16th Denman Undergraduate Research Forum (2011)

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    Virtual Design and Optimization of Metallic Glass Alloys
    (2011-05-11) Ward, Logan; Windl, Wolfgang; Flores, Katharine
    Optimizing a material for a specific application usually requires extensive experimental testing in order to find the best composition. The goal of this work is to greatly reduce the amount of experimentation by introducing a means of testing and selecting materials using only first-principles computational methods. For this work, we have aimed to design a metallic glass with low density, low elastic modulus, and high fracture toughness using molecular dynamics. Metallic glasses are non-equilibrium metallic alloys that lack the long range order characteristic of conventional metals. They are well-suited for testing this design technique because they currently lack methods for tuning properties and have no micron or larger-scale microstructure. This lack of large-scale features allows them to be effectively modeled using atomistic simulation techniques, which are required in order to directly study the influence of changing alloy composition. To manage the design process, we have developed a software system capable of handling the composition optimization automatically. With this tool and the use of high-performance computing, we have been able to identify an alloy composition with an optimal balance of the desired properties. This result was then combined with methods to predict glass-forming ability from atomistic modeling. With these to newly-developed techniques, it was possible to identify both the ideal composition and the closest glass-forming alloy completely from simulation, which will now be fabricated and tested.
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    Ecology of Mathematics
    (2011-05-11) DeLany, Jacqueline; Petrill, Stephen; Martin, Andrew; Downey, Douglas
    Evidence suggests that America is losing its place as the dominating economic powerhouse, partly due to its education system, specifically mathematical accomplishment. Few studies have examined the ecological effects influencing mathematics and relatively little is known about the environmental etiologies of mathematics abilities and disabilities (Kovas, Haworth, Petrill, & Plomin 2007). More generally, there remains a need to determine the essential environmental factors related to mathematical abilities. This study aims at finding the relationship of the children’s school life, family life, and child’s exclusive environment on mathematical achievement. This study examined environmental influences on mathematical ability, using 384 elementary and middle school-age children drawn from the Western Reserve Reading Project (WRRP). The child's socioeconomic status and questionnaires, assessing school and family life, were used to assess each child’s environment. SES was examined using the highest level of education achieved by the parent, and chaos by a 6-item child-report questionnaire. The relationships between the questionnaires and SES were measured on three tests of mathematical achievement. Mathematical ability was evaluated using three subtests of the Woodcock-John III Tests of Achievement. Results suggest that SES and CHAOS account for independent sources of shared environmental influences related to mathematical ability. The data illustrates that home life environment affects a child’s mathematical abilities. The results of this study could have a positive impact upon the American school setting and teachers will have a more developed understanding of etiologies influencing mathematical capabilities. Parents can create a home life more conducive to learning; a child can adjust his own surroundings to achieve mathematical success.