After a great kick off we had to EWeek on Monday, I’m going to now talk about one of the coolest engineering projects I’ve taken part of since I’ve been at USC.
I mentioned in a previous post that the summer after my freshman year I got to intern in Sweden for a powder metals company. I got really involved in the projects there and I still keep updated with their progress!
One of my main projects was focused on metal injection molding (MIM). Essentially, MIM is the process of mixing fine powder metals with a binder material that is then injected into a mold to form the desired product. While in the mold, the metal is then sintered so that the product is solid. It’s often used in the manufacturing of complex components used in a variety of industries such as auto motives or the medical field.
My work included researching different powders and materials. I worked with a team to determine the different properties of each metal and alloy and then we used a variety of simulation programs to see how adjusting the sintering parameters would affect how quickly and well the mold was made. I got to apply what I learned from class regarding system design and product composition too.
Moreover, we got to make samples of the mixes and sinter “slugs” or test pieces. We used these pieces to test their physical and chemical properties such as how much they oxidized, how hard they were and how well they could resist certain forces. It was cool to work and see the progress from starting with a powder to forming an actual solid component!
In addition to working in the lab and making experiments, we did a lot of reading on what other companies were doing and what designs customers were looking for in their products.
I learned a lot from the internship and carried a lot of the experience into classes I’m taking right now. Ultimately, I can’t wait to see what else chemical engineering has in store!