Category: News

Naber and Worm on Cold Temperature Effect on EVs

Jeff Naber and Jeremy Worm (both ME-EM/APSRC) were quoted by WLUC TV6 in a story about how cold temperatures affect the range of electric vehicles, or EVs. Both researchers work at Michigan Tech’s Advanced Power Research Center. Director Jeff Naber says EV batteries are effective until 0 degrees Fahrenheit.

“Below that temperature, you’re going to have to have the battery heat it somehow.”

Jeff Naber, director of Advanced Power Systems Research Center

Associate Director Jeremy Worm says the center is working with Baraga-based construction equipment manufacturer Pettibone to create a hybrid loader for moving large pipes and lumber.

The machine uses battery and diesel power to maintain its effectiveness in extreme conditions.

Naber and fellow colleagues direct the Advanced Internal Combustion Laboratories (AICE) at the University. His research interests are in IC engines and after-treatment and the development and application of advanced experimental techniques, signal processing technologies, theoretical models, and embedded control to characterize the thermo-physical processes.

Worm’s research interests include high-performance engines, alternative fuels, and hybrid electric vehicles.

Read more at WLUC TV6, by Justin Van’t Hof.

December 14, 2023: Global Composites Experts Webinar by Dr. Gregory M. Odegard

Photo of the Composites Design and Manufacturing HUB logo with photos of a scientist, airplane and astronaut in space. Lower left shows photo of Dr. Gregory Odegard, the featured webinar speaker.

Abstract:
Current state-of-the-art composite materials are not light/strong enough for crewed missions to Mars and beyond. Structural components of deep space vehicles require lighter/stronger materials for fuel efficiency. The NASA Space Technologies Research Institute (STRI) for Ultra- Strong Composites by Computational Design (US-COMP) is focused on developing a new generation of composites for this purpose. US-COMP is using computational simulation to drive the material design in an efficient manner. By developing new simulation tools, experimental methods, and databases of material information, US-COMP is playing a central role in the national Materials Genome Initiative (MGI). The ultimate goals of US-COMP are to design, fabricate, and test composite panels that meet NASA’s requirements; and to train students to enter the advanced composite materials workforce.

Bio:
Prof. Gregory Odegard is the John O. Hallquist Endowed Chair in Computational Mechanics in the Department of Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics at Michigan Tech. He is the Director of the NASA Institute for Ultra-Strong Composites by Computational Design, which
is focused on development the next generation of composites materials for manned deep- space missions. Before joining the faculty at Michigan Tech, Greg was a researcher at NASA Langley Research Center from 2000-2004. He received his PhD at the University of Denver in 2000. His research is focused on computational modeling of advanced material systems. He is the recipient of the NASA Outstanding Public Leadership Medal, is a Fellow of ASME, and an Associate Fellow of AIAA.

Tania Demonte Gonzalez receives Best Presentation Award at INORE’s 2023 European Symposium

Photo of Tania Demonte Gonzalez, who conducts research on wave energy converter nonlinear control.

Tania Demonte Gonzalez (PhD candidate, ME-EM) conducts research on wave energy converter nonlinear control and is part of the graduate student team using MTU Wave, the campus-based wave tank. She was awarded Michigan Tech’s Topping Teaching Fellowship in the Fall of 2022 and is a remote intern at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Colorado.

Tania recently attended the International Network on Offshore Renewable Energy’s (INORE) 2023 European Symposium, a five-day meeting for researchers specializing in offshore renewable energy. The symposium provides many opportunities for early-stage researchers to come together, learn from one another, and establish new relationships that can greatly benefit their research and career journeys.


As part of the attendee research presentations, Tania gave a talk on “Time-Varying Hydrodynamic Modeling of a Variable Geometry Oscillating Surge Wave Energy Converter” and received one of two Best Presentation Awards. The presentation was a collaboration with NREL’s Dr. Nathan Tom and discussed the methods used to find a time-varying model for variable geometry surge wave energy converters. More details will be available in an upcoming publication.

Congratulations on this achievement, Tania.

Paul van Susante Named to Lou and Herbert Wacker Professorship in Mechanical Engineering

Paul van Susante (ME-EM) recently accepted an endowed appointment as the Lou and Herbert Wacker Professor in Mechanical Engineering. Van Susante joined Michigan Tech in 2012 as a lecturer (a role now called assistant teaching professor) before accepting an appointment as an assistant professor. Not only does Dr. van Susante meet or exceed all the criteria for this professorship, he also has a vested interest in teaching.

This endowed position was established to retain and attract high-quality faculty who are at the top of their profession, can excite students to think beyond classroom material, and who can effectively integrate their research into the classroom.

Involving students in his research is vital to van Susante. He’s been recognized in the Dean’s Teaching Showcase and as one of the Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics’ (ME-EM’s) Teacher of the Year finalists four times. Paul is also the faculty advisor for the Multiplanetary Innovation Enterprise (MINE) team, solving challenges in the mining industry.

In addition to obtaining over $3 million in funding as a principal investigator, Dr. van Susante leads Michigan Tech’s Planetary Surface Technology Development Lab (PSTDL) team. The lab, also known as HuskyWorks, includes several students who advanced to the final round of NASA’s Watts on the Moon Challenge in both 2022 and 2023. As part of these competitions, researchers from NASA and other robotics companies travel to Michigan Tech to meet with van Susante and his team.

Other projects include:

  • NASA Lunar Surface Technology Research (LuSTR 2020)
  • NASA Breakthrough Innovative and Game-changing (BIG) Idea Challenge 2020: “Tethered permanently shaded Region Explorer (T-REX)” –power and communication delivery into PSR
  • NASA Break the Ice Challenge – the latest centennial challenge from NASA designed to develop technologies aiding in the sustained presence on the Moon
  • NASA ESI (Early Stage Innovation) to excavate rock gypsum for water production on Mars
  • NASA GCD MRE – Molten Regolith Electrolysis, or MRE, uses an electric current in a reactor to separate oxygen from lunar dust, also known as regolith. The scope of the project is to provide a regolith feeder and transportation system for the MRE reactor. Research into regolith properties, here on Earth, and in extreme environments like lunar gravity and vacuum are being conducted. Results from these experiments will be vital in choosing and developing these feeder and transportation technologies.
  • HOPLITE (Heavy Onboard Platform for Lunar ISRU and Terrain Excavation) is a modular robotic system built at Michigan Tech that enables the field testing of IDSRU technologies. Many payloads are currently being designed and implemented for lunar applications and there is a need for accurate, reliable, and safe mobility of these payloads during filed testing. Using a large sensor array, fine tuned control and autonomy, HOPLITE is designed to provide a solution to this need.

The success in his research has translated to van Susante publishing 82 papers while at Michigan Tech and giving 37 invited talks. He is currently an associate editor for In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) and the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Journal of Aerospace Engineering.

(reprinted from October 25, 2023 Tech Today.)

Research Opportunity in Applied Computational Fluids: Vortex Genesis in Uranus’s and Neptune’s Atmospheres

Composite of three images of the surface of Nepture, with one feature boxed.
Figure 1: left: Neptune’s Dark Vortices GDS-89 and DS-2, Voyager-2 Flyby 1989. right: Uranus Dark Spot 2006. bottom: Neptune Dark Spot 2018.

Summary of Project – POSITION CLOSED

Dr. Shawn Brueshaber (ME-EM) is seeking applications for 1 PhD student interested in researching the fluid dynamics of Uranus’s and Neptune’s atmospheres starting as early as Spring 2024 if the right candidate is found. Uranus and Neptune, the ‘Ice-Giants,’ are the least explored planets of our Solar System yet thought to be one of the most common types of planets in the Galaxy. The National Academies has recently identified Uranus as the highest priority destination for a new “flagship” class spacecraft mission. Atmospheric science will undoubtedly be a major component of such a mission. The atmospheres of the Ice Giants are quite unlike those of Earth and similar ‘terrestrial’ planets (Venus, Mars, and the moon, Titan), and also unlike those of its larger cousins, the Gas-Giants (Jupiter and Saturn). Uranus, and especially Neptune, occasionally form large dark vortices (Fig.1) but what causes them is unknown.

The successful candidate will dive ‘under the hood’ to modify and use the EPIC General Circulation Model (a type of computational fluid code; Dowling et al. 1998) to determine how dark anticyclonic vortices are formed. This NASA funded project seeks to test the hypothesis that deep moist convection (e.g., thunderstorms) is the primary mechanism that forms these enigmatic vortices. An alternative hypothesis is that a non-convective hydrodynamic instability is responsible. Dr. Brueshaber has funding available to support the PhD student for a minimum of three years.

Your Qualifications

  • A strong interest in fluid mechanics and meteorology. A strong interest in planetary science is a plus.
  • Coursework in fluid mechanics, atmospheric dynamics, or similar. Coursework in computational fluid dynamics (previously, or planned).
  • Good programming skills (e.g., Python and/or Matlab, C is a strong plus). Experience with Linux commands are a plus.
  • A willingness to learn, modify, and apply a General Circulation Model (GCM).
  • Good written and verbal communication skills.
  • A Masters of Science in Mechanical Engineering, Atmospheric Science, Physics, or other closely-related field. Graduate standing in any of the above disciplines will be considered.
  • Strong oral and written communication skills.
  • US Citizenship is NOT a requirement.

How to Apply

Interested candidates should send their CV (2 pages max) and a cover letter explaining how the candidate’s qualifications match to the research project description to srbruesh@mtu.edu.

This position is closed.

Cross-disciplinary Research Team and Carbon Nanotube Forests

Two carbon nanotube substrates with a nanotube zoom and a sterilization step.
Detail from a schematic illustration of the process from CNT forest growth to cell seeding.

A cross-disciplinary research team of MTU undergraduate students, graduate students and professors are co-authors of an article published in the Journal of Materials Research.

The article, titled “Conductive 3D nano-biohybrid systems based on densified carbon nanotube forests and living cells,” appears in the journal’s Early Career Scholars in Materials Science issue, 2024.

The research team worked with carbon nanotube (CNT) “forests,” groupings of carbon nanotubes on which conductive biohybrid (cell-material) systems can be developed. Working with fibroblasts or cardiomyocytes, the researchers integrated the cell cultures with the CNT forests coated with gelatin. The novelty of the work lies in the use of the 3D structure of CNT forests as the main part of the scaffold and the development of a conductive, porous, and 3D cardiac scaffold with high cytocompatibility. The results show that the scaffold could be used in applications ranging from organ-on-a-chip systems to muscle actuators.

Congratulations to the research team:

Bagheri, R., Ball, A.K., Kasraie, M. et al. Conductive 3D nano-biohybrid systems based on densified carbon nanotube forests and living cells. Journal of Materials Research (2023). https://doi.org/10.1557/s43578-023-01163-x

The original article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Jeff Naber Receives 2023 ASME Internal Combustion Engine Award


Jeffrey D. Naber is the 2023 recipient of the prestigious Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) Award, presented annually by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).

Naber is the Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics’ (ME-EM’s) Richard and Elizabeth Henes Professor in Energy Systems and director of the Advanced Power Systems Research Center (APSRC/APS Labs) at Michigan Technological University. He was honored with the award at the ASME’s 2023 ICE Forward Conference, held Oct. 8-11 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The ASME ICE Award recognizes eminent achievement or distinguished contribution over a substantial period of time, which may result from research, innovation or education in advancing the art of engineering in the field of internal combustion engines; or in directing the efforts and accomplishments of those engaged in engineering practice in the design, development, application and operation of internal combustion engines.

Naber, the recipient of Michigan Tech’s 2022 Research Award, was nominated for ASME ICE Award recognition by Seong-Young Lee (ME-EM).

By Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics.

My Story: Ryan Schwartz, MTUengineer

Ryan Schwartz ’24, mechanical engineering

Ryan Schwartz grew up in Saline, Michigan. He’ll earn his BS in mechanical engineering this spring, and plans to earn an MS in engineering management, too. Ryan works as a LEAP Leader in the Department of Engineering Fundamentals, as a good role model, effective mentor, and learning coach—all rolled into one.

“As a LEAP Leader, I lead a group of roughly 20 students through the First-Year Engineering courses at Michigan Tech. I am with my students in the classroom—along with other groups and their LEAP Leaders—while they work through projects and assignments. I also lead a class once a week with just my students to reinforce the concepts taught that week in a new and interactive way.

When I was a student in the First-Year Engineering courses, I had a fantastic LEAP Leader that made my experience fantastic. I wanted to be able to provide that same experience to others, so I became a LEAP Leader.

“The thing I enjoy most about being a LEAP Leader is helping my students grow and find their place here at Michigan Tech.”

Ryan Schwartz
Ryan has seen the Northern Lights during his time at Michigan Tech
“I love exploring the Keweenaw. My friends and I will often go out adventuring and have great times along the way.”

In my future career, I want to do something in the realm of sustainability and alternative energy. I don’t know yet what form that will take, but I want to do my part to reverse climate change.

I also want to be a manager and leader, wherever I may end up. I’ve developed strong leadership skills, many by serving as a LEAP Leader, that I would love to apply throughout my career.

I knew I would enjoy my time here but I’d had my heart set on going to the University of Michigan my whole life. I did not get accepted there, and I think that was the best thing that ever happened to me.

At Michigan Tech, I’ve been able to flourish. I’ve been exposed to more opportunities than I ever thought possible.

“Classes are only a part of college.”

Advice to incoming students, from Ryan Schwartz, LEAP Leader

The best advice I can give is that classes are only a part of college. College is also about discovering yourself and making friends and memories along the way. Michigan Tech is a great place to do that while getting a quality education.

I am currently the Vice President and a Captain for the MTU Men’s Ultimate Frisbee Club – DiscoTech. My first year at Michigan Tech, I made literally every single one of my friends on Walker Lawn throwing a frisbee, and then our whole group joined the Ultimate team.

Read More

Michigan Tech LEAP Leaders: Assist Fellow Students

My Story: Kasandra Waldi, MTUengineer

First-year engineering student Kasandra Waldi ‘27

I am from Shelby Township, but I grew up in Warren, Michigan until 6th grade, and those are both in the Metro-Detroit area. I chose to come to Tech because of the great community and its strong mechanical engineering degree program, which is what I chose as my major.

When I was younger, I originally wanted to be a veterinarian but, I eventually realized that it wasn’t my calling. Then, I settled on being a computer science major because I liked the small coding projects we did in middle school. In high school, I discovered that I did not want to code any more than I had to. Fortunately, another degree was calling my name. Since I had always loved building things, including in FIRST Robotics, I realized that mechanical engineering was the path I truly wanted to follow.

“Remember to breathe.”

Kasandra Waldi

My advice for incoming students? I would recommend creating a schedule. I use Google Calendar, and set up deadlines and tasks that need to be completed. I even make sure to schedule in my meals and sleep!

My favorite part of Engineering Fundamentals is the first-year engineering class. I love doing small but fun projects!

My biggest challenge thus far is finding a way to resist hanging out with friends. I must do this in order to make sure I can get all of my homework done on time.

I am not exactly sure what my future path holds, but I would like to be in charge of a project and take it from concept to completion.

The best advice that I have been given is, “Remember to breathe.” This is important as I often will spend way too much time on homework and forget to just take a break and relax.

My Story: Sophie Bollin, MTUengineer

Sophie Bollin ’24, mechanical engineering

During her time at Michigan Tech, Sophie Bollin has attended four career fairs, learning more and more about job opportunities each time. But for internships, she started at Caterpillar, and the wonderful experience she had there has inspired her to return—to do more, and learn more.

“I’ve had the opportunity to complete two internships at Caterpillar as a testing, validation, and design engineering intern within its Paving Products division. I initially spoke with Caterpillar at Michigan Tech’s CareerFEST, an event that takes place on campus each year just prior to the fall Career Fair. It led to an internship offer and, then I returned the following summer to rejoin the same team. Design engineering was my main focus, which allowed me to work on a wide range of projects and designs, with wonderful mentors. I met so many fantastic people. I look forward to returning yet again next summer.

I was born and raised in Woodbury, Minnesota. Michigan Tech was honestly my dream school. I knew I wanted to work in the automotive or related industries and Tech had great opportunities to work in these fields. They also had one of the best mechanical engineering programs, so for me it was a perfect fit.

Each year it seems like more companies come to campus, wanting to hire MTU students. They’re super enthusiastic about every student’s unique background and experiences.

Sophie is a member of Michigan Tech’s Clean Snowmobile Enterprise team.

Michigan Tech has definitely changed my life in many ways. During my time here I have met some lifelong best friends—and some of the best professors and mentors.

Long term I would like to stay in the heavy equipment or motorsports industries as a test engineer, where I can enjoy my work every day. The best advice I have been given is ‘to do what makes you happy,’ which I do try to implement in my everyday life.”

If I could change the world…

I would want it to be by sharing my experiences and passions with others so that they can find what inspires them. 

My advice for first year ME students 

Mechanical engineering allows for you to interact with many of the different aspects of industry and the engineering world. Some of the courses may be intimidating or difficult, so take advantage of the many resources Michigan Tech offers you. 

“Prioritize school, but make sure to explore and have fun.”

Advice for incoming students, from Sophie Bollin