AE senior awarded for research poster
Among the 178 posters in a recent competition, aerospace engineering senior Suzanne Peterson received “Best Computational Approach.” The competition was part of the 2019 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition conference, held in mid-November in Salt Lake City. Peterson participated in the Track 16 National Science Foundation Student Poster Research Competition.
The title of her poster was "Modeling Thermal Instabilities During Frontal Polymerization of Thermosetting Polymers and Composites."
About the content of her poster, Peterson said, “Frontal polymerization has been proposed as a more efficient way to manufacture composite materials. In frontal polymerization, a high-temperature front is initiated with a small amount of energy. It triggers an exothermic chain reaction wave that cures the composite part as the front propagates. Under certain conditions, propagation instabilities in the polymerization front arise from competitive heat release during the exothermic reaction and heat loss to the environment. These thermal gradients generate undesirable permanent surface patterns in thermoset polymers and composites.”
She said the efforts of this work were to characterize the propagation instabilities numerically and create a frontal polymerization composite manufacturing design space.
Peterson will graduate this semester. She is an undergraduate research assistant, working with Professor Philippe Geubelle. She was also in the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program this past summer in Geubelle’s lab. UROP is coordinated by NASA’s Illinois Space Grant Consortium.