Smithsonian on Michigan Tech’s NASA Space Research Institute

Air and Space August 2017Smithsonian’s Air & Space Magazine published a feature article about Michigan Tech’s new NASA Space Research Institute, headed by Greg Odegard (ME-EM). The institute will work on using carbon nanotubes to create a composite that is lighter and stronger than any material used in load-bearing structures today.

Strong Stuff

These students are designing materials tough enough to land on another planet.

The project, called the Institute for Ultra-Strong Composites by Computational Design (US-COMP), is led by Michigan Technological University professor Greg Odegard, who assembled the 11-university team of experts in computational mechanics and materials science. The problem NASA has set for them to solve: Use carbon nanotubes to create a composite that is lighter and stronger than any material used in load-bearing structures today. Odegard says high-powered computers at his university and others are the key to success.

Will Pisani is in his first year of work toward his Ph.D. at Michigan Tech, and he’s already started some of the computational modeling the institute will use.

Using molecular dynamics, Matt Radue, who is just about to receive his Ph.D. from Michigan Tech, has created models to simulate the formation or breakage of chemical bonds between atoms; he calculates, by programming Newton’s laws of motion into the models, the velocities and accelerations of the atoms under different conditions, such as changes in temperature.

Julie Tomasi loves it when the materials in the lab behave the way the computer models predict. Tomasi, also pursuing a Ph.D. at Michigan Tech, has tested the mechanical, electrical, and thermal properties of epoxy with various embedded fillers, such as graphene (a carbon particle lattice).

Read more at Smithsonian Air & Space, by Linda Shiner.


Alumnus Pat Suhy Unveils New NASCAR Cup Race Car

Camaro ZL1
Camaro ZL1

The Daily Tribune published an article about the unveiling of the new Chevy Camaro ZL1, Chevrolet’s new NASCAR Cup race car, quoting alumnus Pat Suhy, manager of Chevrolet’s NASCAR Competition Group and a 1988 mechanical engineering alumnus of Michigan Tech.

New Chevrolet race car ‘exciting’ for team manager Pat Suhy

DETROIT >> Pat Suhy’s latest work project was such a big deal that a seven-time NASCAR champion introduced it to the world.

“It’s been exciting,” Suhy said. “We’ve been working hard on this for a very long time. Keeping it under wraps until we were ready to unveil it has been a challenge.

“We’ve had a large number of people engaged in this, including (aerodynamic) specialists from key Cup teams.”

The Camaro will debut at Daytona in February.

Read more and watch the video at the Daily Tribune, by George Pohly.


Nancy Barr Presents at ICCC PCS

Nancy Barr
Nancy Barr

Nancy Barr, director of the MEEM Engineering Communications Program, presented a paper at IEEE’s Professional Communication Society (PCS) annual conference in Madison.

Her paper, titled “Starting from Scratch: Incorporating communication instruction in a revised mechanical engineering curriculum,” described the process used to develop and implement instruction in technical writing and presenting into the four-course mechanical engineering practice sequence.

The IEEE PCS society is dedicated to understanding and promoting effective communication in engineering, scientific and other technical environment.

The conference took place July 23-26, 2017.


Paul van Susante on Space Mining for Rocket Fuel

Paul van Susante
Paul van Susante

Sending humans to Mars involves deep space missions that could last months, but shipping material there is costly; the price of transporting 1kg on Earth increases by a factor of 100 on a Martian mission. If the ultimate goal is to establish a long-term base on Mars, we’ll need make use of materials found on humanity’s greatest ever voyage.

Nasa has a target to send humans to Mars by the 2030s. Since 2012, the space agency has dedicated a branch of its research to what it calls In Situ Resource Utilisation (ISRU), with researchers working to find the best ways to produce one of the most crucial resources for space travel – rocket fuel.

Paul van Susante, senior lecturer in engineering at Michigan Tech University, has studied how to mine these resources on our neighbouring planet.

Space mining, on any target or destination such as asteroids, moon or Mars, provides leverage.Paul van Susante

Read more at Wired (UK), by Abigail Beall.


Short Course on Diesel Engines July 12-14, 2017

“Fundamentals of Diesel Engines”—MEEM 5202 will be offered next week Wednesday through Friday as a one credit short course.

Course includes extensive laboratory components with a format that mixes traditional lecture and group discussion with hands-on experiments conducted in powertrain test-cells and through driving vehicles on the road. The course will be available to all Michigan Tech faculty/staff, graduate students, and undergraduate seniors.

Course description is included below.

“Fundamentals of Diesel Engines”—MEEM 5202 is a combination of lecture and hands-on activities. Options for transportation and lunch. Content; fundamentals of operation, performance metrics, thermochemistry, combustion, fuel injection and spray, air systems and turbocharging, EGR, energy balance, heat transfer, diesel engine simulation and advanced concepts and trends in diesel engines.

These courses are a great option for anyone looking to increase their understanding of vehicle systems, engines, or for students needing additional credits. The course will be delivered from the Michigan Tech Advanced Power Systems Research Center located near the Houghton County Airport. The course will be 2.5 days in duration, starting at 1 p.m. Wednesday, ending at 5 p.m. Friday of that same week. Transportation to and from campus may be provided each day. Lunch will be provided on Thursday and Friday.

Registration is now open through banweb.

Fundamentals of Diesel Engines, 7/12 through 7/14 CRN 52378.

There are no pre-requisites, but familiarity with thermodynamics and/or IC engine cycles will be helpful.

Contact Chris Morgan cjmorgan@mtu.edu for further details.

By MEEM, APS Labs.


NASA Funding for Greg Odegard

Greg Odegard
Greg Odegard

Greg Odegard (MEEM) is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $1,000,000 research and development grant from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Ravi Pandey (Physics), Julia King (ChE) and Trisha Sain (MEEM) are Co-Pis on the project titled “Institute for Ultra-Strong Composites by Computational Design (US-COMP).”

This is the first year of a five-year project potential totaling $14,999,995.

Air and Space Smithsonian August 2017Strong Stuff

These students are designing materials tough enough to land on another planet.

The spacecraft that will one day land humans on Mars will be made of a material that has not yet been invented. Ditto for the rocket that sends them there. But at the end of a $15 million, five-year NASA project set to begin next month, an advanced, high-performance composite will be invented, and it may be the very material used to build those spacecraft. The people inventing it are Ph.D. candidates and other students at 11 universities, all working together.

The project, called the Institute for Ultra-Strong Composites by Computational Design (US-COMP), is led by Michigan Technological University professor Greg Odegard, who assembled the 11-university team of experts in computational mechanics and materials science. The problem NASA has set for them to solve: Use carbon nanotubes to create a composite that is lighter and stronger than any material used in load-bearing structures today. Odegard says high-powered computers at his university and others are the key to success.

Read more at Air & Space Smithsonian, by Linda Shiner.


Robotics Machining Workshop for High School Students This Week at Tech

Michigan Tech’s Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics is hosting high school students from Houghton, Calumet and Lake Linden at a Robotics Machining Workshop during the week of June 19, 2017. The students are members of FIRST Robotics Competition teams.

Workshop developers are Marty Toth and Michael Goldsworthy (ME-EM). They will teach the students machining skills and safety practices. During the workshop, the students will machine all the components to construct a working Stirling Engine.

Building a competition robot is a complex undertaking requiring electro-mechanical design, computer modeling, creating machining prints, prototyping and lots of machining.

Michigan Tech connects with FIRST Robotics in many ways. Like many universities, Tech recruits FIRST Robotics high school students with scholarship opportunities. Tech faculty and staff volunteer with the teams during the six-week building season and during the off-season with special projects such as a robot that was created for this year’s Bridgefest Parade, which helped students develop skills for the next building season, which begins early in 2018.

FIRST Robotics


Tech Students Awarded at Noise Control Conferences

NOISE-CON 2017

A total of 14 Michigan Tech students, 13 graduate students and one undergrad, are in Grand Rapids, Michigan for the joint SAE Noise and Vibration Conference and the Institute of Noise Control Engineering of the USA (NOISE-CON 2017). They are students of Jason Blough (ME-EM) and Andrew Barnard (ME-EM).

On Wednesday, Michigan Tech students won 11 awards between the two conferences:

  • SAE NVC Best Student Paper—First place: Troy Bouman, Second Place: Mahsa Asgarisabet
  • INCE-USA NoiseCon Best Student Paper—Micaela Theiry and Trinoy Dutta
  • INCE-USA Hallberg Foundation Travel Award—Theiry, Miles Penhale, Siddharth Parmar, Suraj Prabhu and Asgarisabet
  • Beranek Gold Medal for Excellence in the Study of Noise Control Engineering for an Undergraduate Student—Stephania Vaglica
  • Beranek Pewter Medal for Excellence in the Study of Noise Control Engineering for a Graduate Student—Asgarisabet

The students also had a booth in the expo where they showed off some of their work and it was busy with visitors for two straight days.

By Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics.

The event took place on June 12-14, 2017.


ME-EM Senior Recognition Banquet April 20, 2017

The ME-EM Senior Recognition Banquet and Order of the Engineer Program was held on April 20, 2017.

The keynote speaker was Dr. Robin Johnson-Cash, Technical Training Manager, Ford Motor Company. Cash is a 2015 alumna with a PhD in Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics.

WATCH THE KEYNOTE ADDRESS. Closed captioning is available.

Robin Johnson-Cash
Keynote Speaker Robin Johnson-Cash

Spring 2017 Outstanding Student Awards

From time to time we observe exemplary and outstanding performance of an individual or group of individuals in Senior Capstone Design or Enterprise, and when that happens we recognize those students with an Outstanding Student Performance Award.

Isabella Kesler
Isabella Kesler and William Endres

Isabella Kesler, FSAE

Bella joined Formula SAE early in her college career. Bella’s first year on the team marked the beginning of transforming Michigan Tech FSAE from a Monster Garage operation to a race team with a purpose, a plan, and a return to yearly competition. As a new member, Bella learned that building a successful race car requires hard work and dedication. As an FSAE Leader, Bella demonstrated this to her to her teammates. Bella finds out what needs to be accomplished and gets it done. She has a can-do attitude as a team member, SAE Board member, and electrical and controls leader. As President this year, Bella made sure that the team met every competition deliverable on time. Bella was always at the shop working on the cars, preparing competition documents, and occasionally doing homework. Her degrees show mechanical and electrical engineering, but her dedication has been to Formula. Isabella Kesler is the model Outstanding FSAE Member.

Jacob Kendziorski, Erica Huhta
Jacob Kendziorski, Erica Huhta, and William Endres

Erica Huhta and Jacob Kendziorski, SCD 4

Erica and Jake have gone above and beyond within Team 4, which was already a great team to work with as an Advisor. One of the most outstanding qualities of Jake and Erica is their level of professionalism and work ethics. From the first day to the very last one, they have been the driving force and have striven for success and perfection throughout the project. Jake has delivered an outstanding performance and beyond his profound contributions to the team in motion simulation and manufacturing he has shown exceptional leadership skills. Erica, beyond her responsibilities as communication liaison and technical contributions to the team, has kept the team on track and has shown exceptional leadership and professionalism.

Mike Fischer, Lauren Tetzloff
Mike Fischer, Lauren Tetzloff, and William Endres

Mike Fischer and Lauren Tetzloff, SCD 7

Mike Fisher and Lauren Tetzloff have both been exceptional and integral members of Team 7. For both semesters Mike usually ran the meetings, and has been involved with all aspects of the project from brainstorming all the way to testing. In the first semester Lauren did most of the CAD layout and kinematics work. She carried a large part of the work-load and played a key role in every aspect of the project. During the project both Mike and Lauren have been very professional and hard working. The team would not have been as successful without them.

Rachel Pohlod, Cayman Berg-Morales
Rachel Pohlod, Cayman Berg-Morales, and William Endres

Rachel Pohlod and Cayman Berg-Morales, SCD Team 11

As many of you are aware, the ME undergraduate curriculum has undergone a major change recently. That change has challenged students to learn more about implementing modern model-based simulation and analysis tools. This pair of students stood out in taking what they learned in ME Practice, engaging on their own knowledgeable faculty, and taking MotionView far beyond what they had previously learned to simulate sliding, impact, contact and settling (and not tipping over) of gear blanks working their way through the automated handling and inspection system for MacLean-Fogg Component Solutions. For this work, we recognize Rachel Pohlod and Cayman Berg-Morales.

Miller, Tetzloff, Raboin, Johnson
Matthew Miller, Thomas Tetzloff, Kyle Raboin, Dean Thomas Johnson, and William Endres

Thomas Tetzloff, Dean Johnson, and Kyle Raboin and Matt Miller, SCD Team 20

As a team, they did a great job, a fully integrated ME and EE team, and represented MTU extremely well at a national venue in the Air Force Research Labs University Design Challenge. On that team there were a few individuals who really stood out in the spirit of what the Outstanding Student Performance Award is here to recognize. For their extreme dedication from design through prototyping to making it work (more than once), this award goes to MEs Thomas Tetzloff, Dean Johnson, and Kyle Raboin and Electrical and Computer Engineer Matt Miller.

ME-EM Teachers of the Year Award

Radheshyam Tewari
Lecturer Radheshyam Tewari

Radheshyam Tewari is a lecturer in the Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics department at Michigan Technological University since 2014.

Jaclyn Johnson
Lecturer Jaclyn Johnson

Dr. Jaclyn Johnson is a lecturer in the ME-EM department at Michigan Tech, since 2014.

Photo Galleries

View the MEEM Spring 2017 Ceremonies Photo Gallery

View the MEEM Spring 2017 Capstone Senior Design Poster Session Photo Gallery


First-Time Supermileage Driver Makes Tech Shine

Michigan Tech’s Supermileage Systems Enterprise, part of Tech’s Advanced Motorsports, took first place for innovation solutions at SAE International’s Collegiate Design Supermileage Competition in Marshall, Michigan. The $1,000 award was sponsored by Top 1 Oil.

Michigan Tech’s team was one of 23 teams from the US and Canada who participated in the competition and one of 14 who passed the technical inspection. The Tech team placed 5th overall based their design report, presentation and fuel economy results, winning another $500 prize. They also won awards for best design execution and best overall team attitude, adding another $400 to their winnings.

But the hero of the day was Claire Sullivan, who was driving in her first Supermileage competition. Rick Berkey, Enterprise director, said: “I am giving our driver Claire Sullivan the ‘Coolest Driver under Pressure’ Award for her on-track performance.”

Berkey explained. “We were the last team on the track, and our final run was going very well. All this changed on lap 5 of 6, when the chain came off. We thought we were done and even stopped timing our laps. BUT, our driver Claire exited the vehicle (which is allowed) and got the chain back on without assistance.

“Here is where the excitement comes in,” Berkey continued. “In order to post a successful run and comply with the minimum and maximum speed constraints, we needed to complete the final lap somewhere between 3:50 and about 4:10 minutes—only a 20-second window to hit and about 2 minutes faster than our optimal lap times, all without any feedback on speed/time.

“As Claire accelerated, the engine cover blew off; it is normally secured by tape. Then, the cockpit cover blew off. It is not really designed for the driver to reinstall unassisted while sitting (or rather lying) in the car.

“To make matters worse, the cover bumped one of the kill switches in the process and shut the car off. Claire figured this out and reached up to turn the switch to the run position (all while strapped in a six-point safety harness).

“At this point we literally told Claire over the radio to ‘trust her gut.’ And she did. Her final lap was 3:57–not too fast, not too slow, but just right. The timing judges were impressed; we were in awe, and Claire was clearly our hero of the day.”

By Jenn Donovan.

The event took place June 8-9, 2017, at the Eaton Corporation in Marshall, Michigan.

Complete Results

by Rick Berkey

Event Summary:

  • We were one of 23 registered teams – 6 from Canada and 17 from the US, including 3 from Michigan (other MI teams were Lawrence Tech and Univ. of Detroit – Mercy).
  • Of the 23 registered teams, we were one of 14 who passed technical inspection.
  • We earned a design score of 325 out of 450 possible, based on our written report and verbal presentation.
  • After battling engine tuning and chain tensioning problems nearly all day, we worked through these issues and made two successful fuel economy runs of 443 and 535 mpg.

Results:

  • We placed 5th overall based our design report, presentation, and fuel economy results ($500). Our design score helped us, as our fuel economy was only 7th highest.
  • We earned 1st place Innovative Solutions Award, sponsored by Top 1 Oil ($1000 and plaque).
  • We received the award for Best Design Execution, selected by the event organizers ($300 and plaque).
  • We received the award for Best Overall Team Attitude ($100 and plaque), selected by the event organizers based on discussions with other teams in the pits. Our team spent a lot of time helping the Iowa State team who was having a lot of challenges trying to pass inspection. I’m most proud of this award, as it shows the true character of our team.
  • I am giving our driver Claire Sullivan the ‘Coolest Driver under Pressure’ Award for her on-track performance below.

Supermileage 2017

Supermileage 2017