By Helen Widman
The Ceramic and Glass Industry Foundation (CGIF) brought materials science to the fifth annual COSI Big Science Celebration on Saturday, May 6 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. The celebration took place on the last day of the week-long COSI Science Festival.
The Big Science Festival is one of the largest STEM events in Ohio, with booths for nonprofits, community partners, local businesses, and educational institutions. Learners of all ages attended. Other notable booths at the celebration included Batelle, NASA, American Electric Power, The Ohio State University, and more.
Owens Corning, which is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of glass fiber in composites and building materials, supported the CGIF’s glass fiber and fiber optics-themed booth. The Pink Panther™ also made an appearance to highlight Owens Corning’s signature pink glass fiber insulation. Four members of the President’s Council of Student Advisors (PCSA) volunteered at the CGIF booth as well.
Throughout the day of celebration, the CGIF demonstrated the Candy Fiber Pull lesson—which uses melted-down hard candy to illustrate the creation of thin glass fibers—and provided a variety of real-life applications of glass fiber and fiber optics that participants could touch and see. The booth also used a digital microscope camera to show the glass fibers up close.
The glass preform, donated by Corning, Inc., allowed us to demonstrate the intricate process of creating glass fibers from their raw form. It was a perfect visual aid for the students and families who visited our booth, and it helped them understand the complex science behind the glass fiber manufacturing process. Many families and young scientists were drawn in to pull a candy fiber and left with new knowledge about glass fiber, fiber optics, and perhaps even a photo with The Pink Panther™.
The CGIF is thankful for Owens Corning’s sponsorship at the 2023 COSI Big Science Celebration and looks forward to inspiring more future materials scientists.
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