Civil engineering junior, Ryan Holmes, has been selected to present a research poster presentation (he is listed as the first author) at the ASME SBC (American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Summer Bioengineering Conference) in Fajardo, Puerto Rico on June 21st. Ryan became involved in the research effort about a year ago when he was invited to help with the testing of some developmental materials, after he finished a dynamics class with Dr. Jennifer Melander. Ryan observed, “The more I learned, the more I wanted to learn and further my understanding of chemistry, mixture design, material testing, and research in general. Dr. Melander describes this thirst for knowledge as the “thinking bug,” and I agree, though I hope to never find a cure!” Ryan now describes himself as a “civil engineering student, with an emphasis in being the most eclectic engineer.”
The name of his research project is “Polymerization Stress and the Influence of TOSU Addends on Methacrylate Composites.” His research efforts included testing and characterizing properties of dental resin mixtures (used for cavity fillings and tooth substitute, can be thought of as a “glue”) by examining their mechanical properties (flexural/compressive/tensile strength and modulus), determining their handling properties (exothermicity, viscosity, and cure time) and their chemical properties (FTIR spectra, polymerization stress, degree of polymerization). Analysis of the data required the use of MS Excel and statistical (ANOVA) software.
The research involved the collaboration of University of Missouri faculty researchers Dr. Jennifer Melander, Dr. Kathleen V. Kilway, Dr. Thomas P. Schuman and Dr. J. David Eick and UMKC student researchers Ryan Holmes, Bradley D. Miller and Rachel A. Weiler from different academic disciplines – chemistry, dentistry, and engineering. Ryan notes that “by studying polymers that reduce polymerization stress, we can provide better tooth fillings and glues. More importantly, it gives us insight as to how the polymer interacts with other additives. In other words, how do the molecules come together and build on each other when other building blocks are present? This might answer questions like, ‘does this molecule make the system stronger?’ The stress created by the glue as it hardens is thought to be a negative quality of almost all dental glues, since it reduces the glue’s ability to remain connected to tooth or implant. So by reducing the stress/shrinkage of the polymer (glue), stronger and more durable materials can be made.”
Ryan will continue his studies as a graduate student and doctoral student once he earns his B.S. of Civil Engineering.