Last month, mechanical engineering major Galen Arnold attended the 2016 Material Research Society Spring Meeting and Exhibit here in Phoenix. While in attendance, he presented his research titled, “Non-contact location system for precision placement of nanostructures in EHD printing,” which has been working on under the mentorship of Dr. Owen Hildreth. After attending the conference, Galen told us about the details of his trip.
In layman terms, what was the conference about?
MRS is the Material’s Research Societies main conference and exhibit. The conference focuses on up and coming research in material science, processing, and manufacturing by bringing together a wide variety of academic and industry experts in one event.
What motivated you to present at this conference?
My primary motivation to attend this conference was to further develop my presentation skills. Being able to concisely articulate a complex and technical concept is a key success factor for an engineer, and I feel that this conference gave me much needed practice in this.
Tell us about some of the presentations you attended!
I attended a presentation that covered the auto alignment of micro-scale objects through the use of surface traction. This is very applicable to the manufacturing of very small scale objects since it allows a manufacturing process to inaccurately place and object relative to another and have it automatically move into the correct position over time.
Another presentation I attended was covering the use of super capacitors in place of traditional batteries. The lecture went over how the use of super capacitors would allow a battery operated device to charge extremely quickly. This is very applicable to devices that need to have a long battery but have minimal access charging, such as electric public transportation, which needs to quickly recharge at each stop rather than slowly over night.
Best part of the conference?
The best part of the conference was being able to see other people’s work and gauge were the industry is going. Events such as these are laying the groundwork for the next five to ten years for the industry.
What did you wish you knew prior to the conference?
I wish I had spent more time going through the program for the conference prior to attending. This would have given me a better idea of the topics being presented that I could have attended.
Any suggestions for other students regarding conferences?
My only suggestion is to get your work done early so that you have more time to explore and enjoy the conference. I felt that I was rushing at the end to finish my presentation which limited the number of presentations I could attend.
Going to a conference? Have research-related travel needs? Apply for the Undergraduate Research Travel Grant!