Category Archives: Seminars

ME-EM Graduate Seminar: The Discipline of Experimentation

oct29uThe ME-EM Graduate Seminar speaker on Thursday, October 29 at 4:00 in 641 Dow will be Dr. Robin Johnson-Cash, Lecturer, Eastern Michigan University and Technical Training Manager, Ford Motor Company

Title: The Discipline of Experimentation

Engineers design, build and maintain machines, communication systems and major public works. Without them, our technological society would collapse. The engineering discipline focuses on solving problems through applied physics. To find a solution, engineers study a problem, use mathematical models to understand it, model possible solutions and use well planned physical experiments to validate their proposed remedies. Throughout the entire engineering process, the engineer must maintain meticulous records. Reviewing detailed experimental notes provides insight into the nuances of a problem and helps optimize solutions. Once the experiment is complete, the records allow others to understand the nature of the problem and build upon what the engineer learned. This presentation will encourage you to develop the habit
of recording meticulous notes while you learn the art of experimental problem solving.

Robin Johnson-Cash is a native Detroit, Michigan. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan-Dearborn and a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Wayne State University. For the last 27 years, Robin has occupied positions of increasing responsibilities at Ford Motor Company. She began her career as a product design engineer and quickly became team leader and powertrain cooling and heat management supervisor. Currently, she is a Technical Training Manager. Throughout her career, Robin received many technical and diversity awards. She is a certified 6-Sigam Black Belt. Robin is also an adjunct professor at Tuskegee University, Lawrence Technical University, and Eastern Michigan University. She teaches classes in Thermodynamics, Heat Transfer, and Fluid Mechanics.
Concurrently, Robin is Ph.D. candidate at Michigan Technological University. Her research focus is on the prediction of in-tube condensation using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and experimental validation. Robin is passionate about community service and is active in promoting education of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM).

ME-EM Graduate Seminar: ‘Mathematical Mode of a Reluctance Accelerator (Coilgun

oct22The ME-EM Graduate Seminar speaker on Thursday, October 22 at 4:00 in 103 EERC will be Dr. Gustavo Gutierrez from University of Puerto Rico – Mayaguez.

The title of his presentation will be ‘Mathematical Mode of a Reluctance Accelerator (Coilgun)’.

Linear reluctance motors (or linear oscillating motors) consist of an iron bar, moving inside a coil. During the trajectory of the iron bar an incremental force appears opposing the movement of the bar. For that reason it is important to control the system and taking advantage of that behavior. Reluctance motors can have high power density at low cost, making them ideal for many applications, in particular a magnetic pumping is proposed as part of a flat heat pipe device for heat transfer applications.

This work presents a mathematical model and its numerical considerations to simulate a reluctance accelerator (coilgun) taking into account an RLC circuit coupled to an electromechanical system. A coilgun is proposed as a magnetic pumping device of a flat heat pipe panel. The piston motion (armature) is governed by the Newton’s Second Law. The driving force on the piston is a magnetic force, called the Kelvin Force (KF). In order to compute the KF it is necessary to solve the Maxwell-Ampere’s equation. We are interested in the dynamic of the piston as part of a heat transfer application.

The complete problem shows a Multi-Physics character. This presentation will focus on the mathematical modeling, numerical implementation and important considerations for the design of a coilgun.

Dr. Gustavo Gutierrez, obtained his Bachelor degree in Civil Engineering from National University of Cordoba, Argentina in 1991, his M.S. and Ph.D. degree in Mechanical Engineering from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 1998 and 2002 respectively. Currently Dr. Gutierrez is a Professor at the University of Puerto Rico – Mayaguez (UPRM). He held a Chair position from 2009 to 2012 of the Mechanical Engineering Department at UPRM. He received grants from DOD, NSF and NASA. He was an Invited panelist for NSF-CTS program, chair and cochair in technical sessions of National and International conferences and reviewer of the Journal of Heat Transfer and Journal of Fluid Mechanics. His areas of expertise include Computation Fluid Dynamics and Heat Transfer, Numerical Electromagnetisms and High Performance Computing.

ME-EM Graduate Seminar: A Contract-Based Framework for Integrated Demand Response Management in Smart Grids

oc15The ME-EM Graduate Seminar speaker on Thursday, October 15 at 4:00 in 103 EERC will be Mehdi Maasoumy, PhD Candidate from University of California at Berekley.

The title of his presentation will be ‘A Contract-Based Framework for Integrated Demand Response Management in Smart Grids’.

As a complex cyber-physical system, smart grid involves three closely-related subsystems – the operating system and control algorithms, the physical components and devices, and the sensing and computation devices or embedded implementation platform. In the traditional top-down approach, the control algorithm, the physical components, and the embedded platform are designed separately leading to suboptimal systems. Smart grid ecosystem has been going through major upgrades in three verticals: 1) new hardware such as solar panels, wind generation turbines, and plug-in electric vehicles, 2) new sensing devices such as smart meters and smart thermostats, and 3) new communication and computation infrastructure such as the broadband two-way communication and cloud computation. Consequently, these breakthroughs in hardware and software have paved the way for new operational schemes, such as automated demand response and ancillary service from some unlikely sources such as buildings.

In this new paradigm, buildings are beginning to play new roles in the operation of the smart grid as entities for trading energy in real-time. As a result, the need for re-designing the smart grid architecture and operation is more apparent than ever. We propose an operating system that aggregates all the data from disparate data sources across the whole smart grid value chain, applies analytics on the data. The proposed operating system leverages a dynamic contractual framework that in real-time analyzes the requirements of the grid on one side, and requirements of the building on the other side and performs optimal operation of the whole system while taking into account the constraints of all the components of the grid from buildings to electric vehicle charging station all the way up to the generation units.

Mehdi Maasoumy is a Senior Data Scientist at C3 Energy where he is responsible for developing machine learning algorithms for smart grid applications both in supply side such as revenue protection and load forecasting, and in demand side such as energy disaggregation and customer segmentation. He received his PhD from University of California at Berkeley in 2013. His PhD research involved Model Predictive Control, Machine Learning and Optimization, applied to Cyber-Physical Systems specifically energy systems.

He worked on smart buildings control systems, optimal resource allocation in smart grid and aircraft electric power distribution systems during his PhD. He has authored more than 30 peer-reviewed conference and journal papers and a book chapter in the area of optimal control and machine learning applied to cyber-physical systems such as power systems. He has won several academic awards. He is the recipient of the Best Student Paper Award at the International Conference on Cyber-Physical Systems (ICCPS 2013), Best Student Paper Award finalist at the ASME Dynamic Systems and Control onference (DSCC 2013), and Best Student Paper Award finalist at the IEEE American Control Conference (ACC 2014). He serves on the technical program committee of several academic conferences such as IEEE Green Energy and Systems Conference (IGESC) and IEEE International Symposium on Nano-electronic and Information Systems (iNIS) and IEEE Silicon Valley Computer Society.

ME-EM Graduate Seminar: Wireless Health: Opportunities, Challenges and Beyond

oct08The ME-EM Graduate Seminar speaker on Thursday, October 8 at 4:00 in 103 EERC will be Dr. Shi from Wayne State University.

The title of his presentation will be ‘Wireless Health: Opportunities, Challenges and Beyond’.

The fast development and deployment of wireless communication technologies, such as 3G/4G/5G, and mobile devices, including sensors, robots, smartphones and pads, have significantly changed the way we study, live and work. Wireless health and innovative health technologies create an ideal platform for global partnerships striving to improve health and wellbeing, Wireless health systems are now capable of real-time, constant and widespread monitoring at home, work, or medical institutions. Such health technologies not only facilitate early-detection and rehabilitation, but also supply assistance for prevention of illness. In this talk, Dr. Shi will talk about the opportunities of wireless health, and share their experiences and lessons learned on several wireless health projects in the past six years.

Weisong Shi is a Charles H. Gershenson Distinguished Faculty Fellow and a Professor of Computer Science at Wayne State University. There he directs the Mobile and Internet SysTems Laboratory (MIST) and the Wayne Wireless Health Initiative, investigating performance, reliability, power- and energy-efficiency, trust and privacy issues of networked computer systems and applications. Dr. Shi was on leave with the National Science Foundation as a Program Director in the Division of Computer and Network Systems, Directorate of Computer and Information Science and Engineering during 2013 – 2015, where he was responsible for the Computer and Network Systems (CNS) Core CSR Program, and two key crosscutting programs, including Cyber-Innovation for Sustainability Science and Engineering (CyberSEES), Smart and Connected Health (SCH). More information can be found at

ME-EM Graduate Seminar: Death Spirals and Energy Independence: The Volatility of Contemporary Energy Policy

oct01The ME-EM Graduate Seminar speaker on Thursday, October 1, 2015 at 4:00 in 103 EERC will be Dr. Elisabeth Graffy, Arizona State University, Professor of Practice; Co-Director, Energy Policy, Law and Governance.

The title of her presentation will be ‘Death Spirals and Energy Independence: The Volatility of Contemporary Energy Policy’.

This seminar will explore the current debate about how electric utilities and other actors are responding to challenges and opportunities posed by solar adoption, illustrating that some of the critical drivers in contemporary energy policy may be about more than technology.

As a scholar-practitioner with extensive federal government experience, Dr. Graffy is a public policy expert specializing in public sector institutional leadership and innovation, the science-policy interface, and contemporary models of public engagement. She has special interest in matters involving risk and rapid change. Her current focus is on energy system transitions and their complex intersections with political and cultural ideals, policy processes, market and legal institutions, innovation pathways, and governance of critical environmental resources.

This event is partially sponsored by the Visiting Women & Minority Lecturer/Scholar Series that is funded through the Office of Institutional Equity from the State of Michigan’s King-Chavez-Parks Initiative.

MEEM Graduate Seminar: The Engineer as a Decision Maker


Dr. George A. Hazelrigg is the Deputy Division Director of Civil, Mechanical & Manufacturing Innovation (CMMI) at the National Science Foundation. He will present two special seminars at Michigan Tech on Thursday, September 24 for faculty and students. All are invited, but your RSVP is greatly appreciated. Dr. Hazelrigg will also be available on Thursday and Friday for meetings. His visit to Michigan Tech is Dow 641sponsored by the Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics, and the College of Engineering. Questions? Please contact Adrienne Minerick at

RSVP for Seminars

See the Flyer: Special Seminars: Dr. George A. Hazelrigg

Thursday, September 24, 2015: 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Title: The Engineer as a Decision Maker
Dow 641

We currently think of engineers as problem solvers, and we build our engineering curricula around this model. But what defines engineering as distinct from other disciplines is design, and design is all about decision making, not problem solving. Decision making, unlike problem solving, demands prediction and preferences, and is always done in the presence of uncertainty and risk. As a result, our current engineering curricula do not adequately prepare engineering students for their careers as engineers. Because of this failing, many of the methods we teach and practice provide quite poor results. This talk will illustrate shortcomings of the current engineering curricula and point to avenues for improvement.

George Hazelrigg enjoyed designing and building things when he was young, so he decided to go to college to study engineering. He obtained a BS in mechanical engineering from Newark College of Engineering (now New Jersey Institute of Technology) and went to work for Curtiss-Wright. There he found that his education had utterly destroyed his abilities to do engineering design. So he felt it necessary to get a master’s degree. Hecompleted an MS in mechanical engineering, also from NCE, but still hadn’t regained his design abilities. While getting his MS, however, he did some teaching and liked it. So he figured that if he couldn’t do design, the next best thing would be to teach it. Five years later he had obtained MA, MSE, and PhD degrees in aerospace engineering from Princeton University. Now, in addition to not knowing how to do design, he couldn’t teach it either. For the next 25 years he roamed industry and academe in an attempt to understand the theory of engineering design, including time spent at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, General Dynamics, Princeton University and a consulting firm of which he was a co-founder. He also spent a year in Korea helping to found the Systems Engineering Department of Ajou University. He joined the National Science Foundation (NSF) in 1982 as program director for the Engineering Design program, providing support to others in the field. In January 1996 he did a stint as Station Science Leader of the US South Pole station. In 2004 he became Program Director for the NSF Manufacturing Machines and Equipment program, and then Deputy Division Director of NSF’s Civil, Mechanical & Manufacturing Innovation (CMMI) Division. He also served as Program Director of the Sensors and Sensing Systems program. For relaxation he spends his weekends soaring over the Shenandoah Valley as a certified flight instructor in gliders (CFI-G) with about 1,800 total flying hours.

ME-EM Graduate Seminar: The “Turbulent Flame Speed” – Recent Developments

sep17The ME-EM Graduate Seminar speaker on Thursday, September 17 at 4:00 in 103 EERC will be Dr. Moshe Matalon from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The title of his presentation will be ‘The “Turbulent Flame Speed” – Recent Developments’.

The determination of the turbulent flame speed is of great practical importance providing, for example, the mean fuel consumption rate in a combustor operating under turbulent conditions. Early phenomenological studies resorted to geometrical and scaling arguments to deduce expressions for the turbulent flame speed. Similar expressions were later derived for weakly wrinkled flames by more rigorous multi-scale asymptotic methods. The common denominator of these expressions is an increase in turbulent flame speed due to an increase in flame surface area, with a quadratic dependence on turbulent intensity. The objective of this work is to extend these results to higher turbulence levels where the effects of flame folding and creation of flame pockets become ubiquitous and have nontrivial implications on the flame propagation speed. A related question pertains to the influence of the hydrodynamic, or Darrieus-Landau (DL) instability, whether it remains of significant importance in affecting the propagation as it does under laminar conditions. The analysis is carried out using a hybrid Navier-Stokes/front-capturing methodology within the context of the hydrodynamic theory, that permits extracting scaling laws for the turbulent flame speed that depend on turbulence and combustion characteristics as well as on flow conditions, but without invoking turbulence modeling assumptions or introducing adjustable parameters. For simplicity we have considered here “two-dimensional turbulence” and limited the discussion to positive Markstein length (such as, lean hydrocarbon-air or rich hydrogen-air mixtures) where thermo-diffusive effects do not further contaminate the flame surface with additional small structures. Our results show the existence of distinct regimes, clearly delineated by statistical properties of various flame characteristics where the influence of the DL instability is absent, dominant or shadowed by the turbulence. Of greatest importance is the dependence of the turbulent
flame speed on turbulence intensity, which is shown to transition from a quadratic law at low intensities to a sub-linear scaling at higher turbulence levels, in agreement with the experimental record. The increase in speed with increasing turbulence intensity is primarily due to the increase in the flame surface area as envisioned by the pioneering work of Damköhler, while the leveling in the rate of increase of the turbulent flame speed with turbulence intensity (the so-called bending effect) is partially due to frequent flame folding and detachment of pockets of unburned gas from the main flame surface area, and partially due to flame stretching.

Moshe Matalon received his Ph.D in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Cornell University in 1978. After two years on the faculty of the Aerodynamics Laboratories of the Polytechnic Institute of New York, he joined the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science at Northwestern, where he was Professor of Engineering Sciences & Applied Mathematics and Professor of Mechanical Engineering, until 2007. He is since in the Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign where he holds the College of Engineering Caterpillar Chair. His research interests are in combustion theory, theoretical fluid mechanics and applied mathematics. In combustion, he made contributions to a wide range of topics including the structure, dynamics and stability of premixed and diffusion flames, combustion instabilities and combustion of heterogeneous fuels, and turbulent combustion. Matalon is Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS), Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and Fellow Institute of Physics (IOP). Among his honors and awards is the Pendray Aerospace Literature Award of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Professor Matalon serves as Editor-In-Chief of Combustion Theory and Modelling and as Associate Editor of the Journal of Fluid Mechanics.

ME-EM Graduate Seminar: LLCD Experimental Line-of-Sight Jitter Testing

sep10The ME-EM Graduate Seminar speaker on Thursday, September 10 at 4:00 in 103 EERC will be Dr. Brandon Dilworth from MIT Lincoln Laboratory.

The title of his presentation will be ‘LLCD Experimental Line-of-Sight Jitter Testing’.

The Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration (LLCD) program at MIT Lincoln Laboratory is the first space laser commu-nication system for NASA. The optical communications terminal will be carried into lunar orbit by the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) spacecraft which launched on September 6, 2013. The primary goal of the LLCD program is to demonstrate optical communication from lunar orbit to the Earth’s surface.

Optical communication systems have many advantages over radio frequency (RF) systems which include achieving higher data rates using lower size, weight and power (SWaP). Optical communication systems rely on much narrower beams than RF systems to achieve these advantages; the penalty is that the optical beam must have good stability in order to maintain the communication link between the transmitter and receiver. There are a number of factors that play a role in the stability of the optical beam, but the focus of this talk is on the residual line-of-sight (LOS) jitter resulting from unrejected spacecraft excitation.

During early program development mathematical analyses, starting from simple hand calculations and evolving through complex computational techniques, are used to drive the design. As with any type of analytical analyses, many assumptions are used to identify different characteristics of the system. As programs develop, these mathematical models are used to drive the design so there is a strong desire to validate these models as the design continues to mature. Experimentation with physical hardware is a common method for validating mathematical models, including residual LOS jitter models. The LLCD program developed a test bench in order to validate the residual LOS jitter model which provides higher confidence in the computational results.

This presentation will provide an overview of the LLCD program, summarize some of the components of the Optical Module and to describe the efforts behind validating the residual LOS jitter model using experimental techniques.
This work is sponsored by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration under Air Force Contract #FA8721-05-C-0002. Opinions, interpretations, conclusions and recommendations are those of the author and are not necessarily endorsed by the United States Government.

I graduated from Michigan Tech with Master’s in 2006 and PhD in 2009 working in the Dynamic Systems Lab under Jason Blough. My focus was on structural dynamics and acoustics with heavy emphasis on experimental techniques and signal processing.

I started working at MIT Lincoln Laboratory immediately after graduation from Tech in 2009 as part of the Mechanical Engineering Group within the Engineering Division. My first pro-gram involvement at Lincoln was on the Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration (LLCD) program sponsored by NASA – which some of the work is highlighted during this seminar. For the LLCD program, I worked as a unit lead/design engineer and as a test development engineer. Since the successful completion of LLCD, my primary efforts have been as the Lead Engineer of a ground terminal for generic free space laser communication diagnostics.

My design efforts on LLCD were recognized with two Group merit awards in 2011. I received the Division Early Career Award in 2012. The LLCD team received the Laboratory Team Award in 2013. I was also part of a team investigating a short-term, high visibility effort which received the MIT Excellence Award in 2015. I currently sit on the Advanced Concepts Committee within Lincoln which focuses on development of new and novel technologies of national interest.

ME-EM Graduate Seminar: Equation-Based Modeling and Simulations for Sustainable Buildings

sep03The ME-EM Graduate Seminar speaker on Thursday, September 3 at 4:00 in 103 EERC will be Dr. Wangda Zuo from the University of Miami.

The title of his presentation will be ‘Equation-Based Modeling and Simulations for Sustainable Buildings’.

Buildings account for about 41% of energy consumption, 10% of water consumption and 39% of CO2 emission in the U.S. To enable the design and operation of sustainable buildings, building system solutions need to adapt to the local availability of sources and sinks for thermal conditioning, ventilation, lighting, electricity production and water collection, while respecting constraints for occupant health and comfort, building service levels, building system maintainability and aesthetic considerations. As a result, the building becomes an integrated system of multi-physics, multi-scale heterogeneous subsystems. The underlying equations are nonlinear systems of ordinary differential equations, partial differential equations and algebraic equations with continuous and discrete time, as well as control events. Modeling, simulation and analysis of such systems pose new challenges as systems become increasingly integrated. This presentation introduces some of our recent research in developing and applying Modelica-based simulation technology for the design, operation and optimization of sustainable buildings. Modelica is an equation-based object-oriented modeling language for dynamic systems. With the support of US Department of Energy, we developed an open source Modelica Buildings library for building energy and control systems. We will briefly discuss the fundamental challenges in modeling the building systems using the equation-based language. We will also demonstrate the usage of Modelica-based technology in real world research projects. Finally, we will discuss our research initiatives in urban scale simulation.

Dr. Wangda Zuo is an Assistant Professor at the University of Miami. His research focuses on developing and applying innovative physical models and simulation technology for sustainable building systems. He is the Research Committee Chair of International Building Performance Simulation Association (IBPSA) – USA Chapter, Voting Member of American Society of Heating Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineering (ASHRAE) Technical Committee 4.7, 4.10 and 7.4. Before joining the University of Miami, Dr. Zuo was a Research Scientist at the DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Dr. Zuo received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University, M.S. in Computational Engineering from the University of Erlangen and Nuremberg in Germany, M. Eng and B.S. in Automation from Chongqing University in China.

ME-EM Graduate Seminar: Development of a Low Dimensional Two-Phase Thermal Model for Subsea Pipelines

apr23The ME-EM Graduate Seminar speaker on Thursday, April 23 at 4:00 in 103 EERC will be Dr. Reza Tafreshi from Texas A&M University at Qatar.

The title of his presentation will be ‘Development of a Low Dimensional Two-Phase Thermal Model for Subsea Pipelines’.

Rising global energy demand has led to new operational challenges in unfamiliar environments, with higher temperature gradients. The challenges directly address safety, environmental and economic issues. Due to the low subsea temperatures and relatively higher petroleum fluid temperature in deep water pipelines, convectional heat losses occur from the petroleum fluids to the surroundings. This heat transfer is necessary to be considered, to ensure the proper flow of petroleum fluids. While conventional equivalent heat transfer models are easier to compute, they are not accurate enough to reflect the changes that would occur within a fluid due to different multiphase flow regimes and proportions. The objective is to develop a low dimensional and low computational equivalent thermal model of subsea fluids, which can predict two-phase fluid temperatures along insulated subsea pipelines. The developed heat transfer model combines the application of two-phase heat transfer coefficient model with fluid properties obtained from a low dimensional fluid model developed by our group. The presented model identifies the effect of heat transfer in subsea pipelines for two-phase fluids for normal operating and shut-down conditions. This model, when compared with industry standard software, showed that results were obtained with similar accuracy with approximately 1000 times less computational time.
Some other current research activities will be also discussed.

Reza Tafreshi received his B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees from the K.N. Toosi University of Technology, Tehran, Iran, in 1991 and 1995, respectively, and his Ph.D. degree in mechanical engineering from the University of British Columbia (UBC), Vancouver, BC, Canada, in 2005. He was a site engineer and then a project manager at PoloDej Company, Tehran, from 1995 to 1999. From 1999 to 2000, he was a Research Engineer with the Department of Mechanical Engineering, UBC. Dr. Tafreshi was a recipient of the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Award, Canada, and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, UBC, from 2005 to 2006. He was a Visiting Assistant Professor with Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, in 2006. In 2007, he joined Texas A&M University at Qatar, Doha, Qatar, where he is currently an Assistant Professor. His research fields include dynamic systems and controls, machine fault diagnosis, condition monitoring, and biomedical engineering.