ALERT Graduate Student Cara Coultas-McKenny Places in Poster Competitions

August 30, 2019

ALERT Chemical Engineering graduate student, Cara Coultas-Mckenney, of Purdue University, won awards in two poster competitions this summer.  Cara works as a student researcher on ALERT Project R2-A.3: “A Novel Method for Evaluating the Adhesion of Explosive Residues” under the direction of ALERT Research Thrust 2 Leader, Dr. Stephen P. Beaudoin of Purdue University.

Cara won third place at the International Fine Particle Research Institute (IFPRI) 2019 poster competition held on June 26th in Burlington, Vermont for her poster entitled, “Bringing Particle Scale Properties into Descriptions of Industrial Powder Behavior via the Enhanced Centrifuge Method.

“The conference provided me a great opportunity to discuss my work with experts in the Powder Technology field,” said Cara. “These discussions were helpful to me because they highlighted strengths and weaknesses to my project that I hadn’t previously thought of.”

She also won first place at Purdue’s Chemical Engineering 28th Annual Research Symposium poster competition, in the material science category, for her poster titled, “Characterizing Powder Behavior via the Enhanced Centrifuge Method” on August 15th.

The ALERT R2-A.3 project that Cara is involved with addresses the sampling challenge faced at air transportation checkpoints when trying to detect minute traces of explosives on baggage and clothing.  The goal of this work is to measure directly the force with which an explosive powder or compounded formulation adheres to a range of surfaces of interest so that researchers and end-users can better understand and develop effective methods to detect these substances. Upon graduation, Cara would like to work in a national laboratory or government agency working on similar applications.

Photo caption: Cara (center) receives “Best Poster Award” in the Material Science section of Purdue’s Chemical Engineering 28th Annual Research Symposium poster competition.

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