Materials Science and Engineering

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Explore the nanoscale world!      (1 nanometer = 0.000000001 meters)

The goal of this Lego project is to provide a fun way for students of all ages to learn about Materials Science and Engineering and the instruments which reveal the world hidden from human eyes. The development of new materials has enabled technological breakthroughs that impact and improve our daily lives; consumer electronics like the tablet or smart phone, life-saving biomaterials such as stents and artificial heart valves, higher performance and more efficient airplanes and cars, and alternative energy solutions like biological fuel cells or more efficient solar (photovoltaic) cells. The design of tomorrow’s materials is the foundation of technological progress and holds the solution to society’s biggest problems. Looking forward, research is underway to detect and cure cancer with DNA nano-bots, develop single-atom thick materials that are stronger than steel and lighter than air, and harness abundant, cheap, renewable energy and distribute it around the globe!

The set includes authentic, detailed models of three standard materials characterization instruments, the TEM, SEM, and XRD. Access to these instruments is limited since they are (very) expensive and typically requires extensive training and education. These sets provide a stepping-stone for anyone to explore the main components and operation of the instruments. A suggestion is to have either printed bricks or stickers for each instrument computer display and for the TEM’s fluorescent viewing screen so that the builder also gets to see what kind of info and data the instruments provide.   

I am a recent graduate from Boise State University in Idaho, where I had the opportunity to work with some of the equipment as an undergrad researcher. I hope this becomes an official Lego Ideas set, and inspires people to learn more about the field of MSE and the hidden world that impacts our everyday life.

All you Scientists, Engineers, and fellow STEM supporters, please vote.

Thanks!

-Chris

Find more information by visiting the following links:

Boise State Center for Materials Characterization: http://coen.boisestate.edu/bscmc/instrumentation/

Scanning Electron Microscope:

Transmission Electron Microscope:

X-Ray Diffractometer: