Mechanical engineering students present at major materials science conference with support from RCSA and AC²

Hugo Ramirez Grijalba ’22 works on his additive manufacturing project


New Paltz students Hugo Ramirez Grijalba ’22 (Mechanical Engineering) and Justin Boswell ’22 (Mechanical Engineering) traveled to Anaheim, California, to present original research at The Minerals, Metals, and Materials Society (TMS) Conference, one of the largest materials, science and engineering conferences in the country.

Their scholarship is on the cutting edge of digital fabrication and materials research. Grijalba’s conference presentation, “Electromigration Behavior of Additively Manufactured Copper Wirings,” demonstrated how copper wire designed to transmit electric currents fares under high current and temperatures. It was co-authored by Ping-Chuan Wang, assistant professor of the Division of Engineering Programs, and Dan Freedman, dean of the School of Science & Engineering.

“We were so oriented to finding a specific solution that when it came to research, I had to realize that there isn’t necessarily a solution to get to right away,” said Grijalba. “This project taught me to be motivated and push myself to try to achieve our goal.”

Boswell and Wang presented a study on factors that determine how 3D-printed metal objects stack up to everyday wear and tear, titled “Characterization of Additively Manufactured 17-4 PH Steel Structure with Ultrasonic Techniques.” This project was designed in collaboration with the Hudson Valley Additive Manufacutring Center (HVAMC), and Aaron Nelson, assistant professor of the Art Department. 


Justin Boswell ’22 attends to his project on how different 3D-printed steel structures fare under ultrasonic vibration conditions

The trip to TMS 2022 was made possible by support from New Paltz’s RSCA (Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activities) and AC² (AMP & CSTEP Community) Program and other sources. Like many pandemic-era plans, it was also two years in the making: Grijalba and Boswell began researching with Wang in 2020, having both developed a strong working relationship with him as students.

“We felt that research with him would be ideal, and we know how much he cares about his students,” Grijalba said.

These presentations mark a major achievement for these undergraduate scholars. The TMS conference is a premier academic event in materials engineering, with presentations generally reserved for established faculty, scientists and graduate students.

“They are so committed to what they do and are so willing to learn, and that’s what makes them unique,” Wang said. “The opportunity to present the fruit of their own efforts to a broader audience was the ideal way to bring closure to the endeavor right before their graduation.”

Research was conducted through collaboration with the HVAMC; Sono-Tek, an engineering company based in nearby Milton, New York; and Gordana Garapic, associate professor of geology, with her expertise in electron microscopy.

Visit the Division of Engineering Programs site to learn more about majors and programs in mechanical, computer and electrical engineering at SUNY New Paltz.

Interested in seeing more student-faculty collaborations like these? Save the date for our annual Engineering Design EXPO, Friday, May 6, at 3 p.m. in Science Hall.