Dean’s List Fall 2008

4.0 Students (EMSE)
Gilbertson, Luke T
Taylor, Lance P
Young, Daniel S

3.50-3.99 Students (EMSE)
Ball, Joshua B
Bowen, Patrick K
Cedergren, Aaron M
D’Ambrosio, Marie Michele V
Durham, Emily M
Enz, Peter A
Haycock, Meghan M
Hintsala, Eric D
Hodges, Andrew J
Johnson, Nicholas D
Klittich, Mena R
Kraft, Nicholas J
Krug, Michael F
Loomis, Michelle J
Lundberg, Britta C
MacEwen, David M
McNamara, Cameron T
Pawlicki, Michael D
Ranck, Helen J
Sahr, Alyssa M
Sallgren, Jason G
Schafer, Kyle P
Snyder, Collin C
Swanborg, Carolyn L
Toll, Ryan M
Zhang, Jingshu

Multiscale Modeling of Polymer Material Systems

Friday, January 23, 2009
3:00 – 4:00 pm
Room 610, M&M Building

Gregory M. Odegard
Department of Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics
Michigan Technological University


Polymer-based composite and nanocomposite materials have the potential toprovide significant increases in specific stiffness and specific strength relative tocurrent materials used for many engineering structural applications. To facilitatethe design and development of polymer nanocomposite materials, structureproperty relationships must be established that predict the bulk mechanicalresponse of these materials as a function of the molecular- and micro-structure.The objective of this research is to establish an accurate and efficient approachfor using computational modeling to develop structure-property relationships forpolymer-based systems.  A combination of molecular dynamics and finite elementmethods has been used to predict the mechanical response of high-performancepolymers, nanoparticle/polymer composites, SWNT/polymer composites, andSWNT arrays.  An overview of this research will be presented along with theresults from specific material systems.


Greg earned his Ph.D. at the University of Denver in 2000, where he studied thefailure behavior of graphite/polyimide composites.  From 2000-2004 he worked at NASALangley Research Center where he conducted research on the multiscale modeling andcharacterization of polymer-based nanostructured materials.  Since 2004, Gregory has servedas an Assistant Professor at Michigan Technological University where he conducts researchon a wide range of engineering materials and biological tissue.  Greg has earned the SAMPEOutstanding Graduate Student award, ASME/Boeing Structures and Materials Award, HenryJ.E. Reid Award, MTU Outstanding Graduate Mentor Award, and the Ferdinand P. Beer andE. Russell Johnston Jr. Outstanding New Mechanics Educator Award.  He has published 34journal articles and book chapters and has been cited in the literature over 700 times

Ken Brooks Awarded Scholarship

View the Ellwood Group news article
View the Tech Today news article
View the Daily Mining Gazette news article

MSE major Kenneth Brooks has been awarded the Second Annual EGI Metallurgy Scholarship in the amount of $25,000 from the Ellwood Group Inc. (EGI). The scholarship is awarded based on academic performance, talent, and dedication to the metallurgy field as well as the recipient’s interest in the steel industry. The award also includes a 2009 Summer Internship with the Ellwood Group. Photos by Emil Groth.

Materials Possessing Reduced Coefficient of Thermal Expansion

Friday, December 5 2008 3:00 – 4:00 pm
Room 610, M&M Building

Prof. Jon J. Kellar, Chair
Department of Materials and Metallurgical Engineering
South Dakota School of Mines and Technology
Rapid City, SD 57701-3995


There are many industrial applications where dimensionally stable materials arerequired.  Applications include aerospace, catalysis/combustion, optics andelectronics.  Candidate materials for fabrication of dimensionally stable materialsare reviewed and a composite system is studied in detail.  Toward this end, themodel system studied consisted of a lightweight polymer matrix and ceramicparticulate filler.  The polymer used for this study was a cyanate ester resin. Thefiller utilized was zirconium tungstate (ZrW2O8) prepared by two differentsyntheses (sol-gel and inverse-micelle).  The latter synthesis resulted inparticulate filler largely in the form of rectangular rods that were ~3-4 microns longand had a thickness of 0.3 microns.  Next, composite samples were prepared, andthe coefficient of thermal expansion property measured.  It was found that thecomposite CTE was 70% less than the neat polymer.  Compounding methods willbe reported as well as the measured data showing the effects of size and shape inrelation to the coefficient of thermal expansion.  The goal of this research is todevelop a lightweight polymer matrix composite exhibiting near zero expansionbetween -100 and 100 °C.

Spinal Cord Regeneration – A Materials Approach

Friday, December 5, 2008 3:00 – 4:00 pm
Room 610, M&M Building

Dr. Ryan Gilbert
Department of Biomedical Engineering
Michigan Technological University


Following spinal cord injury, neural and glial cells are destroyed.  Those neuronsthat survive the initial trauma must then survive a secondary injury cascade thatarises from inflammation.  Following initial and secondary injury, regeneratingaxons attempt to grow into and through a glial scar environment.  However, theyare typically unable to navigate through a dense matrix filled with cells andinhibitory molecules.  As a result, individuals with spinal cord injury suffer paralysiscaudal to the injury site.  Traditional approaches to heal the injured spinal cordhave focused on application of drug systemically.  However, because of thecompromised state of the vascular system within the injured spinal cord, morelocalized delivery techniques must be pursued.  This talk will highlight our effortsto construct drug releasing natural hydrogels and polymeric guidance channels.Natural hydrogels loaded with therapeutic can be injected near the injury with thegoal of releasing therapeutic locally. Glutathione and interleukin-10 were loadedinto our agarose/methylcellulose hydrogel system, their release rate characterized,bioactivity assessed within an in vitro model, and functional recovery assessedwithin an in vivo model.  Aligned fiber species have the potential to direct axonaloutgrowth.  Thus, polymer guidance structures were created.  Axonal outgrowthon the conduit structure was assessed within an in vitro model, and the ability ofthe structure to guide neurons after spinal cord injury was assessed within an invivo model.  These results suggest that materials can improve regenerationoutcomes and that translational analogs could be used to effectively treat humanspinal cord injury.


Dr. Ryan Gilbert earned his B.S.E. from the University of Michigan in Chemical Engineering.  Afterworking for Aastrom Biosciences and Holcim, Dr. Gilbert earned his Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from CaseWestern Reserve University.  Dr. Gilbert established the Regeneration and Repair Laboratory at MichiganTechnological University, and the laboratory’s main research focus is in the development of biomaterials for spinalcord regeneration.

Drelich Reappointed

Associate Professor Jarek Drelich has been reappointed as member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Adhesion Science and Technology. Drelich has been a board member since 1999.

The international journal provides a forum for “theoretical and basic aspects of adhesion science and its applications in all areas of technology”. It is published by Brill, one of the oldest scholarly publishers in the world.

Modeling and Simulation of Microstructure Evolution in Crystalline Solids

Friday, November 14, 2008 3:00 – 4:00 pm
Room 610, M&M Building

Dr. Yongmei M. Jin
Department of Aerospace Engineering, Texas A&M University
3141 TAMU College Station, TX 77843-3141


This talk will present materials modeling and computer simulation studies ofmicrostructure evolutions in response to external thermal, mechanical andmagnetic stimuli during processing and service in various crystalline solids, with aspecial focus on structural and functional metal alloys. The theoreticalmethodology (phase field model) is based on gradient thermodynamics ofheterogeneous materials, microstructure-dependent free energies ofmicroelasticity and micromagnetism, and semi-phenomenological kinetics ofmicrostructure evolution. Particular examples will be discussed: (1) developmentof compositional and structural domains during decomposition, ordering transition,and martensitic transformation; (2) effects of crystallographic microstructures onmagnetic and mechanical properties in advanced magnetic materials includinghard ferromagnets, magnetostrictive materials, and magnetic shape memoryalloys; and (3) roles of long-range dipole-dipole interactions and evolution kineticpathways in domain microstructure processes and material properties.Connections between mesoscale phase field modeling, atomistic (first principles,molecular dynamics) and continuum (finite element) simulations, thermodynamicand kinetic databases, as well as experiments will also be addressed.


Dr. Jin received B.E. and M.E. in Mechanical Engineering from University of Science and Technology of China in 1994 and 1997, respectively, and Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from Rutgers University in2003. After two years of postdoctoral research at Rutgers University, she joined the Department of AerospaceEngineering at Texas A&M University in 2005 as an Assistant Professor. Her research interest focuses on materialsmodeling and computer simulation. In particular, she has been working on the development and application ofphase field models to investigate microstructure evolutions in crystalline materials during various physicalprocesses, e.g., martensitic transformation, decomposition, ordering transition, ferromagnetic domain switching,magnetomechanical behaviors, and defect evolutions (dislocations, cracks, voids, and free surfaces) in single- andpoly-crystalline bulk and thin film materials.