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WKU melting old keys for classroom projects

  • Author: WKU News
  • Author: Tuesday, April 25th, 2017
WKU melting old keys for classroom projects

After years of traditional recycling of keys, the Access Control staff at WKU has found a new and innovative way to reuse the keys for student development.

Earlier this semester, the Department of Architectural and Manufacturing Sciences melted 300 pounds of keys for students to use in class.

Beginning in the fall students taking manufacturing, architecture, construction and technology management classes will use the metal to analyze brass as a new raw material for measurement purposes. Brass holds a significantly higher value than the aluminum material students are used to working with.

The new and safer way of recycling keys gives students in the program an opportunity to compare and analyze the different materials including brass, aluminum and steel.

According to the department chair, Dr. Greg Arbuckle, the idea for the student project is to pour molten brass into a bell-shaped mold before packing sand around it to create a 4-inch diameter bell.

Access Control and the Architectural and Manufacturing Sciences Department will collect and melt keys over time. The University is replacing an aging lock system which makes buildings safer and reduces the risk of unauthorized people having access. Most of the other buildings on campus have already switched to the new system, which requires new keys.

Melting the old keys provides a safer and more secure campus in addition to providing the raw material for classroom use.

“We hope that students can learn from having the new material, and we’re also glad to cut down on cost that would have gone to buying raw brass material,” Dr. Arbuckle said.

Contact: Greg Arbuckle, (270) 745-2403

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