LU undergraduate presents research to state policymakers

The Advisory Board of the Office of Undergraduate Research selected Dylan Palmer, a Mechanical engineering major, to represent Lamar University at the biennial Texas Undergraduate Research Day at
Dylan Palmer
Dylan Palmer working on his research.
the Capitol in Austin. Palmer was selected from 10 nominations and seven eligible finalists for his research, “Fabrication of Superhydrophobic Aluminum Surfaces.”

The  event took place virtually with more than 60 research projects reflecting the work of numerous undergraduate students and representing more than 30 academic and health-related institutions across Texas, both public and private, independent universities and colleges.

Palmer’s poster, like the others presented at this premier undergraduate showcase in Texas, offers groundbreaking undergraduate research and its impact on Texans. Palmer’s project looked at a new surface treatment to combat corrosion. Using superhydrophobic micro-structures on aluminum sheets, Palmer tested the viability of laser etching as a method for creating surfaces that are resistant to corrosion.

“Corrosion is a huge problem in industry and engineering as a whole, as it represents millions of dollars lost every year spent replacing components that otherwise would have lasted,” said Palmer. “One of the biggest contributions to corrosion in the field is water. The purpose of this surface treatment is to prevent stagnation of water to the surface of aluminum parts.”

Dr. Chun-Wei Yao, assistant professor, mechanical engineering, mentored Palmer and believes the method Dylan used has good performance in aluminum surfaces and could be potentially used for different metal surfaces.

“Increasing the hydrophobicity of a metal surface decreases interaction between water and surface, thereby enhancing corrosion resistance,” said Yao. “Dylan is self-motivated towards achieving better research performance, and I’ve been delighted to work with him.”

Texas policymakers in Austin for the biennial session participated in the presentations co-hosted by the Council of Public University Presidents and Chancellors and the Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas.

“I am truly honored to represent Lamar University at the Texas Undergraduate Research Day,” said Dylan. “I have always dreamed of the opportunity to do meaningful research. Undergraduate Research at LU has offered me that opportunity and far exceeded my expectations for mentorship and support. I could not be more grateful to Lamar for this once-in-a-lifetime chance.”

Lamar University has been present at every Texas Undergraduate Research Day since 2013.

“I am happy to see how our institutional investment in our students, who in most cases are just beginning with researching and discovering, helps to transform them into accomplished young researchers who have the nerve and boldness to talk fluently about their research and convince the audience of the significance of their results,” said Cristian Bahrim, professor of physics and active director of the Office of Undergraduate Research. “Helping our students to mature professionally toward a successful career is one of the O.U.R.’s major goals.” 

Dylan was an O.U.R. grant recipient in 2019-2020 and had an excellent presentation at EXPO 2020, followed by an invitation to present at the Gulf Coast Undergraduate Research Symposium last October. The selection to represent Lamar at this premier event in Austin shows that Dylan earned great respect in our Lamar community for the quality of his research results, under the fine mentorship of Dr. Chun-Wei Yao.”

See Palmer’s research.

Learn more about the Office of Undergraduate Research at Lamar University.