MSE Safety & Equipment Newsletter 

April 2024

Important Upcoming Dates

  • Monday, April 8th: Solar Eclipse! (near-totality at ~ 3:07 pm in West Lafayette)
  • Wednesday, April 17th: PUMA Clean-Up Event in ARMS Teaching and Research Lab Spaces
  • Friday, May 3rd: Last day that un-paid student researchers can work in MSE lab spaces, including MSE 499 and MSE Senior Design students. Students – please remember to clean out your drawers and lockers, including the lockers in the ARMS basement hallway (see second item below).

April 8th Eclipse Safety

During a total solar eclipse, the Moon passes between the Earth and the Sun, obscuring the Sun. Viewing the eclipse directly without proper eye protection can cause severe irreversible damage, including permanent blindness. Specialized solar viewing glasses or solar filters are essential to safeguard eyesight as well as your cameras (smartphone and other). Indirect viewing methods such as pinhole projectors or solar viewers also provide a safe way to observe the eclipse. But other homemade or improvised viewing devices like dark sunglasses or smoked glass are not safe.

For those going south towards the path of totality (Indianapolis, Bloomington, Muncie, etc, see image below), there is an increased risk of eye damage just following totality. During totality, the Sun will be completely occluded, and solar glasses are no longer needed (if still worn, you will be missing out). Totality in Indianapolis is from 3:06:06 P.M. to 3:09:53 P.M. However, near the end of totality, eclipse filters must be put back in place again as your eyes will have adjusted to the darkness when the flood of sunlight returns. The eyes’ adjustment to the darkness will allow too much light into your eyes, potentially causing irreversible damage. (h/t Matthew Kaboolian, current MSE student)

NASA website

Article: “How to use your smartphone to photograph the solar eclipse” (Washington Post)

Article: “Eclipses injured their eyes, and the world never looked the same” (New York Times)

ARMS Basement Hallway Lockers

The bank of lockers that is located in the ARMS main basement hallway (near ARMS B197 conference room) will be moved in the near future. To prepare for this move, the lockers will be cleaned out by the MSE Safety Officer beginning on Monday, May 6th. Samples, consumable materials, and other personal items will be disposed of after this date. So, if you, your research, or your Senior Design group have samples in those lockers, please clean out and/or relocate your materials to a more suitable space. For example, samples and research items should be stored in a HazCom or CHP lab space; personal items should be stored in your office or taken home.

Spring ISP Inspection Updates (ARMS and MSEE)
Thank you to everyone who assisted with the ARMS and MSEE Integrated Safety Plan (ISP) lab certification by filling out the Self-Audit Checklist for their lab spaces in January & February. These forms have been submitted to Purdue EHS for review, which will be followed by unannounced lab space inspections by EHS in mid- to late-April. After the inspections, an “Items of Concern” list is created for each lab space and sent to the MSE lab supervisors for correction (abatement). Please watch for emails from the MSE Safety Officer later this month.

ARMS Water Update
The recent cold snap a few weeks ago resulted in multiple issues with ARMS’s water pipes as well as the water tower on Slater Hill, which led to rust-colored sediment becoming suspended in our tap water for a few days. But of course, it is no secret that the water quality in ARMS has been deteriorating over the last few years. The MSE Safety Committee was also informed recently that the water usage rates of ARMS are higher compared to neighboring buildings, perhaps suggesting a link between poor water quality and increased water usage (e.g., from building users needing to flush their pipes more frequently, pass their water through filters, etc.). We will be investigating these issues over the next few months, in collaboration with Purdue EHS and Purdue Physical Facilities and Sustainability Groups. As a first step in our investigation, the following link is to a short voluntary survey to solicit questions and concerns from MSE personnel about the water in your various work spaces (ARMS and others), including teaching and research labs as well as offices and common spaces:

More targeted surveys will follow this summer as we pin-point issues within ARMS. Thank you for your help over the next few months. Please reach out to the MSE Safety Committee ( with any questions.


A newly installed AED (automated external defibrillator) is located on the first floor of ARMS near the elevators – see image and map below. This is a Cardiac Science G5 AED placed by the Purdue Fire Department. Purdue Fire is looking to see if it is equipped with child pads currently. Per Lt. Kevin Luse: “Adult pads can be used on a child by placing one pad on the center back and one on the center chest.” Please visit the Red Cross website to learn more about when and how to use these life-saving devices.

PPE and Lab Access Reminders

As activity in our MSE lab spaces ramps up this spring, there has been a rise in MSE personnel wearing improper attire. As a reminder, the PPE required for each lab space is listed on the Hazard Assessment door posting. Required lab attire typically includes the following: 

  1. Safety glasses 
  1. Closed-toed shoes 
  1. Long pants 
  1. Hair tied back 
  1. No loose clothing or jewelry 
  1. Lab coat (if working in a CHP lab) 

Additional task-specific PPE may also be required (e.g., heat-resistant silver suits when casting molten metal, thick gloves when handling liquid nitrogen). And please remember that eating & drinking in the lab spaces is not permitted (and unsanitary – yuck).

Recent Safety Awards
Congrats to Prof. Erk who was awarded two safety awards this spring in recognition of her efforts as the Faculty Chair of the MSE Safety Committee over the last 7 years, spanning the tenure of three MSE safety technicians and one global pandemic (!). She was awarded the 2023 Presidential Safety Award from Purdue EHS and Indiana Dept. of Labor’s Everyday Safety Hero award. Thanks to Prof. Erk and the whole 2023-2024 MSE Safety Committee:

Casey Peters | Technical Staff, MSE Safety Officer
Kendra Erk | Faculty, MSE Safety Chair
Danielle Heichel | Instructional Staff
Maddi Walsh | Administrative Staff
  • John Howarter
  • Maria Okuniewski 
  • Davin Piercey
  • Lia Stanciu
  • Ernesto Marinero
Technical Staff
  • Tim VanMeter
  • Sam Schmidt
  • Saeid Kakooei
Graduate Students & *MSE GSA Rep
  • Shiyu Zhou
  • Lizabeth Quigley
  • Nicole Franklin*
Undergraduate Students & PUMA Reps
  • Cameron Hillsman
  • Gavin White

And let’s not forget about personal health and safety...
The end of the semester brings excitement for summer break with the stress of more deadlines (and even more parties). Here is a collection of links which may be helpful:

Equipment & Lab Access Reminders
If you encounter a piece of broken equipment, or have any questions about a specific piece of equipment, you should contact a member of the MSE Technical Staff:

  • For sample prep (i.e., saws, grinding wheels) equipment and mechanical testing equipment: Tim VanMeter
  • For characterization equipment and iLab: Sam Schmidt
    • Lab access requests (form)
    • iLab equipment (link)

Important Links and Contact Information

Thanks for reading everyone!

Prof. Erk, Casey Peters, and the MSE Safety Committee