Archives—January 2010

Fundamentals and Applications of Pulse Detonation Engine

Thursday January 28, 2010 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.
ME-EM Building, Room 112

Seong-Young Lee
Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics Department at Michigan Technological University

Recent interest in pulse detonation engines (PDEs) has resulted in several experimental andtheoretical studies related to realizing multi-cycle detonations in tubes that simulate engineoperating conditions. These studies make a clear case that pulse detonation engines provide thepotential for higher specific impulse, reduced complexity and lower operational costs ascompared to current gas turbine technology. For air breathing applications, hydrocarbon-airpropellant combinations are being considered, which are particularly difficult to detonate withina practical length. In addition, a key barrier to the realization of an operational PDE is achievingreliable and repeatable detonations in the shortest distance possible to minimize system weight.Dr. Lee has focused on several areas of fundamental research related to the pulse detonationengine and pulse detonation engine driven ejector. This talk will briefly discuss the fundamentalunderstanding of detonation combustion and its applications including the deflagration-todetonation transition (DDT) process, detonation transition to a bigger thrust chamber, the PDEdriven thrust augmentation, and the plasma-assisted PDE.

Developing 3-D Spatial Skills for Engineering Students

Thursday January 21, 2010 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.
ME-EM Building, Room 112

Sheryl A. Sorby
Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics Department at Michigan Technological University

The ability to visualize in three dimensions is a cognitive skill that has been shown tobe important for success in engineering and other technological fields. For engineering,the ability to mentally rotate 3-D objects is espedally important Unfortunately, of all thecognitive skills, 3-D rotation abilities exhibit robust gender differences, favoring males.The assessment of 3-D spatial skill and associated gender differences has been a topic ofeducational research for nearly a century; however, a great deal of the previous work hasbeen aimed at merely identifying differences. Dr. Sorby has been conducting research inthe area of spatial skills development for more than a decade aimed at identifyingpractical methods for improving 3-D spatial skills, especially for women engineeringstudents. This presentation details the significant findings obtained over the past severalyears through this research and identifies strategies that appear to be effective indevelong 3-D spatial skills and in contributing to student success.

Building Adaptive Monitoring Networks: Applying Lessons Learned from Biological Systems

Thursday January 14, 2010 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Bo Chen
Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics at Michigan Technological University

This presentation introduces research activities in the Laboratory of Intelligent Mechatronicsand Embedded Systems in the Department of Mechanical Engineering Engineering Mechanicsat Michigan Tech, with a focus on the development of adaptive monitoring networks usingbiological system concepts and mechanisms. Technology is taking us to a world where numerousnetworked devices interact with the physical world in multiple ways and at multiple scales. Thefuture distributed systems will need to possess much higher quality comparing to those of todayin terms of adaptability, autonomy, and reliability due to the increased complexity of systemsand unpredictable working conditions. The fundamental research challenge is to establish robustdecentralized computing systems that interact with physical world, be capable of operating underchanging environments, and exhibit the desired response behavior under physical constraints.The biological systems are able to handle many of these challenges much more efficient thanengineered systems. Motivated by the adaptive sensing and emergent pattern recognitioncapabilities of the natural immune system, we employ an immune-inspired approach to achieveadaptive monitoring and anomaly detection. The presented approach establishes a newmonitoring paradigm by embodying desirable immune attributes, such as adaptation, immunepattern recognition, and self-organization, into monitoring networks. In the immune-inspiredmonitoring paradigm, a group of autonomous mobile monitoring agents mimic immune cells(such as B-cells) in the natural immune system, interact locally with monitoring environment,and respond to emerging problems through simulated immune responses.