Physics Senior Integrated Projects

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This collection includes Senior Integrated Projects (SIPs, formerly known as Senior Individualized Projects) completed in the Physics Department. Abstracts are generally available to the public, but PDF files are available only to current Kalamazoo College students, faculty, and staff. If you are not a current K College student, faculty, or staff member, email us at to request access to this material.


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Now showing 1 - 5 of 337
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    Engineering a Custom Car Hauler : The Benefits of Computer-Assisted Design and Finite Element Analysis
    (2023-09-01) Beurkens, Jonah; Beurkens, Caden; Askew, Thomas R., 1955-
    The design and manufacture of robust and reliable vehicles is a challenge that requires an interdisciplinary approach including mechanical analysis, materials science, and advanced simulation tools. In this research, I delineate the process of engineering the truck bed and ramps for a custom ramp truck built on a 1998 Ford E-350 Cab and Chassis. I consider a combination of mechanical and economic factors such as cost, weight, yield strength, and loading conditions to determine the most effective materials to use. Then, I employ industry-standard Computer Assisted Design (CAD) and Finite Element Analysis (FEA) software to model the proposed vehicle components and simulate their behavior under desired load conditions. Through an iterative calculation- and simulation-based process, I develop an economical, safe, and reliable design that is ready for manufacture. Insights gained from this process highlight the importance of a multifaceted approach to vehicle engineering, as well as illustrate the pivotal role of advanced simulation tools in improving and validating potential designs.
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    Charge Order in the Blume-Capel Model on a Triangular Lattice
    (Kalamazoo, Mich. : Kalamazoo College., 2024-03-01) Nelson, Matthew; Scalettar, Richard; Tobochnik, Jan, 1953-
    To better understand the onset of charge ordering in high-temperature superconductors, we perform Monte Carlo simulations using the Blume-Capel model on a 2D triangular lattice. By working in the canonical and grand canonical ensemble, we identify transitions in both charge and spin ordering on the lattice. To aid in this process we introduce several new measurements focused on identifying loops of spin or charge. We also make modifications to the Binder cumulant to make it applicable to the model.
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    Alternative Methods for Ultrasonic Welding of Advanced Thermoplastic Composites
    (2022-11-01) Carman, Vaughn A.; Short, Matt; Askew, Thomas R., 1955-
    The fusion bonding of advanced thermoplastic composites has a variety of applications in aerospace, automotive, medical, consumer electronics and energy markets. High-power ultrasonic welding is a state-of-the-art manufacturing process being used to join these materials. This welding process uses high frequency, moderate force, and low amplitude mechanical vibrations to generate heat. When adequate temperatures are reached at the weld interface, localized melting occurs and upon cooling, an intermolecular bond is formed between the materials. It is the viscoelastic nature of polymers that facilitates heating, enabling the bonding process. This project was done in collaboration with Agile Ultrasonics Corp, an American company based out of Hilliard, OH. Agile entered the industry in 2017, specializing in the joining and consolidation of thermoplastic materials, including carbon-fiber-reinforced polymers (specifically: PEEK - Polyether ether ketone, PAEK - Polyaryletherketone, PEKK - Polyetherketoneketone, PPS - Polyphenylene sulfide) [1]. Agile collaborates with industry-leading manufacturers of aerospace and consumer electronic components on a variety of system design projects. They have been developing a unique process that continuously joins fiber reinforced thermoplastic tape, braid, or pre-consolidated plate materials. One of the primary objectives of this project is to help refine this process and make it more robust. The majority of the content in this report focuses on investigating anvil materials with properties that can improve the quality of the scan welds being produced by Agile. More specifically, this project investigates the effect that the elastic modulus within compliant anvil materials has on the amount of heat being generated at the weld joint. The first section will focus on background information, and the following two will go into the work that was performed and the test results. Data was collected on various materials and a variety of tests were designed and performed to find an array of compliant substrates that can be used by Agile.
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    Utilizing Combined Point Array’s in Hepatitis B Virus Drug-Bound State Investigative Research
    (2022-11-01) Phillips, Mary; Wilson, David
    Viruses attach to a host cell by administering a molecular hijacking and in turn, replicating the genetic material enveloped within their capsid shells to spread viral particles. Viruses are complex in nature, coming in a multitude of different shapes and sizes. A promising feature of spherically shaped viruses like the Hepatitis B virus, is that they orient themselves to a set of distinct points called point array’s. A virus's genetic material is positioned at multiple radial levels within an icosahedral capsid. Point array’s give the geometric constraints that viruses with spherical icosahedral symmetry adhere to. By combining a virus’s network of best fitting point arrays, meaning the arrays that are the smallest distance away from capsid protrusions, we are able to compare the mechanism of the assembly and disassembly of viral capsid formations and essentially capsid stability. Within this study, a combined point array analysis was applied to the two strains of the Hepatitis B virus and five separate drugs that cause the mis-assembly and distortion of Hepatitis B virus capsids. The most significant locations on these drugs were identified in an analysis where specific amino acid sequencing at these locations were identified and compared. The results showed the most prominent locations in which HBV is dismantled and the capsid is changed after the drugs have induced mis-assembly. These locations were then compared to the ADYW strain of the HBV for similarities and differences in the virion capsid structure.
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    Engineering a Rotating Sample Cell for Ultrafast Two-Dimensional Electronic Spectroscopy
    (2021-11-01) Wade, Carter E.; Cole, Arthur; Ogilvie, Jennifer P.
    Two-dimensional electronic spectroscopy (2DES) is a collection of techniques that allow us to track energy and charge transfer by exciting pigments with lasers and tracking the frequencies emitted following a range of delay times. While working with the Ogilvie Group at the University of Michigan’s physics REU, I was tasked with developing a rotating sample cell to prevent the same area of sample from being targeted twice in a row. In this paper, I discuss the techniques and advantages of 2DES, the limitations that we still face which motivated my work, and the development of my Rotating Sample Cell.
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