Category Archives: Research

NSF Research Center RFP Networking/Pitch Social Session

ERCThe National Science Foundation just released their RFP for Engineering Research Centers with a Letter of Intent deadline of Sept. 25. Teams are already discussing ideas, so an open networking/pitch social session is to be hosted to get the wider campus community involved. Join the session from 4:30-6 p.m. on Aug. 26 in the Memorial Union Alumni Lounge. Snacks and drinks will be provided.

According to the NSF, the goal of the ERC Program is to integrate engineering research and education with technological innovation to transform national prosperity, health and security. ERCs create an innovative, inclusive culture in engineering to cultivate new ideas and pursue engineering discovery that achieves a significant science, technology and societal outcome within the 10-year timeframe of NSF support.

For more information, visit the National Science Foundation or the Engineering Research Centers. Contact Adrienne Minerick, associate dean of research and innovation, College of Engineering at minerick@mtu.edu with any questions.

Invitation Flyer: RFPERC PDF

Connecting People and Geology on Volcanoes

image124601-horizIn October 2011, heavy rainfall poured down the sides of El Salvador’s San Vicente Volcano, nearly four feet of water in 12 days. Coffee plantation employees, working high up on the volcano’s slope began noticing surface cracks forming on steep slopes and in coffee plantations. Cracks herald landslides—places where the wet, heavy upper layers, saturated with water, slide over the less-permeable rocky layers underneath. The workers radioed downslope, keeping close tabs on the rainfall gauge network.
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Bringing Back the Magic in Metamaterials

image124459-horizA single drop of blood is teeming with microorganisms—imagine if we could see them, and even nanometer-sized viruses, with the naked eye. That’s a real possibility with what scientists call a “perfect lens.” The lens hasn’t been created yet, but it is a theoretical perfected optical lens made out of metamaterials, which are engineered to change the way the materials interact with light.
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Nina Mahmoudian Receives a Young Investigator Program Award from Office of Naval Research

image123120-horizOnly 36 faculty across the US were invited to join the Young Investigator Program (YIP) from the Office of Naval Research this year; additionally, only a small percent of faculty receive the CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Nina Mahmoudian, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering-engineering mechanics at Michigan Technological University, is one of a select few to receive both in the same year.

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Turn That Defect Upside Down: Twin Boundaries in Lithium-Ion Batteries

image122233-horizMost people see defects as flaws. A few Michigan Technological University researchers, however, see them as opportunities. Twin boundaries — which are small, symmetrical defects in materials — may present an opportunity to improve lithium-ion batteries. The twin boundary defects act as energy highways and could help get better performance out of the batteries. This finding, published in Nano Letters earlier this year, turns a previously held notion of material defects on its head. Reza Shahbazian–Yassar helped lead the study and holds a joint appointment at Michigan Tech as the Richard & Elizabeth Henes associate professor in nanotechnology and an adjunct associate professor in materials science and engineering. Anmin Nie, a senior postdoctoral researcher in his group, conducted the study.
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Working Together to Build Drought Resiliency

image122501-horizDrought in the southwest has left only a trickle running through irrigation ditches on farms outside El Paso, Texas. The Rio Grande — called Rio Bravo in Mexico — is what supplies that trickle, struggling to meet water demands in three US states and five in Mexico.

As drought continues, and demand grows, researchers like Alex Mayer from Michigan Technological University are looking to new models to improve the region’s drought resiliency. Mayer, a professor of environmental engineering at Michigan Tech, is part of a unique team looking at water resources along a section of the Rio Grande. The National Institute of Food and Agriculture, part of the US Department of Agriculture, has awarded the project a $4.9 million grant to study water shortage and climate change for the next five years in the region.

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Wind Power Duo Wins Bhakta Rath Research Award

image121726-horizWind turbines appear simple, but it’s the complex engineering behind the technology that makes harnessing the wind seem like a breeze. Bridging the gap between mechanical details and large-scale infrastructure needs of wind turbine technology is also no easy feat.

But that’s the research focus of Antonio Velazquez, who earned his PhD from Michigan Technological University last fall, and Assistant Professor Andrew Swartz, Velazquez’s advisor in civil and environmental engineering. Their forward-thinking research on better monitoring systems for wind turbines earned the duo this year’s Bhakta Rath Research Award.

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