Hansen Mou Accepts the Donald F. Othmer Sophomore Academic Excellence Award at AIChE Conference

March 12, 2018

At the November AIChE Conference, undergraduate student Hansen Mou accepted the Donald F. Othmer Sophomore Academic Excellence Award. The Donald F. Othmer Sophomore Academic Excellence Award is presented to one AIChE student member in each student chapter who has attained the highest scholastic grade-point average during his/her freshman and sophomore years, on recommendation of the Student Chapter Advisor.

In addition to this achievement, Mou won second place for his poster presentation at the 2017 National AICHE Meeting. He took part in the Materials section of the competition, which had 90 posters competing. The poster was titled “Reinforcement of Magnesium Oxychloride Cement Composites Using Short Carbon and Aramid Fibers.”

Mou is an extremely involved undergraduate student in our department, with his leadership in the AICHE chapter, ChemE Car Team Captain, and International REU in Germany on Alternative Energy this past summer. For the last two years, Mou has been working with Dr. Chris Kitchens and his research group. Their research has focused on the reinforcement of a type of cement material called magnesium oxychloride cement, or MOC for short. This type of cement is of interest because it is overall stronger and exhibits better insulation and fire resistance properties as compared with the more common Portland cement. The current industry standard for strengthening this material is through adding woven glass fibers to the outside of a block of MOC. However, since this method requires this material to take the form of rectangular blocks, his team investigated adding fibers within the cement itself, hoping to open up more possible uses for this material while still reinforcing it.

Mou tried several types of fibers at different amounts, and narrowed it down to standard modulus carbon fiber, intermediate modulus carbon fiber, and aramid fiber, as listed on his poster (modulus refers to stiffness, so intermediate modulus fiber is stiffer than standard modulus fiber). Among those, he found that the most reinforcement came from adding 0.3% weight of intermediate modulus carbon fiber, increasing the flexural strength of cement by 21.4%.