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Viterbi Expo: Composites Center Shines Despite Rain

October 30, 2016 —

Viterbi Expo: Composites Center Shines Despite Rain

This year, an ever-increasing crowd of more than 5,000 interested visitors converged on campus at the University of Southern California for the 2016 Viterbi Expo.  High school seniors—prospective incoming freshmen--and their close family arrived to a wet scene, but the rain did not dampen the visitors’ excitement to learn more about joining the Viterbi School of Engineering. 

The M.C. Gill Composites Center was invited back to host lab tours throughout the day, where a team of doctoral and undergraduate students along with laboratory staff introduced visitors to the basics of composite materials and processing science.  Six tours were conducted in the Mechanical Testing laboratory and prospective Trojans had the opportunity to examine constituent materials, composite samples in various stages of production, and completed products comprised of composites. 

High school students were also exposed to several demonstrations of techniques used to characterize the mechanical performance of composites.  Trisha Palit, a USC freshman and research assistant, discussed her contribution on a project investigating abrasion resistance and modeled the use of instruments used to generate experimental data.  Visitors were excited to see an exhibition of the force a load frame is capable of exerting when a plastic bottle was crushed paper-thin and given to a lucky guest.  Tours were concluded with the opportunity for question, and after lively discussions pushed several of our tours past the allotted time, we were forced to conclude that people were either hiding from the rain or really enjoyed hearing what we had to say!  We look forward to seeing some of the attendees on campus as Trojan students next year.