The science of sleep is big business, and Isnala Nanjin Roan Eagle has his own ideas on how to build a better mattress.
Roan Eagle, a student at Cankdeska Cikana Community College, spent two weeks at NDSU as part of the Nurturing American Tribal Undergraduate Research and Education, or NATURE, program.
Working in the lab of Bashir Khoda, professor of industrial and manufacturing engineering, Roan Eagle used a computer-aided design (CAD) program and 3D printer to make different sized molds so he could test the properties of a square lattice mattress design.
“I was familiar with CAD and we have similar 3D printers at my college, but I had never done any manufacturing processes before,” Roan Eagle said. “Sometimes I found out the hard way.”
One of the toughest lessons was finding the right silicone and rubber mixture to use for casting.
“It was truly trial and error,” said Khoda. Just like any engineer he had to learn from his mistakes how to make it better.”
Roan Eagle eventually created three prototypes. He then recorded how each performed during a compression test and compared the results with Khoda’s work.
Hands-on learning and undergraduate research projects like this are a key part of the curriculum at the College of Engineering, a place Roan Eagle wants to end up.
“I intend to study mechanical engineering and I want to come to NDSU,” he said. “I want to continue working on and perfecting my design.”
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