Educational Activities

The CAPE Laboratory’s educational mission is to play a key role in producing the next generation of polymer/composites engineers and scientists. At the graduate level, CAPE Laboratory supports selected M.S. and Ph.D. students who work on thesis research in areas of interest to the laboratory. At the undergraduate level, the CAPE Laboratory offers instruction and practical training in composites processing and characterization. This takes a number of forms, including:

  1. A one credit lecture and laboratory course in composites manufacturing;
  2. Lab assistant training and employment of selected students;
  3. Support for senior student projects in the field of polymers and composites; and
  4. Support for design teams involved in national and international engineering competitions.

Undergraduate design teams supported by the CAPE Laboratory include:

  • Wind Turbine Development
  • Human-Powered Vehicle Competition
  • Supermileage Society of Automotive Engineers
  • (SAE) Competition
  • Formula SAE Competition
  • Baja SAE Competition
  • Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems
  • International (AUVSI) International Aerial Robotics Competition

Many of these teams collaborate through South Dakota Mines' CAMP - Center of Excellence for Advanced Manufacturing and Production.

    Polymer and Composites Courses at South Dakota Mines

    • MET 489 / MES 589 / CBE 489/589 - Composites Manufacturing
      A background in the concepts of polymers and polymerization as well as an overview of composites concepts, constituent materials, and manufacturing processes provide the groundwork in the first half of the course. A more detailed study of the Vacuum Assisted Resin Transfer molding (VARTM) processing builds upon this groundwork, including topics such as process materials and parameters, mold design and manufacture, and product design considerations. The course concludes with post-processing topics. In conjunction with the concepts lecture, students spend time in the lab constructing and using a simple mold which will illustrate some of the challenges of molding and finishing a composite product.
    • MET 475 / MES 575 / CBE 475/575 / NANO 475/575  Advances in Processing and Nanoengineering of Polymers
      The course will begin with an overview of the basic principles of polymer rheology and structure formation. It will then review recent examples from the scientific literature in which concepts and theories of rheological behavior and structure formation at multiple length scales have been further developed and/or applied to the processing of polymers and composites with advanced functional and multifunctional properties. Special attention will be paid to research related to processing challenges in the formation of polymer nanocomposites, nanofibers and hierarchical composite structures. As part of this course, students will be expected to develop skills in reviewing and critically assessing the scientific literature, and in developing research strategies based on current state of knowledge.

    CAPE and CAMP

    CAPE and CAMP

    The CAPE lab supports education at SD Mines in a number of ways, including collaboration with some of the design teams at the SDSM&T Center of Excellence for Advanced Manufacturing and Production, or CAMP.  Learn more about CAMP teams and competitions.