Archives—November 2012

ME-EM PACE Competition Fall 2012

The Fall 2012 Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics Department PACE competition was held on 14th November 14th.

The First Place team was Team 8: “Lego Fire Command Craft” with Drew Brennan, Robert Cooper, Michael Ponte and Matthew Verbiscus.

The PACE Design Competition will judge five critical areas of your design project:
1. Form: Design Concept, Creativity, Perceived Value, Safety
2. Fit: Physical Model (realism, aesthetics, detail, supporting design)
3. Function: Design Parameters and Performance (math models, simulations, spreadsheets, etc.)
4. Presentation: Effective, Professional, Credible
5. Teamwork and Collaboration.

PACE – Partners for the Advancement of Collaborative Engineering Education – is a university and industry partnership to support strategically-selected academic institutions worldwide, to develop the automotive product life cycle management team of the future. PACE partners include General Motors (GM), Electronic Data System (EDS), UGS and Sun Microsystems, with contributing companies such as Hewlett Packard, Altair Engineering and MSC Software. PACE has already provided over $10M in CAD/CAM/CAE hardware and software to the ME-EM department.

See contest results and team photos

MEEM Graduate Seminar: Nov 29

Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics Graduate Seminar: November 29, 2012; 4:00 – 5:00 p.m., Room 112, ME-EM Building

Professor Rafael Fierro, Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, University of New Mexico

Rafael Fierro is an Associate Professor of the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, University of New Mexico where he has been since 2007.
He received a M.Sc. degree in control engineering from the University of Bradford, England and a Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from the University of Texas-Arlington. Prior to joining UNM, he held a postdoctoral appointment with the GRASP Lab at the University of Pennsylvania (1999- 2001) and a faculty position with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Oklahoma State University (2001-2007). His research interests include nonlinear and adaptive control, robotics, hybrid systems, autonomous vehicles, and multi-agent systems. He directs the Multi-Agent, Robotics, Hybrid and Embedded Systems (MARHES) Laboratory. Rafael Fierro was the recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship, a 2004 National Science Foundation
CAREER Award, and the 2007 International Society of Automation (ISA) Transactions Best Paper Award. He is serving as Associate Editor for the IEEE Control Systems Magazine and IEEE Transactions on Automation Science and Engineering.

Title: Coordination Strategies for Robotic Networks

Advances in embedded processor and sensor technology in the last thirty years have helped accelerate interest in the field of robotics. As robots become smaller, more capable, and less expensive, there is a growing demand for teams of robots in various application domains. Robotic networks are particularly well suited to execute tasks that cover wide geographic ranges, require significant parallelization, and/or depend on capabilities that are varied in both quantity and difficulty. Example applications include littoral exploration and surveillance, rainforest health monitoring, autonomous transportation systems, warehouse automation, and hazardous waste clean-up. This talk focuses on synchronization strategies to control robotic networks. I will first discuss an adaptive binary consensus approach to decentralized coordination of nonholonomic sensor networks. I will then show that this binary consensus protocol not only improves the performance of the adaptive law but allows the compression of the date shared among the mobile sensors. Finally, I will describe our recent work on the problem of detecting changes in the topology of a robotic network through synchronization of chaotic oscillators.

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MEEM Graduate Seminar: Nov 15

Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics Graduate Seminar: November 15, 2012; 4:00 – 5:00 p.m., Room 112, ME-EM Building

Professor Ezra Bar-Ziv, Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics, Michigan Technological University

Dr. Bar-Ziv obtained his B.Sc. degree in Physics and Chemistry from the Hebrew University, then joined Nuclear Research Center (NRCN), Israel, during which he received his Ph.D. from the Weizmann Institute of Science in 1975. At NRCN he managed large projects on energy and materials, including substantial industrial work on coal combustion. Dr. Bar-Ziv moved to Ben-Gurion University (BGU) on 1998 as a Professor and founded the Laboratory for Clean Combustion, where he carried out extensive industrial research on coal combustion and thermal processes of various wastes. Dr. Bar-Ziv founded E.B. Clean Energy for the development of biomass and MSW torrefaction technology for the power industry.

On 2011 he moved as a Professor to Michigan Tech to establish a program on biomass torrefaction and its applications to the power industry. Dr. Bar-Ziv is areas of research are: combustion and gasification of coal; biomass torrefaction; combustion and pyrolysis of thermoplastics; and clean coal combustion in utility boilers.

Title: “Biocoal: A Drop-In Fuel in Coal-fired Power Plants”

Biomass torrefaction to produce biocoal gained interest as it solves hindrances encountered when using raw biomass for power generation. Biocoal is a premium drop-in fuel in pulverized-coal boilers aimed at the reduction of greenhouse gas and other emissions. Biomass torrefaction produces a material with properties similar to coal. Because these properties can be controlled and reproduced, biocoal can be utilized as a “drop-in” fuel replacement for coal. Coal’s efficiencies and energy generation capabilities are well documented as well as its high level of greenhouse gas and other emissions. Biocoal offers many of the benefits of coal and also: (1) significant reduction of emissions (NOx, SOx, particles, mercury, CO2), (2) uses low-cost equipment, and (3) a low-cost source of renewable energy. We will present an integrated-synergistic approach that will: (1) produce the most suitable biocoal for the specific boiler; and (2) carry out comprehensive analysis and evaluation of the performance of the entire coal-fired power plants, including the combustion chamber, the steam generation elements, auxiliary and supporting equipment, and emissions. The selection of the suitable biocoal properties and the reliable analysis of the power plant performance prior to firing will reduce significantly the risks involved in fuel change in the power plant by using biocoal.

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MEEM Graduate Seminar: Nov 8

Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics Graduate Seminar: November 8, 2012; 4:00 – 5:00 p.m., Room 112, ME-EM Building

Dr. Chong-Min Wang, Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory,
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Dr. Chongmin Wang is a senior scientist at Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL) of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). He received his undergraduate education in physics and a Master degree in solid state science both from Lanzhou University in China. He received his Ph.D in Materials Science and Engineering from University of Leeds, United Kingdom in 1994. He worked at the Max-Planck-Institute for Metal Research in Stuttgart, Germany from 1994 to 1996 as an Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellow. In 1996/97, Dr. Wang worked as a research scientist at the National Institute for Research in Inorganic Materials. He was a research scientist in the Materials Research Center at Lehigh University from 1997 to 2001.

Dr. Wang joined PNNL in June 2001. He leads the EMSL’s transmission electron microscopy (TEM) facilities. Dr. Wang has expertise on the atomic level characterization/visualization of materials structure and their physical and chemical behavior. He works on correlating materials structural and functional properties with atomic and electronic structure and chemical compositions, particularly nanomaterials related to energy conversion, storage, and sustainability. Currently, Dr. Wang’s focus is on developing methods that enable in-situ atomic level observation of electrochemical process (energy conversion and storage such as lithium ion battery), and mechanical behavior (such as stress-strain, impurity/dopant segregation, grainboundary or interface mediated mass transport, and defect clustering, radiation damage) using aberration corrected HRTEM and HR-STEM. These aspects of his research provide insight for correlating properties and structure at nanometer scale under dynamic operating conditions.
He is the recipient of the Rowland Snow Award from the American Ceramic Society, the Outstanding Invention Award from the Japanese Science and Education Committee, and a R&D100 award.

Dr. Wang pioneered the concept of a nanobattery using ionic liquid and a single nanowire for insitu TEM studies. This research led to the receipt of the 2012 Microscopy Today Innovation Award of Microscopy Society of American.

Title: Nanoscale designing towards high capacity, high power rate, long cycle life, and safe operation for lithium ion battery

We use lithium ion batteries daily as they power our everyday electronics such as cell phones, laptops, cameras, tools, and electrical cars, and potentially stationary storage. However, there are fundamental challenges that need to be addressed for these applications, such as capacity, power rate, cycle life, and safe operation. A range of materials has a high theoretical capacity, but in reality, this type of material cannot be used directly due to a fast capacity fade. It is believed that the capacity fading and short cycle life of the battery using this type of materials are directly related to the overall large volume expansion and anisotropic accommodation of the volume change. I will discuss the fundamental challenges and possible ways to counter act them. In particular, I will review some of the general nanoscale designing concepts for tailoring composite materials based on silicon and carbon as anode materials for high capacity and long cycle life. For the cathode materials, doping of
transition metals has proved to be a viable way for high voltage and high capacity. However, the spatial distribution of the dopant ions appears to play a key role on the performance of the cathode materials. I will also
present recent progress on the development of in-situ TEM capabilities for probing the structural evolution of both anode and cathode materials for lithium ion battery.

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