Tag: MEEM

Stories about Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics.

Graduate School Announces Summer 2020 Award Recipients

Michigan Tech in Summer

 The Graduate School announced the recipients of the Doctoral Finishing Fellowship, Portage Health Foundation Graduate Assistantship, Matwiyoff & Hogberg Endowed Graduate Fellowship, and the DeVlieg Foundation Research Award. The Portage Health Foundation and the Graduate School have provided support to help students complete their doctoral studies and to those in health-oriented research areas.

The following are award recipients in engineering graduate programs:

Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Award

Portage Health Foundation Graduate Assistantship

Matwiyoff & Hogberg Endowed Graduate Fellowship

Profiles of current recipients can be found online.

Andrew Barnard: A Quieter Future

Andrew Barnard works on a noise control survey on the R/V Blue Heron in Lake Superior.

Andrew Barnard shares his knowledge on Husky Bites, a free, interactive webinar this Monday, June 15 at 6 pm. Learn something new in just 20 minutes, with time after for Q&A! Get the full scoop and register at mtu.edu/huskybites.

Let’s say you wanted to quiet the loud auxiliary power unit on a large Abrams tank or any other loud noisy contraption. Would carbon nanotubes, thinner than a human hair, immediately come to mind? Probably not—but that is exactly the solution that Andrew Barnard has developed.

Why a nanotube speaker instead of the usual kind? It’s flexible and stretchable, with no moving parts, and you can put it practically anywhere. Plus, it weighs next to nothing. Four ounces of the material will cover an acre.

“Carbon nanotubes can oscillate their surface temperature almost instantaneously to produce noise canceling sound waves,” he explains. His technology—a coaxial active exhaust noise control system—is based on using a thin film of carbon nanotubes as a thermophone, or loudspeaker.

Why else use carbon nanotubes? “The material is flexible and stretchable, with no moving parts, and you can put it practically anywhere,” he says. “Plus, it weighs next to nothing. Four ounces of the material will cover an acre.”

“Building with Lego sets as a kid is probably what sparked my design and engineering mindset,” says Andrew Barnard. Fast forward about 30 years. Barnard is now an associate professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics at Michigan Tech, specializing in the field of acoustics, vibration, and noise control engineering. He is the Director of the Great Lakes Research Center. He is advisor of Michigan Tech’s Strategic Education through Naval Systems Experiences (SENSE) Enterprise team. Last year he earned the Michigan Tech Distinguished Teaching Award. And he knows what it’s like to be a Michigan Tech student; he earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering at Tech before heading to Penn State for a PhD in acoustics.

Barnard is faculty advisor to Michigan Tech’s SENSE (Strategic Education through Naval Systems Experience) Enterprise. It’s a relatively new team. Students design, build, and test engineering systems with a focus on Navy applications in all domains: space, air, land, sea, and undersea. Like all of SENSE is open to students in any major.  The Nautical Emergency Rescue Device (NERD) is the team’s longest-running project. 

Q: What exactly is the NERD?

It’s like a mechanized life ring. If you’ve got someone 100 yards offshore, it takes away the danger of swimming out to them or the time it takes to get a boat. A life ring can only be thrown maybe 25 yards and if it’s windy it’s hard to get the life ring to the person. The NERD uses plastic PVC piping, low-cost remote vehicle propellers and the same controls used for remote-controlled planes and boats. The project is sponsored in part by the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community.

Students in the SENSE Enterprise designed and built a prototype of the NERD. “It’s sort of like a drone that can be used as a life raft, cheap and affordable enough that it can be kept at popular swimming beaches or in squad car trunks and used very quickly.”
The SENSE Enterprise logo, created by team members. Learn more about all 24 Enterprise teams at mtu.edu/enterprise

“I like to tell students on the SENSE team that I don’t do anything, they do everything, I’m just there to make sure they don’t go off the rails; to help them work through that design process, to watch them fail and help them pick themselves up and succeed.”

Andrew Barnard

Q: What is your research focus?

I do acoustics in general. What I’m interested in is making mechanical things quiet. I tend to work on any type of system with rotating equipment: ship propellers, hard drives, hydraulic systems. That is to say, anything moving that creates sound or is affected by sound.

“It’s a very customer-centered research field because everyone has a set of transducers built into their heads—ears.”We have lots of customers to talk to and lots of customer problems to fix because certain sounds drive people nuts.

We have the same problems under water. The overall background noise in the ocean has been rising steadily since WWII. How does that affect marine mammals and fish species? How does their behavior change based on ambient noise background? That’s what we’re trying to find out.


Andrew Barnard and his students work on developing flexible and stretchable nanotube speakers.

Q: How do you like to learn?

I had lots of great professors when I was a student here at Michigan Tech; Chuck Van Karsen is a good example. Chuck was a terrific professor, knew the material back and forth, but would take the time to teach it to you. He was always showing us how we could relate the pieces of an equation to things in real life that we touch every day. I thought those types of lessons were really helpful in learning the material, so I try to bring those kinds of things into my classes as well. I’ve had so many good professors it’s hard to single out just a few. 

“Everyone has a set of transducers built into their heads—ears.”

Andrew Barnard

Q: How did you know you wanted to be an acoustic engineer?

In college, I did several internships. Two of them taught me what I didn’t want to do, a very valuable lesson. The third one was working on noise control of tractors with John Deere. That sparked my interest in the field and propelled me on to graduate school to learn more. I’ve had mentors over the years that have been vital to keeping me pursuing the long and winding path to my current position. 

Q: Can you tell us more about your growing up? 

I was born and raised outside of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, cradled between Lake Michigan and the bay of Green Bay.  I come from a long line of teachers. My mother was a kindergarten teacher and both my grandmothers were teachers. In my free time nowadays I enjoy hiking and waterfalling in the UP with my wife, Becky, entertaining our dog, and playing mediocre rounds of golf.

Andrew Barnard grew up in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. Pictured here is the Ship Canal Pierhead Lighthouse, located just off the coastline of Lake Michigan

Learn More

Sound Man

Q&A with Michigan Tech Teaching Award Winner Andrew Barnard

Q&A with Great Lakes Research Center’s Andrew Barnard

Play SENSE Enterprise at Michigan Tech video
Preview image for SENSE Enterprise at Michigan Tech video

SENSE Enterprise at Michigan Tech

Want to know more about Husky Bites? Read about it here.

We Reject Racism.

Michigan Tech stands together as a community to reject any actions steeped in racism, hatred and fear. These actions are repugnant to the College of Engineering. They have no place in our classrooms, labs or offices, nor in our society.

The College of Engineering believes that diversity in an inclusive environment is essential for the development of creative solutions to address the world’s challenges. 

Our faculty, staff and students are fully committed to diversity and inclusiveness. There is much work to be done and we all have a part to play in order for meaningful change to occur.

  • Janet Callahan, Dean, College of Engineering
  • Leonard Bohmann, Associate Dean, College of Engineering
  • Larry Sutter, Assistant Dean, College of Engineering
  • Sean Kirkpatrick, Chair, Dept. of Biomedical Engineering
  • Pradeep Agrawal, Chair, Dept. of Chemical Engineering
  • Audra Morse, Chair, Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Glen Archer, Chair, Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Jon Sticklen, Chair, Dept. of Engineering Fundamentals
  • John Gierke, Chair, Dept. of Geological and Mining Engineering and Science
  • Steve Kampe, Chair, Dept. of Materials Science and Engineering
  • Bill Predebon, Chair, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics
  • Walt Milligan, Interim Chair, Dept. of Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering Technology

Read More:

Brad King: Space, Satellites and Students

Pictured: the Auris signal trace, soon to be explained by Dr. Lyon (Brad) King on Husky Bites.

Lyon (Brad) King shares his knowledge on Husky Bites, a free, interactive webinar this Monday, May 18 at 6 pm. Learn something new in just 20 minutes, with time after for Q&A! Get the full scoop and register at mtu.edu/huskybites.

Oculus deployed! In June 2019 Michigan Tech alumnus and Air Force Research Laboratory Space Systems Engineer Jesse Olson, left, celebrates with Aerospace Enterprise advisor Brad King. King’s son Jack was also on hand for the momentous occasion of the launch.

Turning dreams into reality is a powerful motivator for Lyon (Brad) King. He’s the Richard and Elizabeth Henes Professor of Space Systems in the Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics, and leader of Michigan Tech Aerospace—a collection of research, development, and educational labs dedicated to advancing spacecraft technology.

King specializes in spacecraft propulsion — and the launching of student careers. He mentors a large team of graduate students in his research lab, the Ion Space Propulsion Lab, where teams develop next-generation plasma thrusters for spacecraft. Off campus, at the MTEC SmartZone, King is cofounder and CEO of the fast-growing company, Orbion Space Technology.

As the founder and faculty advisor of Michigan Tech’s Aerospace Enterprise, King empowers undergraduate students to design, build, and fly spacecraft, too. One of the team’s student-built satellites (Oculus) is now in orbit; their second small satellite (Stratus) is due to launch in March 2021, and a third (Auris) now in process.

“The desire to explore space is what drives me. Very early in my studies I realized that the biggest impediment to space exploration is propulsion. Space is just so big it’s hard to get anywhere. So I dedicated my professional life to developing new space propulsion technologies.”

Professor Lyon (Brad) King, Michigan Tech

King has served as the Enterprise advisor ever since a couple of students came to him with the idea to form a team nearly two decades ago. “My current role now is more that of an outside evaluator,” he says. “The team has taken on a life of its own.”

Like all Enterprise teams at Michigan Tech, Aerospace Enterprise is open to students in any major. “It’s important for students to learn how to work in an interdisciplinary group,” says King. “In the workplace, they will never be on a team where every member has the same expertise. To design, build, manage and operate a satellite requires mechanical, electrical, computer science, physics, materials, everything — it really crosses a lot of boundaries and prepares them for a career.”

Adds King: “Michigan Tech has a history and reputation for hands-on projects, particularly its Enterprise Program. Our students don’t just write papers and computer programs. They know how to turn wrenches and build things. That’s been deeply ingrained in the University culture for years.” 

Last, but not least: “Aerospace Enterprise has a leadership and management hierarchy that is self-sustaining,” says King. “Current leaders are constantly working to mentor their successors so we have continuity from year-to-year.” 

“Dr. King provides excellent mentoring and high-level direction, but does not give students all the answers. It’s up to the students to figure it out. We work in small teams, which forces us to take on more responsibility. We’re thrown off the deep end. It’s hard, but worth it.”

Sam Baxendale, spoken as a former student. He’s now an engineer at Orbion Space Technologies
The Aerospace Enterprise team at Michigan Tech enjoys some well-deserved downtime at McLain State Park on Lake Superior.

The New Space Era

Commercialization is driving aerospace expansion in Michigan and across the nation. “We were ahead of it,” says King. “We certainly were feeding it and played a part in causing it. MTU’s products — which are our graduates — are out there, making this happen.” Aerospace Enterprise alumni are engineers, managers, technology officers and research scientists in a diverse array of aerospace-related industries and institutions, from the U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force and NASA to SpaceX, both startups and major manufacturers. King himself has hired several of his former students at Orbion Space Technology.

“The desire to explore space is what drives me,” says Lyon (Brad) King, Henes Professor of Space Systems at Michigan Technological University

Q: When did you first get into engineering? What sparked your interest?

A: I have always been interested in building things — long before I knew that was called “engineering.” I don’t recall when I became fascinated with space but it was at a very early age. I have embarrassing photos of me dressed as an astronaut for halloween and I may still even have an adult-sized astronaut costume somewhere in my closet — not saying. The desire to explore space is what drives me. Very early in my studies I realized that the biggest impediment to space exploration is propulsion. Space is just so big it’s hard to get anywhere. So I dedicated my professional life to developing new space propulsion technologies. There is other life in our solar system. That is a declarative statement. It’s time that we find it. The moons of Jupiter and Saturn hold great promise and I’m determined to see proof in my lifetime.

Q: Can you tell us more about your growing up? Any hobbies?

A: I was born and raised just north of Houghton (yes, there actually is some habitable environment north of Houghton). I received my BS, MS, and PhD from the University of Michigan. I spent time traveling around the country working at NASA in Houston, NIST in Boulder, and realized that all of my personal hobbies and proclivities were centered around the geography and climate of northern Michigan. I returned in 2000 and began my career as a professor at MTU. I enjoy fishing, boating, hockey, and spent more than 15 years running my dogsled team all over the Keweenaw Peninsula.


Michigan Tech’s Three Student-Built Satellites

OCULUS-ASR, a microsatellite now in orbit, provides new info to the Air Force. “It is the first satellite mission dedicated to helping telescope observatories understand what they are imaging using a cooperative target. “It’s a very capable little vehicle. There’s a lot packed into it.”

Aerospace Enterprise rendering of Stratus, a miniaturized satellite developed by the team. It will be launched from the International Space Station in March 2021.

Not hard to see how CubeSats get their name. Stratus is a 3U spacecraft, which means it’s composed of three units. This photo was taken in fall 2019.

STRATUS, a miniaturized satellite, will image atmospheric clouds to reconcile climate models. It’s funded by NASA’s Undergraduate Student Instrument Program and the CubeSat Launch Initiative. STRATUS will be carried to the International Space Station inside the SpaceX Dragon cargo capsule by a Falcon 9 rocket. The Dragon will dock to the ISS where STRATUS will be unloaded by the crew. STRATUS will then be placed in the Kibo Module’s airlock, where the Japanese Experiment Module Remote Manipulator System robotic arm will move the satellite into the correct position and deploy it into space. All this on March 21. Stay tuned!

Aerospace Enterprise rendering of its newest microsatellite, Auris, now in the works.

AURIS, a microsatellite, is designed to monitor and attribute telecommunications signals in a congested space environment. Funding comes from the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL)’s University Nanosatellite Program.

Huskies in Space

Michigan Tech’s Aerospace Enterprise team designed their own logo.

Learn more about the team and its missions on Instagram and Facebook.

Find out how to join.

Read more about Aerospace Enterprise in Michigan Tech News:

And Then There Were Two: MTU’s Next Student Satellite Set to Launch in 2021

Enterprise at MTU Launches Spacecraft—and Careers

Countdown. Ignition. Liftoff. Huskies in Space!

Mission(s) AccomplishedMichigan Tech’s Pipeline to Space

Winning Satellite to be Launched into Orbit

Design Expo 2020 Award Winners

A view of campus from across the Portage Canal, with light snow, and open water.

More than 1,000 students in Enterprise and Senior Design showcased their hard work last Thursday, April 16 at Michigan Tech’s first-ever virtual Design Expo. Teams competed for cash awards totaling nearly $4,000. Judges included corporate representatives, community members and Michigan Tech staff and faculty.

The College of Engineering and the Pavlis Honors College are pleased to announce award winners, below. Congratulations and thanks to ALL teams for a very successful Design Expo 2020. But first, a few important items:

Design Expo Video Gallery

Be sure to check out the virtual gallery, which remains on display at mtu.edu/expo.

20th Anniversary of Design Expo
This year marked the 20th anniversary of Design Expo. Read the Michigan Tech news story here.

SOAR’s SSROV Royale deployed in summers on Isle Royale National Park as part of the Enterprise partnership.
SOAR’s SSROV Royale deployed in summers on Isle Royale National Park as part of the Enterprise partnership

Special Note:
In addition to all the Michigan Tech teams, SOAR, a high school Enterprise from Dollar Bay High School in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, also took part in this year’s virtual Design Expo. Advised by teacher Matt Zimmer, the team designs, builds, and deploys underwater remote operated vehicles (ROVs). SOAR partners with local community organizations to monitor, research, and improve the local watershed. Their clients include Isle Royale National Park, Delaware Mine, OcuGlass, and Michigan Tech’s Great Lakes Research Center. Check out the SOAR video here (SOAR is team 124).


Now, without further ado, here are the Design Expo award results!


ENTERPRISE AWARDS
Based on video submissions

Team photo with Baja vehicle outside on campus at Michigan Tech with Portage Canal in the background.

First Place – $500
Blizzard Baja Enterprise
Team Leaders: Olivia Vargo, Mechanical Engineering, and Kurt Booms, Mechanical Engineering Technology
Advisor: Kevin Johnson, Mechanical Engineering Technology
Sponsors: General Motors, Aramco Americas, DENSO, SAE International, Magna, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Halla Mechatronics, Meritor, Oshkosh Corporation, Ford Motor Company, John Deere, Nexteer, IPETRONIK, FEV, Milwaukee Tool, Altair, Henkel, ArcelorMittal, TeamTECH, and Keysight Technologies
Overview: Building and innovating a single-seat, off-road vehicle for the SAE Collegiate Design Series-Baja events is the team’s focus. After passing a rigorous safety and technical inspection, they compete on acceleration, hill climb, maneuverability, suspension and endurance. The team also organizes and hosts the Winter Baja Invitational event, a long-standing university tradition dating back to 1981.


Team photo

Second Place – $300
Mining INnovation Enterprise (MINE)

Team Leaders: George Johnson, Mechanical Engineering; and Breeanne Heusdens, Geological Engineering
Advisor: Paulus Van Susante, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Sponsors: Cignys, Cummins, General Motors, MEEM Advisory Board, Michigan Scientific Corporation, Michigan Space Grant Consortium, Milwaukee Tool, MISUMI, NASA, Raytheon, Wayland Wildcats
Overview: MINE designs, tests, and implements mining innovation technologies—in some hard-to-reach places—for industry partners. The team is developing a gypsum process to mine water on Mars funded by a grant from NASA. Gypsum is 20 percent water by weight and is found abundantly on the surface of Mars. A geological sub-team is developing methodology for deep sea mining research. Last but not least, MINE is creating a robot for the NASA Lunabotics competition, held every year at the Kennedy Space Center with 50 university teams in attendance.


Team photo near the Husky statue at Michigan Tech, in the snow.

Third Place – $200 (tie)
Innovative Global Solutions
(IGS)
Team Leaders: Nathan Tetzlaff, Mechanical Engineering; Marie Marche, Biomedical Engineering
Advisors: Radheshyam Tewari, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics; and Nathan Manser, Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences
Sponsors: Cummins, Milwaukee Tool, and Enterprise Manufacturing Initiative funded by General Motors
Overview: IGS pursues solutions for the needs of developing countries, making contributions toward solving the Grand Challenges, an initiative set forth by the National Academy of Engineering. The team has designed, built and tested an innovative vaccine container to improve the transport of viable vaccines and increase accessibility. They have developed a low-cost, multifunctional infant incubator to help decrease infant mortality rates. They are also working on an open-source-based 3D printer that can recycle plastic to meet basic community needs.


Stratus: Detailed render of the Stratus spacecraft deployed on-orbit.

Third Place – $200 (tie)
Aerospace Enterprise

Team Leaders: Troy Maust, Computer Engineering; and Matthew Sietsema, Electrical Engineering
Advisor: L. Brad King, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Sponsors: Air Force Research Laboratory, NASA
Overview: Space mission design and analysis, vehicle integration, systems engineering, and comprehensive ground-testing and qualification are all going on within the Aerospace Enterprise at any given time. All members contribute toward achieving specific project goals. The Auris mission demonstrates the technical feasibility of a CubeSat to provide situational data, in collaboration with the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). The Stratus mission involves collecting atmospheric and weather data from a CubeSat in collaboration with NASA—a pathfinder toward developing new, complex space systems leveraging the low-cost and small size of CubeSats to achieve the performance of traditional, monolithic systems.


Lost in Mazie Mansion, a game created by HGD shows an illustration of Mazie (small figure with golden hair, standing in what looks like a library, with 3 sets of bookcases behind her.

Honorable Mention – $100
Husky Game Development (HGD)

Team Leaders: Colin Arkens and Xixi Tian, Computer Science
Advisor: Scott Kuhl, Computer Science
Sponsor: Pavlis Honors College
Overview: Developing video games is the name of the game for HGD. Each year, the Enterprise breaks up into subteams of around six students who experience a full game development cycle, including ideation, design, and end product. HGD explores a wide variety of video game engines and platforms, including Windows, Android, Xbox, and an experimental Display Wall.


SENIOR DESIGN AWARDS
Based on video submissions

Blueprint-style drawing of the team's eddy current inspection in-line integration tester.

First Place – $400
Eddy Current Inspection In-line Integration

Team Members: Brett Hulbert, Austin Ballou, Britten Lewis, Nathan Beining, Philip Spillman and Sophie Pawloski, Mechanical Engineering
Advisor: Wayne Weaver, Mechanical Engineering- Engineering Mechanics
Sponsor: MacLean-Fogg Component Solutions-Metform
Overview: Eddy current testing (ECT) is a non-destructive method for testing metal surfaces for defects using electromagnetic induction to detect surface flaws in conductive materials. The team was tasked with developing an eddy current tester that would non-destructively test a washer for surface cracks and flaws before it is assembled with a nut. They created a testing operation that spins, tests, and ejects washers based on whether they pass or fail, all within the existing assembly cell.


CAD drawing of the team's
hospital washer with data optimization sensors.

Second Place – $250
Hospital Washer Auto Sampler Usage & Data Optimization
Team Members: Nick Golden and Jeremy Weaver, Biomedical Engineering; Jack Ivers, Mechanical Engineering
Advisors: Bruce Lee and Sangyoon Han, Biomedical Engineering
Sponsor: Stryker
Overview: Hospitals use wash systems to clean and sterilize instruments after use. Factors of the wash environment can harm surgical instruments. To solve this problem, the team designed a device that actively senses conditions inside a hospital washer to provide information on the effects of the wash environment, allowing for wash cycle optimization.


A 3D-printed pattern cast in aluminum by sponsor Mercury Marine

Third Place – $150
Direct Casting with Additive Manufactured Patterns
Team Members: James Driesenga, Riley Simpson, Camden Miner, Zach Schwab, TC Swittel, and Sean Frank, Mechanical Engineering
Advisor: Bob Page, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Sponsor: Mercury Marine
Overview: The team developed a lost-foam style casting process that uses a 3D printed pattern instead of expanded polystyrene in metal casting. The use of expanded polystyrene allows for complete part filling, but cost and time required to create a new pattern are high. The 3D printing of patterns eradicates the need for pattern tooling and significantly reduces the time required to produce a pattern.


Medtronic’s radiofrequency ablation platform: Accurian System

Honorable Mention (1) – $100
Radiofrequency Ablation Modeling and Validation of Cannula Design
s
Team Members: Clare Biolchini, Matthew Colaianne, and Ellen Lindquist, Biomedical Engineering; Samuel Miller, Electrical Engineering
Advisor: Jeremy Goldman, Biomedical Engineering
Sponsor: Medtronic
Overview: Predictable lesion formation during radiofrequency (RF) ablation for pain control is a function of many factors and the subject of decades of research. Of specific interest to Medtronic is lesion formation in non-homogeneous tissues and structures. The team developed mathematical models and physical model validation for treatment scenarios, including knees and shoulders. Photo courtesy of Medtronic.


Solidworks model of deicing fluid collection cart

Honorable Mention (2) – $100
Airport Needs Design Challenge
Team Members: Derek Cingel, Jared Langdon, Bryce Leaf, Ruth Maki, and Douglas Pedersen, Mechanical Engineering
Advisor: Paul van Susante, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Sponsor: Airport Cooperative Research Program
Overview: To help reduce the contamination of deicing fluid in small airports, the team developed a cart specially designed to collect a significant amount of the fluid that comes from the wings. Saving and reusing deicing fluid will save money, and reduce the runoff into streams and waterways.


A prototype of the testing system, shown on a workbench

Honorable Mention (3) – $100
Validation Test System for Boston Scientific IPP
Team Members: McKenzie Hill, Ahmed Al Dulaim, Nathan Halanski, and Katherine Wang, Biomedical Engineering
Advisors: Orhan Soykan and Sangyoon Han, Biomedical Engineering
Sponsor: Boston Scientific
Overview: Performing analyses, simulations, and engineering calculations, the team was able to estimate and predict the movement of IPP cylinders and resulting stress/strain. They designed new test procedures to perform physical testing and fabricated a physical test system.


Team members from left: Brian Parvin, Paul Allen, David Brushaber, Alex Kirchner, Kurtis Alessi

Honorable Mention (4) – $100
Road Marking Reflectivity Evaluator
Team Members: Brian Parvin, Mechanical Engineering; Paul Allen, Electrical Engineering; and David Brushaber, Kurtis Alessi and Alex Kirchner, Computer Engineering
Advisor: Tony Pinar, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Sponsor: SICK, Inc.
Overview: When road stripes wear off, auto accidents increase. To solve this problem, the team developed software that uses reflectivity values obtained using a SICK lidar unit. Their new software identifies deterioration of road stripes and recommends timely repainting, which will also aid in the safety and reliability of self-driving vehicles on roadways. The team constructed a prototype to demonstrate functionality–a pushable cart that evaluates road markings. An intuitive user interface displays the markings being evaluated, and indicates if they meet necessary levels of reflectivity. With their project, the team is taking part in the TiM$10K Challenge, a national innovation and design competition.


20th Anniversary “People’s Choice” Award – $100
Based on receiving the most text-in votes during Design Expo

A CAD drawing of the actuator showing two UGVs connected by the coupling and actuating system

Connector and Coupling Actuator for Mobile Electrical Microgrids
Team Members: Trevor Barrett, Nathan Bondi, and Sam Krusinski, Mechanical Engineering; Travis Moon, Electrical Engineering
Advisor: Cameron Hadden, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Sponsor: Center for Agile and Interconnected Microgrids
Overview: Imagine how someone living through a natural disaster like Hurricane Katrina or Hurricane Dorian must have felt—scared and helpless, with no way to call for assistance or let loved ones know they were okay. It could be days or weeks before first responders are able to restore power to the area. That is where our project comes in. Our team was tasked to design, prototype, and test a connector and coupling actuator that can establish an electrical connection between two unmanned ground vehicles that will be used to build temporary microgrids in areas that desperately need it.


DESIGN EXPO IMAGE CONTEST
Based on team photos submitted during Design Expo registration

First Place – $200
Formula SAE Enterprise

F-276 Racecar racing by on a speedway with the driver shown in his black helmet.
F-276 Racecar. Photo Credit: Brendan Treanore, 4th year, MSE

Second Place – $100
Flammability Reduction in Magnesium Alloys for Additive Manufacturing

Two orange-yellow flames jet up from a pike of ashes.
Flammability test of a magnesium AZ61 alloy. Photo Credit: Max Urquhart, 3rd year, ECE

Third Place – $50
Velovations Enterprise

Three fat tired bikes are parked in the snow along the Michigan Tech "Tech Trails" groomed trail system, covered in snow, with sunshine and trees in the background.
Velovations Enterprise: Testing dropper posts in the snow Photo Credit: Somer Schrock, 3rd year, ME

DESIGN EXPO INNOVATION AWARDS
Based on application
. Learn more here.

The Husky Innovate logo shows a lightbulb with blue, green and teal dots flowing out in the rough profile of a Husky dog.
Microphoto of master alloy nanoindentation array of Al25Mn, courtesy of MSE 4th year student Ryan Lester
Microphoto of master alloy nanoindentation array of Al25Mn. Credit: Ryan Lester

First Place – $250
Increasing the Young’s Modulus of Cast Aluminum for Stiffness-Limited Applications

Team Members: Joel Komurka, Ryan Lester, Zeke Marchel, and
Wyatt Gratz, Material Science and Engineering
Advisor: Paul Sanders, Materials Science and Engineering
Sponsor: Eck Industries


Benchtop design which simulates physiological conditions in HLHS patients for testing of our stent prototype. (photo taken by Kelsey LeMay)
The team’s benchtop design, which simulates the physiological conditions in HLHS patients used to test infant heart stent prototype.

Second Place – $150
Transcatheter Sign Ventricle Device (BME)

Team Members: David Atkin, Kelsey LeMay, and Gabrielle Lohrenz, Biomedical Engineering
Advisors: Smitha Rao and Jeremy Goldman, Biomedical Engineering
Sponsor: Spectrum Health—Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital


a prototype of the vaccine transporter, which is about the size of a large breadbox, and fits inside a duffel bag.
Second iteration of the IGS team’s vaccine cold transport container for developing countries, which fits neatly inside a duffel bag.

Third Place – $100
Innovative Global Solutions (IGS)

Team Leaders: Nathan Tetzlaff, Mechanical Engineering; Marie Marche, Biomedical Engineering
Advisors: Radheshyam Tewari, ME-EM and Nathan Manser, Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences
Sponsor: Enterprise Manufacturing Initiative funded by General Motors, Cummins, Milwaukee Tool

2020 ENTERPRISE AWARDS
Based on student, advisor, faculty and staff nominations.

The Michigan Tech Enterprise Program logo, created over a decade ago by a Michigan Tech student, features a yellow lower case "e" in the shape of a swoosh


Student Awards
Outstanding Leadership: Allysa Meinburg, Consumer Product Manufacturing

Rookie Award: Bryce Traver, Alternative Energy Enterprise

Innovative Solutions: Travis Wavrunek, Alternative Energy Enterprise

Industry/Sponsor Relations: Jordan Woldt, Blue Marble Security/Oshkosh Baja Suspension Team

Faculty/Staff/Sponsor Awards
Outstanding Enterprise Advisor: Dr. Tony Rogers, Consumer Product Manufacturing

Outstanding Enterprise Sponsor: Michael Bunge, Libbey Inc.

Behind the Scenes: Steven Lehmann, Biomedical Engineering


THANKS TO ALL!

Now, be sure to check out all the awesome Enterprise and Senior Design team projects at mtu.edu/expo.

Michigan Tech Students Receive NSF Graduate Research Fellowships

Seth A. Kriz in the lab.
Seth A. Kriz does undergraduate research on gold nanoparticles interacting with different viruses.

Three Michigan Tech students, Greta Pryor Colford, Dylan Gaines and Seth A. Kriz, have been awarded National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowships. The oldest STEM-related fellowship program in the United States, the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) is a prestigious award that recognizes exceptional graduate students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines early in their career and supports them through graduate education. NSF-GRFP fellows are an exceptional group; 42 fellows have gone on to become Nobel Laureates, and about 450 fellows are members of the National Academy of Sciences.

The Graduate School is proud of these students for their outstanding scholarship. These awards highlight the quality of students at Michigan Tech, the innovative work they have accomplished, the potential for leadership and impact in science and engineering that the county recognizes in these students, and the incredible role that faculty play in students’ academic success.

Dylan Gaines is currently a master of science student in the Computer Science Department at Michigan Tech, he will begin his doctoral degree in the same program in Fall 2020. Gaines’ research, with Keith Vertanen (CS), focuses on text entry techniques for people with visual impairments. He also plans to develop assistive technologies for use in Augmented Reality. During his undergraduate education at Michigan Tech, Gaines was a member of the cross country and track teams. Now, he serves as a graduate assistant coach. “I am very thankful for this award and everyone that supported me through the application process and helped to review my essays” said Gaines. Commenting on Gaines’ award, Computer Science Department Chair Linda Ott explained “All of us in the Department of Computer Science are very excited that Dylan is being awarded a NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. This is a clear affirmation that Dylan is an excellent student and that even as an undergraduate he demonstrated strong research skills. It also is a tribute to Dylan’s advisor Dr. Keith Vertanen who has established a very successful research group in intelligent interactive systems.”

Seth A. Kriz is pursuing his doctoral degree in chemical engineering, with Caryn Heldt (ChE). He completed his undergraduate education, also in chemical engineering, at Michigan Tech and has previously served as the lead coach of the Chemical Engineering Learning Center. His research focuses on developing improved virus purification methods for large-scale vaccine production so as to provide a timely response to pandemics. “I am extremely proud to represent Michigan Tech and my lab as an NSF graduate research fellow, and for this opportunity to do research that will save lives. My success has been made possible by the incredible family, faculty, and larger community around me, and I thank everyone for their support. Go Huskies!” said Kriz. Commenting on the award, Kriz’s advisor, Heldt said “Seth embodies many of the characteristics we hope to see in our students: excellence in scholarship, high work ethic, and a strong desire to give back to his community. I’m extremely proud of his accomplishments and I can’t wait to see what else he will do.” In addition, Kriz sings with the Michigan Tech Chamber Choir.

Greta Pryor Colford earned her bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and a minor in aerospace engineering from Michigan Tech in spring 2019. She is currently a post-baccalaureate student at Los Alamos National Laboratory, where she previously worked as an undergraduate and summer intern. At Los Alamos National Laboratory, Colford is part of the Test Engineering group (E-14) of the Engineering, Technology and Design Division (E). At Michigan Tech, she was a leader of the Attitude Determination and Control Team of the Michigan Tech Aerospace Enterprise, a writing coach at the Multiliteracies Center, and a member of the Undergraduate Student Government.

The fellowship provides three years of financial support, including a $34,000 stipend for each fellow and a $12,000 cost-of-education allowance for the fellow’s institution. Besides financial support for fellows, the GRFP provides opportunities for research on national laboratories and international research.

By the Graduate School.

Engineering Graduate Students Elected to Executive Board

Nathan Ford
Nathan Ford

The Graduate Student Government (GSG) has elected its Executive Board for the 2020-2021 session. The new Executive Board members are:

  • Nathan Ford (MEEM), President
  • Michael Maurer (ECE), Vice-President
  • Aaron Hoover (Humanities), Secretary
  • Laura Schaerer (Biological Sciences), Treasurer
  • Sarvada Chipkar (Chemical Engineering), Research Chair
  • Yasasya Batugedara (Mathematical Sciences), Professional Development Chair
  • Eric Pearson (Chemical Engineering), Social Chair
  • Marina Choy (Humanities), Public Relations Chair

The new Executive Board will assume office on May 1 and is looking forward to serving the graduate student body and the community at large.

By Apurva Baruah, GSG President.

COVID-19: At Michigan Tech, How One Big Ship is Turning Itself Around.

R.L Smith Building, home to the Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics. “Like so many universities, we have a great culture of kindness here at Michigan Tech, says Chair William Predebon. “We’re all going through this together.”

Bill Predebon, longtime chair of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics at Michigan Tech, recently sent an email to all the students in his department. He asked three questions: “What went right? What went wrong?” And then, “Are you having any issues with tools?”

“Almost immediately I received 80 responses from undergraduates,” he said. “It’s important to solicit feedback directly from students while they are still in the midst of it.”

As universities across the state of Michigan and across the nation moved their courses to remote instruction to help slow the spread of COVID-19, Predebon had to act fast. Getting 1,736 students, and 55 faculty members entirely online in just four days was no small task.

“We’re a large ME department, one of the largest in the nation, but because of our strong sense of community of Michigan Tech, our culture of kindness, there was an immediate sense of responsibility to respond in a coordinated way—the best possible way,” says Predebon.

Predebon turned to ME-EM Associate Chair Jeff Allen, who quickly became the department’s conduit for using online tools.

“Jeff investigated the technology, so our faculty wouldn’t have to do that,” Predebon explains. “The majority had never taught online before—only about a dozen of our faculty had taken Michigan Tech’s online learning certification course.”

ME-EM Department Chair Bill Predebon stands in an empty lab classroom in the R.L. Smith Building on campus, with some equipment in the backround.
“Dealing with open-ended solutions, where there isn’t one right answer, is a key part of the design of our Mechanical Engineering Practice courses,” says Predebon. “I hope those problem-solving skills are helping our students, as they adjust to learning from home.”

“The first thing I did was to rephrase the information,” says Allen. “It had been presented by type of software, but not by function.” ME-EM faculty with online teaching experience also started helping, making phone calls and emailing back and forth with their colleagues.

“It’s really hard to give a lecture in an empty room. There’s zero feedback,” says Allen. “We were showing our faculty how to use the online lecture tools on campus. But then, within a day or two, as we realized what might be coming, I began urging faculty to gather all they’d need to teach their courses from home.”

Allen quickly bought webcams for faculty, along with headsets and microphones. “Everyone seemed to have a different kind of technology at home. Webcams sold out very fast online. All around the country, everyone was doing the same thing,” he said.

Four years ago, the Department eliminated traditional mechanical engineering labs and replaced them with hands-on Mechanical Engineering Practice (MEP) courses I, II, III and IV. The MEP courses are designed to be adaptable so that new subjects can be embedded as technologies advance. But how to virtualize these intensive hands-on courses?

“Our Graduate Teaching Assistants really went above and beyond. Udit Sharma and JJ Song recorded a half semester’s worth of video demonstrations in less than a week for the second MEP. There were similar efforts by faculty, staff and graduate students for the other three MEP courses,” said Allen. “They did an amazing job.”

Meanwhile, another group was busy virtualizing the ME-EM department’s Engineering Learning Center, an idea suggested by academic advisor Ryan Towles. Aneet Narendranath, a senior lecturer in mechanical engineering, spearheaded the effort.

“Our learning center supports our core courses—Thermodynamics, Statics, Dynamics, and Mechanics of Materials,” says Predebon. “Students taking these fundamental courses can now access peer tutoring online, from home.”

“Michigan Tech’s Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) shipped out document cameras to all our peer tutors. Then Dr. Narendranath coordinated a trial run—trying out the system as we put it into place,” says Allen. “Several faculty volunteered as guinea pigs, to let student tutors practice the system. We found subtle, odd things we weren’t expecting. Aneet and Ryan practiced together quite a bit more before we sent a message about it to all our students.”

Allen’s emphasis now has switched almost entirely to students. “At home, just like our faculty, their technology and tools vary. Some things really surprised us. For instance, very few students actually have a printer.”

Jeff Allen is the John F. and Joan M. Calder Professor in Mechanical Engineering. He is also the Associate Chair and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the ME-EM Department.

“One of our students had no computer at home,” adds Predebon.”When I found out, I was able to get a computer into her hands, but it took a few days. I thought it took a long time. She said she thought it was fast.”

“Most students are doing well now, especially those with a strong internet connection,” says Allen. “Other students relied much more on our university system. We’ve been going back and forth to iron out the bugs. Faculty are very flexible with student deadlines,” says Allen.

“The situation has shown the tenacity and caring of our faculty,” says Predebon. “One faculty member herself lives in an area with poor internet access. She tried many things to improve it, to no avail. To solve the problem she drives to a university building and parks in front to upload lessons for her students, and download their work. The building is closed, but she can still log in to the internet from her car. She can get back to her family faster that way, too. She has young children at home.”

“It has been a fantastic effort. Now we want to get through this semester. We’ll see what the summer holds, and this coming year,” adds Predebon. “We’ll take it as it comes.”

NSBE Students Reach Out to Detroit Schools

Six members of Michigan Tech’s student chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) Pre-College Initiative (PCI) reached a total of 1,500 students during their 8th Annual Alternative Spring Break in Detroit March 9-11, 2020. Our students spent their spring break visiting six middle and high schools in Detroit to encourage students to consider college and a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) career.

During the school day, the Michigan Tech students made classroom presentations to middle and high school students encouraging them to continue their education after high school, consider going to college or community college, and choose a STEM career path. After the school day ended, the NSBE students conducted K-8 Family Engineering events at two K-8 schools for students and their families, and at a Boys & Girls Club in Highland Park.

Participating students included:

The schools visited included:

  • Osborn High School
  • Detroit Arts HS
  • Mackenzie Middle School
  • University Prep Math & Science Middle School
  • University Prep Academy of the Arts Middle School
  • Neinas Academy Middle School

The NSBE students made a special stop at the Fauver-Martin Boys & Girls Club on the afternoon of March 10 to put on a hands-on engineering event for 30 K-12 students from across the city. This event was organized by Mike Reed from the Detroit Zoological Society, who also invited Michael Vaughn, the first president of MTU’s NSBE student chapter in 1995.

The goal of the NSBE classroom presentations and Family Engineering events are to engage, inspire, and encourage diverse students to learn about and consider careers in engineering and science through hands-on activities and providing ‘hometown’ role models (most of the participating NSBE students are from the Detroit area). These programs are designed to address our country’s need for an increased number and greater diversity of students skilled in STEM (math, science, technology, and engineering). 

This MTU NSBE chapter’s outreach effort is funded by General Motors and the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering and coordinated by Joan Chadde, director of the Michigan Tech Center for Science & Environmental Outreach. High school students at these schools are also encouraged to apply to participate in a 5-day High School Summer STEM Internship at Michigan Tech from July 13-17, 2020 that is specifically targeting underrepresented students. Each participating student will be supported by a $700 scholarship. The Detroit high school students are also informed of scholarships available to attend MTU’s Summer Youth Programs.

For more information about the MTU-NSBE student chapter’s Alternative Spring Break, contact NSBE student chapter President, Bryce Stallworth or Chadde.

By Joan Chadde.

Mechanical Engineer Turned Fine Artist: Gary Johnson (Part 2)

Gary Johnson, a Michigan Tech alumnus in Fayetteville Arkansas, tells the story of his second career: “It has taken years to break my engineer’s exacting look, and feel comfortable having people see what they want to see in my work.”

When it comes to the abstract, my inspiration develops as I develop the painting. I always try to utilize the design principles of good balance between geometric and curvilinear shapes, development of value change throughout the painting, and a good use of complementary colors. But it’s all in the eye of the beholder whether you like it or not.

Star Gazing, 2019, Gary Johnson
Star Gazing, 2019, Gary Johnson

Other times I get inspired by just items around the house that we’ve collected over the years. It dawned on me that I hadn’t painted a still life piece in quite a while, so I started looking at some china pieces we collected and thought they’d make a wonderful painting.

Rhapsody in Blue, 2019, Gary Johnson
Rhapsody in Blue, 2019, Gary Johnson

Sometimes it isn’t so much that inspiration finds me, as much as it is that someone commissions a painting. Now that is the ultimate compliment: when someone has seen my work and trusts me to paint something they treasure. This requires a lot of careful consideration on my part to make a determination if I’m up to the task. First, I need a good photograph—not some pixelated picture, but a really good piece I can blow up as if I were right there to see it all with my own eyes. If I can take the photograph myself, so much the better as I like to take advantage of any shadows cast. Here’s one–a portrait of a dog named Maximus.

Portraits are difficult. My advice is this: always make sure you get the eyes right. Everything else from there will work out.

Maximus, Gary Johnson, 2016
Maximus, Gary Johnson, 2016

People ask where I paint. We designed our home with a studio in it. This makes it so much more convenient for me as I can wander up anytime during the day or night to work on a painting.

My studio is on the second floor of our house. When I decide I’m too old to walk up and down those stairs (18 in all, and yes, I counted them) it can easily be converted into a master suite or a mother in-law-suite as it has a closet and bathroom next to it. After all, watercolorists need water and a place to rinse out the brushes among other things. It’s approximately 300 square feet—a comfortable size to house my good old-fashioned drafting table, flat files, and shelving units needed to support my habit.

The artist in his studio.
The artist in his studio.

I’m sometimes asked about my outlook on life as an artist. Is it different than my outlook as an engineer/business executive? To be honest, it isn’t much different. I suppose now that I’m retired, I want to be sure I’m alive long enough to achieve some of my long-range goals. Goal setting is something I’ve always done, so not much change there.

I don’t have a concern about what my next job or position might be now that I’m a retired artist. In my working life, I wasn’t always in control of my destiny. That’s one big difference from the working world. If I don’t finish a painting today, I can always work on it tomorrow. I can take as long as I want to finish a painting.

Snack Time, Gary Johnson
Snack Time, Gary Johnson

Have I ever experienced a creative block? I sure have. That’s when I usually put the brushes aside and start to read and study another person’s work. It’s also good to make a change in my daily activity as well, to not get stuck in a rut, so to speak. Variety is the spice of life and that is true for artists as well. Change it up. Go fishing. Get outside. You’d be surprised how quickly new ideas can pop up to jumpstart the creative juices and get them flowing again.

Am I a perfectionist? Not really. I would have never taken up watercolor painting. It is extremely unforgiving. When I make an error, I consider it a happy accident and work around it, as opposed to trying to do it over again, or trying to fix it. Neither work well in watercolor painting.

Personality-wise, I’m pretty much an optimist and a fairly outgoing person. I suppose it’s because of the confidence I gained while managing companies and people. I enjoy making new contacts and I enjoy giving back to my community. That’s why I’ve become a teacher of art, and a leader in our art organization here in Fayetteville. I hope I’ve influenced people to become involved in the art scene.

People ask if I have developed a style in my art. I’m still working in it, although people are starting to recognize my abstract pieces more and more as I display them at galleries in the area. More people now say they can easily recognize a piece as one of mine.

A Day In the Park, Gary Johnson
A Day In the Park, Gary Johnson

Realistically, I think my style is still evolving, growing into a less-structured, photographic type of painting—a looser style that I personally love. It has taken years to break my engineer’s exacting look and feel comfortable having people see what they want to see in my work, as opposed to making it obvious.

Autumn Reflection, Gary Johnson
Autumn Reflection, Gary Johnson

I hope you enjoyed reading my story as much as I’ve enjoyed putting it in writing. Feel free to contact me at garyj357@yahoo.com.

Gary

Coming soon: Part 3 of Gary’s guest blog. Learn how to make your own beautiful watercolor pigments (from rocks), and read his sage adviceboth to young people starting out, and those about to move into retirement. Did you happen to miss Part 1? Here’s the link. Want to see more of Gary’s paintings? Find them at garyjohnsonfineart.com