Category Archives: Research

Aerospace Expo 2018 Held at Tech

Aerospace Expo 2018 showing participants talking next to postersThe Aerospace Industry Association of Michigan (AIAM), in partnership with Pure Michigan Business Connect (PMBC), hosted an aerospace expo on the Michigan Tech campus October 15-16, 2018.

“Michigan has continuously been ranked as a top-10 state in aerospace manufacturing attractiveness and the Upper Peninsula is a critical part of our success in this industry,” says Tony Vernaci, president and founder of AIAM. “We are excited about this event and the opportunity it brings to form connections between potential customers, talent and suppliers.”

The expo kicked off with a networking event and reception Monday, then moved into exhibits Tuesday. Some of the on-site buyers included GE Aviation, Parker Aerospace, RCO Aerospace, Woodward, Bell Helicopter, Cessna Aircraft and Liebherr.

“GS Engineering is a proud member of AIAM and we are excited to welcome this expo to the Upper Peninsula. The UP has a growing reputation in aerospace and a cluster of aerospace suppliers including advanced manufacturers, engineering and research companies,” says Rob Cooke, from GS Engineering.

By Career Services.

UP Aerospace Expo held at Michigan Tech

HOUGHTON, Mich. (WLUC) – Aerospace Industry Association of Michigan hosts the Upper Peninsula Aerospace Expo this week.

“It is a matter of if you want to be a leader in the industry or you want to follow the industry. We see the U.P. and the companies here as being leaders for the industry,” said AIAM president and founder Tony Vernaci.

There are 600 aerospace industry companies in Michigan. Only 23 of those are located in the U.P.

Read more at TV6 FOX UP, by Mariah Powell.


Bruce Lee: Smart Biomaterials Inspired by Mussel Chemistry

Self-healable and moldable nanocomposite gel as fit-to-shape sealant.
Bruce Lee exploits the ability of a Dopa, a unique catechol-based amino acid found in mussel adhesive proteins, in a new fit-to-shape sealant. It initially exhibits the ability to be remolded and adhered to the convex contour of a tissue surface. With time, the hydrogel is fixed in its new shape.

Bruce Lee, an associate professor of biomedical engineering at Michigan Tech, focuses on smart adhesives and biomaterials inspired by nature. More specifically, the natural glues made by mussels that anchor them to rocks, boats and docks. His past work on hydrogels and tissue adhesives led him to look more closely at what makes these adhesives work underwater—and how people could use them.

Lee’s research team exploits the ability of Dopa, a unique catechol-based amino acid found in mussel adhesive proteins. He currently has three active, federally funded research projects.
Bruce Lee, Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Michigan Tech
Bruce Lee, Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Michigan Tech

Smart Adhesive

As a participant in the Office of Naval Research (ONR) Young Investigator Program, Lee delves into not only what makes mussels sticky but also how to reverse that adhesion with an electrical charge. The YIP grant is awarded to scientists and engineers with exceptional promise for producing creative, state-of-the-art research that appears likely to advance naval capabilities. “There is no smart adhesive out there that can perform underwater,” he says. “The chemistry that we can incorporate into the adhesive, causing it to reversibly bond and de-bond, is quite new.”
Fit-to-Shape Sealant
Lee is also designing an injectable sealant and bioadhesive, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Lee and his research team developed a moldable nanocomposite hydrogel. “This material initially exhibits the ability to be remolded and adhered to the convex contour of a tissue surface,” says Lee. “With time, the hydrogel is fixed in its new shape and functions as a fit-to-shape sealant.” Their hydrogel uses no cytotoxic crosslinking reagent, and needs no mixing tip for mixing precursor solutions. It also demonstrates burst pressure potentially suited for sealing renal vein and even intestinal anastomosis. “One very valuable quality of this synthetic glue is its versatility,” adds Lee. “We can change the chemistry to make it as rigid or flexible as we need — while still maintaining its overall strength and durability.”
Smart Antimicrobial Microparticles
Lee just received new funding from the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health (OASDH) to design smart microparticles from mussel-derived catechol. “The particles are pathogenic and able to promote healing,” Lee says. “Simply hydrating the microparticles in water causes them to generate hydrogen peroxide that can kill bacteria and inactivate viruses. This material can potentially function as a lightweight and portable disinfectant for a wide range of applications.”
Visit Lee’s research group online to learn more about their bio-inspired approach to the design of advanced functional materials.

Michigan Tech’s New Academy for Engineering Education Leadership Inducts its First Two Members

“Leadership and Engineering Education—Thursday, Sept. 27. I invite you to join us as we learn from and celebrate the legacy of our two inaugural inductees to the Academy for Engineering Education Leadership. All are welcome.” Janet Callahan, Dean of Engineering

All are welcome at the inaugural induction of the Academy for Engineering Education Leadership, hosted by the College of Engineering. The induction and reception will take place today, Thursday, September 27, from 3:30-5:00 p.m. in the East Reading Room of the J. Robert Van Pelt and John and Ruanne Opie Library.  Sarah A. Rajala, PhD, and Karl A. Smith, PhD are the new academy’s first distinguished inductees. Both are outstanding Michigan Tech alumni.

Dr. Sarah Rajala is the James L. and Katherine S. Melsa Dean of Engineering at Iowa State University and a Michigan Tech alumna. She is an internationally known leader, past president of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), and past chair of the Global Engineering Deans Council. She earned a BS in Electrical Engineering from Michigan Tech, and an MS and PhD in Electrical Engineering from Rice University.

Dr. Karl A. Smith is Cooperative Learning Professor in the School of Engineering Education, College of Engineering, at Purdue University. He is also the Morse Alumni Distinguished Teaching Professor and Executive Co-Director of the STEM Education Center, Technological Leadership Institute at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Smith is a world expert in discipline-based engineering education research. He earned both a BS and an MS in Metallurgical Engineering from Michigan Tech, and a PhD in Educational Psychology from the University of Minnesota.

More events are offered in connection with the new Academy for Engineering Education Leadership. All events will take place this Thursday, September 27. Members of the campus community—faculty, staff and students—are all encouraged and welcome to attend.

Teaching at Tech: Breakfast Roundtable, “Learning Opportunities, Pitfalls, and Impacts on Students and the Institution,” with Dr. Karl Smith and Dr. Sarah Rajala. This event, for all who teach here on campus, takes place from 8:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., Van Pelt and Opie Library East Reading Room. No registration needed, and breakfast is included. Each will each offer short position statements and then lead an active question and answer session over breakfast. Dr. Smith’s experience as a STEM education researcher will be balanced by Dr. Rajala’s experience as an administrator with an exceptional track record. View the event. | Print the flyer.

Teaching at Tech: STEM Education Research Workshop with Dr. Karl Smith. This event will take place from 10:00 a.m. to noon. Please register online. This session is designed both for those who have some experience and those just looking to get started. Dr. Smith brings over 30 years’ experience working with faculty to redesign courses to improve student learning, with a focus on cooperative learning, problem formulation, modeling, and knowledge engineering. View the event. | Print the flyer.

Register Online

“Leadership Lessons from the Antarctic,” presented by Dr. Sarah Rajala, 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., Fisher 135. This event is free and open to the public. One hundred and four years ago, under the leadership of polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton, the Endurance set sail for the Antarctic. Shackleton had established a potentially history-making goal: to be the first to walk across the continent of Antarctica. Even though he never led a crew of more than twenty-seven men, and failed to reach most of the goals he set, Shackleton is still recognized as one of the world’s greatest leaders. In this presentation, Dr. Rajala will explore what made Shackleton a great leader–and how his leadership traits have influenced her own career. View the event. | Print the flyer.

More About the Inductees

Sarah Rajala
Dr. Sarah A. Rajala, Inaugural Member, Michigan Tech Academy Engineering Education Leadership.

Dr. Sarah A. Rajala consistently breaks new ground for women in engineering and serves as a role model for young women. She is passionate about diversity of thought and culture, especially as it relates to the college environment. Among her many honors, she received the national Harriett B. Rigas Award honoring outstanding female faculty from the Education Society of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) in 2015. Dr. Rajala was also named National Engineer of the Year by the American Association of Engineering Societies in 2016.

In addition to serving as Iowa State’s Dean of Engineering since 2013, Dr. Rajala served as dean and department chair in the Bagley College of Engineering at Mississippi State University. At North Carolina State University College of Engineering, she was associate dean for research and graduate programs and associate dean for academic affairs.

Prior to moving into administrative positions, Dr. Rajala had a distinguished career as a professor and center director. She conducted research on the analysis and process of images and image sequences and on engineering educational assessment. She has authored and co-authored more than 100 refereed papers, and made contributions to 13 books. She is a fellow of ASEE, IEEE, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Karl A. Smith
Dr. Karl A. Smith, Inaugural Member, Michigan Tech Academy Engineering Education Leadership.

Dr. Karl A. Smith has over 30 years of experience working with faculty to redesign their courses and programs to enhance student learning.

Dr. Smith adapted the cooperative learning model to engineering education, and in the past 15 years has focused on high-performance teamwork through his workshops and book, Teamwork and Project Management (McGraw-Hill Education, 2014).

His workshops on cooperative learning have helped thousands of faculty build knowledge, skills, and confidence for involving their students in more active, interactive, and cooperative learning both during class time and outside of class. The effects of the workshops are significant in terms of creating a sense of belonging and membership in a community, as well as much more engaged and deep learning.

Dr. Smith is a world expert in discipline-based engineering education research. His interests include building research and innovation capabilities in engineering education; faculty and graduate student professional development; the role of cooperation in learning and design; problem formulation, modeling, and knowledge engineering; and project and knowledge management.

He is the author of  eight books and hundreds of published articles on engineering education, cooperative learning and structured controversy, knowledge representation and expert systems, and teamwork.

For more information about the new Michigan Tech Academy for Engineering Education Leadership, contact the College of Engineering.


May the Force Be with You: Sangyoon Han Brings Mechanobiology to Michigan Tech

Tracked adhesion population classified with Machine Learning. Sangyoon Han uses images like these to measure and compare force behavior.
Sangyoon Han uses images of live cells to measure and compare force behavior. Pictured here: tracked adhesion population, classified with Machine Learning.

Cancer cell metastasis. Stem cell differentiation. Atherosclerosis. All are strong mechanotransduction-related physiological and pathophysiological events. Just how do cells transduce mechanical force into biochemical signals? 

Assistant Professor Sangyoon Han, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Michigan Tech
Assistant Professor Sangyoon Han, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Michigan Tech.

“Cells are sensitive to mechanical forces outside the cell membrane,” says Sangyoon Han, who joined the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Michigan Tech as an assistant professor last fall. At their basal surface, however, cells are interfacing with something called the extracellular matrix (ECM), which supports the cell not only chemically but also mechanically.”

“Over the past 20 years, it has been revealed that the rigidity of the extracellular matrix can greatly influence the physiology and pathology of cells and tissues, including differentiation, survival, proliferation, altered drug response, and tumor progression,” adds Han. “In the case of a tumor, an increase in tissue stiffness—without any changes in genetic information and chemical environment—can cause tumor progression. There is also an evidence showing that cancer-targeting drugs do not work when cancer cells are highly contractile in a very tensed environment,” he says.

To investigate this, Han and his team established experimental and computational frameworks for force measurement and adhesion dynamics quantification. “We apply these frameworks, with cutting-edge computer vision techniques, on live-cell microscope images to find out the fundamental mechanisms underlying mechanosensation in normal cells, as well as the biomechanical signature in diseased cells whose signaling has gone awry.”

Han measures the force a cell transmits to the environment with traction force microscopy. “The force sensor, referred to as a focal adhesion, consists of a special receptor across the membrane and over 100 cytoskeletal adaptor proteins. These focal adhesion proteins have redundant and diverse roles in signaling and structural development of the adhesion,” he explains.

L to R: adhesion segmentation, displacement map, and tracking map. Photo credit: Sangyoon Han, Michigan Tech
L to R: adhesion segmentation, displacement map, and traction force map. Photo credit: Sangyoon Han, Michigan Tech

Using high-resolution imaging of living cells on a soft substrate, Han captures gel deformation and force-sensing protein trajectories at the same time. Han’s novel force-reconstruction software converts the measured gel deformation into a force map over a cell footprint. Using time-series data extracted from the image data, he monitors feedback between the cellular structure and its mechanical forces.

Han shares his Matlab-based, open-source software with the mechanobiology community. In his Mechanobiology Lab at Michigan Tech, Han is also building a physical device using bioMEMS for active force application to cells and tissue. “I firmly believe that engineers can make significant contributions to not only the biomedical industry, but also fundamental biological science.”

Before coming to Michigan Tech, Han was a postdoctoral researcher at the Harvard Medical School Lab of Computational Cell Biology, as well as the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. He earned a PhD in Mechanical Engineering at University of Washington in the area of cell mechanics, multiphysics modeling, and bioMEMS, and BS and MS in Mechanical Engineering at Seoul National University.

Color-coded map of deformation of a gel, quantified using the fluorescent beads. Photo Credit: Sangyoon Han, Michigan Tech

 

Red spots are the fluorescent beads coated on top of the gel, which we use to quantify the deformation of the gel. Green signal is the paxillin, one of the focal adhesion proteins of a Chinese Hamster ovary cell. Photo credit: Sangyoon Han, Michigan Tech
“Red spots are the fluorescent beads coated on top of the gel, which we use to quantify the deformation of the gel,” explains Sangyoon Han, assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Michigan Technological University. “Green signal is the paxillin, one of the focal adhesion proteins of a Chinese Hamster ovary cell.”

Seed Grants

COE Seed Grants showing researchers in the lab

The College of Engineering is offering seed funding of up to $50,000 for tackling a research problem that requires an interdisciplinary team to address. We wish to promote new collaborations between researchers with a focus on transdisciplinary initiatives that are aggressively forward-looking.

Stage 1 proposals of one page in length are due October 1 for up to $5,000 in support of travel and logistics.

Stage 2 proposals of five pages or fewer requesting up to $45,000 are due November 1. Stage 2 proposals should include a plan, budget justification, team qualifications, and funding track record.

Contact Leonard Bohmann (ljbohman@mtu.edu) for submissions.

Learn more at the College of Engineering.


Affordable Fused Filament Fabrication-based 3-D Printing

Additive Manufacturing journal coverJoshua Pearce (MSE/ECE) co-authored the study, “Chemical Compatibility of Fused Filament Fabrication-based 3-D Printed Components with Solutions Commonly Used in Semiconductor Wet Processing,” which was published in Additive Manufacturing.

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.addma.2018.07.015

Extract

3-D printing shows great potential in laboratories for making customized labware and reaction vessels. In addition, affordable fused filament fabrication (FFF)-based 3-D printing has successfully produced high-quality and affordable scientific equipment, focusing on tools without strict chemical compatibility limitations.

The results show that 3-D printed plastics are potential materials for bespoke chemically resistant labware at less than 10% of the cost of such purchased tools.

In Print

ME students Aubrey Woern and DJ Byard coauthored a paper with Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE) on Fused Particle Fabrication 3-D Printing: Recycled Materials’ Optimization and Mechanical Properties, which was published in Materials.

https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11081413


Michigan Tech Brings Global Experts in Sustainable Iron and Steel to Houghton

Advanced Sustainable Iron and Steel Making at Michigan Tech
Advanced Sustainable Iron and Steel Making Laboratory (ASISC) at Michigan Tech

International industry leaders and research engineers from mining and mineral processing are on the Michigan Tech campus Thursday and Friday for the 7th annual meeting of the Advanced Sustainable Iron and Steelmaking Center (ASISC). The meeting features speakers from India, China, Chile, Brazil, United Kingdom, Sweden, South Africa, Columbia and the U.S., as well as Michigan Tech faculty and students.

A total of 25, 30-minute presentations will take place during the meeting. This year’s theme: “New Paradigms in Mineral Processing.”

ASISC members pool resources to address a diverse spectrum of interdisciplinary research questions. During the annual meeting, they share their work and experiences to further the development of a new generation of sustainable, economical mineral processing technologies.

The meeting kicked off with Komar Kawatra, professor of chemical engineering at Michigan Tech and founder and director of ASISC, welcoming participants. Todd Davis, area manager of Tilden Mine Plant Operations for Cleveland-Cliffs, delivered the first presentation. Following Davis, Anna Edigar, also of Cleveland Cliffs spoke about the role of government relations in the iron ore industry. She also shared an update on the Cliff iron ore operation.

Janet Callahan, dean of the College of Engineering at Michigan Tech, welcomed attendees at today’s lunch at 1 p.m.

Callahan holds a PhD in materials science, an MS in metallurgy, and a BS in chemical engineering, all from the University of Connecticut at Storrs, where she is a member of the Academy of Distinguished Engineers. “Bringing together world experts to focus on sustainable ways to process iron and steel is important,” she remarked. “Each gain we make has a multiplying effect across the world.”

A Pilot Scale Carbon Dioxide Scrubber for the Michigan Tech Steam Plant

Sam Root and Sriram Valuri at work on the carbon dioxide scrubber
Sam Root and Sriram Valuri at work on the carbon dioxide scrubber

Meanwhile at Michigan Tech, chemical engineering undergraduate Sam Root, along with Kawatra and chemical engineering PhD student Sriram Valluri are making plans to install a pilot scale carbon dioxide scrubbing column in the Michigan Tech steam plant.

“The new equipment will scrub carbon dioxide from a sample stream of less than one percent of the main exhaust from the steam plant,” Root explains. “This will allow us to study the effects of real flue gas on carbon dioxide capture. The findings of this research will be applied in the future when designing a full-scale scrubbing operation.”

“The Michigan Tech steam plant currently produces a flue gas that is 10 percent carbon dioxide by volume,” says Kawatra. “Our goal is to use the scrubber to reduce those emissions to zero.”

The steel industry currently produces a flue gas that is 16 percent carbon dioxide by volume, adds Kawatra. Carbon dioxide scrubbers are not yet widely used in the steel industry, at least not yet.

“Making our scrubber compatible with real flue gas is the biggest challenge we’ve faced on this project. Flue gas is released from the boiler at high temperatures. It contains particulates that may be harmful to the packing inside the column. The equipment used to filter and cool the flue gas must be carefully selected to ensure that all materials are chemically compatible with the flue gas,” Root explains.

“Carbon dioxide levels are increasing, and this contributes to climate change. Capturing carbon dioxide on a large scale would be a huge step forward in mitigating anthropogenic climate effect. I am excited to work on such an important project as a young engineering student.” – Sam Root,  chemical engineering senior at Michigan Tech

Master Machinist Jerry Norkol and Research Associate Stefan Wisniewski, both staff in the Department of Chemical Engineering, worked with the students to design the new scrubbing column, and also built the experimental setup. Larry Hermanson, director of energy management for Michigan Tech Facilities, is also involved in project planning and installation. In just a few months, once the test pilot scrubber is installed on the steam plant, the team will begin to examine how impurities in flue gas, such as sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide, as well as depleted oxygen levels, affect its ability to absorb carbon dioxide.

A Long Time In the Making
Kawatra and his graduate students have spent the past 15-plus years developing the scrubbing column technology at Michigan Tech with support from Carbontec Energy Systems in Bismarck, North Dakota. Carbontec is a developer of technologies for the energy, oil and gas and iron and steel industries. John Simmons, chairman of Carbontec, earned a BS in metallurgical engineering at Michigan Tech in 1953. He is a member of the Chemical Engineering Academy at Michigan Tech, a native of Ironwood, Michigan, and a strong supporter of Michigan Tech.

Root and Valluri will present a poster on the pilot carbon dioxide scrubber project at the ASISC annual meeting poster session.

Speakers at the ASISC Annual Meeting
THURSDAY, AUGUST 9
Dr. Komar Kawatra, Michigan Tech
Todd Davis, Tilden Mine, Cleveland Cliffs
Anna Ediger, Cleveland Cliffs
Dr. Sandra De Moraes, IPT, Brazil
Dr. Natasia Naude, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Samira Rashid, Thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions
William Irani, Gaustec Magnetic Technology
Esau Arinwae, Solvay
Professor Yuexin Han, Northeastern University, Shenyang, P. R. China
Dr. Janet Callahan, Dean of Engineering, Michigan Tech
Professor Shaoxian Song, Wuhan University of Technology
Maria Bjorkvall, LKAB
Dean Connor, Metso Minerals Industries
John Simmons, Carbontec Energy

FRIDAY, AUGUST 10
Dr. Luis Cisternas Universidad de Antofagasta, Chile
Michael Archambo, Michigan Tech
Victor Claremboux, Michigan Tech
Sriram Valluri, Michigan Tech
Dr. Rajiv Ganguli, University of Alaska Fairbanks
John Carr, Solvay
Dr. Tathagata Ghosh, University of Alaska Fairbanks
Dr. Latika Gupta, Michigan Tech
Scott Moffat, Solvay


Narkar and Lee on pH-Responsive, Reversible Adhesion

Ameya Narkar and Bruce Lee (Biomed) published “Incorporation of Anionic Monomer to Tune the Reversible Catechol-Boronate Complex for pH Responsive, Reversible Adhesion,” in Langmuir (ACS Publications).

DOI: 10.1021/acs.langmuir.8b00373

Bruce P. Lee is an associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. Ameya Narkar is a PhD student in the biomedical engineering program.

Ameya Narkar
Ameya Narkar
Bruce P. Lee
Bruce P. Lee

Sponsored Libre Research Agreements to Create Free and Open Source Software and Hardware

Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE) published, “Sponsored Libre Research Agreements to Create Free and Open Source Software and Hardware” in the journal Inventions. This article has a pre-approved template appendix that will be useful for Michigan Tech faculty doing sponsored research for open source companies and those wishing to save legal resources for Tech and firms with which they collaborate by streamlining negotiations for projects that do not follow a conventional IP approach.

Inventions 2018, 3(3), 44; doi:10.3390/inventions3030044

Agreement for Sponsored Libre Research at Michigan Tech

Open Source Articles Indexed per Year go up by orders of magnitude
Open Source Articles Indexed per Year

Joshua Pearce on At-home Manufacturing

3D PrintingAn article written by Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE) for The Conversation, Trade wars will boost digital manufacturing – at consumers’ own homes with personal 3D printers, was picked up by the Associated Press and published widely in several newspapers, including the San Francisco Chronicle, Chicago Tribune, San Antonio Express, Times Union in New York and others. The story was covered on WTOP radio in Washington, D.C. and on TEGNA Broadcast Media (46 television stations covering 50 million people).

Pearce is quoted in an article regarding the Michigan Tech student developed recycling system: Equipment spotlight: Boost for at-home filament extrusion, in Plastics Recycling Update.

In the News

An article written by Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE) was reprinted by khou.com, the Times UnionFinancial SenseWorld News and several other media outlets.

Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE) was quoted in the article “3D printing news Sliced Siemens, ExOne, Stratasys, Massivit, CELLINK, Formlabs, Star Rapid,” 3dprintingindustry.com.

Pearce was interviewed on National Public Radio (NPR) for “3D Printing is Turning the Economics of Scale on its Head.” You can listen to the interview here.

Pearce writing on the trade wars and 3D printing was covered by Salon.