Category: News

Snow on Solar Energy Systems

Snowy SolarKRC Director Jay Meldrum and Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE) were quoted on the effects of snow on solar energy systems in Solar International–a PV Management Magazine

From Tech Today.

Snowy Solar

“We do predictions on behalf of commercial lenders being asked to foot the bill for big solar arrays,” said Townsend. Good data “makes them more financeable.” Eventually, the study results will be publicly available through the KRC website and through solar energy simulation programs provided by the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

“Everybody who wants to develop solar energy in snowy climates on a large scale will need this data,” said Joshua Pearce, an associate professor of materials science and engineering/electrical and computer engineering at Michigan Tech, who is participating in the project. “In the olden days, you’d only see solar farms in places like Arizona, and Spain. Now, large solar installations are found throughout the northern US and Canada.”

Read more at Solar International.

Solar Researchers Dig Deeper Into Snow Issue

Being way up on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, snow is something Michigan Tech folks know well – last winter some 225 inches fell at the research center – and the scientists there have been studying the snow/PV relationship for a while.

Read more at Earth Techling, by Pete Danko.

In the News

The story about the KRC snow study on photovoltaic performance was published by the Associated Press and has been widely covered in the media including the Miami Herald, Charlotte Observer, Seattle PI, Fox Detroit, Houston Chronicle, The Republic (Indiana), KTVU San Francisco, Detroit News, Oakland Press, Michigan Radio (NPR) and many more.

From Tech Today.

In the News

The Mining Journal in Marquette published an editorial about Michigan Tech’s study of the effectiveness of solar panels in snow climates. It was picked up by Associated Press wire service in a roundup of editorials of interest and republished by the Escanaba Daily Press, among other news outlets.

From Tech Today.

MTU solar energy study should produce usable results

We’ll be interested, along with a great many people, we suspect, to see results of a study launched by Michigan Tech University in Houghton recently to determine if and to what degree snow affects solar panels.

Read more at the Mining Journal.

Proposals in Progress for November 18, 2013

Assistant Professor Yongmei Jin (MSE/IMP), “Collaborative Research: Virtual Processing, Operating and Damage of Low Volume Solder Interconnects for 3D Applications,” NSF.

Assistant Professor Yongme Jin (MSE/IMP), “Experiment and Computational Study of Magnetostrictive Fe-Ga Alloys,” NSF.

Associate Professor Yu Wang and Professor Jaroslaw Drelich (MSE/IMP), “Colloid Science of Surface Charge Heterogeneity as Related to Oil Sand Processing,” American Chemical Society-Petroleum Research Fund.

Read more at Tech Today.

Alum Sanchai Kuboon Assists with Recruitment Abroad

Graduate School Recruits in Thailand

It’s become a popular and successful strategy. Graduate School staff venture to Thailand to recruit, and they get a lot of help from alumni over there.

Helping tell the Tech story were a few generations worth of alumni. Recently graduated Sanchai Kuboon ’13 was there. He’s a Royal Thai Scholar and materials science graduate who is now a researcher developing new biofuels.

Read more at Tech Today, by Dennis Walikainen.

MSE Major Suki Miftah Makes a Difference

Delta Phi Epsilon
Delta Phi Epsilon

M-Making a D-Difference

It was a tradition for the DZs, according to Suki Miftah, a third-year materials science and engineering major from Baltimore.

“Last year, we raked on Agate Street, we did the Chassell cemetery and the playground at Daniell Heights the year before that,” she said.

They all planned on attending the Northern hockey name that night, and some had been in Marquette the night before. “We played well,” Miftah said. “It was fun.”

Read more at TechAlum Newsletter, by Dennis Walikainen.

3D Printers in November News

Ethical Filament FoundationThrough research at the University’s Open Sustainability Technology Lab, Michigan Tech was a launch supporter of the Ethical Filament Foundation, whose goal is to create an environmentally friendly and ethically produced filament for the rapidly growing 3-D printing market. The foundation hopes to open up a new market for value added products that can be produced by waste picker groups in low-income countries. The launch of the Ethical Filament Foundation was covered in the media such as TechCrunch

From Tech Today.

Charity Targets 3D Printing’s Plastic Waste Problem With Standards For An Ethical Alternative

The Foundation has been founded by techfortrade in partnership with Dreambox Emergence which provides 3D printing units for community based manufacturing in Guatemala, and Michigan Technological University.

Read more at TechCrunch, by Natasha Lomas.

Commentary: Open-source hardware for research and education

The software industry has had a similar revolution of shoulder-standing, in the form of the free and open-source computer software movement. Free and open-source software (FOSS) is available in source-code form and can be used, copied, modified, and redistributed without restriction, or with restrictions only to ensure that it remains open to future recipients and users.

Two recent open-source design and production developments are driving those reductions: Arduino microcontrollers and the RepRap three-dimensional printer.

Read more at Physics Today, by Joshua Pearce.

3D Printing a Greener Alternative to Traditional Manufacturing

“The bottom line is, we can get substantial reductions in energy and CO2 emissions from making things at home,” Dr. Joshua Pearce, who conducted the study, said. “And the home manufacturer would be motivated to do the right thing and use less energy, because it costs so much less to make things on a 3D printer than to buy them off the shelf or on the Internet.”

Read more at 3D Printer World, by John Graber.

Pearce Pens a 3D Printing Guide for Scientists on a Budget

Joshua Pearce is not one for understatement. “This is the beginning of a true revolution in the sciences,” says the author of “Open-Source Lab.” For cash-strapped researchers, he could be right.

Read more at Michigan Tech News.

Slideshow: 3D Printing Is Cheap & Green for Plastics

A team led by Michigan Technological University’s Joshua M. Pearce conducted preliminary lifecycle analyses of three small plastic objects: a child’s building block, a spout for a watering can, and a citrus juicer. The three objects chosen were considered typical of those people might want to print at home, and because open-source .STL files are easily available. They were also chosen to test different variables, such as the effect of fill percentage on environmental impact or geometrical complexity. The team included Pearce, associate professor of materials science & engineering, electrical engineering and computer engineering, and Megan Kreiger, graduate student in materials science & engineering.

Read more at Design News, by Ann R. Thryft.

In the News

“America Makes,” the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, driven by the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM), proudly welcomed eight new members including Michigan Tech for their work in 3D printing.

Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE) published an article in Elsevier Connect 3D-Printing Your Lab Equipment–It’s Cheaper Than You Think.

From Tech Today.

3D-printing your lab equipment—it’s cheaper than you think
3D printing and open-source designs are emerging as powerful tools for accelerating science

3D printers do what engineers like to call additive manufacturing – that is, they make real physical objects by laying down sub-millimeter-thick layers of material (currently mostly plastic) one after another in a specific pattern governed by a digital design. This allows 3D printer users to make products to their own specifications, so they do not have to “make do” with what is available off the shelf at their local store or even on the Internet.

Read more at Elsevier Connect, by Joshua M. Pearce.

Steel Industry Representatives at Michigan Tech

Paul Sanders-Steel Day
Paul Sanders-Steel Day

Michigan Tech undergrads meet with representatives in the steel industry

With the help of a $35,000 grant from the Association of Iron and Steel Technology, the university was able to invite companies to the first-ever Steel Day.

“The steel industry is a major manufacturing industry in the United States,” said assistant professor in materials science engineering at Michigan Tech, Paul Sanders. “It provides a lot of jobs, it provides material for infrastructure. It’s a really important industry, and we really want to get students who like that type of work, like manufacturing, and get them to help support the industry.”

Read more and watch the video at Upper Michigan’s Source, by Sarah Blakely.

Up close and personal with steel

Industry reps speak with Michigan Tech students

Brad Jonas, metallurgist with Charlotte, N.C.-based Nucor, said he was telling students although they may not have thought about the steel industry for a career, many types of engineers are needed in the field.

“We’re trying to present opportunities engineers have with the steel industry,” he said. “There’s all sorts of avenues in our environment.”

Jim Turnquist, Tech director of career services, said the first-ever gathering of steel industry representatives separate from Tech’s Career Fair was created to highlight the growth of the steel industry and because many students may not realize the career potentials in the industry.

Read more at the Mining Gazette, by Kurt Hauglie.