Gilbert Group

Governor's School for Science and Technology

Governor's School 2021 brought more than 100 pre-college students to the University of Tennessee from all over the state, to participate in an intensive summer learning and research experience. For many of these students it was the furtherst (distance) and longest (time) they have been away from home. The students joined one of the focus programs (e.g. MSE, physics, chemistry...) and spent four weeks learning everything they could about their topic. Their experience included lectures, labs, research projects, homework, lab notebooks and lab reports.

Governor's School 2021 included an incredible 40 students in the Materials Science and Engineering section. Over the course of 4 weeks, the students attended intensive lectures and performed a series of experiments - including many traditional MSE experiences such as casting, stress-strain measurements, cold-rolling, and hardness testing.

In 2021, for the first time, Governor's School included nanotechnology! The students had two experiments utilizing nanotechnology. In the first experiment, we brought the electrospinner from our NSF project and the students electrospun non-woven textiles of Polyvinylpyrrolidone. Each team chose a growth parameter to vary (voltage, distance, viscosity, drum rotation speed) and each student made a sample in the series. Using an SEM, the students evaluated their product and determined the correlation between their parameter and the textile structure. In the second experiment, the students used a nano-indenter to determine the hardness of a AlCe thin-film grown by combinitorial sputtering. A sister sample was prepared and annealed. Thus the students determined the impact of composition and ordering on the hardness of these films. These experiments were fully hands-on, with the students preparing and analyzing every sample themselves; virtual students were also included in the experiment.