friendly. We decided that an interactive glass wall that the children could draw on would be aesthetically appealing and would draw children to the patio to play outside and learn as they draw.

Procedure: The processes that would be needed to produce the wall would include ceramic extrusion of aerated concrete and injection molding polyurethane elastomeric foam. The concrete would provide the structure of the posts and the foam would coat the post to provide impact protection for the children.

Results: a streamlined life cycle analysis was performed on the product and results indicated that the life cycle of the product showed the most negative results in solid residues and energy consumption. An eco audit confirmed the same results that material processing energy is high. After a risk analysis, laminated glass was chosen over alumina silica glass for the glass material between posts. This decision would decrease the possibility of the glass breaking and causing harm to the children of the daycare center.

Conclusions: The glass wall was designed with minimal environmental impact in mind, therefore the design was kept simple with minimal parts. With as few parts as possible, fabricating the wall would require less energy.

Griffin Beemiller

Junior Year

Cast Aluminum Light Measurement System

Background: A client asked our team to create a system that would filter the light transmitted from a tungsten halogen light bulb using absorbance and dichroic plastic filters. The system will be used in industry to measure quantitative color values of light filters to ensure that the filtered light spectrum reflects the true color value of red, green, and blue (RGB). Color values were then compared against those of cathode ray tube (CRT) TVs.

Procedure: Our team designed an easy to use revolver design. The design minimized the time to change filter colors. Lens columns were utilized to align light rays and re-focus them into a fiber optic cable.

The base of the system was fabricated using A356-T6 aluminum alloy and the revolver wheel was rapid prototyped using ABS.

Results: The systems performance was tested using a spectrometer to obtain chromaticity values of each filter. Results were both repeatable and reproducible. These true colors are necessary to produce LCD screens and countless other applications in which these three basic colors produce a vast spectrum of colors.
Repeatability (1 Hr) Std Dev 0.0016167 0.001235 0.0055 0.00275 <.04 Reproducability (5 day) Std Dev 0.00145 0.0017 0.0034 0.00215 <.1

Conclusions: After the chromaticity values were recorded from our tests of absorbance and dichroic filters, it was concluded that the color values did not match those of CRTs.

Blue Avg Green Avg Red Avg Total Avg Client requirement

Griffin Beemiller

Junior Year

Aluminum Alloy 356-T6 Heat Treatment

Background: The base for our teams light measurement system was cast using A356 aluminum alloy in a z-cast mold. Numerous parameters were taken into account when considering the casting process including: casting orientation, position of parting line, wall thickness of casting, wall thickness of mold, and size and positioning of gates and risers. The phase diagram on the right shows the 7% Si composition in aluminum. An additional 0.3% Mg is also present in the alloy.

Procedure: After the casting process, the microstructure of the as cast part was examined under the microscope (seen below). The aluminum base then underwent a T6 heat treatment in which the aluminum alloy was solutionized at 540C for 12 hours. At this point the aluminum phase becomes supersaturated with silicon particles. The casting was quenched to room temp trapping the supersaturated solid solution and keeping the composition of vacancies not otherwise available at room temperature. After the quench the casting was artificially aged for 12 hours at 155 C and quenched again to room temp.

Results: During the artificial aging process, the silicon particles in the supersaturated solution begin to diffuse out of aluminum solvent to form precipitates. Hardness tests were performed on As cast samples and heat treated samples and results can be seen in the table below.

Conclusions: The micrograph of the heat treated sample (seen below) shows the silicon precipitates that have spherodized and become equiaxed. The hardness tests results indicate the average of the heat treated samples is double that of the as-cast sample. Since hardness is the resistance to plastic deformation, it can be concluded that the casting had a large increase in strength after the heat treatment.

Average Range Std Dev

As Cast (HRE) 43.85 36.2-51.3 6.6

T6 Heat treatment (HRE) (HRB) 88 51.9 N/A 34.2-81.6 N/A 14.3

Griffin Beemiller

Junior Year

Bio-Mimic Design of Elastomer Heart Valve

Background: Our team was asked to choose an implant in the body and improve upon its design. We chose artificial heart valves that are implanted inside of the heart when a patient is diagnosed with valvular heard disease beyond surgical repair. Currently, a patient must chose between biological heart valves made with pericardial pig tissue, or mechanical heart valves made of pyrolytic carbon. Biological valves calcify and degrade after only 15 years of operation and need replacement thereafter. Mechanical valves require ingestion of daily anticoagulants to prevent blood clots in the heart.

Procedure: Our teams solution was to mimic the shape of the biological heart valve with synthetic elastomeric materials. The new material had the following design requirements Bio compatible Resist blood coagulation without anticoagulant medicine Undergo repeated elastic shear deformation Maintain seal permitting back flow Maintain elastic properties under cyclic shear load

Results: Tensile tests were conducted on the top two materials selection candidates before and after fatiguing; silicone and polyurethane films. The goal behind the experiment was to see if there would be a change in Elastic Modulus of the material before and after 8,000 cycles of fatigue. Results merely indicated a change in Elastic Modulus with material

Conclusions: Results were inconclusive since samples were fatigued for 8,000 cycles when 1.05 billion cycles would be needed to conclude that elastomers are an adequate replacement for pericardial pig tissue. Further research is recommended on elastomeric heart valves.

Biological Valve

Mechanical Valve

Griffin Beemiller

Junior Year

Decarburization of 1095 Steel

Background: An experiment was conducted by heat treating 1095 steel for various times at a series of different temperatures in order to determine the cause of low surface hardness values. Decarburization in the furnace was analyzed by measuring the alpha ferrite layer and relating it to an experimentally determined activation energy. Decarburization occurs at elevated temperatures when enough energy is provided for the carbon near the surface of the steel to diffuse out of the alloy into the air of the furnace, which contains a lower carbon content than that of the steel. With the carbon diffusing into the furnace, alpha ferrite is left at the surface of the steel.

Procedure: Samples were heat treated one at a time in the furnace at various times and temperatures. After the heat treatments, there was a layer of bark, or surface oxide layer, that was removed to create an even surface for viewing and analyzing under an optical microscope. The decarburized layers were measured and used in the Arrhenius equation to develop a relation to activation energy.

Temperature 830C 865C 900C

Times 1hr, 3hr, 5hr 1hr, 2hr, 3hr 0.5hr, 1hr, 3hr

Results: An iron oxide on the surface of the steel samples caused large variability in the size of the alpha ferrite decarburization layer. This is because the oxide removed material from the alpha ferrite region. The calculated activation energy was therefore not accurate and resulted in 57% error from the theoretical value.
Heat Treatment Xave measured (m) 186.4 209.76 377.6 120.02 Std Dev 14.64 14.43 12.09 21.3 Xave calculated (m) 90.05 155.97 201.36 111.5

Conclusions: The carbon composition in the steel samples (0.95%C) was

significantly higher than the concentration of carbon inside the furnace (~0%C). This concentration gradient creates a state of non-equilibrium in the system. The elevated temperatures provided the activation energy needed to move the reaction in the direction of equilibrium. At temperatures above 830C, the carbon has the driving force needed to go to a lower energy state in the air, with a lower concentration of carbon. Since temperature is an exponential factor of the Arrhenius equation, it has the largest effect on the size of the decarburization layer. Griffin Beemiller

830C, 1 hr
830C, 3 hrs 830C, 5 hrs 865C, 1 hr 865C, 2 hrs 865C, 3 hrs 900C, 0.5 hr 900C, 1 hr 900C, 3 hr

213.66 153.54 208.42 197.62

16.98 14.68 20.2 14.12

193.12 102.13 144.43 250.15

Junior Year

NiTi Wire Product Development

Background: Our team was asked to create a product using Nickel Titanium (NiTi) wire, utilizing either the shape memory or the super elastic properties of the material. We decided to create a ship in a bottle that the user would be able to create themselves. The theory behind the product being that the user would receive a bundle of wire, insert it into a bottle, pour hot water inside, and watch the NiTi wire turn into a Ship before their eyes.

Procedure: A proof of concept prototype was needed to be developed. The simple shape of a sailboat was chosen to avoid tangling of the bundle of wire. Various heat treatments were performed on NiTi wire using a steel jig (shown below) to obtain the proper transformation temperature (Af temperature) for the shape memory effect. Wire needed to be kept in tension during the heat treatment in order to retain the shape of the ship.

Results: After five trials of heat treatments at varying temperatures and times a low enough Af temperature of 65C was obtained. The ship produced hadenough structural integrity to support its own weight after transformation. Af temperature was measured in a hot water bath. The total cost of each ship could be made for under $7.00

Conclusions: If 200 ships were produced per day and each sold for $15, it would take only 5 days to cover the complete cost of the overhead including furnaces and steel jigs. Large profits would not be difficult due to the lack of market competitors. There would also be barriers to entry for a company that already produces shape memory nickel titanium wire. The product could be marketed to the scientific community as a novelty item. Markets will grow as more ship designs are developed and the product becomes a collectors item

Griffin Beemiller

Junior Year

Thermoforming PET
Background: In the plastics fabrication laboratory, one of the many processing methods investigated was thermoforming sheets of polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Virgin and 60% recycled sheets were used to compare the resulting thicknesses. The sheets were secured in a carriage and slid into the furnace raise the material above its glass transition temperature of 73C.

Procedure: Above the glass transition temperature, secondary bonds between carbon chains are broken and easily slide past each other. Once this happens, the PET begins to sag in the furnace. The carriage was then removed and the mold was quickly raised to the soft plastic. A vacuum was used to enable the sheet to fully take the shape of the mold. The PET sheet was cooled below its Tg as its secondary bonds were reformed at the lower temperatures and the plastic took its new shape. This process was conducted with two molds, a boat bottom and a boat top.

Results: The thickness of the virgin material was slightly smaller than that of the 60% recycled material. The virgin material also had a smaller standard deviation. Due to a small sample size, it is difficult to make any valid determinations in the results.
Boat Bottom Thickness (recycled) 0.015 0.014 0.015 0.012 0.013 0.0138 0.0013 Boat Top Thickness (virgin) 0.012 0.014 0.014 0.014 0.013 0.0134 0.0009

Conclusions: The observed slight difference in thickness was likely due to impurities present in the recycled material. This resulted in a higher standard deviation and a slightly higher thickness. The recycled material had larger variance in its data because of its unknown composition. This unknown composition creates an uneven distribution of thickness compared to the virgin material.

Boat # 1 2 3 4 5 Average Standard Dev

Griffin Beemiller

Junior Year

3-point vs 4-point Flexure Test

Background: Samples of E-glass fiber reinforced epoxy (GFRP) composite bars were obtained for testing with rectangular cross section. These bars were flexure tested in both 3-point and 4-point loading. Four samples were used for each to obtain comparable results

Procedure: ASTM standards were followed for each sample bend tested.

Results: The results of both tests yielded a flexural stress at approximately 513 MPa. In 3 point bending, the maximum moment occurs at a single point, where in four point bending it ranges across the load span, allowing the load to dissipate an area of the bar. The applied load of the 4-point flexure test was distributed more uniformly along the composite allowing it to withstand higher loads.
600 1500

Conclusions: Flaws on the fiber at the location of the maximum moment are most susceptible to causing failure. In 3-point bending, only flaws present on the fibers at the mid point of the support span are most catastrophic and result in failure. 4-point bending therefore gives a better representation of the total composites response to maximum stresses.

Flexural Streess (MPa)

500 300 200 100 0 0 1 2 3 4 0 0 1 2 3 4

Load (N)


1000 500

In composite applications, loads applied are often a combination of multiple loads resulting in multiple places where a maximum moment is present. For this reason, 4-point flexure tests should be preferred over 3 point flexure tests.

Flexural Extension(mm)

Flexural Extension(mm)

Griffin Beemiller

My Scuba Diving Expeditions

Background: I was always fascinated to be able to breath under water and go on adventures outside of the natural habitat of human beings. I found out that there is a calming thrill to be vulnerable in the environment of so many other species who are just as curious to see you as you are to see them.

Monterey: I did my open water certification dives at Break Water Cove in Monterey, CA. Although visibility was low, it was an amazing experience through a vast kelp forest full of sea life.

Tiger Fish

Belize: My first deep water dive outside of Monterey was at the Blue Hole off the coast of Belize. We dove 135 ft into the blue hole and watched the Caribbean reef sharks circle the water above us. The dive was followed by two more beautiful dives on the Lighthouse Reef.

Future Dives: For my next dive I hope to go to Catalina island off the coast of southern California. Ive heard it is a great dive spot and should be perfect for my next underwater journey.

Griffin Beemiller