Archives—February 2007

Improved MEMS Chemical Vapor Sensors

A team of Michigan Tech researchers has won an $800,000 contract from the State of Michigan 21st Century Jobs Fund to develop improved MEMS chemical vapor sensors.

Mechanical Engineering Associate Professor Michele Miller (in photo) leads a project team of faculty from Mechanical Engineering (Professor Gordon Parker, Assistant Professor Henry Sodano), Chemistry (Assistant Professor Haiying Liu, Professor Sarah Green), and Electrical Engineering (Associate Professor Paul Bergstrom). The Michigan Tech faculty will collaborate with researchers at the University of West Virginia, Sandia National Labs, and one or more Michigan MEMS companies to improve sensitivity, selectivity and reliability of MEMS based sensors for detecting nerve gas and other chemical vapors. One goal for the project is to fabricate novel porous structures for increasing sensing surface area. Another key goal is to incorporate chemical and structural behavior into a multi-regime design optimization. Expected outcomes are new MEMS sensors with superior performance and a new design methodology for dealing with the vast design parameter space of chemo-mechanical devices.

High Pressure Combustion Laboratory

A team of Michigan Tech researchers has been awarded a National Science Foundation Grant for $1.3M to develop a high pressure combustion laboratory.

Mechanical Engineering Associate Professor Jeff Naber (in photo) leads a project team of colleagues from Mechanical Engineering (Professor Carl Anderson), Chemical Engineering (Professor Daniel Crowl), and Math Sciences (Professor Franz Tanner). The Michigan Tech faculty will collaborate with Assistant Professor Scott Post of Bradley University, and engineers at the Keweenaw Research Center. The focal point of the laboratory will be a configurable high pressure combustion vessel with optical access. The laboratory will provide the foundation for basic and applied research for clean and efficient combustion with petroleum based and alternative fuels including biodiesel and ethanol. It will also provide the ability to examine the flammability and combustion characteristics of hydrogen and other fuels at elevated pressures and temperatures to improve safety standards and handling. The experimental investigations will be closely linked to computational research directed at developing and optimizing the next generation of clean engines. The laboratory will enhance established efforts in alternative fuels research at the University and enable new opportunities for collaboration within and outside the University.

Advanced Power Systems Research