Author: Sue Hill

PhD Funded Student Position Available in Automation in Smart Manufacturing

Michigan Technological University
Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

Opportunity Summary

Dr. Vinh Nguyen is seeking applications for 2 PhD students in automation for smart manufacturing. The students will receive full tuition coverage and stipend support. Students will be investigating technologies to facilitate human-automation systems in the context of Industry 4.0 and develop machine learning solutions to address real-world manufacturing problems. Students will have hands-on experience working on a variety of manufacturing processes including robotic assembly, machining, and additive manufacturing. Furthermore, students will also have the opportunity to work with advanced robotic tools including AR/VR and motion capture systems.

Dr. Nguyen is an Assistant Professor under the Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics at Michigan Technological University. Dr. Nguyen’s collaborators include industry, federal government agencies, and other academic universities.

Required Background

  • Master’s in Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, or other related fields.
  • Experience in programming industrial automation (industrial robots, embedded hardware, PLC’s, etc.) and familiarity with manufacturing processes including machining and additive manufacturing.
  • Hands-on experience with wearables technologies, machine learning, and human-robot interaction is a plus but not required.
  • Strong communication and technical writing skills for presentation of work to collaborators and sponsors.

Desired Background

Candidates should demonstrate at least one of the following strengths:

  • Experience with robotics and controls
  • Experience with manufacturing processes
  • Experience with machine learning models

How to Apply

Interested candidates should send their CV (1–2 pages) to vinhn@mtu.edu.

PSTDL Advances in NASA Watts on the Moon Challenge

Assistant Professor Paul van Susante (ME-EM/MARC) and the Planetary Surface Technology Development (PSTDL) Lab, aka HuskyWorks, are one of seven teams advancing to Phase 2, Level 2 of NASA’s Watts on the Moon Challenge.

The advancement comes with a $200,000 award, building on the team’s previous Phase 2, Level 1 award of $100,000, and supports NASA’s Artemis I mission, the first in a series designed to enable sustainable human exploration of the moon and Mars.

Winners of the first stage of the challenge were eligible to compete for the second phase’s design competition, submitting technical documentation for their solutions. The seven winning teams will move on to compete for additional funding in Phase 2, Level 2.

“It’s really exciting because we’re developing new technology that will enable continuous human presence on the lunar surface,” noted Rob Button, deputy chief of the Power Division at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio. “Specifically, we’re addressing long distance power transmission and energy storage in very cold conditions.” 

Van Susante designed and leads HuskyWorks’ research facilities, one of eight academic facilities listed on NASA’s ARES Dust Testing Facilities webpage. The central piece of the PSTDL is a custom-built rectangular Dusty Thermal Vacuum chamber (DTVAC) that can be cooled as low as minus 196°C and heated as high as 150°C, reach a vacuum of 10-6 Torr (10-4 Torr with simulant) and contain a box with up to 3,000 pounds of regolith simulant. For more details on the lab’s capabilities, visit the PSTDL’s Facilities page.

By Donna Jeno-Amici, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics.

PhD Funded Student Position Available in Marine Renewable Energy

Michigan Technological University
Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

Opportunity Summary

Seeking applications for 2 PhDs student in the area of marine renewable energy (e.g., offshore wind, wave) and control (or machine learning). The students will receive full financial support including a stipend and tuition coverage. The candidate will be working with the research group lead by Dr. Shangyan Zou investigating the modeling, control, networking, and swarm behavior of marine renewable energy systems to improve the economic index of marine renewables. In addition to the theoretical and numerical development, the candidate will also have opportunities to gain hands-on experience by working with the wave tank at Michigan Technological University. Furthermore, the candidate also will have the opportunity to work in Lake Superior and conduct experiments in the lake with the Research Vessel. You can expect a very productive working environment as well as a very effective personal mentorship from the PI in addition to academic support.

In general, the candidate will be responsible for supporting the initiative and contributing to the research projects through literature review, mathematical modeling, experimental testing, data organization, data collection, data analysis, preparing for research presentations, preparing manuscripts for journal submission, and other research-related duties as assigned.

Dr. Zou’s lab is in the Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics at Michigan Tech. We have an interdisciplinary collaboration with universities (e.g., Oregon State University), national labs (e.g., National Renewable Energy Laboratory), and industries (e.g., OscillaPower) which will be a great opportunity for the candidate to work with people from a diverse background.

Why Should You Apply

Dr. Zou’s lab seeks highly motivated, honest, self-driven individuals from a variety of backgrounds in our investigations. The research questions that we are trying to address including:

  • How to develop/apply new controls (as well as machine learning techniques) to improve the performance (optimality and robustness) of ocean renewable energy systems?
  • What is a good model to describe the behavior of Wave Energy Converters (both rigid body or deformable body) which is computationally efficient and has a good agreement with the experiments?
  • Can we use wave power for small non-grid applications (e.g., water desalination, UUV charging, oceanographic measurements)?
  • How can we introduce multi-agent system techniques to optimize the performance of a swarm of ocean renewable energy systems (as well as other devices like UUVs)?

If any of the research questions excite you, please reach out!

Required Background

  • MS (preferred) or BS in Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering or other related fields
  • Solid programming skills and some hands-on experience (e.g., 3-D printing, hardware communications). Hands-on experience with robotics or wave tank will be a plus but not necessary.
  • Introductory background in dynamic systems and control, fluid mechanics. Deep background of Fluid Mechanics will be a plus but not necessary.
  • Strong communication skills and used to a teamwork environment
  • Solid writing skills and experience with presentation or article writing

Desired Background

Candidates should demonstrate at least one of the following strengths:

  • Experience with modeling and control of ocean renewable energy systems (e.g., ocean wave, offshore wind)
  • Experience with wave tank testing, hardware communication, or sensor measurements
  • Experience with fluid-structure interaction
  • Experience with control theory, state estimation, or multi-agent systems
  • Experience with robotics (both numerical and experimental)

How to Apply

Send your CV and a brief statement of interest (1–2 pages) to shangyan@mtu.edu. In your statement of interest, please clearly highlight your strengths as one (or more) of the listed items. In addition, please send your application with the subject line: “Applying for PhD student position on marine renewables”.

Stephen Morse Selected as ME Teacher of the Year

Congratulations to Assistant Professor Stephen Morse for winning the 2022 Mechanical Engineering (ME) Teacher of the Year Award! Morse taught a double section of MEEM 2150 Mechanics of Materials for the 2021-22 academic year.

Morse has been with the Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics (ME-EM) since 2017, with a joint appointment in the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering (CEGE). He earned his PhD from Texas Tech University in 2009, and he previously served as an assistant professor at Texas Tech in the civil, environmental and construction engineering department. Morse’s areas of research expertise include window glass strength and design, wind loads on structures, finite element modeling of brittle materials, large-scale data processing and data mining.

The ME Teacher of the Year Award is selected solely by mechanical engineering students and conducted by the Mechanical Engineering Student Advisory Committee (MESAC). It is a two-step process similar to the process employed by the University teaching award. The first stage is the selection of the top three, voted upon by ME students. In the second stage, MESAC students go into all the spring classes of the three finalists with a questionnaire, which contains several questions about the finalists’ teaching, including why students believe they should be the ME Teacher of the Year.

Morse received a certificate and his name on the ME Teacher of the Year plaque with past winners in the lobby of the R.L. Smith Building (MEEM).

The award was announced during ME-EM’s 2022 Order of the Engineer ceremony, which was held in the Memorial Union Ballroom on April 19. This year’s runners-up were ME-EM Senior Lecturer Jaclyn Johnson and ME-EM Lecturer Mary Zadeh.

By Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics.

Cindy Wadaga and Karen Bess are Exceptional Staff Members

This year’s awardees for the Graduate Student Government (GSG) Merit Awards have been decided. A total of 37 nominations were received from departments all across campus. The decision process was not an easy one, as there was a very strong pool of nominations this year. We are very grateful to all of our nominees for all of the work they put in to improve and enrich the life of our graduate students.

Among the award winners in the Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics are Cindy Wadaga, coordinator of graduate programs, and Karen Bess, executive assistant.

Congratulations to the winners and thank you for all you have done for our graduate students.

By Graduate Student Government.

Cindy Wadaga
Cindy Wadaga
Karen Bess
Karen Bess

Seeking PhD Student Interested in Climate Change Impacts on Electrical Power Systems

PhD Funded Student Position Available

Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

Seeking a motivated student interested in the impacts of climate change on electrical power systems (bulk electricity grid). Research may be related to the impacts of climate change on renewable and conventional energy, electricity transmission infrastructure, and electricity use and how those impacts interact with energy transitions to wind, solar, and electric vehicles on the grid. This work is primarily computational and may include using optimization software to model bulk electric power systems, modeling the performance of conventional and renewable power plants, managing large data sets, and visualizing spatial information.

Dr. Dyreson’s lab is in the Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics at Michigan Technological University. We collaborate with the Great Lakes Research Center, Keweenaw Energy Transitions Laboratory, Advanced Power Systems Laboratory, and departments across campus including civil, environmental, and geospatial engineering, electrical and computer engineering, and social sciences.

Applicants should therefore bring a strong fundamental engineering background along with interest in energy systems and interdisciplinary work.

Required Background

  • MS in Mechanical Engineering or related field
  • Solid programming skills
  • Introductory coursework in thermodynamics
  • TOEFL > 90 iBT or IELTS > 7.0 overall band score (international students)

Desired Background

Candidates should demonstrate at least one of the following strengths (academic
research or industry experience are accepted):

  • Wind or solar power modeling, resource estimation, or forecasting
  • Electrical transmission or distribution systems modeling, operating, or planning
  • Thermoelectric, renewable, or hydroelectric power plant analysis or operation
  • Energy efficiency, demand side management, or building HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning)
  • Energy-water nexus
  • Accessing and using climate data (general circulation models)

Michigan Technological University is located in Houghton, Michigan. This is a small rural town with abundant, year-round outdoor activities, access to National Parks and historic sites, and cultural activities centered on campus.

We seek students that want to be part of and promote an inclusive workplace. For more information on research activities in Dr. Dyreson’s lab see the faculty directory and faculty website.

To Apply

Send an email to adyreson at mtu.edu as follows:

  1. Use the subject line “Interest in climate impacts on power systems”,
  2. describe your interests and confirm one or more of the items listed under “Desired Background” above, and
  3. attach a C.V.

Note that applications to this position are separate from applications to the graduate program.

Ana Dyreson is an ISR Faculty Research Fellow

Ana Dyreson
Ana Dyreson

The Tech Forward Initiative on Sustainability and Resilience (ISR) is happy to announce the selection of two Sustainable and Resilient Communities Faculty Research Fellows!

Judith Perlinger is a professor in the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering (CEGE) and an established scholar working in the realm of sustainability and resilience.

Ana Dyreson is an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics (ME-EM) who works in the realm of energy systems transitions and the energy-water-climate nexus.

Perlinger and Dyreson will both be relieved of one course for the fall 2022 semester in order to focus on developing and submitting research funding proposals that will enhance Michigan Tech’s leadership in impactful sustainability and resilience research.

Perlinger will be working on new proposals for the National Science Foundation (NSF) Coastlines and People (CoPe) program, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Dyreson will be working on proposal submissions for NSF programs, including the NSF CAREER award program, and for the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

With this fellowship program, ISR aims to support researchers in developing new collaborations and opportunities to grow research activities that address contemporary research challenges in sustainability and resilience. This program will propel research leaders at Michigan Tech to pursue new opportunities and increase impactful research activities. ISR is delighted to support these dedicated scholars through the Faculty Research Fellows program.

For more information or with any questions, please contact Chelsea Schelly at cschelly@mtu.edu

By Tech Forward Initiative for Sustainability and Resilience.

Pandemic Research and Scholarship Impact Mitigation Grants

Susanta Ghosh
Susanta Ghosh
Trisha Sain
Trisha Sain

The ADVANCE Initiative, Provost’s Office, Office of the Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion, Vice President for Research Office and University Marketing and Communications have been working together over the past year to identify and begin to mitigate some of the ways that scholars, creators and researchers have been negatively impacted by the pandemic. This collaboration resulted in a session to learn specific impacts and discuss solutions.

One of the primary results of our joint work is the COVID impact statement document faculty are requested to develop and add to Digital Measures. This group has also solicited and published an ongoing Unscripted research blog series where Tech employees share how the pandemic impacted their work. In addition, the VPR office recently solicited and received proposals for funding to help mitigate financial losses to research, creative and scholarly work associated with the pandemic. Many individuals experienced significant negative impacts and applied for the funds. Unfortunately, we were unable to fund them all.

The following individuals in the College of Engineering were selected to receive one of these grants:

  • Susanta Ghosh (ME-EM)
  • Trisha Sain (ME-EM)

By Associate Vice President for Research Development.

Karrar Takleef Alofari Presents Poster at 2021 Alumni Reunion

The Michigan Tech Graduate Student Government (GSG) organized a poster presentation at the 2021 Alumni Reunion in the Rozsa Center on August 6. Presentations are also posted virtually. Among the presenters was Karrar Takleef Alofari, a PhD Student in Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics.

Karrar Takleef Alofari
Karrar Takleef Alofari

Karrar Takleef Alofari

Area of Focus

Multi-phase Flow in Porous Media

Topic

The Impact of Relative Humidity on The Porosity and The Structure of PEM Fuel Cell Catalyst Layer

Project Summary

Understanding and modeling of mass transport limitations in the catalyst layers in PEM fuel cells remain a challenge despite decades of commercial development. That challenge has led to the development of a novel ex-situ test to characterize mass transport resistances in these extremely thin porous layers. This test characterizes radial percolation of gas and liquid at varying fluid injection rates and relative humidities. Liquid percolation exhibits a dominant capillarity influence at low injection rates with lower final wetted areas and saturation as compared to high injection rates. Changes in relative humidity have a significant effect on percolation behavior for both gas and liquid. There is a significant jump in resistance when the relative humidity exceeds 65%.

Play The Impact of Relative Humidity on The Porosity and The Structure of PEM Fuel […] – Karrar Alofari video
Preview image for The Impact of Relative Humidity on The Porosity and The Structure of PEM Fuel [...] - Karrar Alofari video

The Impact of Relative Humidity on The Porosity and The Structure of PEM Fuel […] – Karrar Alofari

Richard and Elizabeth Henes Endowed Professors Announced

The Office of the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs is pleased to announce three Henes endowed appointments in the Department of Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics (ME-EM).

William Endres
William Endres

William Endres, associate professor, accepted an appointment as a Henes Professor effective July 1, 2021. Due to Endres’s leadership, the department’s Senior Capstone Design program is now a nationally recognized program. ME-EM Department Chair William Predebon noted, “As a former ASME VP and Chair of Engineering Education, which oversees the ME Department Chairs/Heads Committee and ABET, I can say our Senior Design Capstone program has become one of the premier programs under the leadership of Dr. Bill Endres.” As a Henes Professor, Endres will continue to develop the program through collaboration with other College of Engineering departments and securing new industry partners.

Brad King
Brad King

Brad King, professor and director of the Space Systems Research Group, has been reappointed as a Henes Professor. As a Henes Professor, King will continue to lead a nationally recognized research program in electric space propulsion systems. King is the faculty advisor for Michigan Tech’s nationally recognized Aerospace Enterprise student team, which was selected by NASA to launch their Oculus satellite in lower earth orbit on June 25, 2019 and recently selected to launch a second satellite, Stratus, in December 2021.

Jeff Naber
Jeff Naber

Jeff Naber, professor and director of the Advanced Power Systems Research Center (APSRC), has been reappointed as a Henes Professor. As a Henes Professor, Naber will continue to lead a nationally recognized research program in autonomous and connected hybrid electric vehicles. Naber led the recently completed ARPA-E NEXTCAR I research project on light-duty multi-mode hybrid electric vehicles and was selected in March 2021 to lead the ARPA-E NEXTCAR II research project to increase the range of partially to fully autonomous light-duty multi-mode electric and hybrid electric vehicles, both of which were multi-million-dollar projects.

By the Office of the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs.