Tag: MSE

Stories about Materials Science and Engineering.

Jeff Thompson: Making Skis

Shaggy’s Copper Country Skis are custom designed and built in Michigan, using classic craftsmanship and the most modern technology. 

Jeff Thompson, mechanical engineering alum and partner/engineer/cofounder of Shaggy’s Skis, joins Dean Janet Callahan on Husky Bites, a free, interactive Zoom webinar Monday, 1/30 at 6 pm ET. Learn something new in just 30 minutes or so, with time after for Q&A! Get the full scoop and register at mtu.edu/huskybites.

Jeff Thompson and his family named Shaggy’s Copper Country Skis for their great-uncle Shaggy, and for the former mining region of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula where Thompson attended Michigan Tech.

What are you doing for supper Monday night 1/30 at 6 ET? Grab a bite with Jeff Thompson, Michigan Tech alum and cofounder of Shaggy’s Copper Country Skis. Joining will be Dr. Iver Anderson, senior metallurgist at Ames Lab. He’s an inventor, and fellow Michigan Tech alum.

During Husky Bites, Thompson will share how he started making skis as a kid, continued while still a student at Michigan Tech, and where he is now—creating custom skis for a living.

headshot of Iver
Iver Anderson

Thompson and his brother Jonathon started building skis as a hobby in 2005. Three years later the Thompson family released the first line of Shaggy’s Skis to the public.

Today they still handcraft every pair of skis in their own small factory in Boyne City, Michigan. Each pair of Shaggy’s Skis are custom designed and built with a passion for skiing and craftsmanship combined. At least 80 processes go into making a ski, and Jeff will share much more about them during Husky Bites.

Thompson grew up in South Lyon, Michigan in a family of “makers”—his father was a carpenter. Growing up he and his brother were fortunate to have a workshop to build many things, “from toys to go-carts, and everything in between,” he says.

Testing new skis!

“We were also a ski racing family,” Thompson recalls. “One day after a race, my dad thought it would be cool to put skis on my bike and take it downhill. A few weeks later, he gave me some old skis to cut apart and use for my bike. When I cut them down, I immediately observed how each piece was put together. I thought, ‘Hey, I can make this!’ From that point on, I lured in my brother, Jonathon, and together we started building the tools we needed to start building skis.”

Thompson’s grandparents were from Kearsarge, so he spent a lot of time in the Keweenaw growing up. “I knew from fourth grade on that I would attend Michigan Tech for mechanical engineering,” he says. He now lives in Petoskey, Michigan with his wife, Stephanie Thompson. She earned her BS in Chemical Engineering at Michigan Tech in 2013.

We combine our passion for skiing and craftsmanship so you can make the most out of every day on the snow; whether you’re ripping down perfect corduroy, chasing morning powder, or slashing in the trees.”

Jeffrey Thompson ’12, Shaggy’s Copper Country Skis
Shaggy Skis are known for their fine craftsmanship

Joining Thompson during the Husky Bites session will be fellow MTU alumnus Iver Anderson ’75, a lifelong skier with a keen interest in the making of skis from a materials standpoint. Anderson grew up in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, in a city located just across the Portage Canal from Michigan Tech, Hancock.

Anderson appreciates all the craftsmanship that goes into Shaggy’s Skis. “My father was observant and very particular, for instance, about making furniture and cabinetry. He taught me how to look for quality, the mark of a craftsman, how to sense a thousandth of an inch. I carry that with me today.”

Anderson is a Michigan Tech alum and senior metallurgical engineer at Ames Lab, a US Department of Energy National Lab. A few years ago, he was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame, for inventing a successful lead-free solder alloy, a revolutionary alternative to traditional tin/lead solder used for joining less fusible metals such as electric wires or other metal parts, and in circuit boards. As a result, nearly 20,000 tons of lead are no longer released into the environment worldwide.

Jeff Thompson (R) and his brother Jonathan Thompson (L)

Jeff, what do you like to in your spare time?

I obviously love to ski! Stephanie and I are currently teaching our two year old daughter to ski (on her own custom skis).

I also love to build things. I just finished building our house with my dad this past summer, from pouring the footings, to setting trusses, and finishing. We did it all.

Iver Anderson skiing up on Mammoth Mountain, California.

Dr. Anderson, when did you first get into engineering? What sparked your interest?

I grew up in Hancock, Michigan, in the Upper Peninsula. Right out my back door was a 40 acre wood that all the kids played in. The world is a beautiful place, especially nature. That was the kind of impression I grew up with. 

Iver enjoys quality time with his grandson in Columbus, Ohio

I earned a Bachelor of Science in Metallurgical Engineering in 1975 from Michigan Tech. It laid the foundation of my network of classmates and professors, which I have continued to expand.

I went on to earn my MS and PhD in Metallurgical Engineering from University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the joined the Metallurgy Branch of the US Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, DC.

One of my goals was to return to the Midwest, so later I took a position at Ames Lab in 1987. I’ve spent the balance of my research career there, and at Iowa State, ever since.

Five Times in a Row: Michigan Tech Students Earn First Place in ASM Undergraduate Design Competition–Again!

Michigan Tech’ 550-ton Breda direct extrusion press, just one of several tools used by MSE students at Michigan Tech.

Many engineers remember the excitement of applying their classroom knowledge to their capstone senior design project while also being a bit overwhelmed about how to actually do it. 

Paul Sanders, Patrick Horvath Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Michigan Tech

Back in 2010, this challenge was recognized in Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) by Michigan Tech Professor Mark Plichta, an innovator in project-based engineering education, and Northwestern University Professor Greg Olson, a leader in the relatively new field of computational materials engineering. 

The two selected then Assistant Professor Paul Sanders, (who had a Michigan Tech BS and a Northwestern PhD and materials design experience at Ford Motor Company) to implement their vision for MSE capstone senior design. This vision involved using computational materials engineering—a tool that, at the time, was only taught in graduate school. Sanders (somewhat unknowingly) accepted the challenge, and through a sometimes bumpy, continuous improvement process developed the current curriculum in MSE at Michigan Tech.

“Michigan Tech undergrads, with their application mindset, hands-on, problem-solving skills, and openness to mentorship, provided the ideal culture for this endeavor.”

Paul Sanders

One condition of Olson, who provided the computational engineering software tool Thermo-Calc, was that Michigan Tech compete in the ASM Undergraduate Design Competition, an event that started in 2008 with Northwestern University winning first place. The Michigan Tech strategy was to utilize traditional hypothesis-based inquiry through application of engineering statistics coupled with design of experiments (DOEs) in both the modeling and laboratory environment. Eventually a methods course was developed for spring of the junior year that included a semester-long project to demonstrate the tools, followed by two semesters of the capstone senior design course. Prof. Sanders led this coursework and scoped projects to fit the Michigan Tech methodology. Long-term industry sponsors Eck Industries, ArcelorMittal, and Waupaca Foundry were critical to implementing the vision by providing industry-relevant projects that would allow students to use the toolset taught in the curriculum.

Michigan Tech first entered the ASM Design Competition in 2012 earning second place (Northwestern was first). Michigan Tech’s first five entries earned second place three times and third place twice. Starting in 2018, Michigan Tech started winning…and continued winning…for 5 years in a row. This is a credit not only to the student work on these projects, but also to the methodology and support of industry sponsors. As Janet Callahan, Dean of the College of Engineering at Michigan Tech states, “We’re very proud of our world-class senior design students’ experience. Where else do teams win first place five years in a row, for alloy design, in an era where it isn’t about randomly mixing elements, but rather, about predictive modeling based on known materials parameters? These projects⁠—centered on fundamentally interesting questions, are coupled with faculty and industry expertise. No wonder we’re the go-to place for materials engineers!”

Dr. Julio G. Maldonado, ASM Foundation, presents the award to Michigan Tech seniors Isabella Wakeham Jaszczak (2nd from left) Jacob Longstreth, (3rd from left) Jake Klotz (right). Team member Nick Hopp was unable to attend the conference and awards ceremony.

The student team that completed the “five-peat” in 2022 designed a process for modeling the extrusion of aluminum-magnesium (Al-Mg) alloys with cerium (Ce) additions that can maintain their strength at service temperatures up to 400°F. This student team was unique in that there was only one MSE student on the team, Isabella Wakeham Jaszczak, and three mechanical engineering students, Nick Hopp, Jake Klotz, and Jacob Longstreth. Even though the team graduated in spring of 2022, three of the four team members accepted their award at ASM International’s IMAT Conference in New Orleans on September 12, 2022. 

“The success of the MSE senior design program is due not only to current students embracing the time-consuming process of project engineering, but also our loyal alumni who provide the projects that continuously improve our process.”

Paul Sanders

Cerium is the most abundant (and lowest cost) rare earth element, and Ce is known to improve the properties of aluminum. Given that rare earths are often mined together and that the demand is higher for heavier rare earths, there is excess cerium. The project sponsor David Weiss, vice president of research and development at Eck Industries, collaborates on research teams who identify beneficial uses and markets for cerium in order to improve the economics of mining rare earth. Weiss suggested applying Ce to Al extrusion for Eck’s customer, Eaton Corporation.

Extrusion is the process of forming long, two-dimensional cross-sections by forcing hot metal through a die. The students were tasked with modeling the extrusion of Al-Mg-Ce alloys to predict the necessary extrusion force and resultant flow rate. The team used a DOE-based strategy to develop a deformation model for the alloy using elevated-temperature compression testing coupled with MATLAB data analysis. Material model parameters were then entered into the commercial extrusion modeling software Inspire Extrude from Altair to calculate the extrusion force and flow rate. These predictions were tested in Michigan Tech laboratories by permanent mold casting the custom Al-Mg-Ce alloys followed by extrusion on a 550-ton Breda direct extrusion press, donated by Alcoa. To better understand the project, please see the students’ excellent four-minute video .

No small feat: Michigan Tech engineering students designed a process for modeling the extrusion of aluminum-magnesium (Al-Mg) alloys with cerium (Ce) additions. These alloys can maintain their strength at service temperatures up to 400°F. Pictured above, extruding one of the alloys.

“My decision to return to Michigan Tech as an MSE faculty member was motivated in large part by the type of students Michigan Tech attracts,” reflects Sanders, now the Patrick Horvath Professor of Materials Science and Engineering. “They are smart, hardworking, and willing to learn.”

Walt Milligan: Kitchen Metallurgy

Trick, or treat? At first glance these almost look edible! (Sand molds, filled with molten metal castings, sit on a cooling rack in the Michigan Tech foundry.)

Walter Milligan shares his knowledge on Husky Bites, a free, interactive webinar this Monday, 10/31 at 6 pm. Learn something new in just 30 minutes or so, with time after for Q&A! Get the full scoop and register at mtu.edu/huskybites.

Dr. Walt Milligan

What are you doing for supper this Monday (Halloween) night 10/31 at 6 ET? Grab a bite with Dean Janet Callahan and Walt Milligan, chair of the Department of Materials Science Engineering at Michigan Tech. 

It’s Halloween, and during Husky Bites, we’re going to learn a few things about knives! If you ever wondered what “tempered” means in a steel product, or have seen videos of people quenching red-hot steel into water or oil and wondered why, Prof. Milligan will explain. 

Just how do they make the high performance carbon and stainless steels that are used for kitchen knives? There’s a bit of nanotechnology involved. During Husky Bites we’ll learn about the different kinds of stainless steel.

“How do you store your knives?” asks Professor Milligan. “You don’t want them banging around in the drawer,” he says.

But why not?

Lightsaber? Nah. This is annealed copper at 900°C.

Have you ever wondered why some stainless steel items in your kitchen stick to a magnet, and why some don’t?

Or what kind of steel is used to make an extraordinarily sharp knife, or an ultra-strong knife? During Husky Bites, Prof. Milligan will teach us about all this, and a lot more. 

In the photo to the right, Prof. Milligan teaches his Intro to MSE class at Michigan Tech how annealing, a heat treatment process, alters the physical and sometimes chemical properties of metal to increase its ductility and reduce its hardness, making it more workable.

After he grabs a copper bar out of the furnace that was annealed at 900°C for roughly an hour, Prof. Milligan holds the copper bar, about to demonstrate to the class how its ductility increased (and strength decreased) by having a student easily bend the previously unbendable rod with just their hands.

Milligan began his academic career at Michigan Tech in 1989, and for 17 years he taught MSE and conducted interdisciplinary research on high-performance structural materials. In 2006, he took on a new challenge, and was appointed as Michigan Tech’s first Chief Information Officer, and was tasked with building a robust, campus-wide information technology organization. He held that position until 2015 when he returned to the faculty, and then, a few years later, served as the interim department chair in the (then) brand new Department of Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering Technology at Michigan Tech. He became chair of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering in July 2021.

“Cold working is the process of strengthening a metal through plastic deformation. Annealing is the process of heat treating a metal to increase its ductility and decrease its strength.”

Walt Milligan
Yes, the MSE classrooms are equipped with metallurgy furnaces!

Prof. Milligan earned a BS in Metallurgical Engineering from the University of Cincinnati, as well as MS and PhD Degrees in Materials Engineering from Georgia Tech. He has worked for GE Aircraft Engines, Carpenter Technology Corporation, NASA—Glenn Research Center, the Nuclear Research Center in Grenoble, France, and the University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, Norway. He is a Fellow of ASM International and a Distinguished Life Member of Alpha Sigma Mu, and has served on the Boards of Directors of TMS and ABET.

Prof. Milligan, how did you first get into engineering? What sparked your interest?

My father was a skilled machinist in the forging industry, so I was aware of manufacturing.  I was good at math and science, and those subjects interested me, so I decided to study engineering at the University of Cincinnati.  

Are those some cat ears behind that foundry crucible!?!

Hometown, family?

I grew up in a blue-collar neighborhood in the city of Cleveland, Ohio, the oldest of 6 children.  I have been married to my wife Sheila, who is a Teaching Associate Professor of Accounting at Michigan Tech, since 1984.  We met at school in Cincinnati.  We got married and moved to Atlanta, where I received my PhD from Georgia Tech.

The Milligans relax after a holiday ice hockey rental with friends and family. Left to Right: Walt’s son, Patrick Milligan, wife Sheila Milligan, associate teaching professor of accounting at Michigan Tech. Walt. Walt’s other son, Brian Milligan.

We have two adult sons. Patrick, age 31, received a BS in Materials Science and Engineering and an MS in Energy Systems Engineering, both from the University of Michigan. He works as a consultant in the electric power generation industry. Patrick is expecting his first child in March, so I’ll be a grandfather soon, which is hard to believe. He currently lives in Louisville, Kentucky.

Brian, age 27, received BS and PhD Degrees from the Colorado School of Mines in Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, and is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Washington. All on his own, Brian became obsessed with high-quality knives in middle school and high school. So he welded together a home-made coal stove from junkyard parts, bought a used anvil on Craigslist, and started forging knives. He also has quite a collection of $200-$300 pocket knives from the likes of Benchmade and Spyderco.  

Walt with an MSE student, in his early days at Michigan Tech. He’s been a member of the Michigan Tech faculty for over 33 years!

Any hobbies? Pets? What do you like to do in your spare time?

Shortly after I moved to Houghton in 1989, I started playing ice hockey. Now, 32 years later, I am still playing (as a goalie, no less!) 2 to 3 times per week, 6 months per year.  I also was very involved in coaching kids’ hockey and am still involved in maintaining websites and leagues for kids hockey across the UP.

Excellence in Student Publishing

Global map with readership numbers marked at various locations.

This week, October 17–21, 2022, the Graduate School and the Van Pelt and Opie Library celebrate International Open Access Week. The event is organized by the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC).

This year, we’re marking Open Access Week by recognizing the 10 years of master’s theses, doctoral dissertations and master’s reports (ETDRs) that are freely available to the world through Digital Commons @ Michigan Tech, the University’s institutional repository. This collection of works is comprehensive back to 2012, and some are nearly a decade older. With Digital Commons, we’re provided with usage statistics that show activity on the platform and across the web. Throughout the week, we’ll share stories and insights informed by these statistics that speak to how publishing Open Access has benefitted Michigan Tech students. In the meantime, take a moment to check out the collection of ETDRs on Digital Commons @ Michigan Tech.

One great feature of Digital Commons @ Michigan Tech is its shareable readership dashboard. This dashboard displays statistics related to how users are interacting with content on the repository. For example, users have downloaded Michigan Tech master’s theses, master’s reports and dissertations over 1.5 million times from 227 different countries.

Top Ten Visited Submissions

  1. 33,471 hits — “Determination of Bulk Density of Rock Core Using Standard Industry Methods
    Author: Kacy Mackenzey Crawford, Master of Science in Civil Engineering
  2. 18,930 hits — “Modeling, Simulation and Control of Hybrid Electric Vehicle Drive While Minimizing Energy Input Requirements Using Optimized Gear Ratios
    Author: Sanjai Massey, Master of Science in Electrical Engineering
  3. 18,484 hits — “Teaching the Gas Properties and Gas Laws: An Inquiry Unit with Alternative Assessment
    Author: Michael Hammar, Master of Science in Applied Science Education
  4. 17,781 hits — “Twelve Factors Influencing Sustainable Recycling of Municipal Solid Waste in Developing Countries
    Author: Alexis Manda Troschinetz, Master of Science in Environmental Engineering
  5. 14,281 hits — “Parameter Estimation for Transformer Modeling
    Author: Sung Don Cho, Doctor of Philosophy in Electrical Engineering
  6. 12,895 hits — “Aerothermodynamic Cycle Analysis of a Dual-Spool, Separate-Exhaust Turbofan Engine with an Interstage Turbine Burner
    Author: Ka Heng Liew, Doctor of Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
  7. 12,597 hits — “Virus Purification, Detection and Removal
    Author: Khrupa Saagar Vijayaragavan, Doctor of Philosophy in Chemical Engineering
  8. 11,089 hits — “Measuring the Elastic Modulus of Polymers Using the Atomic Force Microscope
    Author: Daniel Hoffman, Master of Science in Materials Science and Engineering
  9. 11,050 hits — “Identity and Ritual: The American Consumption of True Crime
    Author: Rebecca Frost, Doctor of Philosophy in Rhetoric, Theory and Culture
  10. 10,561 hits — “Energy Harvesting from Body Motion Using Rotational Micro-Generation
    Author: Edwar. Romero-Ramirez, Doctor of Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

To dig deeper into the collection, it consists of 2,611 dissertations, theses and reports with 76% of them available Open Access. The Open Access collection represents each college on campus:

  • College of Engineering: 58%
  • College of Sciences and Arts: 28%
  • College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science: 8%
  • College of Computing: 3%
  • College of Business: 1%
  • School of Technology: 1%

Citations for Student Engineering Works

Matthew Howard’s master’s thesis, “Multi-software modeling technique for field distribution propagation through an optical vertical interconnect assembly,” has been mentioned on Facebook 527 times. “Impact of E20 Fuel on High-Performance, Two-Stroke Engine,” a master’s report by Jon Gregory Loesche, was cited in a 2021 technical report by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, a national laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy.

By the Graduate School and the Van Pelt and Opie Library.

SWE Hosts Evening with Industry in 2022

Event room with tables and presentation screen.

On September 20 the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) hosted its annual Evening with Industry (EWI). The event brought together over 115 students and sponsors from 23 companies. The highlight of the evening was keynote speaker Carrie Struss from Milwaukee Tool, who discussed career development and tips from her career journey.

The section would like to thank all who attended and participated in making the evening a success. “EWI has been held for 34 years. Its success is due to the involvement and commitment of the SWE Section and our EWI Committee,” said Gretchen Hein, the section’s advisor.

The EWI Committee comprised four students: Alli Hummel (civil engineering), Natalie Hodge (electrical and computer engineering), and Maci Dostaler and Kathleen Heusser (biomedical engineering).

The SWE section works closely with Career Services to ensure the sponsor registration and support runs smoothly. The section thanks the sponsors for their support and input. They are truly part of the Michigan Tech learning community. These corporate representatives visit with the students during EWI and guide the students through the transition from student to professional. These interactions greatly help students learn how to advocate for themselves and others as they begin their careers.

Many students commented about the benefits of EWI:

  • “I got to know the recruiters before Career Fair and was able to get an interview.”
  • “I talked with Gerdau after EWI and they pulled me aside, went through my resume, and did a mini interview!”
  • “The Textron recruiter I talked to was very excited about me coming to the Textron booth at Career Fair. I’m definitely applying to a company (CWC Textron) I hadn’t considered before today!”
  • “Last year, I stepped into a one-on-one meeting with Stellantis on a whim which led to a successful internship with them, changing my whole career direction!”

SWE has begun planning the 2023 EWI event. If you are interested in learning more about it, please contact us at SWEEWI@mtu.edu.

By Gretchen Hein, Advisor, Society of Women Engineers.

Related

SWE, Aerospace Enterprise Represent MTU at Women in Aviation Day

Women in Aviation Day banner with image of Amelia Earhart.

On September 17, 2022, eight students from the Aerospace Enterprise and Society of Women Engineers represented Michigan Tech at the first annual Women in Aviation Day in Wausau, Wisconsin.

Participating students were:

From Aerospace: Heather Goetz, Seth Quayle and Nolan Pickett (mechanical engineering); and Zoe Knoper (cybersecurity).

From SWE: Sophie Stewart and Katherine Rauscher (mechanical engineering); Kathryn Krieger (environmental engineering); and Cailyn Koerber (engineering management).

This event was hosted by the Learn Build Fly organization, which does incredible volunteer work in engaging their community in aviation. As summarized by Wausau’s WSAW-TV News Channel 7, “The event aimed to get more women involved in recreational and professional aviation. Children had the chance to participate in ‘Young Eagle Flights’ by going for airplane rides, while other aviation organizations gave information about their programs.”

Visitors to the event had the opportunity to see a 3D model of the newest Aerospace Enterprise satellite design and learn how these students were designing and building satellites to go into space, while the SWE team worked with visitors on an outreach activity, Paper Circuits.

Participants’ comments included:

Nolan Pickett: “Our Enterprise was given the opportunity to not only celebrate the women in our program, but also promote STEM to the next generation of college students — and fly in a WWII era B-25!”

Kathryn Krieger: “I loved being able to see so many young girls getting excited about STEM. It was really inspiring to see the many ways kids are getting involved with aviation and other STEM disciplines from such a young age.”

Both SWE and the Aerospace Enterprise teams enjoyed volunteering at Women in Aviation, learning more about the history of aviation and meeting with folks interested in aviation careers. This was a unique outreach opportunity and they appreciated the support they received from Admissions and the College of Engineering.

By Gretchen Hein, SWE Advisor.

Aurenice Oliveira Named ELATES Fellow

Aurenice Oliveira wearing gear and using a laptop on the Portage Lift Bridge.
Aurenice Oliveira, PhD, ELATES Fellow ’22-’23, Drexel University Executive Leadership in Academic Technology, Engineering and Science

Associate Professor Aurenice Oliveira (ECE) has been selected for the Class of 2022-23 of Drexel University’s Executive Leadership in Academic Technology, Engineering and Science (ELATES) fellowship program.

Aurenice Oliveira is an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at Michigan Tech, and also serves the University as a vice president for research faculty fellow.

ELATES is a national leadership development program designed to promote women in academic STEM fields, and faculty allies of all genders, into institutional leadership roles. Oliveira is also a recipient of the first ASEE ELATES fellow scholarship covering program costs and travel expenses. 

The ELATES Class of 2022-23 Fellows comprise a prestigious cohort of 30 faculty members from over 25 institutions of higher education across the U.S. and Canada. Fellows include experts in engineering, mathematics and science, all of whom have significant administrative experience on top of their scholarly accomplishments. Oliveira was nominated by Dean Janet Callahan (COE) and former interim Chair Glen Archer (ECE) for this intensive yearlong program, which includes personal and leadership development work as well as series of on-site work in the Philadelphia area.

“I am excited to participate in a program focused on training an amazing group of women to become leaders in academic STEM fields.”

Aurenice Oliveira

“I am excited to participate in a program focused on training an amazing group of women to become leaders in academic STEM fields,” said Oliveira. “I would like to be able to bridge people and ideas as well as to tap into our strengths to create and encourage growth in my department and at Michigan Tech.”

Oliveira’s research interests focus on hybrid communications and networking, including connected and autonomous vehicles communications.  She is currently the IEEE chair for Northeastern Wisconsin Region 4 and recently served as the chair of the NSF ADVANCE Advocates and Allies Advisory Board (A3B) and as equity (DEIS) advisor for Michigan Tech faculty and chairs search teams. She is faculty advisor for two Michigan Tech student organizations on campus, as well, the IEEE student chapter and Eta Kappa Nu (HKN) Honor Society.

Oliveira will be also serving as a Michigan Tech Vice President for Research Faculty Fellow for the 2022-23 academic year in the areas of research development and research integrity.

Facilitated by leaders in the fields of STEM research and leadership development, the ELATES curriculum is focused on increasing Fellows’ personal and professional leadership effectiveness, from the ability to lead and manage change initiatives within institutions, to the use of strategic finance and resource management to enhance organizational missions. Pairing online instruction and discussion with intensive, in-person seminar sessions, the program encourages Fellows to apply what they’ve learned at their home institutions. Ultimately, it aims to create a network of exceptional faculty who bring broad organizational perspectives and deep personal capacity to the institutions and societies they serve.

Learn more online at ELATES at Drexel.

By Michigan Tech’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Meet a Six-Time Fellow at Michigan Tech

By working at the interface of theory and experiments, Dr. Yun Hang Hu is building a bright future for energy devices and technology.

Have you ever met a professor bestowed with the distinguished honor of Fellow…six times? At Michigan Tech, that professor is Yun Hang Hu, the Charles and Carroll McArthur Endowed Chair Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. Dr. Hu is an international leader in energy research for his innovative processing of materials.

He has been named a Fellow six times for the breadth and rigor of his work:

  • Fellow of the American Physical Society – 2020: “For pioneering contributions to the dynamic control of structures and properties for carbon nanomaterials in their chemical synthesis, for the discovery of phase-disorder effects on memristive behaviors of metal sulfides, and for advances in chemical physics of catalysis and photocatalysis.”
  • Fellow of the ASM International – 2020: “For outstanding contributions to research and innovation in energy conversion materials; including application in solar cells, supercapacitors, hydrogen production and hydrogen storage.”
  • Fellow of the American Chemical Society – 2020: “Recognized for pioneering the synthesis and application of shape-controlled 3D graphene, discovering memristive behavior of 2D layer materials, inventing thermal-photo hybrid catalytic processes, designing efficient electrodes for energy devices, and inventing novel hydrogen storage materials.”
  • Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science – 2014: ”For distinguished contributions in the field of novel materials and catalysts, particularly for molecular design and synthesis of nanomaterials for energy conversion, storage, and utilization.”
  • Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers – 2013: “Recognized for his exceptional, sustained accomplishments in energy, materials, catalysis and novel processes.”
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry – 2013: “More than five years in a senior position….efforts have made an impact in any field of the chemical sciences.”
Microscopic view of a material that flakes in thin, angular sheets.
Hu’s research has resulted in the development of promising new memrister materials. Electrical circuits made of molybdenum disulfide nanosheets (pictured above) can potentially store massive amounts of data in a miniscule amount of space on a computer. Memristers could make today’s iPhones as powerful as a supercomputer. Image credit: Yun Hang Hu

Hu innovates the processing of hydrogen production, hydrogen storage materials, greenhouse gas conversion, and energy conversion and storage. 

His groundbreaking work has led to several brand-new materials and processes, innovations will help in a number of applied technologies—from supercapacitors that run elevators to solar cell banks to computer data storage to making hydrogen fuel from water and sunlight.

In particular Hu investigates advanced materials for energy applications—their characterization and synthesis—using both chemical and physical approaches. His research areas include graphene for solar energy, dye-sensitized solar cells, photocatalysis, synthesis of novel solid materials and liquid fuels from CO2, hydrogen storage materials, and heterogeneous catalysis for energy and fuels. 

Hu also conducts research on 3D graphene materials for supercapacitors and solar cells and has developed several processes to synthesize 3D graphene with excellent performance for dye-sensitized solar cells and perovskite solar cells.

In addition to being elected a Fellow thrice in 2020, Hu earned the Distinguished Service Award from the Energy and Fuels Division of the American Chemical Society that same year.

And most recently, in 2022, for his pioneering contributions to hydrogen energy, Hu won the Rudolf Erren Award from the International Association of Hydrogen Energy (IAHE). The award is given for “Leadership in the Thermochemical Area (involvement with heat engines and combustion, thermochemical production, facets of hydrogen transmission, distribution and storage, such as metal hydrides).”

Read More

A Bright Future for Energy

Memristors: Making a New Generation for Digital Memory and Computation

Yun Hang Hu Wins Both Research Award and Bhakta Rath Award

Dr. Larry Sutter Retires from Michigan Tech with a New Focus: Carbon Neutral Concrete by 2035

Lawrence L. Sutter P.E., Assistant Dean of Research and External Relations, College of Engineering, Michigan Tech
Now that he has retired, Dr. Larry Sutter plans to do a lot more consulting, with a strong focus on the development of sustainable concrete.

After 43 years of distinguished service to Michigan Tech as a staff member, former student, professor, and leader, Dr. Larry Sutter, associate dean of research and external relations in the College of Engineering, and professor of materials science and engineering, officially retired from the University as of June 30.

Sutter first came to Michigan Tech in 1979 to work in the former Department of Metallurgical Engineering, operating and maintaining their powerful electron microscopes. He had previously earned an associates degree in electronics at DeVry University in Ohio and had worked for an instrument vendor for three years. Taking advantage of Michigan Tech’s tuition benefit, while working full time, Sutter took a few undergraduate courses, and then a few more–eventually earning a BS in Metallurgical Engineering. He didn’t stop there. Sutter went on to earn an MS in Environmental Engineering, and finally a PhD in Civil Engineering—all at Michigan Tech.

While pursuing his doctoral degree, Sutter joined the faculty in Michigan Tech’s former School of Technology, teaching courses in civil engineering technology and construction management for nearly a decade, becoming a tenured professor. 

In 2007 Sutter became director of the Michigan Tech Transportation Institute (MTTI), which served as a link between Michigan Tech researchers and the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and other state DOTS, as well as the Federal Highways Association. Under Sutter’s direction MTTI expanded, growing to 25 employees, focused on transportation research, education and training, outreach, product development and technology transfer, with over $3 million in research expenditures.

He also served as director of the US Department of Transportation-sponsored UTC-MiSTI (University Transportation Center for Materials in Sustainable Transportation Infrastructure). Sutter became actively involved with research through the National Cooperative Highway Research Program, sharing his extensive knowledge of concrete making materials. He also contributed through his strong expertise in material characterization measures, which enabled him to accurately assess concrete durability and the deterioration of concrete pavements.

Sutter joined Michigan Tech’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering in 2013 as a full professor. He advised graduate students and taught courses in scanning electron microscopy, and continued research on  concrete-making materials and concrete durability.

Over the years Sutter’s research focus honed in on various recycled and secondary materials for sustainable concrete, including fly ash and blast furnace slag. He is recognized nationally as a leader in development of standard tests and specifications for using these materials in concrete. 

“My professional goal now is to be a contributor to making the cement and concrete industry carbon neutral by 2035. It is a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) but I feel strongly it can be done.”

Dr. Larry Sutter

In recent years Sutter earned several major awards. He was named a Fellow of ASTM International, formerly known as American Society for Testing and Materials. ASTM is an international standards organization that develops and publishes voluntary consensus technical standards for a wide range of materials, products, systems, and services.

In naming him a Fellow, ASTM recognized Sutter as “a valuable resource and advocate for the responsible use of sustainable materials in concrete mixtures, and a forward-thinking leader in integrating new and developing technologies into new and existing standards.”

Sutter’s dedication is underscored with a summary of his involvement: he is active on ASTM Committee C01 Cement, as well as C09 Concrete. He serves as vice-chair of committee C09, the second largest committee within ASTM, and serves as chair of subcommittee C09.24 Supplementary Cementitious Materials. Sutter is also chair of subcommittee C01.14 Non-hydraulic Cements, and serves on the executive committees of both C01 and C09.

“There are numerous professional activities I am involved in, to get the cement and concrete industry to carbon neutral,” says Sutter.

Sutter was also named Fellow of the American Concrete Institute, or ACI, in 2019. He currently serves as chair of ACI Committee 321 Durability Code, Vice-Chair of Committee 232 on Fly Ash and Bottom Ash Use in Concrete, and secretary of Committee 201 on Durability. He serves on the ACI Board of Direction. And now, he serves as chair of the board of the newly formed ACI Center of Excellence for Carbon Neutral Concrete (NEU).

Sutter earned the Jean-Claude Roumain Innovation in Concrete Award from ACI’s Strategic Development Council, which recognized his strong leadership in concrete materials education and research. The award committee cited Sutter’s work, which has “resulted in the advancement of knowledge of deicer-induced damage to concrete, utilization of fly ash and alternative cements, and characterization of a concrete air-void system to overall improve the sustainability and durability of concrete.” Sutter also received the Delmar L. Bloem Distinguished Service Award from ACI in 2018. 

In 2022 Sutter received the Champion Award from the American Coal Ash Association, the 8th recipient of the award over the past 10 years.

Larry with his wife Patty and daughter Lena.

Sutter made his mark outside the world of concrete and Michigan Tech, too. After enjoying hockey as a spectator all of his life, at the age of 37, he got the opportunity to get on the ice and enjoy the game as a participant. This happened because he casually commented to his graduate school office mate, John Sandell, now a faculty member in the Department of Chemical Engineering, that he would love to play hockey—but only if he could play goalie. 

“John assured me that if I wanted to play goalie I could play 7 days a week—because no one else wanted to do it!”

Sutter has played hockey ever since, and even founded the Tuesday Night Hockey League, which involves the game (of course) but also a veritable locker room feast that Sutter prepares himself each week for his teammates.

Sutter’s love of hockey is contagious off campus, too. For each of his many ACI meetings, held in different cities across the country, where possible, Sutter manages to organize an ACI hockey game, which involves finding a rink nearby, recruiting 20 of his ACI colleagues, and playing, too. The game is followed by a reception and the event is always done as a fundraiser for the ACI Richard Stehly Scholarship with each game raising well over a thousand dollars to support the scholarship fund.

Tuesday Night Hockey League at Michigan Tech: first the game, then Larry’s homemade feast! (Larry is first on the lower left).

Sutter is a member of the National Academies Transportation Research Board, and the National Concrete Consortium. Both are leading venues for the dissemination of concrete research. He’s also a volunteer at Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly, something he has done for the past 42 years. 

So what are Sutter’s next steps after retirement?  “My plan is to do a lot more consulting now, with a strong focus on the development of sustainable concrete,” he says. “It’s time to give back.”

Making concrete stepping stones with fourth grade students (as a Mother’s Day gift) became an annual outreach event for Larry. “That was always a highlight of the year.”

Dr. Sutter generously answered our questions about himself and his plans for retirement.

Hometown?

I was raised in a small town Western New York called Perrysburg, about 50 miles south of Buffalo. I am #4 of six children, 3 brothers and two sisters

Why did you choose Michigan Tech?

Actually, Michigan Tech chose me. I came here in 1978 to install an x-ray fluorescence spectrometer in the Metallurgical Engineering department and while I was here I learned of a job opening in the electron microscope lab. I was looking for an opportunity to work at a university and continue my education, and I loved the small town environment of Houghton, so I applied for the job. I came to the interview in December of 1978, the record snow year. Professor Al Hendrickson picked me up at the airport with his VW bug and as we drove to town in that little car, with no heat, with snow banks 6 feet high on either side, I knew this was the place for me. Eventually I was hired, moved here in March of 1979, and so it began.

Part of the job you enjoyed most?

There were many highlights. Operating the electron microscopes, especially the electron microprobe, was a “gadgeteers” dream. That was and always will be the most fun and interesting job. But that wasn’t as professor or dean, that was as a research engineer.

Probably the highlight of my professor time was as director of the UTC. I worked with a very competent and resourceful staff person, Beth Hoy, and we did some very innovative things. We were able to fund a large number of students and we had numerous outreach programs to engage K12 students. Somewhere along that timeline we started making concrete stepping stones for a Mother’s Day present with 4th grade students. That was always a highlight of the year. The students would come, learn about microscopes, materials, and then get dirty making concrete.

Most rewarding aspect of your job?

Teaching in the School of Technology was rewarding as it was a two-year associates degree and I saw a lot of students that reminded me of myself at their age. The associates degree is a path into higher education that allows students to take an incremental step and prove to themselves that they can be successful. I saw so many students come in year one with the attitude that 6 months from now they will be a failure, only to find they like learning, and they can be successful in college, and by the end of year 2 they are looking at BS programs, or going to work with an associates degree and a much different career trajectory than would have been the case without the degree. I saw a lot of young people’s lives change for the better.

“If there is spare time, my first choice is to travel. I have a life goal of seeing every NHL team on their home ice at least once.” (Hopefully that includes at least a few destinations with beautiful beaches!)

Who were some of the people that influenced or helped you along the way?

In my time in the Metallurgical Engineering department as research engineer, the two influences were Professor Don Mikkola and Professor Duane Thayer. Don was the main reason I came to MTU. At one point I turned down the job offer and he called and talked me into coming; Don had a very convincing manner. Over the years he was always a supporter and a mentor, and a close personal friend. Duane Thayer was a major influence on my education and on my ultimate career path, and also a close personal friend. I became interested in the local copper history when I first came to Michigan Tech, and Duane, aka ‘Dewey’, filled in a lot of stories. I became interested in mineral processing/extractive metallurgy and that became my academic pursuit, under his tutelage. And for everyone reading this who was one of ‘Dewey’s Boys’ (and there were girls too), we all know we are in a special fraternity. Knowledge from that training is still serving me today as I work in the cement and concrete industry.

Plus, Dewey told me early on the secret of being a Yooper:  “Be the same way every day. Whatever you are, just be that way and don’t be changing on us.” 

Another major influence of mine came from another Dewey, Civil Engineering Professor George Dewey. He got me engaged in fly ash and concrete. Had he not supported me in my transition from research engineer to graduate student to faculty member, it never would have happened. He introduced me to ACI (the American Concrete Institute) and taught me much about how the construction industry works. His support early in my career was foundational. And more than anyone, he taught me how to write.

Last but not least, I worked with two professional staff, that without their skills, much of the research I led would not have had anywhere near the same level of impact. Those were Dr. Karl Peterson, who is now a professor at the University of Toronto, and Jerry Anzalone, now a successful entrepreneur and beachcomber in central California. Both were graduate students under my supervision at the time, but I received far more from them than I gave. Their laboratory skills and their work with students on the front lines made our research program successful.

Your biggest goal now?

My professional goal now is to be a contributor to making the cement and concrete industry carbon neutral by 2035. It is a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) but I feel strongly it can be done.

What will you do in your spare time? 

I don’t see a lot of spare time coming up in the near term. There are numerous professional activities I am involved in, to get the cement and concrete industry to carbon neutral. Plus I have leadership roles in ASTM and also in ACI, most notably as Chair of the Board for the new ACI Center of Excellence for Carbon Neutral Concrete (NEU). But if there is spare time, my first choice is to travel. I also have a life goal of seeing every NHL team on their home ice at least once. So far I have 16 of the 32 teams done. I’ve been to multiple arenas for some teams, like Detroit. I try to see a couple of teams each year. 

Larry as goalie.

What advice do you give to new students? New faculty?

My advice for new students: Put your phones away, listen to your professors, and read the book. And most importantly, ask questions. It will make them a better professor and it will help you understand that not every question has an answer, and for a young engineer that’s job security.

“With intelligent questions, not nonsense, drive your professor to the point where they say ‘I don’t know.'”

Larry Sutter

My advice for new faculty: Nothing is easy but everything is possible. Don’t take “No” for an answer and never forget the importance of the professional staff at the university. They are the cog that makes the machine work. Respect them and make them part of your team.

The College of Engineering and Michigan Tech are thankful for Dr Sutter’s leadership and friendship and wish him every happiness in his retirement!

Reimagining the Possible! Happy Engineer’s Week 2022!

Reimagine what seems impossible –  to become the Possible! It’s National Engineers Week Feb 20-26.

This week, we’re celebrating National Engineers Week (Feb. 20-26). Everyone’s invited to special events on campus sponsored by Tau Beta Pi, the Engineering Honor Society student chapter at Michigan Tech.

Founded by the National Society of Professional Engineers in 1951, Eweek is celebrated each February around the time of George Washington’s birthday (February 22) because Washington is considered by many to be the first US engineer. Engineers create new possibilities all the time. From green buildings to fuel-efficient cars to life-saving vaccines, engineers work together to develop new technologies, products and opportunities that change how we live for the better.

At Michigan Tech, the week is organized by Tau Beta Pi, and celebrated with special events on campus, many hosted by student organizations. Everyone is welcome! Please feel free to stop by and check out Eweek events as your schedule allows:

Monday, Feb. 21

5pm to 6pm
Tau Beta Pi Alumni Panel
Contact Jacob Stewart, Tau Beta Pi, for details (jacstewa@mtu.edu).

Dr. Zhanping You shares his methods and results on building new roads from recycled waste tires and old pavement rubble!

6 pm to 7 pm
Where the Rubber Meets the Road
Husky Bites Zoom Webinar
Join Professor Zhanping You and PhD student Kobe Jin to learn how old tires + pavement rubble are becoming new recycled, better roads!

Tuesday, Feb. 22

3:30pm to 5:30pm
Egg Drop Design Challenge
Makerspace in the MUB Basement
Some may remember this activity from past years. Experts and novices alike are welcome to give it a try. Mind Trekkers adds their own twist!

Are you up for the (egg drop) challenge?

Wednesday, Feb. 23

11am to 2pm
Eweek Cake
112 Dillman
Delicious cake from Roy’s Bakery, hosted by the Department of Engineering Fundamentals, it’s a longtime Eweek tradition at Michigan Tech!

Come grab your piece of cake!

5pm to 6pm
Spaghetti Towers
Fisher 129
Test your engineering skills with SSC and Built World Enterprise: Who can build the tallest spaghetti and marshmallow skyscraper?!?

Thursday, Feb. 26

2pm to 4pm
Metal Foundry in a Box

M&M room U109
Never been in a foundry before? The students at Materials United will help you feel right at home. Make something small. Let it cool, then come pick it up later.

Not an MSE, but still want try your hand at making something in the foundry at Michigan Tech? Here’s your chance!

Friday, Feb. 25

4 pm to 7 pm
Escape Room
MUB Ballroom A2
Join Mind Trekkers for an engineering Escape Room that is truly above and beyond!