University of Pennsylvania Graduate Student Receives Scholarship

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The Philadelphia Section of the STLE is pleased to award a $1,000 Scholarship to Parker LaMascus. LaMascus completed his second year of doctoral study at under the direction of Prof. Rob Carpick.

Left to Right: STLE Member Tom O’Brien, Scholarship Winner Parker LaMascus, STLE Member Sal Rea (Not Pictured Prof. Rob Carpick)

Prior to coming to Penn, LaMascus made contributions to sustainable energy while an undergraduate at Oklahoma Christian University, including developing a provisionally patented design improvement for wind turbine efficiency and crafting a business plan for its commercialization. He also worked at Niagara Bottling, implementing a machine-learning based optimization program that reduced plastic usage in the company’s plants.

LaMascus’ graduate project focuses on the use of zirconia nanocrystal (NC) anti-wear additives synthesized by Pixelligent LLC, a collaborative project involving DOE, Argonne National Labs, and other industry partners. In multiscale studies, zirconia tribofilms prevent scuffing failure, decrease wear, and enable lower-viscosity lubricants under a wide range of conditions. Sulfur and phosphorus co-additives cooperate with zirconia NCs for increased performance, suggesting that zirconia NCs show promise in fully formulated oils. Future work will investigate the tribosintering mechanisms by which zirconia tribofilms protect sliding surfaces, increasing the predictive power of the tribosintering theory and enabling more nuanced design of next-generation, eco-friendly lubricants.

In addition to his research interests, LaMascus contributed to numerous STEM education activities and is an active participant in Diversity, Equity & Inclusion efforts in Engineering.