Archives—February 2012

MEEM Graduate Seminar: Zachary Folcik

Mar 1 Mechanical Engineering–Engineering Mechanics Graduate Seminar: Mr. Zachary Folcik from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory will give a presentation entitled ‘Predicting Close Approaches in Geosynchronous Orbit’ on Thursday, March 1 at 4:00PM in 112 MEEM.  Seminar poster

Mr. Folcik ha s been a staff member at MIT Lincoln Laboratory since 2000. Mr. Folcik has a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Michigan Technological University and a Master’s degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His work has focused on problems in orbit estimation, orbit modeling, observation association, satellite maneuver detection and optimal thrust planning.

Abstract: Predicting Close Approaches in Geosynchronous Orbit


Earth orbit has become a crowded environment. The risk of satellite collisions has become a real issue in low earth and geosynchronous orbit. This seminar introduces the current space environment, collision risk assessment and a program at MIT Lincoln Laboratory to mitigate collision risks in geosynchronous orbit. Research and development efforts to improve satellite orbit estimates and uncertainty knowledge will also be discussed.

Stabilization and Bifurcations of Unstable Processes with Time Delay

Feb 23: Professor Thomas Co from the Department of Chemical Engineering at Michigan Tech will give a presentation entitled, ‘Relay Stabilization and Bifurcations of Unstable Processes with Time Delay’ on Thurs., Feb. 23 at 4:00 P.M. in 112 MEEM.

Speaker: Dr. Tomas Co received his B.S. degree from the University of Philippines, Diliman, Philippines, in 1981 and his Ph.D. degree from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA in 1988, both in chemical engineering. In 1988 to 1989, he was a postdoctoral researcher at the Process Modeling and COntrol Center at Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA. In 1997 to 1998, he was a visiting research engineer at the Honeywell Technology Center in Minneapolis, MN. In 2005 to 2006, he was a visiting professor at Korea University in Seoul, South Korea. From 1989 to the present, he has been a faculty member at the Department of Chemical Engineering at Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI. His research interests include large scale systems, process integrity, adaptive control, process modeling, relay stabilization, hybrid control, neural networks and fuzzy logic control.

Title: Relay Stabilization and Bifurcations of Unstable Processes with Time Delay

Abstract: Relay control is one of the simplest methods for stabilizing open-loop unstable processes by producing limit cycles. It is also used for parameter identification of unstable processes for designing other types of controllers. In this talk, we obtain the exact analysis of the limit cycles for a class of high-order unstable single input-single output (SISO) processes using relay control. A key technical lemma provides two nonlinear equations whose solutions provide the time periods of the upswing and downswing modes. Analytical and graphical methods are then used to determine the existence and multiplicity of the limit cycles. Also, necessary and sufficient conditions have been developed to determine the stability of the limit cycles. These tools then allow for the bifurcation analysis of the limit cycles based on variations in time delay. One interesting result is the presence of irregular stabilization, where increasing time delay could actually regain stability that was lost at smaller time delays. The results are then combined to provide a set of necessary conditions for relay stabilization. These conditions can be represented by a compact pyramid region which then yields some useful guidelines for the synthesis of additional compensators for relay-stabilization.


Railroad Night 2012

The Rail Transportation Program (RTP) and the Rail Engineering and Activities Club (REAC) held the 7th Annual Railroad Night, February 21, 2012 at the Shelden Grill in the Magnuson Hotel, Houghton. This year’s keynote speaker was Kevin Kesler, Chief of the Engineer and Operating Practice Division for the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). This was a great opportunirty to meet rail industry people, see photos at the Rail Transportation Program link: Railroad Night 2012 for more information.

Railroad Engineering and Activities Club Meeting

The Railroad Engineering and Activities Club (REAC) will hold a business meeting from 6 to 7 p.m.,Tuesday Feb 28, in Dow 875.

This Rail Transportation Seminar presentation will be by Phil Pasterak, Sr. Vice President/Central Region Manager Rail & Transit for PB. The presentation title is:

“High Speed Rail Development in the US and Midwest”

REAC is open to members of any discipline who have an interest in finding out more about REAC activities and the rail industry.

Pizza and pop will be provided.

For more information, contact Pam Hannon, coordinator, MTTI, at 487-3065 or at .

Scholarship Opportunities for Engineering Juniors, Seniors and Grad Applicants

The Michigan Tech Sustained Support to Ensure Engineering Degrees (SSEED) program (funded by NSF S-STEM) is in its second year of four. In 2011-12, the program awarded 33 scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 to engineering juniors and seniors. The program awarded five fellowships of $8,000 each to first-year engineering graduate students.

The purpose of the undergraduate scholarships is to improve the retention of upper division engineering students who have financial need and other risk factors that make it difficult to complete their degrees. The purpose of the graduate fellowships is to improve the recruitment of women and minorities to graduate study in engineering.

In 2012-13, the program will again award up to 35 undergraduate scholarships and five graduate fellowships. The program also features mentoring and professional development opportunities. The application deadline is March 15 for undergraduate scholarships and May 1 for graduate fellowships. Share this information with qualified students.

For more information, see SSEED, or contact Michele Miller at 487-3025 or at .

Membrane Electrode Assembly Development for Low Temperature Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells

Eric Funkenbusch, program director of the 3M Fuel Cell Components Program, will give a presentation, “Membrane Electrode Assembly Development for Low Temperature Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells,” at 2 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 9, in ME-EM 112.

More information: Membrane Electrode Assembly Development for LowTemperature Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells