In February, Dixie Chemical Company was honored to sponsor the Composite Materials Design Competition as part of MakeHarvard. This is the second year Dixie has sponsored the engineering makeathon, but the first in which the event featured advanced composite materials and composites engineering. Gary Gladysz, Ph.D., represented the chemical company as a contractor.
A Weekend Engineering Makeathon
MakeHarvard is a 24-hour engineering makeathon held at and hosted by Harvard College. Students compete in teams to produce engineering prototypes with the assistance of 3D printers, laser cutters and advanced composite materials. This industrious event also provided engineers, designers and innovators the opportunity to network with industry leaders in composites engineering and related fields.
Several manufacturing companies sponsored Harvard College’s second annual event. In addition to Dixie Chemical Company, the event garnered support from Infosys, Sunstone Circuits, Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, Systems & Technology Research, 80/20 Inc., ExpressPCB and more.
MakeHarvard is a part of a greater arena of invention sponsored by Major League Hacking (MLH), a national organization that provides support for student-run university hackathons across North America. Each year, MLH puts on over 200 weekend-long invention competitions to inspire the next generation of technology leaders and entrepreneurs.
Composites Engineering Competition
As part of the weekend engineering event, Dixie Chemical sponsored a composite engineering competition, which challenged 12 teams to incorporate composite materials technologies into their designs and final products.
“The composites presence at the MakeHarvard event this past weekend was a huge hit. The student teams did an excellent job incorporating the materials and composite design concepts into their products,” said Gary Gladysz, Ph.D., who represented Dixie as a contractor.
The team awarded with the Composites Materials Design Award created an unmanned surface vehicle (USV) to remove oil from water in a single step using an oleophilic/hydrophobic composite filter.
The learning didn’t stop after the awards were won, either. Leftover advanced composite materials from the composite engineering competition were given to Harvard’s Active Learning Lab so that students could use the materials for their research projects.
As a first-time composites competition, it was a great success. Exciting and engaging conversations were struck about the materials. Outside of the 12 competing teams, several other teams were excited about the materials and used them in other competitions. Students from universities like Cornell and UConn even inquired about using the advanced composite materials for research projects.
Supporting the industry is of utmost importance to Dixie Chemical Company. Through events like MakeHarvard, Imagine Chemistry, Pasadena ISD Science Fair and others, Dixie promotes further research through open innovation, all while encouraging a younger generation to explore careers in composite engineering.
About Dixie Chemical Company
Since 1946, Dixie Chemical has been committed to manufacturing high-quality, high-performance chemical products that improve our world. With 300 customers in 25 countries, Dixie Chemical, a member of IACMI, is a proven partner for open innovation in thermoset materials, alkaline paper sizing, and fuel and lube markets. For more information, visit www.dixiechemical.com.