Category Archives: News

ASM Foundation’s Materials Camp for Teachers

Approximately 25 science teachers from across the state will be on the Michigan Tech campus today (June 20, 2016) to June 24 to participate in the ASM Foundation’s Materials Camp for Teachers. The Materials Science and Engineering Department at Tech will host the event on ASM’s behalf. ASM Teachers Camps are idea-generating workshops that show educators new ways to make teaching math and core science principles more exciting and accessible to students and provides a way to show students how science links to careers in engineering. ASM has found that teachers are effective mentors and counselors for students with interests in STEM-based careers.

Represented will be science teachers of all K-12 grades representing subjects including chemistry, physics, earth science, biology, environmental sciences and math. The curriculum includes hands-on modules in topics such as materials chemistry and physics, the science of metals, ceramics, polymers, and composites, materials processing strategies and applications of materials.

The ASM Foundation provides the instructors, curriculum and supplies for the camp and subsidizes most of the expenses for the teachers’ attendance, travel and lodging. Teachers are eligible to earn graduate level credits. The Michigan Tech camp is one of 43 workshops that are offered nationally each summer and one of nine residential experiences.

From Tech Today, by Materials Science and Engineering.

Photovoltaics and Solar-Hybrid Energy

Solar PanelA new study focused on solar-hybrid energy systems using cogeneration, photovoltaics and battery technology and its potential impact in the Upper Peninsula was picked up by several media outlets including Solar Thermal MagazinePhys.org and e! Science News.

The research was conducted by Abhilash Katamneni (CS), Richelle Winkler (SS), Joshua Pearce (ECE/MSE) and Lucia Gauchia (ECE/ME).

From Tech Today.

Net metering changes could drive people off grid, Michigan researchers say

“The results imply that economic circumstances could spur a positive feedback loop whereby grid electricity prices continue to rise and increasing numbers of customers choose alternatives,” the report says.

Read more at Midwest Energy News, by Andy Balaskovitz.

Research by Abhi Katamneni (CS), Richelle Winkler (SS), Joshua Pearce (MSE, ECE), and Lucia Gauchia (MEEM, ECE) about the economic feasibility of going off grid in the Upper Peninsula continues to get media coverage. The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) News put the study’s Michigan case study into a national power grid context. See the article here.

Smart Grid News also covered the story.

From Tech Today.

Pearce on Open-Sourcing and 3D Printing

Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE) is quoted in an article “Can Open-Sourcing Transform Electronics Hardware?” in IEEE’s Electronics 360.

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3DPrint.com published an article covering the work of seven Michigan Tech students including Cedric Kennedy, Aubrey Woern, Josh Krugh, Amber Varacalli, Ryan Oshe, John Klotz and Natalie Pohlman supported by Andre Laplume (SBE) and Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE). “There are an ever-increasing number of universities and other higher educational institutions that currently have the goal to enhance and educate students on the state of 3D printing, but only a select few have disrupted the industry as much as the Michigan Technological University.”

From Tech Today.

Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE) is quoted in an article in Network World where Michigan Tech is highlighted as one of six colleges turning out open source talent.

Pearce’s article on how to calculate the ROI for open hardware made the Editor’s picks for must-read articles at OpenSource.

From Tech Today.

Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE) and MSE PhD candidate Bas Wijnen are quoted in the story “Michigan Tech and America Makes Release Free Open Source 3D Printing Software” on 3D Print.

From Tech Today.

Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE) has been named editor-in-chief of HardwareX a new Elsevier journal dedicated to open source scientific hardware development.

From Tech Today.

Drelich Presents at From Lab to Marketplace

How do discoveries in university labs turn into commercially available—and potentially lifesaving—products?

This Wednesday, May 25, 2016, teams of Michigan Tech scientists and engineers will present their innovative technologies to a state funding review committee. The reviewers, officially designated an Oversight Committee, will be making decisions on grants from the Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization (MTRAC) program, a $6 million state-funded program developed and managed by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) to help commercialize university translational research.

An example of a team that will present on Wednesday afternoon is Professor Jarek Drelich (MSE) and Associate Professor Jeremy Goldman (BME). They are working on developing a metal alloy that would perform well as a biodegradable stent for heart surgery and other uses where a biodegradable material is desirable. They have been working for some time to find a material with all the necessary properties that will biodegrade harmlessly in the body over a set period of time.

Read more at Tech Today, by Jenn Donovan.

Professor Emeritus Duane Thayer Dies at 81

IMG_3514_3dArticle by Mark Wilcox

Michigan Tech Professor Emeritus Duane “Dewey” Thayer, a professor remembered by colleagues and alumni for his devotion to his students, has passed away. He died unexpectedly Friday at Dickinson County Memorial Hospital in Iron Mountain of an apparent heart attack. He was 81.

A native of Kingsford, Thayer came to Michigan Tech for a year, left and served in the U.S. Marine Corps for three years and was honorably discharged with the rank of sergeant.

Following his service, he returned to Tech where he earned bachelor’s, ’59, and master’s, ’62, degrees in metallurgical engineering.

He spent his career at his alma mater and retired from Tech as a professor of Materials Sciences and Engineering in January of 1997 and became an emeritus professor in the fall of that year. He was inducted into the Department of Materials Science and Engineering Academy in 2008.

Stephen Kampe, chair of Materials Science and Engineering, called Thayer, “one of a kind.”

“He had a large personality in the classroom,” Kampe said. “With a style and humor that was very memorable and the subject of considerable lore among his students. To many, Dewey Thayer exemplified the Michigan Tech of his era.”

Kampe said colleagues enjoyed the sincerity of his friendship and the wisdom that he freely shared. “He will be missed,” Kampe said.

Komar Kawatra, chair of chemical engineering has fond memories of his long-time friend and colleague.

“Duane Thayer was one of the most unforgettable people I have met,” Kawatra said. He said Thayer cultivated an image of taking no nonsense and settling for nothing but the best from his students, but in reality he cared deeply about them and made them the focus of his life.

“He would give them money, food, advice, job leads and references and anything else they needed,” Kawatra said. “He was affectionately known by the students as ‘Dewey.’ Even years after graduating, our alumni still talk about him as one of the professors who had the greatest impact on their lives.”

One of those former students is Mike Gregory, ’69, a vice president at North American Coal. More than four and a half decades after his time at Tech, Gregory has vivid memories of the man who made a deep impact on his education, his career and his life.

“Dewey, was a hard-charging man, a task master who expected a lot out of his students. He expected us to perform, but treated us fairly, and that’s all you can really ask for.”

Gregory said, in addition to being an outstanding educator, Thayer was a forward thinker. “What most people don’t realize is that Dewey was way ahead of environmentalists. It was the 1960s, and he posed metal recycling concepts to his students, long before they became part of the conversation.”

Thayer’s impact was so significant on Gregory that in 1993, he and fellow alumni Ken Brunk, ’69 and Jim Graham, ’70, established a scholarship named in Thayer’s honor for students majoring in the earth science and resource engineering curriculum with a focus of study in mineral processing.

In addition to being an educator, Thayer was an innovator and engineer, serving as an international consultant in mineral processing and extractive metallurgy.

He was active in the Copper Country community serving on the Quincy Mine Hoist Association Board of Directors, the Society of Mining Engineers, the American Legion and the Vets Club.

His survivors include his wife Mary, and daughters Cecile Cloutier, Martha Thayer, Mary Hoffman, Therese Hunwick and Susan Liebau, who is director of Michigan Tech’s Waino Wahtera Center for Student Success.

Private funeral services will be held Saturday followed by a public wake from 4-6 p.m. at the Douglass House in downtown Houghton.

The family suggests memorial gifts be made to the Michigan Tech Fund, directed to the Duane Thayer Honorary Endowed Scholarship or to the Salvation Army. A complete obituary can be found at the O’Neill-Dennis Funeral Home’s website.

Michigan Tech wins Ford College Community Challenge (Ford C3) grant

The Ford Motor Co. fund, the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Co., is awarding $250,000 in Ford College Community Challenge (Ford C3) grants for student-led projects.

The program is in its eighth year of supporting sustainable efforts to address urgent community needs focused on “Building Sustainable Communities.”

Ford C3 winners are required to present proposals for sustainable projects with significant student input, involvement and leadership. Water conservation, renewable energy, urban gardening, recycling and mobility are among the proposals submitted by these creative teams of students. Each of the winning projects will receive a $25,000 grant to support their project.

Michigan Technological University: Plastic Recycling to 3D Printer Filament. The MTU team will work with the local community to incorporate a wider variety of plastics into recycled filament, and upgrade machinery to use this recycled product to produce the filament. See the article “A Call to Change Recycling Standards as 3-D Printing Expands

Michigan State University, University of Michigan,a and Wayne State University won for other projecs.
Read the whole article

MSE News Briefs

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Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE) co-authored “Photovoltaic System Performance Enhancement With Nontracking Planar Concentrators: Experimental Results and Bidirectional Reflectance Function (BDRF)-Based Modeling” published in the IEEE Journal of Photovoltaics.
Graduate students Negin Heidari (ECE) and Jephias Gwamuri (MSE) co-authored a paper with Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE) titled “Impact of Snow and Ground Interference on Photovoltaic Electric System Performance,” published in the IEEE Journal of Photovoltaics.

Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE) co-authored “Feeding Everyone: Solving the Food Crisis in Event of Global Catastrophes that Kill Crops or Obscure the Sun” in the journal Futures. Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE) was interviewed for CBC in October on feeding everyone in the event of catastrophe. Pearce’s research in low concentration solar photovoltaic technology was also covered widely by the international media including the Epoch Times and the EE Times in Europe and India.

Research on distributed manufacturing with 3D printers in isolated communities co-authored by undergraduate mechanical engineering student Nick Anzalone and Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE), was quoted extensively in Vedomosti (Ведомости, translated literally “The Record”), the largest Russian financial newspaper.

Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE) gave a plenary presentation “Making Open Hardware the New Standard in Science” at the 2015 Open Hardware Summit, Saturday in Philadelphia. The summit was sponsored by the Open Source Hardware Association.

Graduate students Tony Pinar (ECE) and Bas Wijnen (MSE) collaborated with Jerry Anzalone (MSE), Tim Havens(ECE), Paul Sanders (MSE) and Joshua. Pearce (MSE) on a paper titled: Low-cost Open-Source Voltage and Current Monitor for Gas Metal Arc Weld 3-D Printing published in the Journal of Sensors.

Continue reading

MSE Team wins Michigan Tech Design Expo

The “Aluminum Corrosion Study—Automotive Electrical Systems” team placed first for Senior Design in the annual Michigan Tech Design Expo.

Aluminum Corrosion Study Team Members: Annie LeSage, Jacob Gerdt, Kyle Myszka,and Alexandra Glover, Materials Science and Engineering
Advisor: Steve Kampe, Materials Science and Engineering
Sponsor: Yazaki North America

Aluminum Corrosion Study Team Members: Annie LeSage, Jacob Gerdt, Kyle Myszka,and Alexandra Glover, Materials Science and Engineering
Aluminum Corrosion Study Team Members: Annie LeSage, Jacob Gerdt, Kyle Myszka,and Alexandra Glover, Materials Science and Engineering

Project Overview:
The switch from copper to aluminum in automotive electrical systems is advantageous to U.S automakers and automotive component suppliers because it has the potential to decrease vehicle weight and raw materials costs. This switch also poses several challenges. This senior design project characterizes the galvanic corrosion rate of an aluminum substrate with a metallic plating when exposed to an electrolytic solution. This mimics the exposure of electrical components to a fluid containing salts or automotive chemicals. The results of this testing are critical to the success of the copper-to-aluminum substitution in automotive electrical systems. This is because they inform automotive component designers about the expected lifetime of such systems when exposed to a corrosive environment.

Video Clip about the Aluminum Corrosion Study

Aluminum Corrosion Study Team at Design Expo
Aluminum Corrosion Study Team at Design Expo


2015 Design Expo Image Contest Entries

Congratulations to MSE senior design team members Jordan Pontoni, Calvin Nitz, Shane Anderson and Austin DePottey for their first place image of a team member at work in the foundry. The image illustrates the team’s project, Casting 357 Aluminum, sponsored by Eck Industries. The team’s advisor is MSE engineer/scientist Thomas Wood.
Team 150, Title: “E357 Alloying to Increase Elongation and Maintain Mechanical Properties”, the foundry shot.

MSE senior design team members Jordan Pontoni, Calvin Nitz, Shane Anderson and Austin DePottey for their first place image of a team member at work in the foundry.
MSE senior design team members Jordan Pontoni, Calvin Nitz, Shane Anderson and Austin DePottey for their first place image of a team member at work in the foundry.

2015 Design Expo Summary Report