Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Driving Ms. Daisy

In combat zones like Iraq and Afghanistan soldiers are placed in many hazardous conditions.  Even driving down the road is filled with danger as insurgents place roadside bomb.  An article from "National Defense Magazine" discusses the steps the US military has taken to protect the troops.

The article says the application of armor on the underside of military vehicles has saved many lives.  This armor is a glass ceramic composite used on a v hull shape.  This application has proven effective in deflecting explosive forces away.  The glass ceramic composite called Resistan can withstand the high temperatures and is highly resistant to corrosive damage.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Picture Show

I finally have some picture to show you guys on my project.

One half the mold used to cast the slurry.
Making the slurry out of alumina powder, zirconia powder and water.  Looks like paste.
Ceramic balls that will turn the paste into a watery solution.
The ceramic ball are placed in the bottle and placed on a ball mill.
Not so pasty after ball milling.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Self Evaluation

My blog currently is meeting and exceeding all minimum requirement for blog post.  I regularly incorporate videos, pictures, and links to other websites.  My posts are regularly commented on by people in and outside of the class room.  I actively read and reply to comments people have on my posts.  I admit my earlier posts were lacking in depth and content but as the weeks went on the quantity and quality of my posts have increased.

Now I believe I am speaking in a polite tone not filled with technical jargon or belittling my audience.  I am currently engaging my audience by letting them follow me as I design a ceramics related project.  Currently I feel my blog most likely falls in the B category but I believe if I continue to put more work and effort into my blog it will become an A blog.

Protect Your Coffee

As I explained in an earlier post a group of students and I are trying to make mugs from aluminum oxide and zirconia.  These are materials commonly used in lower cost body armors.  Our goal is to produce a mug that can survive falls from great heights.  However, while most body armors are hot pressed these mugs are going to be slip casted because you can't form a mug through pressing.  This process involves creating a mold that will allow the mixed slurry to be poured.  Once the mold has set it is placed in a oven and roasted.

Right now we are constructing sample molds to test the right amount of what materials to use.  I hope to post a picture of our mold soon.  I'll keep you posted.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Why am I doing this?

In class we are discussing the  importance of good science communication.  An article I read in class titled "Communication: a responsibility of all scientists" showed me the importance of good communication.  In the picture below you can see how poor science communication led to a panicked and misinformed public.

The article supplied guidelines to improve science communication skills.  As seen in the picture when the scientists are not directly communicating their research it has the potential to be misconstrued.  This is why a blog is such a good form to communicate science to people.  Initially I wanted to write this blog almost like a lecture were I just tell you facts.  Now I see to properly communicate science I have to be open to and willing to answer questions and reply to feedback.  Also I must ensure I write posts free of technical jargon.  I will now be sharing information about a school project I am participating in to use materials commonly used in body armor to produce mugs.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Something Interesting

I found a pretty cool article on another blog called "Next Big Future."  In this post the author discusses CPS Technologies' process to combining ceramics and metals to from a type of hybrid armor.  This process shows that cheaper ceramic materials when combined with these metal matrices can outperform more expensive ceramics.  Definitely click the link and check it out.

What is it?

So I realize that I jumped right into this blog without actually explaining what ceramic armor is, for this I apologize.  When you first hear the word you ceramics you most likely think of things like pottery and dinnerware.  While this is their major purpose ceramics have many features that make them ideal in armor and more advantageous than traditional steel armor.

First lets discuss what and how ceramic armor is made from.  Ceramics are a material consisting of a metal and nonmetal.  Common materials used in ceramic armor include aluminum oxide, boron carbide, and silicon carbide.  These materials are first present as a powder.  To turn them into armor the powders are placed into specially designed molds.  The need for these special molds is obvious if you have ever tried to reshape a dinner plate, it usually doesn't end up very well for the plate.  Once the molds have been loaded they are placed in a hot press.  This hot press applies both heat and pressure to the powder causing the powders to fuse together and become dense.  Once the pieces are ready protective layer is applied on the outside of the plate.  This layer is to ensure pieces of that may have broken by the impact of a bullet do not fly out harming the wear or those around him.  Take a look at this video found in the new Batman movie to get a picture of this process.

Now the reason ceramic armor can stop a bullet is due to its high compress strength and fracture toughness.  All this means is a large force must be exerted on the material before it will break.  Obviously a bullet impact is a large force as seen earlier in the video when a sniper shot at the soldier knocked him to the ground.  Needless to say, if that soldier was not wearing ceramic body armor he likely would have died.

If anything I said was confusing or if you just want to say something please feel free to comment.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Blog Self-Interview

What is the purpose of this blog?
 The purpose of the this blog is to engage and inform the public about ceramic armor, while also improving my science communicating skills.
Who is the imagined audience(s) of this blog?I imagine my audience to contain people in high school and older that have an interest in ceramics, defense or cool science.

Have my posts matched up with my purpose/audience?  What/who might I be overlooking in defining my purpose/audience this way?
Not really.  Currently I have not posted enough to engage any audience.  Also my only true post just talked about some news that happened in ceramic armor.  I have yet to truly explain what ceramic armors are or why they are used.  The lack of post are currently overlook my entire audience.

What can I do to encourage more reader participation with my blog?
Post more and encourage questions from my audience.  Also I shouldn't just be lecturing at my audience.  I should be asking for their feedback.
How can I expand my audience in this class?  Outside of this class?
Try and find other ceramics or material science blogs that I can read up on  and post about.  Maybe by linking to other blogs people will follow my comments back to my blog.
How would I characterize the tone of my blog?
The tone of my blog is very news oriented and laid back.
What do I hope to get out of writing this blog?
I hope to improve my writing skills and my ability to explain this field of study to others.
What would I like others to get out of it?I hope people are well informed after reading and are encouraged to read more about the subject.

What are the strengths of my blog/my blogging?
 People seems to like my posts.
What are the weaknesses?
The biggest weakness about my blog currently is the lack of content.  Also I may not be writing in an effective manner to gain more interest.

Have I used a deficit model in my writing, or something else?  How would I know?
Yes at first I assumed that the audience knew nothing about it and just started lecturing at them.
How have I characterized (implicitly or explicitly) science, engineering, and/or technology in my blog?
In my first post i explicitly stated that this was a blog dedicated to ceramic armor.
How have I characterized myself?
I described myself as a person that wished to learn more about the subject.  I am not an expert and a very willing to listen to the suggestions and views of others.