We are excited to host the first ever residential Paper Science and Engineering Summer Camp focused on Generating the Green Economy of the Future in partnership with The Engineering Place and the College of Engineering. The inaugural group of 24 high school juniors and seniors will sample life at NC State from June 12-17 by living in a residence hall, eating at dining halls and participating in sessions and lab-based hands-on activities in the Department of Forest Biomaterials.
During the week, current PSE students and faculty will encourage campers to think about the process of engineering a greener economy for the future through biofuels, super absorbent polymers, recycling and sustainability, where they will learn the answer to the following questions:
- What products do you use every day and where do they come from?
- Are the materials renewable and sustainable from raw material through the production process?
- What happens to our products after we use them?
- What are the future implications of the products and processes to produce them?
- What could be the “next big idea” in the development of a green economy, products for the future and how could you engineer and manufacture them?
Each day will explore a different topic through lecture and practical application labs. On Monday, Dr. Hasan Jameel will lead a biofuels lab where students will produce liquid fuel from renewable resources, like sugar cane, a widely accepted way of producing ethanol in other parts of the world. The sugar cane will be juiced, which will then be fermented, producing 10 percent ethanol. The ethanol will then be put into a fuel cell, which will convert the ethanol into electricity and power a small scale fan. The pulp byproduct created after juicing will then be used to make paper hand sheets.
On Tuesday, Dr. Joel Pawlak will help students understand super absorbent polymers and the chemistry and physics of absorption. In the lab, students will design and conduct a set of experiments to determine whether a material is using absorption or adsorption to take up and retain water to engineer a better product design.
Later in the day, Dr. Med Byrd will lead a recycling lab, where students will learn the challenges associated with recycling laser-printed copy paper. The high image quality of laser-printed documents is caused by a plastic-based toner or ink, but the strong attachment of the toner to the paper, combined with the very small size of detached toner particles, makes it challenging to recycle. Students will re-pulp a laser-printed sheet of paper by using flotation deinking to separate and remove the toner particles from the fibers in a slurry, learning the concepts of surface chemistry and hydrophobicity. They will then measure the yield of the process and determine the “sweet spot” of ink removal versus fiber loss and re-make the deinked slurry into a new sheet of paper, learning the concepts of natural hydrogen bonding. Then, using a high-resolution scanner to measure the residual ink particle of the re-made sheet of paper, they will perform an analysis of the deinking process and make recommendations about how the process could be improved.
On Wednesday, students will tour Sonoco Recycling facility in Raleigh and learn more about biomaterials of the future with Dr. Lokendra Pal, where the students will print flexible circuits on paper and make demonstrations on circuit boards, drawing a parallel from the technology they use every day, like smart phones, LCD TV’s, tablets, etc., and that of future technologies and how they can be made infinitely better with regards to uses, applications and the environment.
On Thursday, students will have discussions about Life Cycle Analysis with Dr. Richard Venditti, who will tie in sustainability, discussing case studies that compare competing products for environmental impacts. In the lab, students will use commercial software packaging to compare the environmental impacts of different products.
On Friday, students will bring their session and lab knowledge together for a day presentations for family and participating faculty and staff members. The culmination of the week will showcase their thoughts for a brighter and greener future in the growing paper industry.