The Thermal Analysis Lab provides access to advanced scientific instrumentation for the measurement of the thermal properties of materials in support of the educational, research and public service missions of WKU for faculty and students requiring thermal analysis data. AMI also actively conducts third party thermal analysis of samples for local, regional and national businesses and governmental agencies.
Thermal Analysis Laboratory Staff
OPPORTUNITIES TO GET INVOLVED
Revenue brought into the laboratory by service work is used for students’ salaries. The Thermal Lab has provided part-time employment to thirty undergraduate students and forty-five M.S. and Ph.D. students. The transition from an academic laboratory setting to an industrial research setting can be difficult. A large number of students enter industry after obtaining degrees and working in the Thermal Analysis Lab, and the project-based curricula of the Lab involving partnerships with universities and industry eases the transition and increases the probability of our young professionals’ success. By partnering with local industries, we are able to participate in challenging research projects that are associated with cutting edge technology.
The advanced instrumentation located in the Thermal Analysis Lab is available to WKU faculty and their research students to support their research programs. Training and student supervision in the use of the instrumentation is provided by the Lab staff. The presence of the Thermal Analysis Laboratory makes faculty more competitive in obtaining external grant funding, provides more opportunities for partnering with industrial research programs, and relieves faculty of the expense and time required to obtain and maintain advanced scientific instruments.
For the Community
Since it was established in 1986, the Thermal Analysis Laboratory has conducted analyses for over 300 different companies, universities, and governmental agencies in over 30 states. Currently, approximately 80% of the studies conducted by the Lab are for local and regional companies, representing a significant contribution to the recruitment and success of technology based enterprises in the region.
Cooperation with governmental organizations has included collaborations with the United States Air Force Research Laboratory, the United States Navy—Naval Undersea Warfare Center, and NASA. The research with the United States Air Force involved determination of the thermal stability of organically modified layered silicates and a mapping of the thermal decomposition kinetics of these materials. The Thermal Analysis Lab used evolved gas analysis to identify combustion products of materials that were to be used on submarines to determine what potential hazards these materials may pose. The work with NASA focused on the modification of single-wall carbon nanotubes to enhance dispersion and degradation studies of the modified nanotubes.
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Over the past 30 years, the thermal analysis group has presented over 80 papers at the North American Thermal Analysis Society (NATAS) annual conferences. In the past, the Thermal Lab organized an annual thermal analysis short course focused on TGA and DSC. The Thermal Lab also organized other thermal analysis symposia, including the 2nd International Symposium on Micro-Thermal Analysis at WKU and the 2013 National NATAS Meeting. These meetings featured talks by invited speakers, poster presentations by WKU students, and attracted participants from around the world.
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For more information about the Thermal Analysis Laboratory, visit http://wku.edu/icset/abt_ta_lab.php