Archives—September 2014

Stressed Out: Research Sheds New Light on Why Rechargeable Batteries Fail

Pity the poor lithium ion. Drawn relentlessly by its electrical charge, it surges from anode to cathode and back again, shouldering its way through an elaborate molecular obstacle course. This journey is essential to powering everything from cell phones to cordless power tools. Yet, no one really understands what goes on at the atomic scale as lithium ion batteries are used and recharged, over and over again.

ME-EM Graduate Seminar: Human-Centered Monitoring: From Enabling Technology, Human Factor to Computational Diagnosis

oct2The ME-EM Graduate Seminar speaker on Thursday, October 2 at 4:00 in 103 EERC will be Dr. Ye (Sarah) Sun from Michigan Tech Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics Department.

The title of her presentation will be ‘Human-Centered Monitoring: From Enabling Technology, Human Factor to Computational Diagnosis’.

The rapidly growing population ageing is a global phenomenon in the recent decades. The concomitant prevalence of chronic diseases necessitates proactive, human-centered approaches to reduce the high cost and enhance the biocompatibility and operability of the current healthcare systems. For drivers at all ages, drowsiness is one of the most prevalent root causes of accidents. Driver health and state monitoring provides an effective way to reduce the risk of driver related crashes. This study aims to facilitate the development of human-centered monitoring in healthcare and transportation safety. A comprehensive framework for human-centered monitoring has been developed that includes three major components, i.e., enabling technology, human factor and computational diagnosis. In the technology part, this study establishes a non-intrusive and non-contact interface platform for human health and state monitoring. Unlike the conventional clinical bio-potential measurement system, the platform is able to acquire the electrophysiological signals with a gap between the skin and the electrodes that is occupied by hair, cloth, and air. The non-contact platform avoids skin irritation and allergic contact dermatitis and is suitable for long-term monitoring purpose. To increase the flexibility in practical application, a body area network has also been integrated for different scenarios such as driving and home monitoring. The developed enabling technology was validated using simulated driving scenario, since it constitutes a high stress and high risk condition, especially for people with chronic diseases. For the human factor part, analyses were conducted on the physiological data collected from the drivers operating a high fidelity driving simulator. This involves driver state analyses particularly related to drowsiness and mental stress. The computational component involved the development of algorithms to assess the robustness of different physiological indicators for the extent of driver fatigue. Moreover, physiological signals for mental stress were also investigated which will serve as the technical basis for timely assistance.

Dr. Ye (Sarah) Sun is an assistant professor in the Department of
Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics at Michigan Technological
University. She received her Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering
from Case Western Reserve University. Her research is an
interdisciplinary resort that integrates engineering innovation with
human health and human behaviors. The primary focus is on
human-centered smart monitoring technologies that integrate advance
sensor technology and decision support to improve healthcare
and transportation safety.

Better than Perfect: Defects in Materials Could be Key to Better Batteries

Reza2Michigan Technological University researcher Reza Shahbazian-Yassar has discovered that perfection may not be all it’s cracked up to be, at least when it comes to designing materials for the next generation of lithium ion batteries. Shahbazian-Yassar investigates exotic new battery materials, which offer exotic new problems along with exciting possibilities. He hopes to turn one of those problems into an asset, with help from a $446,000 grant from the Division of Materials Research at the National Science Foundation.

Advanced Power Systems Research Center (APS LABS) Social Event

thumbThe Michigan Tech Advanced Power Systems Research Center (APS LABS) hosted an open house and tours of their new facilities along with the Michigan Tech First Friday Social for October 2014.

Laboratory tours and presentations were given by faculty, staff and graduate student researchers.
The guests saw research, outreach and educational initiatives in mobility, sustainable transportation, and energy. Continue reading

Blackout? Robots to the Rescue

image113559-fshorizBig disasters almost always result in big power failures. Not only do they take down the TV and fridge, they also wreak havoc with key infrastructure like cell towers. That can delay search and rescue operations at a time when minutes count. Now, a team led by Nina Mahmoudian of Michigan Technological University has developed a tabletop model of a robot team that can bring power to places that need it the most.

ME-EM Graduate Seminar: Advances in Decoupling

sep25The ME-EM Graduate Seminar speaker on Thursday, September 25 at 4:00 in 103 EERC will be Dr. Daniel
Kawano from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology – Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics Department.

The title of his presentation will be ‘Advances in Decoupling’.

Under certain restrictions on system damping, the equations of motion for a linear vibratory system may be decoupled into independent equations that reveal characteristic vibrational behavior. This seminar presents recent advances in the theory of decoupling that allow a vibratory system with general viscous damping characteristics to be exactly decoupled by a real, time-varying, eigenvalue-preserving transformation that generalizes modal analysis. The underlying physics of this decoupling transformation is explained, and the decoupling methodologies for various vibratory systems are discussed.

Daniel Kawano is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Indiana. He received his B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) in San Luis Obispo. Daniel obtained his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Mechanical Engineering, with a focus in dynamical systems, from the University of California at Berkeley. His research and academic interests include modeling, analysis, simulation, and testing of dynamical systems; experimental modal analysis; numerical solution of differential and differential-algebraic equations; and pedagogy in engineering education. Daniel’s current research and activities involve exact decoupling of damped, linear vibratory systems,
and the use of online videos, web-based interactive demonstrations, and online
learning platforms to enhance student learning in dynamics. He is also the faculty advisor for Rose-Hulman’s Formula SAE competition team, Rose Grand Prix Engineering.



ME-EM Graduate Seminar: Applications of Electron Microscopy to Materials for Energy

sep18The ME-EM Graduate Seminar speaker on Thursday, September 18 at 4:00 in 103 EERC will be Dr. Dean Miller from Argonne National Laboratory.

The title of his presentation will be ‘Applications of Electron Microscopy to Materials for Energy’.

Electron microscopy has long been an important tool in understanding the structure and function of materials. Electron microscopy provides powerful capabilities for characterization of microstructure at the nanoscale. Likewise, focused ion beam instruments provide unique capability for preparation and interrogation of materials. In this presentation, several examples of the application of these approaches to energy related materials will presented. In fuel cell materials, quantitative three-dimensional reconstruction of microstructure through focused ion beam – scanning electron microscopy
has provided new insight into cathode performance. For Li-battery materials, we have developed a new way to follow structural evolution in single oxide cathode particles by in situ microscopy during electrochemical cycling that has shed new light on mechanisms for performance degradation. In high temperature superconductors, electron microscopy has revealed how subtle changes in chemistry during processing can have a profound influence on their ultimate performance. These examples illustrate some of the ways electron microscopy can provide unique and practical insight into the behavior of materials.

Dean Miller is a Senior Materials Scientist and Director of the Electron Microscopy Center at Argonne National Laboratory. He received his B.S. in Metallurgical Engineering and Ph.D. in Materials Science, both from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. His research at Argonne focuses
on the characterization of complex electronic oxides including high-temperature superconductors, magnetic oxides, and advanced battery materials with a particular emphasis on characterization by electron beam methods.

Michigan Tech Receives NSF Grant for Transmission Electron Microscope

Michigan Technological University is well on its way to getting a $1.7 million, state-of-the-science transmission electron microscope (TEM), thanks to the National Science Foundation and a team of dedicated researchers led by Reza Shahbazian-Yassar.
“This will bring us to the forefront of electron microscopy,” said Shahbazian-Yassar, the principal investigator on the project. The new TEM will not only give researchers the ability to study atomic structure, it will also identify chemical composition with sensitivity close to a single atom.

Meet the new ME-EM Faculty

From the Special Faculty Edition of Tech Today:

Meet Michigan Tech’s new faculty and existing faculty who have now accepted tenure-track and lecturer positions.

Mechanical Engineering–Engineering Mechanics

Andrew Barnard, PhD
Andrew Barnard joins the Department of Mechanical Engineering–Engineering Mechanics as an assistant professor. Barnard comes to Michigan Tech from Penn State University. He is a Michigan Tech alumnus, holding a master’s in mechanical engineering.

Barnard earned a PhD in Acoustics from Penn State. He is a member of the Acoustical Society of America and a board-certified member of the Institute for Noise Control Engineering. He has also been a reviewer for the Journal of Sound and Vibration, the Journal of Building and Environment, Noise Control Engineering Journal and the ASME Noise Control and Acoustics Division.

Jaclyn Johnson, PhD
Jaclyn Johnson joins the Department of Mechanical Engineering–Engineering Mechanics as a lecturer. Previously, she was an instructor and research staff member at Michigan Tech.

Johnson is a Tech alumna, where she received her PhD in Mechanical Engineering–Engineering Mechanics and her master’s in mechanical engineering.

Johnson’s teaching interests are energy thermofluids and solid mechanics. Her research interests are in combustion, diesel spray characteristics and structure and fundamental spark ignition studies of gaseous fuels.

Aneet Narendranath, PhD
Aneet Narendranath joins the Department of Mechanical Engineering–Engineering Mechanics as a lecturer. He previously was a visiting assistant professor.

Narendranath received a PhD in Mechanical Engineering–Engineering Mechanics from Michigan Tech.

He held numerous leadership roles at Michigan Tech while a graduate student, including secretary of the Daniell Heights Apartment Council and president of the Indian Students Association. He belongs to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the American Physical Society.

Ye (Sarah) Sun, PhD
Ye (Sarah) Sun joins the Department of Mechanical Engineering–Engineering Mechanics. Sun travels to Michigan Tech from Case Western Reserve University.

She received a PhD in Electrical Engineering from Case Western Reserve University and a bachelor’s in precise instrumentation of measurement and control from Tianjin University.

Sun has worked on two National Science Foundation projects. She is a member of the IEEE, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the International Society of Optical Engineering.

Radheshyam Tewari, PhD
Radheshyam Tewari joins the Department of Mechanical Engineering–Engineering Mechanics as a lecturer. Previously, Tewari was an instructor at Michigan Tech.

Tewari received two degrees from Michigan Tech, an MS and a PhD in Mechanical Engineering, and holds a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from Maulana Azad National Institute of Technology in India.

Tewari has three years of industry experience in machining processes, production planning, quality engineering and total productive maintenance. Tewari also has research experience using semiconductor fabrication and metrology tools for micro/nano-manufacturing.

Michigan Tech Mobile Lab at Battery Show

2The Michigan Technological University Mobile Lab was a featured exhibitor at the 2014 Battery Show – “The Expo for Advanced Batteries” – and the Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology Expo September 16-18 at Novi, Michigan, USA.

The lab was set up indoors at the Battery Show in Novi, where Professor Steve Hackney (MSE), instructor Trever Hassell (ECE), Mobile Lab operations manager Chris Davis, and Mobile Lab director Jeremy Worm provided hands-on seminars to conference and show attendees. Continue reading