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Students transform science into art in ChemE's 3rd Annual Science & Engineering as Art Competition

Stephanie Ashby
June 4, 2018

This April, UW ChemE held is third annual Science and Engineering as Art (SEA) competition, and winners were announced at the department's annual awards day ceremony. This year's entries included images of skin cells, brain tissue, plasma, polymers and nanoparticles, all generated through student research and experiments in Chemical Engineering.

Taking first place, Luke Khoury’s image, Where the Light Is, shows a single carbon fiber within an epoxy matrix through cross-polarized light. The rainbow colors come from the strain fields within the matrix. Carbon fibers have the strength of metals but are much lighter, and have many uses, including in the manufacture of sports equipment and airplane parts. Luke experiments with how to make these materials stronger, lighter, cheaper, and easier to make.

Chad Curtis won second place with his image Brownian Motion Stained Glass. This heatmap of nanoparticle trajectories in a brain slice shows where the fastest moving particles are located. Chad is using tools like these to help find improved treatments for childhood brain diseases and injuries.

In Brittany Bishop’s Quantum Fire, we can see nanomaterial powders dissolving into a solvent under ultra-violet light. Since these materials are incredibly small, the same material at different sizes will emit different colors, resulting in the several colors shown. Brittany is working on creating more efficient materials for imaging and clean energy applications. Her research focuses on fluorescent nanomaterials, which can be used in biological imaging, LEDs, solar cells, and more.