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LETU Receives $250,000 Keck Foundation Grant for SEM Equipment

Fri, Jan 12 2018

LeTourneau University was awarded a $250,000 grant from the W. M. Keck Foundation to support purchase and installation of a new scanning electron microscope (SEM) in the Kielhorn Welding and Materials Joining Engineering Laboratory at LeTourneau University.


The addition of this new equipment on the Longview campus will assist in modernizing existing materials joining engineering courses focused on welding metallurgy, but also will be used in biology and chemistry lab courses that will be able to add modules to introduce undergraduate students to SEM imaging.


Scanning electron microscopes offer high and low vacuum imaging conditions, enabling sub-micrometer imaging of biological, polymeric, ceramic, and metal materials.


“The scanning electron microscope will allow LETU faculty and students to see objects 1,000 times smaller than can be seen by the naked eye,” said Dr. Darryl Low, civil engineering professor and principle investigator for the Keck grant proposal.  “It will be used to visualize everything from individual viruses to deformities in welds that would be otherwise invisible.


“But the really impressive part of this instrument isn’t just the magnification, but the variety of applications and samples we will be able to investigate,” Low said. “This was a group grant proposal by faculty in materials joining, biology, chemistry and engineering and will significantly benefit multiple ongoing research projects.  I believe the broad impact and collaborative nature of the proposal is one of the key components that resulted in LeTourneau being rewarded the grant.” 


The new SEM is expected to be purchased and installed this spring and ready for use by summer, with undergraduate students across campus expected to be using it for a variety of different projects starting in the fall.


Existing research projects at LeTourneau will be significantly enhanced, including ones investigating composite materials and hydrogen sulfide treatment system design.


“This upgraded SEM will support our cutting-edge industrial research and development projects in welding and materials engineering, and we are grateful to the W.M. Keck Foundation for their generous support,” said Dr. Richard Baumer, Program coordinator for LETU’s Materials Joining Engineering program.


The impact of the new SEM will be an important addition to the laboratory curriculum for LETU classes in the natural sciences.


“The SEM is a powerful tool for biologists and chemists and will afford our LETU students many opportunities to conduct previously unachievable scientific investigations,” said LETU Department Chair of Biology and Kinesiology Dr. Greg Frederick. 


Access to the SEM and appropriate training will be open to all interested LeTourneau faculty, supporting research and education across many LeTourneau University departments.


LeTourneau University is the premier Christian polytechnic university in the nation where educators engage students to nurture Christian virtue, develop competency and ingenuity in their professional fields, integrate faith and work, and serve the local and global community. LETU offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs across a range of disciplines and delivery models at LETU’s residential campus in Longview, Texas, and in hybrid and fully online options at centers in the Dallas and Houston areas.  For additional information, visit www.letu.edu.
 

 


 

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