MEEM Faculty Receive 2008 HP Technology for Teaching Grant

Associate Professor/Associate Chair Chuck Van Karsen, Associate Professor Michele Miller, Professor John Gershenson, Assistant Professor Jason Blough and Assistant Professor Spandan Maiti (MEEM) have received a 2008 HP Technology of Teaching grant, “Enhancing Engineering Analysis and Creative Design with Tablet Technology.” The award process was very competitive; only 44 higher education institutions were selected out of more than 370 applicants.


Michigan Tech SAE Aero Design® Team Wins 1st in East and 3rd in West

Michigan Tech’s SAE Aero Design team flew their radio-controlled plane to a third-place finish in the Society of Automotive Engineers’ Aero Design West, held in March in Van Nuys, Calif. Then they soared to first place in Aero Design East, held May 4-6, 2007 in Ft. Worth, Texas.

“Our SAE Aero team has really progressed over the last four or five years,” said their advisor, Stephen Stackhouse, associate director for corporate development.

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Michigan Tech Awarded $897,000 for Automotive Fuel Cell Research

Michigan Tech has been awarded $897,000 to investigate methods of improving automotive fuel cell performance and durability. The award is part of a $2.7 million Department of Energy collaborative project with Rochester Institute of Technology, General Motors and Michigan Tech.

Assistant Professor Jeffrey Allen (MEEM) is the Michigan Tech investigator for this project. Collaborators on this project include the principal investigator Satish Kandlikar, the James E. Gleason professor of mechanical engineering at Rochester Institute of Technology, and Thomas Trabold, senior research engineer with General Motors Fuel Cell Development Center.

The project, “Visualization of Fuel Cell Water Transport and Performance Characterization,” will explore water transport and accumulation in automotive fuel cells to develop components and materials that minimize water accumulation and freeze damage, which degrades performance and durability of automotive fuel cells.

The three-year project began March 1 and will involve undergraduate, master’s and doctoral engineering students. The project is part of a $100 million hydrogen research and development program announced by the Department of Energy supporting President Bush’s Advanced Energy Initiative.


Helton, Brad King Receive Major Defense Department Grants

Assistant Professor Deak Helton (Cognitive and Learning Sciences) and Associate Professor Brad King (MEEM) have been awarded two major grants from the US Department of Defense.

Helton has requested $467,017 to equip a Human-Robot Interaction Lab. King’s proposal includes $151,069 to support his work developing ion thrusters, used to power a new, small class of satellites. Both proposals will receive funding; the final amounts have not been determined.

“We are trying to build nanosatellites as small as cell phones that will be able to take pictures and relay them back to Earth,” King said. “They’ll need a propulsion system, a rocket engine the size of a thumbnail.”

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Improving Fuel Cell Performance and Durability

Michigan Technological University has been awarded $897,000 to investigate methods of improving automotive fuel cell performance and durability. The award is part of a $2.7 million Department of Energy collaborative project with Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), General Motors (GM), and Michigan Tech (MTU).

Jeffrey Allen, (in photo) Assistant Professor in Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics, is the MTU investigator for this project. Collaborators on this project include the principal investigator Satish Kandlikar, the James E. Gleason Professor of Mechanical Engineering at RIT, and Dr. Thomas Trabold, Senior Research Engineer with GM Fuel Cell Development Center.

The project, Visualization of Fuel Cell Water Transport and Performance Characterization, will explore water transport and accumulation in automotive fuel cells with the goal to develop components and materials which minimize water accumulation and freeze damage which degrade performance and durability of automotive fuel cells.

The three year project, beginning March 1, 2007, will involve undergraduate, master’s degree and doctoral engineering students. The project is part of a $100 million hydrogen research and development program announced by the Department of Energy supporting President Bush’s Advanced Energy Initiative.


Improved MEMS Chemical Vapor Sensors

A team of Michigan Tech researchers has won an $800,000 contract from the State of Michigan 21st Century Jobs Fund to develop improved MEMS chemical vapor sensors.

Mechanical Engineering Associate Professor Michele Miller (in photo) leads a project team of faculty from Mechanical Engineering (Professor Gordon Parker, Assistant Professor Henry Sodano), Chemistry (Assistant Professor Haiying Liu, Professor Sarah Green), and Electrical Engineering (Associate Professor Paul Bergstrom). The Michigan Tech faculty will collaborate with researchers at the University of West Virginia, Sandia National Labs, and one or more Michigan MEMS companies to improve sensitivity, selectivity and reliability of MEMS based sensors for detecting nerve gas and other chemical vapors. One goal for the project is to fabricate novel porous structures for increasing sensing surface area. Another key goal is to incorporate chemical and structural behavior into a multi-regime design optimization. Expected outcomes are new MEMS sensors with superior performance and a new design methodology for dealing with the vast design parameter space of chemo-mechanical devices.


High Pressure Combustion Laboratory

A team of Michigan Tech researchers has been awarded a National Science Foundation Grant for $1.3M to develop a high pressure combustion laboratory.

Mechanical Engineering Associate Professor Jeff Naber (in photo) leads a project team of colleagues from Mechanical Engineering (Professor Carl Anderson), Chemical Engineering (Professor Daniel Crowl), and Math Sciences (Professor Franz Tanner). The Michigan Tech faculty will collaborate with Assistant Professor Scott Post of Bradley University, and engineers at the Keweenaw Research Center. The focal point of the laboratory will be a configurable high pressure combustion vessel with optical access. The laboratory will provide the foundation for basic and applied research for clean and efficient combustion with petroleum based and alternative fuels including biodiesel and ethanol. It will also provide the ability to examine the flammability and combustion characteristics of hydrogen and other fuels at elevated pressures and temperatures to improve safety standards and handling. The experimental investigations will be closely linked to computational research directed at developing and optimizing the next generation of clean engines. The laboratory will enhance established efforts in alternative fuels research at the University and enable new opportunities for collaboration within and outside the University.

Advanced Power Systems Research


Michigan Tech’s Center for Environmentally Benign Functional Materials and the Sustainable Futures Institute

Michigan Tech researchers have been awarded $1.7 million to develop structural foams that could be used in security applications.

The 15-month, Phase 1 contract was awarded by Raytheon Company as part of a $3.7 million program funded by the Advanced Research Projects Agency to develop lightweight, portable barriers that could be used to help protect vulnerable targets and provide safe crowd control.

“We need very strong and lightweight barriers that could be erected quickly at any location and can be removed very quickly, and we can do that with polymer foams,” said principal investigator Ghatu Subhash, a professor of mechanical engineering-engineering mechanics. “They will also be environmentally benign, fire-resistant and pose no health hazards.”

The research is being conducted through Michigan Tech’s Center for Environmentally Benign Functional Materials and its Sustainable Futures Institute. Co-principal investigators on the project are associate professor Gerard Caneba and professor David Shonnard, both of the Department of Chemical Engineering.


Researchers Receive $1.7 Million

Michigan Tech researchers have been awarded $1.7 million to develop structural foams that could be used in security applications.

The 15-month, Phase 1 contract was awarded by Raytheon Company as part of a $3.7 million program funded by the Advanced Research Projects Agency to develop lightweight, portable barriers that could be used to help protect vulnerable targets and provide safe crowd control.

“We need very strong and lightweight barriers that could be erected quickly at any location and can be removed very quickly, and we can do that with polymer foams,” said principal investigator Ghatu Subhash, a professor of mechanical engineering-engineering mechanics. “They will also be environmentally benign, fire-resistant and pose no health hazards.”

The research is being conducted through Michigan Tech’s Center for Environmentally Benign Functional Materials and its Sustainable Futures Institute. Co-principal investigators on the project are associate professor Gerard Caneba and professor David Shonnard, both of the Department of Chemical Engineering.


Subhash Receives 2005 Research Award

Professor Ghatu Subhash, who has gained an international reputation for his research in mechanical engineering and materials science, is the recipient of Michigan Tech’s 2005 Research Award.

This makes him one of a handful of MTU faculty to be honored with both the Research Award and the Distinguished Teaching Award, which he received in 1994.

“I am really honored and humbled–this was a bit unexpected,” said Subhash, the associate chair and director of graduate studies of the Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics. He credited both the university, his students and his department for supporting him in all facets of the academic mission.

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