Physical facilities for the GE Applied Materials program are located in the recently built DuBois Educational Foundation building (DEF). The facilities include a Computer Aided Design (CAD) laboratory, an optical/scanning electron microscope laboratory for materials characterization, a metrology laboratory for statics and the study of mechanical behaviors, a materials preparation laboratory for sample analysis, a production laboratory with computer controlled lathe and mill along with materials processing equipment, and metal fabrication facilities, an electrical engineering laboratory, instructional classrooms, and faculty offices.
The CAD laboratory/classroom is equipped with 15 work stations, a rapid prototyping machine, several printer and plotters, and an overhead digital projection system. Software includes AutoCAD 2014, Inventor Professional, Master Cam X2, Solid Works 2013, Working Model, and CES EduPack 2008. This facility allows for computational design instruction in a space of 30ft x 40ft.
The scanning electron microscope (SEM) and optical microscopes are in a 20ft x 30ft space with lab benches along each of the walls. There is a carbon and gold sputter coater for coating non- conductive materials to be analyzed on the SEM; and a Plas-Labs Dry Box engineered to be self-contained, compact, and easily potartable on a standard laboratory cart. The optical microscopes are equipped with a CCD camera to allow viewing of specimens on a computer monitor and easy transfer to documentation.
The metrology lab contains several coordinate measuring apparatuses for measuring the dimensions of designed materials to high level of accuracy. The lab space is 20ft x 30ft and is also used as a class room, and has a white board for teaching with open floor plan seating for students.
The materials preparation laboratory is also housed in a 20ft x 30ft laboratory with lab benches lining each of the walls. There are two optical microscopes for the viewing of samples throughout the preparation process, a LECO automated sample polisher, a Struers automated sample polisher, Buehler VibroMet (Vibratory) polisher. The laboratory also contains two manual polishing wheels, storage locker for polishing wheels and consumables, two presses for mounting samples in epoxy resin for preparation, a belt sander and abrasive cut off wheel for materials sectioning and rough polishing. There are also two low speed diamond saws for final sample sectioning and two hardness testers (Vickers micro and Rockwell). This lab also allows for use of mild chemical etchants during sample preparation for microstructure evaluation. The current intention of this lab is to prepare students with skills on sample preparation of a variety of materials and the understanding of microstructure-property relationships.
The innovation laboratory is a space of 40ft x 50ft with a storage room of 15ft x 30ft. A large access point allows for moving in large equipment and to allow easy loading/unloading of raw materials. The lab contains three focused areas:
- High temperature area with 3 tube furnaces capable of atmosphere control and temperatures to 1700oC. A thermal expansion dilatometer capable of temperatures to 1650oC with controlled atmosphere. A continuous belt furnace, capable of atmosphere control, is located in this region for materials processing. There are also 2 batch furnaces in an air atmosphere with temperature capabilities to 1100oC and a vacuum furnace which, when installation are done, will be capable of operating at 10-4- 10-5 torr and at a maximum temperature of 1157°C. These furnaces are used to show students how materials thermally densify, the effect of heat treatment on the material’s structure and properties, and to demonstrate thermal hardening of steels. The high temperature area also includes welding equipment, a plasma cutter and acetylene torch for metal fabrication instruction.
- Machining area contains an end mill for part fabrication, a Grizzly lathe for metal fabrication, two HAAS programmable mill and lathe, band saw, drill presses and grinders. This area is primarily focused on metal fabrication instruction and allows students to translate CAD drawings into milled steel prototypes.
- Materials processing area contains two hand presses for compacting materials, one production press (Gasbarre Press), powder collection hood, several materials mixing apparatuses, sieving capabilities for powder characterization, an Instron tensile/compression test frame, storage area for powders and shelving space. This area is used to instruct students on materials processing and characterization and could be used for prototyping parts fabricated from materials such as ceramics, polymers, and powdered metals.
In 2009, the Innovation laboratory went through an overhaul to expand its capabilities to better support local industry and to increase the quality of instruction at Penn State DuBois. Utilizing Keystone Innovation Starter Kit (KIZ) funding available through the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED), the innovation laboratory retained its original three focus areas, but also include an area for the Group for Academic Practicum, or pre-incubator area. The rationale is to establish an academic facility within the region to support entrepreneurial industry-academic collaborations. The area allows for faculty guided group projects with industry sponsorship.