Archives—April 2012

Students Hit the Jackpot in Venture Competition, $40K with Two Awards; Third Place Brings Home $5K

Ben Mitchell, a PhD student in mechanical engineering, and Wade Aitken-Palmer, a student in the Peace Corps Master’s International program, have been working on the business idea since last year. Mitchell said the inspiration began with his stint in the Peace Corps a couple of years before that.

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See WLUC TV 6 Video Clip

MEEM Seminar April 19th: Ida Ngambeki

MEEM Seminar April 19th: Ida Ngambeki, School of Engineering Education, Purdue University
Thursday, April 19, 2012 Room 302, ME-EM Bldg. 2:00 – 3:00 p.m

Title: Exploring the relationship between person and thing orientations and technical aptitudes

One of the most prominent problems in engineering today is the low level of retention of engineering students and persistence into engineering careers. Technical aptitudes are believed to be a contributing factor to engineering students’ success and therefore, persistence. While in other professional fields a number of studies have demonstrated a strong relationship between
student interests and abilities and professional entrance and retention, little is understood about how interest affects career preferences in engineering. This seminar will examine the interaction between technical aptitudes, specifically spatial and mechanical aptitudes, and interest operationalized as a differential orientation to persons called Person Orientation (PO), distinguished by an interest in interpersonal interactions, and an orientation to things called
Thing Orientation (TO), distinguished by a desire for mastery over objects. The implications of the interactions between aptitudes and interests for persistence in engineering will be discussed.

Ida Ngambeki is a doctoral candidate in the School of Engineering Education
at Purdue University with a concentration in Ecological Sciences and Engineering. Originally from Uganda, she got her B.S. in Engineering from Smith College in Northampton MA in 2007. She is Vice Chair of the Graduate Engineering Education Consortium for Students and an associate member of
the Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society. Her research interests include motivation and interest in engineering, engineering and public policy, the
use of artifacts in engineering, and the development of engineering cognition.

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MEEM Graduate Seminar April 19th

MEEM Graduate Seminar April 19th:
Jing Wang Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering, University of South Florida

Thursday, Apr. 19, 2012 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. Room 112, ME-EM Bldg.

Dr. Jing Wang received the dual B.S. degrees in Electrical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering and from Tshinghua University in 1999. He received two M.S. degrees from the University of Michigan, one in electrical engineering (2000), the other in mechanical engineering (2002), and a Ph.D. degree from University of Michigan in 2006. Dr. Wang joined University of South Florida as an Assistant Professor and started the RF MEMS Transducers Laboratory in 2006. His research interests include micro/nanofabrication technologies, functional nanomaterials, micromachined sensors and actuators, RF/Microwave/THz devices. His research has been funded by grants from federal agencies (NSF, DTRA, US Army) and contracts from industries. He serves as the faculty advisor for Florida IMAPS and AVS student chapters and the
chairperson for IEEE joint MTT/AP/ED Florida West Coast Section. Recently, he has joined the prestigious IEEE MTT Technical Coordinating Committee 21 (TCC-21) on RF MEMS.


Title: Functional Nanocomposite Materials for RF/MW Device Applications

A wide variety of fuctional nanomaterials have attracted considerable attention from both academia and industries for their application in chemical, biomedical and microelectronic devices; however the successful implementation of such type of materials in RF and microwave device applications is relatively limited. In this talk, magneto-dielectric polymer nanocomposites will be introduced as a new class of functional materials well suited for RF device applications. Magnetite (Fe3O4) nanoparticles, with sub-8nm diameters and tight size distribution, are synthesized and homogeneously dispersed in Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) to enhance the microwave properties of the engineered RF substrate by increasing the relative permeability and relative permittivity. Moreover, these properties can be further improved by a dc magnetic field with strength achievable with regular permanent magnets. This work not only presents the first experimental implementation of magneto-dielectric nanocomposite engineered substrates
for RF antennas with 3-5 GHz operational frequencies, but also correlates the unique magneto-dielectric properties to the key antenna performance metrics (e.g. bandwidth, efficiency and dimensions). Aside from RF antenna applications, a new type of injection-moldable polymer nanocomposites with tailored thermal, mechanical and electrical properties have also been explored to enable a unique approach for heterogeneous integration of multichip modules on a single silicon platform. The talk will be concluded with brief discussion of several other ongoing activities within the RF MEMS Transducers group at USF which focus on implementation of a variety of nanostructured materials in form of nanolaminated ultra-thin films or nanorod array in RF/MW/THz devices

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MEEM Graduate Seminar April 12th: Kurt Schneider

MEEM Graduate Seminar: Thursday April 12, 2012 4:00-5:00 p.m., ME-EM building, Room 112

Kurt Schneider, Engineering Group Manager, Global N & V CAE and Structural Vibration, General Motors

Kurt Schneider is currently an Engineering Group Manager at
General Motors. His responsibilities includes noise and vibration
computer aided simulation, and structural vibrations across all of
GM’s products in their global market. Through his 22 year career at
General Motors, he has been a part of multiple vehicle programs in
the roles of hardware testing and development, computer aided
engineering, and advanced methods development, primarily in the
areas of noise and vibrations related phenomena.

Kurt holds a BSME from GMI Engineering & Management Institute (now called Kettering University), as well as an MSE from the University of Michigan. He is also a licensed professional engineer. He has published multiple papers on such topics as FRF based substructuring, path analysis, and simulation techniques. He has worked with software
vendors in the development of methods and tools related to substructuring and component mode synthesis that are now found in commercial simulation tools used throughout industry.

Topic: Importance of Structural Vibrations to Mechanical Engineer

Structural dynamics is a fundamental part of all designs of mechanical system. At the heart of structural dynamics is structural vibrations. Most every product ever put into production has a structural component. This spans from such small items as computer fans and hard disk drives, to bridges and high rise buildings. All of these things must consider how the structure moves dynamically, and the effects of this motion on the function, durability, and safety of the product. In this presentation, an overview of the broad field of structural vibrations is presented. Motivation for all mechanical engineers to be firmly founded in this topic is given, and an overview of the rich areas of future research is presented.

Link for Seminar abstract

Western U.P. Science Festival & Fair

The 14th Annual Western Upper Peninsula Science Fair AND Science & Engineering Festival was held Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at the Memorial Union Building on Michigan Tech’s campus. Three hundred fifty students in grades 4-8 have entered projects into the Western UP Science Fair.

The Science & Engineering Festival showcased more than two dozen fun, hands-on activities conducted by more than one hundred Michigan Tech and Finlandia University students and local organizations, in the MUB Commons area. The Festival is open to ALL elementary students, accompanied by an adult.

See the results of the judging of projects at the Western U.P. Center Science Fair Website

MEEM Graduate Seminar April 5: Stephen W. Rouhana

MEEM Graduate Seminar April 5th:
Thursday April 5, 2012 4:00-5:00 p.m.
ME-EM building, Room 112

Stephen W. Rouhana
Ford Research & Advanced Engineering

In 2008, Dr. Stephen W. Rouhana was featured in television ads for Ford Motor Company. He obtained a PhD and MS in Physics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He received three simultaneous BS degrees in Physics, Mathematics, and Religious Studies (magna cum laude) from Manhattan College.

After 17 years with the General Motors Research Laboratories, he joined Ford Motor Company. He is their Senior Technical Leader for Safety in Research & Advanced Engineering Department. He heads the Biomechanics and Occupant Protection Group in the Passive Safety Research & Advanced Engineering Department and serves as Chairman of the Occupant Safety Research Partnership; a consortium formed in 1992 by Ford, General Motors and Chrysler for research on advanced crash test dummies. His areas of interest are impact biomechanics, the development of crash test dummies, injury assessment strategies and advanced safety concepts.
As a SAE Fellow, he Chairs the SAE Impulse Noise Task Force of the Inflatable Restraints Standards Committee and the SAE Dummy Abdomen-Pelvis Round Robin Task Force. Dr. Rouhana is a member of the Stapp Car Crash Conference Advisory Committee and is on the Editorial Board of the Stapp Car Crash Journal. He serves on the Industrial Advisory Board of the Center for Child Injury Prevention Studies (C-ChIPS) at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and on the External Advisory Board for the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine (AAAM), the American Society of Biomechanics, and Sigma Xi (the National Research Honor Society).

In 2003, he was awarded the US Government Award for Safety Engineering Excellence, “In recognition of and appreciation for exceptional scientific contributions in the field of motor vehicle safety engineering and for distinguished service to the motoring public”. In 2011, he received the Award of Merit (the highest technical award) from the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine. In 2012 he became a Fellow in AIMBE. He is a two time recipient of the John Paul Stapp Award and the SAE Arnold W. Siegel Awards. Additional awards include the SAE Ralph H. Isbrandt Automotive
Safety Engineering Award, the SAE Arch T. Colwell Merit Award, the General Motors Research Laboratories Charles L. McCuen Special Achievement Award and General Motors’ highest technical honor, the Charles F. Kettering Award. He has 7 patents with another 3 pending

Engineering Considerations in Automotive Safety – A Case Study in Ford’s Inflatable Seat Belts

Automotive manufacturers consider numerous factors when designing their vehicles. Among these factors, biomechanical considerations are an integral part of the development of new safety systems. The process of developing a new safety system includes identifying a potential realworld safety enhancement, obtaining basic biomechanical knowledge, developing a design concept, building prototypes of the concept, testing the prototypes, and assessing potentially adverse effects. That process will be the focus of this discussion, using the development of the world’s first production automotive inflatable safety belt system as an example. This talk will
also touch on the current state of automotive safety and some of the emerging trends for future consideration by vehicle safety researchers.