Archives—February 2010

Capillary Phenomena in Fuel Cells

Thursday February 25, 2010 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.
ME-EM Building, Room 112

Jeffrey S. Allen
Department of Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics at Michigan Technological University

Effective water management is critical to deployment of durable,low-temperature fuel cells for automotive applications. The inability tomanage the product water directly affect the durability of a fuel cellstack; currently limiting the stack lifetime well belowcon-imercialization targets. It turns out that capillary phenomena islargely responsible for the ineffective water managment. Mostengineering efforts directed at fuel cell water management attempt toover power capillarity. Much of our research is directed towardsutilizing the natural presence of capillarity in order to moreeffectively manage the product water in low-temperature fuel cells. Theresearch is a combination of experimental and numerical methods. Recentresearch results on characterizing water transport in the PorousTransport Layer (PTL), also known as the gas diffusion layer (GDL), andpredicting that transport will be discussed. In addition, recentfindings on capillary phenomena which dictates water motion in thereactant flow channels will be presented.

Multi-scale modeling as a framework for uncovering the relationships between skeletal muscle structure, function, and injury

Thursday February 18, 2010 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.
ME-EM Building, Room 112

Silvia Salinas Blemker
University of Virginia

Skeletal muscle has a beautiful hierarchical structure that enables thousands of musclecells to work in concert and actuate movement. In my presentation, I will describe ourcomputational framework for analyzing muscle structure and function at multiple levelsofthis hierarchy, including fibers, fascicles, and whole muscle. The framework combinesmodeling efforts in several areas, including the development of a constitutive model fordescribing the nonlinear, active, anisotropic behavior of muscle tissue, the application ofmicromechanical modeling methods for deriving muscle tissue properties, and theimplementation of image-based modeling techniques for creating and validating subjectspecific muscle models. This modeling framework can be used to explore how thestructure and properties of muscle fibers, muscle fascicles, muscle tissue, tendons, andwhole muscle affects function. For example, we are creating models to (i) understandhow fiber and fascicle geometry affect muscle tissue properties and force-generatingability, and (ii) explore the effects of internal muscle-tendon morphology on muscleinjury susceptibility.

Mitigating the Effects of Driver Distraction

Thursday February 11, 2010 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.
ME-EM Building, Room 112

Linda Ng Boyle
University of Washington

Driving involves complex interactions between the driver, vehicle, and environment. Theintroduction of in-vehicle and carried-in devices (e.g., cell phones, and mp3 players) raiseconcerns that the demands of such systems may conflict with the demands of driving.Appropriate feedback can help diminish both the impact and the amount of risk-taking behaviorand can help drivers better modulate their distracting activities. In a series of driving simulatorstudies, feedback is provided to drivers in real time and at the end of the trip based oninformation from the roadway and driver state. Both feedback types can provide benefits buteach has limitations that are examined. Results showed that a combination of real-time and posttrip feedback resulted in significantly longer glances on the road than on the in-vehicle device.The results suggest that various feedback types have potential to improve immediate drivingperformance and driver engagement in distractions. This presentation goes over some of theongoing and forthcoming projects to help drivers mitigate their risk taking behavior.