I started Composite Materials merit badge before I left home. I took a tour of where my mom works. I have been there many times and I have heard many stories, but I didn’t know what really happens there. On the tour, my mom explained how they make materials. They take raw materials and mix them together in a blender – it is bigger than a room. They then make the powder the right mixtures and press it into shapes. It is then heated very hot to cure it. It goes through lots of processes until it is finally complete. It is then used in planes, trains and automobiles (and lots of other things). I never realized it was a composite material or that my mom knew so much about it.
I had to do two projects as part of the badge. The first was an airplane. I used paper, glue and a plane form. By applying the glue and tissue paper, it made plane much stronger. Who knew that the very thin tissue paper could make something so strong.
My second project was resin. I made paperweights out of the resin. I added gold flake to make different designs. Mixing the two materials together was tricky to get just the right consistency… Then adding the flake without getting bubbles. I expected it to smell bad but it didn’t. I plan to make more things out of resin, maybe jewelry or gifts.
I met with Mr. Schmidt and his family early in the morning at a Cabela’s. It was a good thing it was early or my mom would have been shopping LOL. Mr. Schmidt taught me about more types of composite materials. We talked about different kinds of carbons and what they are used for. It was very interesting to learn all the different composite materials we have in the world and how people use them.
He was on his way home after our meeting and so were we. It had been a great trip but it was time to get back to Michigan.