Kimberly finds the coursework challenging, as students following this curriculum are required to assume leadership roles in design projects and laboratory experiments.
Robert C. Byrd Scholarship Recipient
As an Honors in the Major student of Chemical-Biomedical Engineering for the past two years, Kimberly Thompson has been assisting Professor Rufina Alamo in her Polymer Lab with research on propylene copolymers. These semicrystalline thermoplastics are widely used in commercial plastics—automobiles, electrical insulation, carpet and rope fibers, adhesives, and some plastic household items. Copolymerization allows manufacturers to make products with the desired physical properties and ensures protection of the environment—these plastics are recyclable.
Kimberly’s research, as well as that of Dr. Alamo, Graduate Teaching Assistant Anindya Ghosal (Chemical Engineering), and Assistant Scholar Jhunu Chatterjee (Mechanical Engineering), was recently published in the scientific journal, Polymer. More than a year of data collection went into the paper entitled, "Linear Growth Rates of Propylene Ethylene Copolymers: The Changeover from g dominated to mixed (a+g) polymorphic growth."
Kimberly finds the coursework challenging, as students following this curriculum are required to assume leadership roles in design projects and laboratory experiments. In the Measurements, Transport and Unit Operations labs, Kimberly led a four-student team in conducting experiments with miniature chemical plant equipment during the complex experimentation phase and for the completion of 100-page lab reports, for which, says Kimberly, “My team received all A’s.”
Even with her research work and a challenging curriculum, Kimberly has maintained a 4.0 departmental grade point average. Her Honors work continues. Studying crystallization kinetics and the development of crystalline phases in propylene-octene copolymers, she will present the results in her thesis, "Crystalline Properties of Propylene 1-Octene Copolymers."