Sunday, December 30, 2012

Shrink! Shrank! Shrunk! Make Stylish Shrink Plastic Jewelry

One of the great attractions of materials science as a course and subject is the number of non-science connections that our students can make. There are hooks for the sport kid (composite baseball bats and hockey sticks), the builder kid (galvanizing deck hangers), the destroyer kid (dropping cement 'hockey pucks'), the art kid (glass making), and most definitely the craft kid (shrinky dinks and lots more).

Sometimes, though, I feel that I'm far out of my depth in that last area. Sure, I can explain to most student - at least to a depth of understanding with which they are comfortable - the concepts of a thermoplastic returning to its original structure/size/shape when heat is applied. I can even demonstrate it a few different ways (2L bottles, shrinky dinks).

What I can't do, though, is to show them anything really neat that I've made with a shrinky dink. I was a pretty linear, geometric kid. When the teachers gave me a blank piece of paper, crayons, and the instructions to 'make something', I invariably went in for a random bunch of geometric figures colored in all the crayon colors - sort of a stained glass mosaic with no planning at all. I do sometimes like how these look on the shrinky dinks because the colors get so dark and rich, but it's not exactly something that's going to hook the artsy-crafty kid into the neatness of shrinky dinks. That's why I was happy to stumble upon this book when looking at the 741s (comic books) at my local library.

This book is filled with ways to turn shrinky dinks into earrings, necklaces, even rings. There are techniques in ink jet printing, plastic sanding, and shaping that are far more crafty than I could ever have thought on my own. It's going to make a nice addition to my classroom library and just might open up a whole new section.

You can check out some of the interior pages and download pdfs of some of the designs from the book at the publisher's site or on the blog of one of the contributors. The book is available from Amazon. Here are a few others in the shrink plastic realm.

And in the interest of going multimedia, here's a video review of the book...

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Meet the Eutectic, St. Louis' mystery mascot

That, apparently, is what a eutectic looks like in real life.

Who knew?

My understanding was that a eutectic looked more like this...

...but apparently at St Louis College of Pharmacy, their sports teams' mascot is Mortarmer McPestle, a Eutectic. Apparently, Morty has been working out because he has a six pack under that lab coat...

I particularly appreciate the logo showing Morty hard at work compounding...

If, by the way, you'd like to get a Eutectics shirt, they are available online. Looks like they would be perfect for summer camp, day 2.

Your friendly neighborhood blogger does enjoy Morty but is partial to Wally, a Wabash College Little Giant.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Cornstarch monster - non-Newtonian fluid on speaker

There isn't really anything too new and revolutionary in this video. It's pretty standard cornstarch and water on a speaker. It just happens to be very well done, showing the cornstarch mixture releasing entirely from the speaker. We also get some explorations of varying cornstarch/water ratios.

Fun stuff...