For helping an electronics company solve a problem with corrosion, Dr. Matthew O’Keefe, associate professor of metallurgical engineering at the University of Missouri-Rolla, recently received the Best U.S. Paper Award at the 2003 Electronics Assembly Process Exhibition and Conference (APEX) conference in Anaheim, Calif.
O’Keefe and co-author Jim Morris of Speedline Electrovert in Camdenton, Mo., a partner of Cookson Electronics Equipment in Franklin, Mass., are being recognized for a paper, "Equipment Impacts of Lead Free Wave Soldering." The paper differs from most research papers, O’Keefe says, because it focuses on solving a "real-world" problem with UMR undergraduates doing the work.
The problem was that the company’s stainless steel parts were corroding when used with lead free solders. Morris, who is a graduate of UMR, approached O’Keefe with this problem. Over the course of two years, three groups of undergraduate students researched this problem as their senior design project. O’Keefe served as their advisor.
"The students helped Cookson identify why the parts were corroding and evaluate a coating that would delay the corrosion," says O’Keefe. "They also found a flaw with the coating. It’s much like car paint. If it is scratched, corrosion can then occur much faster."
"Partnering with your local university can provide tremendous resources that are not readily available when research is accomplished solely on your own," Morris says.
The students, now UMR alumni, who worked on this project graduated in 2001-2002. They include: Allen Birschbach, who now works for General Motors in Saginaw, Mich.; William Blair, who now works for Caterpillar in Peoria, Ill.; Jason Carter, who now works for Olin Brass in East Alton, Ill.; Matt Cavins who is now a graduate student at Southwest Missouri State University in Springfield, Mo.; Nicholas Cook, who now works for Caterpillar in Decatur, Ill.; Heather Davenport of Godfrey, Ill., who is now a member of the U.S. Navy; Kristen Hartman, who now works for Olin Brass in East Alton, Ill.; Lucie Johannes, who is now a graduate student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass.; Benjamin Yeniceh, who now works for SMI Steel in Columbia, S.C.
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