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Preserving a World War II landmark

NSF Award:

REU Site: Back to the Future  (South Dakota School of Mines and Technology)

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A summer research project for undergraduates offered insight into the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial's steel microstructure as well as experimental data regarding the steel's corrosion properties. The information is an important step in mapping a long-term preservation strategy for the memorial, a national monument to sailors killed during the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941.

Each summer the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology hosts students from universities around the country as they participate in ongoing research at the school through NSF's Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program. The memorial project, performed in conjunction with the U.S. National Park Service, was vital because very little data exists on the steel used to make the Arizona nearly a century ago. Adding to the challenge of studying the ship is its location on the harbor floor. 

Several students evaluated steel samples taken from the U.S.S. Arizona to learn more about the steel's properties in order to develop effective methods to preserve the memorial for future generations. This is one of the many REU projects that showcases the interaction of current scientific research with topics of historic and cultural significance.

Images (1 of )

  • u.s.s. arizona memorial, pearl harbor, hawaii
  • data from and image of the arizona's steel structure
  • undergraduate researchers with the south dakota school of mines and technology
U.S.S. Arizona memorial, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
Data from the U.S.S. Arizona steel (left) and a close-up of the steel structure.
Michael K. West, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology
Undergraduate researchers from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.
Michael K. West, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology

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