P.C. Rossin College of
Engineering and Applied Science
University-wide event featured 150 projects involving more than 280 student presenters

Lehigh students participating in the 2019 Lehigh Expo on April 6 presented their semesters-long projects to the Lehigh community and families attending this year’s Candidates’ Day for students admitted to the Class of 2023. The university-wide Expo, held in Building C on the Mountantop Campus, featured 150 student projects and involved more than 280 student presenters. The projects that were showcased grew out of work in engineering, English, and other classes; biology labs; capstone design projects; and other pursuits.

Bioengineering student Mariel Weigel ’20 was part of a team that worked on a capstone project with 3D printing implants company Additive Orthopedics in New Jersey. The students set out to create an implant for people with arthritis in their thumb joints to help reduce pain and improve mobility. Weigel said one benefit of 3D printing is that implants can be individualized in size.

Weigel and her team laid out several prototypes so that attendees could observe the intricate lattice designs and sizes. They had printed prototypes using polymer of the actual size and six times the size.  

Weigel said the team observed arthritis as a growing problem as people constantly use their thumbs to text or play video games.

“We have had adults come by and say they can relate to the research, so it is very applicable,” she said. “And I think a lot of students are drawn to that and see how at school you can get real-world experience.”

Team member Mairead Manning ’20, who studies materials science and engineering, said the Expo was a great way for current and potential students to learn about the opportunities available at Lehigh.

“It is also cool for students who want to attend Lehigh be able to see what every major actually does,” Manning said. “Even us [students], usually we’re studying or interacting with people in our major, so the Expo is really a good opportunity to see the diversity of work at Lehigh.”

A few tables away, materials science and engineering student Kyleigh Abraham ’20 and her team worked on a capstone design project sponsored by TRuCapSol, a company at Ben Franklin Tech Ventures in Bethlehem that develops biodegradable products.  The company examines ways to make Polylactic acid biodegradable by reducing the time and temperature it takes to break down a product for it to be composted.

Abraham said the team was tasked with conducting marketing research to find a product that would reduce the amount of plastic waste that ends up in landfills. To do so, the team researched the issue and developed products that would hopefully be 100 percent biodegradable and can break down in two months to 20 months.

The Expo was planned and organized by the Office of Creative Inquiry in collaboration with Lehigh’s colleges and the admissions office.

Read the full story in the Lehigh University News Center.

Story by Madison Hoff '19

Photos by Benjamin Wang '20