Exploring Relaxation and the Glass Transition with Sugar Glasses and Home-Built Apparatus
Departments: Materials Science and Engineering Advisor: William Heffner
A collection of experiments is presented to measure the glass transition, relaxation and aging phenomena in simple, easy to prepare glasses made from sugars (hard candy) and other low Tg materials. These experiments complement a larger collection of low-cost experiments for exploring the science of glassy materials through hands-on activities. Sugar based glasses, as well as the artificial sweetener isomalt (a sugar based alcohol) can be prepared in the kitchen or home laboratory at moderate temperatures and have glass transitions slightly above room temperature, around 40 C. These lower temperature glasses are convenient to prepare and show significant rheological effects such as aging even at room temperature. Demonstrative experiments are included to examine the shrinkage of these glasses after cooling and the mitigating influence of annealing. The effect of aging on the glass transition and development of the post Tg endothermic peak are quantified using a commercial DSC as well as our home-built DTA. It was shown that the endothermic peak increases in a logarithmic fashion with increasing aging time.
About Kerem Ege Calay:
Ege is a senior majoring Materials Science and Engineering and minoring International Relations at Lehigh University. He studied in a French immersion high school in Istanbul, Turkey and was an exchange student for one year in Canada (Quebec). His current research focuses on thermal analysis using Differential Scanning Calorimetry to investigate the relaxation behavior of sugar based glasses around glass transition temperature. His earlier research experience involves designing a cone structured elastomer in SolidWorks and simulating the finite element models using Abaqus by custom-scripting with Python programming language to optimize the mechanical properties of a functionally gradient material. He is also actively engaged in extracurricular activities by taking leadership positions such as Student Senate, LU Diplomats, and Association of International Students. He took the initiative of becoming the founding father of a professional fraternity chapter at Lehigh University of which he served as the treasurer.