Archives—October 2011

ASME Vision 2030 – Creating the Future of Mechanical Engineering Education

Thursday October 27, 2011 4:00-5:00 p.m.
DOW building, Room 641

Professor Allan T. Kirkpatrick
Mechanical Engineering Department, Colorado State University

In 2009, the ASME Center for Education formed the ASME Vision 2030 task force to help define the knowledge and skills that mechanical engineering graduates should have to be globally competitive in the 21st century. What mechanical engineers do, and how they do it, is changing due to the expansion of the discipline’s boundaries, impact of the globalization of engineering and manufacturing, increased professional expectations, and rapid technological innovation.

The Vision 2030 task force has identified the challenges of sustainable engineering, energy, and human health as ones where mechanical engineers should lead development of innovative and sustainable solutions. Based on extensive surveys of three groups, industry, early career engineers, and engineering educators, the task force has found that there is a strong need to strengthen two aspects of the undergraduate mechanical engineering curriculum: practical experience, and curricular flexibility. These survey results indicate that successful mechanical engineers in industry will, in addition to technical knowledge, need to have more depth in problem-solving skills, innovation, communication, and global team collaboration.

To strengthen the ‘practical/professional experience’ component of the students’ skill set, the task force has recommended that Mechanical Engineering curricula contain a multi-year design/build spine. Professional skills such as problem solving, teamwork, leadership, entrepreneurship, innovation, and project management would be central features of the design spine. The task force has also found a need for ME Departments to increase their faculty diversification by both employing more faculty with significant industry experience and also creating faculty development opportunities in industry.


Plasma-Assisted Flame Holding in Subsonic Flows

Thursday October 20, 2011 4:00-5:00 p.m.
ME-EM building, Room 112

Dr. Wookyung Kim
Senior Research Scientist from United Technologies Research Center (UTRC)

The implementation of nanosecond pulsed discharge (NPD) to combustion applications is receiving growing attention because of its capability to increase flame stability. In this presentation, our recent studies of three different flame configurations which are assisted by NPD are summarized. The flow configurations are: methane-air jet diffusion flames in coflow and crossflow and methane-air laminar premixed flames. For the methane jet in coflow, it is shown that the flame stability is improved by ten-fold (in terms of coflow speed) with the aid of the NPD. For the methane jet in cross flow, it is found that there exists a significant distance through which radicals formed by the NPD cannot survive between the NPD and flamebase. Based on the observation of jet in cross flow experiments, a simple model (preflame model) of a plasma-assisted methane flame is proposed, which suggests that the central role of the plasma discharge in this case is as an in-situ reformer, not a direct radical source. The verification is carried out by 0-D/1-D discharge/flame simulations along with subsequent experimental validations including GC sampling and hydrogen/air flame analyses.



Engineering Challenges in National Security

Thursday October 13, 2011 4:00-5:00 p.m.
ME-EM building, Room 112

Dr. Johnathan D. Rogers
Manager of Strategic Weapons Studies at Sandia National Laboratories

The National Security sector provides many opportunities and challenges for engineering research, development, analysis, and application. This presentation will discuss some of these challenges and opportunities through a series of examples in various areas. The areas discussed will include: conventional and nuclear weapons effects, energy issues, penetration mechanics, and radiological threats. The presentation is intended to encourage discussion and debate on the activities described.


Application of In-Situ Electron Microscopy in Nanoscience and Energy Research

Thursday October 6, 2011 4:00-5:00 p.m.
ME-EM building, Room 112

Dr. Jianyu Huang
Staff Scientist of the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies at Sandia National Laboratories

To begin with, I will review our recent progress in using TEM-SPM platform to probe the electrical and mechanical properties of individual carbon nanotubes, nanowires and graphene. First, individual multiwall carbon nanotubes are peeled off layer-by-layer by electric breakdown inside the TEM. This provided new insights into the transport property of nanotubes. Second, plastic deformation, such as superplasticity, kink motion, dislocation climb, and vacancy migration, was discovered in nanotubes and graphene. Third, we induced sublimation of suspended few-layer graphene by in-situ Joule-heating inside a TEM. The graphene sublimation fronts consisted of mostly {1100} zigzag edges. Under appropriate conditions, a fractal-like “coastline” morphology was observed.

I’ll conclude by reviewing our recent progress in in-situ studies of lithium ion batteries (LIBs). We created the first nano-battery inside a TEM, allowing for real time atomic scale observations of battery charging and discharging processes. Two types of nano battery cells, one ionic liquid based, and the other all solid based, were created. The former consists of a single nanowire anode, an ionic liquid (IL) electrolyte and a bulk LiCoO2 cathode; the latter uses Li2O as a solid electrolyte and metal Li as anode. The electrochemical process induced volume changes, phase transformations, and mechanical stress were revealed in real time and at an atomic scale. The results provide understanding of the fundamental science of LIBs, guiding the development of advanced LIBs for plug-in electric vehicle applications.