Shape Memory Polymers: A Joint Chemical and Materials Engineering Hands-On Experience


  • Mujan Seif University of Kentucky • Lexington, KY 40506
  • Matthew Beck University of Kentucky • Lexington, KY 40506


Hands-on experiences are excellent tools for increasing retention of first year engineering students. They also encourage interdisciplinary collaboration, a critical skill for modern engineers. In this paper, we describe and evaluate a joint Chemical and Materials Engineering hands-on lab that explores cross-linking and glass transition in polymeric materials. We find that the experience provides an engaging introduction to polymers for Chemical and Materials engineers.

Author Biographies

Mujan Seif, University of Kentucky • Lexington, KY 40506

Mujan N. Seif received her B.S. in materials engineering from the University of Kentucky in May 2017. She has been heavily involved in UK’s Material Advantage chapter as well the Society of Women Engineers. She continues to be active in SWE as a member of its Collegiate Leadership Institute. She previously completed a co-op at DuPont Titanium Technologies, and is doing research in Dr. Katsuyo Thornton’s Computational Materials group at the University of Michigan during the 2017-2018 academic year.

Matthew Beck, University of Kentucky • Lexington, KY 40506

Matthew J. Beck is an associate professor in the Chemical and Materials Engineering Department at the University of Kentucky. In 2015 he won the Provost’s Outstanding Teaching Award. He is heavily involved in recruiting and outreach activities on behalf of the Materials Engineering program, and currently serves as the co-director of Graduate Studies in the Chemical and Materials Engineering Department. He received his Ph. D. in materials engineering from Northwestern University, and his research group uses atomistic calculations to probe the structure and properties of nanomaterials and surfaces for applications in catalysis, energy generation and storage, and electron beam generation.