For his Summer Fellows project, Will Grismore investigated buried objects using granular acoustics. In order to do so, he probed granular materials, which are collections of particles such as sand or corn, with sound waves so that he could understand their inner workings.
When asked how he decided on this topic, Grismore offered, “I found granular acoustics to be a challenging yet accessible field.”
Grismore received a NASA South Carolina Space Grant Consortium Research Award for his project. This award was granted through NASA’s Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR).
“In granular materials, acoustic waves travel along disordered chains of high stress, surrounded by much larger regions of low stress,” said Grismore. “We constructed an acoustic wave generator, which I used jointly with a function generator and data acquisition software to investigate the propagation of sound through a consolidated granular material and around a buried object of much greater radius than the surrounding grains.”
Throughout the summer, Grismore worked in the Non-Linear Materials lab with Dr. Eli Owens, assistant professor of physics whose research centers on granular physics.
“Will’s project explored a very important problem and has many applications ranging from oil and mineral exploration to landmine detection,” said Owens.
Grismore echoed this thought, saying, “Application of this work will provide tools useful for exploration of the Earth’s surface and has industrial, technological, and geological implications.”
During his time at PC, Grismore majored in physics as part of the dual-degree program in mechanical engineering. He also served as the academic chair of Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity, participated in the Society of Physics Students, and played intramural sports. In the fall, he will begin studying at the University of South Carolina to finish the mechanical engineering portion of his degree.
“In a sense, it’s unfortunate—I’ll miss PC. But I’m looking forward to a new challenge in Columbia. I chose the dual degree program because two degrees for the price of one is appealing. Physics and engineering are subjects that I like studying, they’re in-demand majors, and they’re tightly intertwined as well.”
In the future, Grismore hopes to work for NASA or teach at the collegiate level and believes that this research has helped him in this endeavor. “This research was great practice for me as a new researcher working under the wing of an experienced professor, and it provided me the opportunity to work in a field I’d like to work in later on.”
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