UF MSE Student Team Receives Grand Prize at the TMS Bladesmithing Competition

UF 2019 Bladesmithing Team photos

UF’s Department of Materials Science & Engineering student team brought the TMS 2019 Grand Prize home from San Antonio, Texas, receiving the TMS-Wadsworth-Sherby Bladesmithing Grand Prize Medal and a $2,000 cash prize in recognition of their entry “Decapigator.”

The biennial competition challenges student teams from around the world to produce a knife or sword blade by traditional blacksmithing techniques, while also demonstrating their understanding of the science underlying the process.

Over 30 teams participated in San Antonio this year, with all entries judged by a panel of materials and industry experts. Scoring was based on a number of criteria including blade quality and aesthetics, a video depicting the team’s production process, a detailed blade characterization report and a display poster.

2019 UF MSE Bladesmithing Team Photo
Team Decapigator – House of Rhines  
first row: Mikki Von Schaumburg, Karina Pilo-Ricci, Alex Aviles, Nadine Ulmer, Chris Nacea
second row: Stephon Dean, Nicole Trometer, Michelle Thackeray (Team Captain), Caroline Kelly (Team Captain), Emily Huntley, Evyatar Hashmonay, Jonah Hopton
third row: Brandon Capellini, Connor Jenkins, Devin Ritter

Not Pictured:
Jacob Gusewelle, Jakub Pepas, Natalie Starr, Troy Stringfellow
Jordan Borstelmann* (non-student artisan/blacksmith)

From concept to planning to execution, the students’ work spanned nearly a year, including exhaustive research, multiple trips to the forge.  Michelle Thackeray, who captained the team alongside Caroline Kelly, said winning the competition validated all of the effort. “The entire experience was worth it, and I’m so glad I was a part of it,” she said.

Both Michelle and teammate Chris Nacea heard about the competition two years ago as sophomores. With metals being his primary interest, getting involved in this year’s event was an easy decision for Chris. “I wanted to learn more about metals in a practical environment, and work more with my hands – on top of what I have done in my lab courses,” Chris said.

According to the TMS2019 website, the bladesmithing program makes such concepts as heat transfer, coke combustion, forging, welding, and quenching come to life for university students majoring in a minerals, metals or materials discipline.

Congratulations again to all of the students on this year’s UF MSE Bladesmithing team.