Involving Our Community

Hosting Outreach Events in Partners 3, Centennial Campus:


NanoDays is a recurring event on NCSU’s campus which invites local middle and high school students to tour physical laboratories and interact with students and faculty working in fields related to nanoscale technology. This outing saw 400+ area students visit the Partners 3 facility with a large proportion of those passing through Dr. Krim’s Nanoscale Tribology lab and offices. The students spoke with graduate students, saw functioning equipment, and played a simple tribo-electric coke-can race to engage hands-on with the fundamentals of physics.


Again participating in NanoDays, we welcomed and engaged with students from 65 local elementary schools! Talking about basic ideas in science and playing simple games, the students were given good reason to look forward to a career and lifetime of science engagement.


Hosting about 60 elementary and high school students from the local area, ORaCEL offered access to cutting-edge research in nanoscale materials and technology. As the students passed through our laboratories, there were question and answers sessions with the graduate students as well as an interactive demonstration to keep them engaged and present them with simple-but-critical aspects of physical science. Departments involved included Physics, Chemistry, and Mech. and Aerospace Engineering.

Involving NCSU Undergraduates:

As a portion of their credit for a 300-level Environmental Science (ES) course, a group of undergraduates visited the ORaCEL laboratory facilities and learned about the work of our DMREF collaboration. Principles, techniques, and objectives of the Nanoparticle project were shared with these ES students. The DMREF initiative is working to revolutionize the future of materials for a better and cleaner world, an idea which dovetails seamlessly with the core principles of an Environmental Science curriculum.

Mentoring an Aspiring High School Scientist:

Finally, we have also begun working with a student intern from the local Broughton High School, located in Raleigh, NC. Bonita is a senior, with some experience in chemistry, physics, and calculus. Her initial assignment is to test and refine the instructions and materials for a granular-packing-friction outreach experiment, previously designed and described by Zachary Fredricks. The intent is that she will ensure the quality and clarity of the experiment we have designed for primary and secondary school students. This outreach-oriented, low-cost experiment mimics work which we do with nanoparticles in our DMREF research program. For the students who engage with this citizen-scientist design, there are two expectations. They will gain insight into particles, interfaces, and granular packing. Beyond their learning, our expectation is that by distributing this instructional experiment design to a large and diverse set of young investigators and asking for their feedback, we are crowd-sourcing the search for novel particle-mediated friction behaviors.

Visiting Carrboro High School, April 11, 2017:

Graduate Student Colin Curtis visited Carrboro High School’s (Carrboro, NC) Advanced Placement Chemistry class to share the vision and scope of the DMREF Nanoparticle project at NCSU. Spending an hour with the students, the objectives and some preliminary results of the collaboration were shared. A lively question and answer session with the students rounded out the hour. The enthusiasm of these young students and potential scientists showed that there is a strong desire for engagement with members of University research teams.