Archives—March 2014

ME-EM Graduate Seminar: Future Fuel Economy Standards

ME-EM Graduate Seminar: Dr. Robert Prucka, Clemson University, International Center for Automotive Research
Thursday, Apr. 3, 2014 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. Room 103 EERC Bldg.

Title: Automobile Engine Control and Calibration Strategies to Address Future Fuel Economy Standards

Mandated fuel economy regulations worldwide are driving unprecedented research and development for automobile powertrains. These stringent new regulations require automobile manufacturers to double their current fleet average fuel economy by 2025, while still satisfying customer performance and cost expectations. Advanced internal combustion engines are likely to be prime mover for the vast majority of automobiles in 2025 and beyond due to their relatively low cost as compared to competing technologies. To improve fuel economy and meet global energy demands the number of engine control actuators is increasing and multiple fuels are being considered. The increased engine control complexity brought about by new actuators and fuels motivates the use of model-based control methodologies over traditional map-based empirical approaches. Purely physics based control techniques have the potential to decrease calibration burdens, but must be complex to capture non-linear engine behavior with low computational requirements. This talk will discuss two examples of on-going research related to engine modeling and control system development at Clemson University. First, a semiphysical approach to combustion phasing control for multi-fuel adaptive engines will be examined. This work is intended to adapt to fuel behavior and maintain proper spark timing on-the-fly when fuel type changes. The second example will be focused on the implementation of model predictive control (MPC) to improve engine response during a transmission shift.

Dr. Robert Prucka is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Automotive Engineering at the Clemson University – International Center for Automotive Research. His research interests include the design, performance, control, calibration, and emissions of advanced internal combustion engines. He has extensive engine testing experience, including dynamometer cell design and advanced instrumentation development. Currently, he is developing experimental techniques, simulations and control strategies for advanced high degree of freedom spark-ignition engines to improve fuel economy and reduce time to market. He also performs research related to the performance aftermarket for SEMA member companies. Dr. Prucka teaches two graduate level engine combustion and emissions courses that incorporate fundamental engineering principles, experimental work, and 1-D engine simulation software. He is the faculty advisor for Clemson University’s Formula and Baja SAE student competition teams, and the Director of the Brooks Institute for Motorsports at Clemson University. He has three degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan; PhD (2008), MSE (2004) and BSE. (2000). Prior to joining Clemson Robert has worked for the Ford Motor Company and as an independent consultant for racing engine companies.


ME-EM Graduate Seminar: Relevant Research Areas in Heavy-Duty Engines

The Department of Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics Graduate Seminar:
Thursday, March 26, 2014 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. Room 103 EERC Bldg.
Dr. William de Ojeda, Navistar

Title: Relevant Research Areas in Heavy-Duty Engines

The drivers for technologies in the Heavy Duty truck market are cleaner emission regulations and higher fuel efficiency standards. This presentation will illustrate how increased engine efficiencies have been attained by more capable injection and charge air systems, while at the same time engine designers work to increase the mechanical limits of the engine to allow operation at higher compression ratios and higher peak cylinder pressures. Reduction of parasitic losses and effective designs to recover the heat energy are also active areas of development. Increased efficiency is accompanied by highly integrated emission reduction technologies. Effective operation of these aftertreatment units require strict thermal management and this presentation will provide insight from novel approaches such as provided by variable valve timing over conventional techniques that require excess fuel. Finally, the area of fuels opens new possibilities for advanced combustion modes. The use of natural gas with Diesel pilot ignition, or gasoline like fuels with Diesel, of oxygenated fuels like Dimethyl Ether represent current areas of research and development and will be briefly reviewed here.
Further advances in HD powertrains with these new fuels will require continuous aligning and successful migration of basic research into the applied work of industry.

Dr. de Ojeda is a senior engineer in Powertrain Group at Navistar where he has led several advanced engine development programs. More recently he directed Navistar’s High Efficiency Vehicle-Engine Supertruck DOE Program based on the Navistar MAXXFORCE13 engine. Dr. de Ojeda holds multiple patents and publications in the
area of electro-hydraulics, variable valve train systems, combustion and controls. He has a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from The Cooper Union in New York, a M.S. in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from The University of Virginia and a Ph.D. in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology.


ME-EM Graduate Seminar: Signatures of Surface Moving Targets within Synthetic Aperture Radar Imagery

The ME-EM Graduate Seminar guest speaker on Thursday, March 20 at 4:00 in 103 EERC will be Dr. David Garren from the Naval Postgraduate School.

The title of his presentation will be ‘Signatures of Surface Moving Targets within Synthetic Aperture Radar Imagery’.

Synthetic aperture radar (SAR) enables accurate collection of imagery data in all weather conditions, day or night. SAR image formation yield well-focused imagery of geophysical scenes, since the radar signal processing uses a filtering process that is matched to the radar echoes from stationary scattering centers within the scene. However, moving targets yield a signal mismatch in the processing and thus appear defocused, wherein the majority of the smearing occurs in the radar cross-range direction. This current investigation presents methods for analytically predicting the detailed shape of the smear signatures for surface targets with arbitrary motion in spotlight SAR imagery. This analysis considers the standard collection geometry in which the radar sensor moves with constant speed and heading on a level flight path, with radar beam-pattern pointed perpendicular to the direction of flight. Examples in which a target moves with constant speed and heading yield smear shapes that are simply curved, as with a parabola. However, complicated smear shapes can be obtained for cases of non-uniform target motion, as with a target that is undergoing a braking maneuver. The current investigation develops accurate equations for predicting the shapes of mover signatures based upon input values for the target motion. This predictive capability offers the potential of providing insight into the details of the target motion based upon mover signatures that are observed within SAR imagery.

Professor Garren is an Associate Professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the Naval Postgraduate School – National Capital Region. He has over twenty years of experience in applied research in various disciplines, including radar, image processing, and signal processing. He has over thirty-five research publications in journals and conference proceedings, and he holds seven U.S. Patents. Professor Garren received the Ph.D. degree in 1991 from the College of William and Mary.


Michigan Tech Students Head to Detroit for Alternative Spring Break

Students from the Michigan Tech National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) visited seven middle and high schools in Detroit over their Spring Break, March 11-14, 2014, to promote college and engineering to K-12 students. Two ME-EM students were in the group, Anza Mitchel and Taylor Driscoll. In the evenings, they conducted Family Engineering Night events at three K-8 schools. NSBE’s Alternative Spring Break is conducted in collaboration with the Detroit Public Schools Office of Science and the Detroit Math & Science Center, and funded in part, with a grant from John Deere. Continue reading


SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge 2014 Pictures and Videos

IMG_2741The Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics Department is
a partner with the Keweenaw Research Center for the SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge held at Michigan Tech. A page leading to the results, news stories and photo Galleries is provided by the department. Links to 2014 Results Pictures and Videos

Playlist of Videos of Overview, Dan Hancock, president of SAE remarks, Opening, and other video clips

Also Video Playlist of the Handling Competition.

Photo Gallery of the 2014 Events Continue reading


ME-EM Graduate Seminar: Turning Power Distribution Feeders into Microgrids

The Department of Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics Graduate Seminar Series:
Thursday, Mar. 6, 2013 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. Room 103, EERC Bldg.
Professor Andrea Mammoli, Director of the Center for Emerging Energy Technologies, University of New Mexico

Title: Turning Power Distribution Feeders into Microgrids: Challenges & Opportunities

Photovoltaic power generation is almost at grid parity. Electric vehicles are gaining popularity. Smart meters, smart thermostats and many other clever devices are being installed at rapidly increasing rates, replacing old equipment. At the same time, every time bad weather happens, large parts of the grid fail, and days go by before normality is restored. Even houses with undamaged rooftop photovoltaic systems have no power! Our increased reliance on electricity to drive all kinds of devices and machinery has, in fact, made us more vulnerable to disruptions in service. An important reason for this state of affairs is that the grid is not taking advantage of the information that is available through these myriad devices, and is operating largely as it has been for decades. On the other hand, managing information from millions of devices is not something utility companies are able or willing to do. A possible solution is to localize both information management and distributed power generation at the distribution feeder level, turning it into a microgrid. This would be able to provide basic services when islanded from the grid, and also to provide ancillary services to the grid as needed to help prevent grid-wide disruption. The problem is one of resource management: how much local generation is needed, how much and what storage, and how is power flow managed and coordinated? Also, what are the changes to infrastructure that would be needed to make all power distribution feeders into microgrids? Some of the answers will be provided as a result of a research program that started in New Mexico several years ago at Mesa del Sol, a Greenfield development south of Albuquerque that will ultimately be the home to 100,000 residents, who will live, work and play there. Studio14, a power distribution feeder that connects various innovative distributed power system, is used as a basis for studying how we can go from 19th century power to 21st century power. In this talk, we will provide examples from several ongoing projects that show how it is possible to achieve the goal of a clean, resilient power system at reasonable cost.

Andrea A. Mammoli is Professor of Mechanical Engineering, and Director of the Center for Emerging Energy Technologies at the University of New Mexico. He also holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Mammoli obtained his Bachelor of Engineering and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from the Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering at the University of Western Australia. After two years as Director funded postdoctoral fellow at Los Alamos National Laboratory, in 1997 Mammoli joined the University of New Mexico as Research Assistant
Professor. Until 2004, Mammoli conducted research in flow of heterogeneous materials, using both experimental techniques (nuclear magnetic resonance, particle image velocimetry and rheometry) as well as high-performance direct numerical simulation using primarily boundary element techniques. Stimulated by a DOE-sponsored project on CO2 sequestration, and by a sabbatical year at the Università Politecnica delle Marche in Italy, in 2005 Mammoli steered his research activities to the area of energy systems, beginning with a project to refurbish and modernize the solar-assisted HVAC in the UNM Mechanical Engineering building. This initial effort spun off many related projects, dealing with the interaction between buildings and the electric power grid, especially concerning how buildings can enable higher levels of renewable energy from all sources. Mammoli collaborates with the utility industry and national laborarories (Sandia, Berkeley and Los Alamos) on various demonstration projects and testbeds designed to bring new technologies to mainstream operations.