Interdisciplinary Course Development in Nanostructured Materials Science and Engineering

Interdisciplinary Course Development in Nanostructured Materials Science and Engineering

Kenneth L. Roberts (King Faisal University, Saudi Arabia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8183-5.ch011
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Modern industrial processes are presently adapting to the use of multiscale production techniques where consumer products can be made at the mesoscale and also approaching atomic, or the nanoscale level. Coupled with the fact that classical Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education typically does not address nanoscale science and engineering topics in most technical courses, this condition could potentially leave countless STEM students around the world relatively unprepared for the 21st century marketplace. This chapter focused on the development of the nanostructured materials science and engineering discipline from the most recent research and development topics to the integration of this information internationally into the technical classroom. The chapter presented future work on the adaption of the previous research and educational work on this topic at the College of Engineering at King Faisal University in Saudi Arabia and suggestions were offered for successful new nanoscale science and engineering course development.
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Over the past twenty years, nanomaterials science and engineering has become almost pervasive in the technical disciplines. In the early 1990’s, the reporting of material properties on the scale of submicron scale using scanning and/or transmission electron microscopy seemed to be at the cutting edge. After the discovery of the Buckyball (C60 or Buckminsterfullerene), new terms such as nanotubes, nanoparticles, nanowires and a varied assortment of atomic scale crystalline morphologies quickly gained notoriety. Unfortunately, not every academic program, especially B.S. and M.S. level granting programs, had access to nanoscale characterization equipment such as transmission electron and scanning tunneling microscopes, required to fully peer into the nanoscale. Thus a nanoscale divide in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education had also begun. Unfortunately many STEM students from universities with developing research infrastructures gained college and graduate level degrees without significant training in nanoscale science and engineering.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Nanolaw: Topics related to the legal impacts, especially dealing with intellectual property and environmental law, related to nanotechnology in the great society at large.

Nanoscale Studies: Interdisciplinary topics that combine nanoscale science and engineering with disciplines from the social sciences and professional programs such as Business, Law, Medicine, Theology, and Philosophy.

National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI): The U.S.-Based agency proposed in the late 1990’s to promote nanoscale research, development and training both nationally and internationally in academia, industry and K12 education.

Interdisciplinary Education: Utilizing subject matter from two or more distinct education disciplines in a defined course or program.

Nanosystem: Predetermined volume space designed with atomic-scale properties.

STEM: Science, Technology, Education, and Mathematics.

Nanostructured Materials (NSMs): Solid compounds with at least one dimensional aspect on the order of 100nm or less in size.

Nanobusiness: Topics related to the commercial implications of nanotechnology products and the economic impacts.

Buckminsterfullerene: A carbon molecule composed of 20 hexagons and 12 pentagons with the chemical formula C 60 and commonly named “Buckyball”. First synthesized in 1985 at Rice University by Harold Kroto, James Heath, Sean O’Brien, Robert Curl and Richard Smalley.

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