Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Pentagon Memorial Metal

PostedSeptember 19, 2008

Download File (mp3)

Randy Atkins: The designers originally wanted aluminum benches.  But Rob Kelly, a University of Virginia engineering professor, told them…

Rob Kelly: While it would look quite nice on the first day, over a period of years it would be susceptible to getting areas of localize corrosion, which would show up as black spots.

Randy Atkins: The metal needed to allow engraving of names, be intricately cast without warping, reflective, strong, long-lasting, and not too expensive.

Rob Kelly: It’s a classic engineering problem.

Randy Atkins: Kelly chose a stainless steel alloy, with a precise mix of materials, to get all the needed parameters.  But there was still a surprise.  At night, as light from the benches reflects into the pools of water below…

Rob Kelly: For reasons that I don’t think anybody completely understands, it glows green.

Randy Atkins: An added effect.  With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, 103 point 5 F-M, WTOP Radio