Category: News

Assistant Professor Hassan Masoud (ME-EM) awarded NSF CAREER grant

Hassan Masoud, PhD is Principal Investigator of the CFAM Lab. See https://www.masoud-lab.academy/ to learn more.

Hassan Masoud has been awarded the National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER award to study “Collective hydrodynamics of robotic swimmers and surfers at high Reynolds numbers”. Dr. Masoud received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and conducted post-doctoral research under the joint supervision of Howard Stone in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Princeton University and Michael Shelley at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, NYU. Since July 2017, he has been an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics at Michigan Tech.

CAREER awards, administered under the Faculty Early Career Development Program, are the NSF’s most prestigious form of support and recognition for junior faculty who “exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations.” We congratulate Assistant Professor Hassan Masoud on this outstanding accomplishment!

Abstract: Robotic swarms have attracted much attention in recent years due to their vast potential applications. In particular, there has been a growing interest in aquatic robots, either swimming underwater or surfing at the air-water interface. By using large numbers of individuals working in tandem through local communication, a swarm of underwater swimmers or interfacial surfers can augment their collective intelligence while maintaining relatively simplistic designs. Harnessing this unique, joint ability leads to achieving superior functionalities, which makes aquatic robots very appealing for a myriad of practical applications, including surveillance, monitoring of invasive species, tracking weather and sea conditions, pollution management, etc. This project aims to obtain an in-depth understanding of many-body hydrodynamic interactions in the collective motion of robotic swimmers and surfers at high Reynolds numbers. The design of robots chosen for the studies is motivated by species in nature that have mastered their respective terrains. The swimmers mimic the general form of a fish, with the tail flapping providing the thrust, while the surfers take inspiration from water-walking insects. The investigations will be conducted using a synergistic application of high-fidelity numerical simulations and laboratory experiments. Validated simulations allow for exploring an extensive range of flow regimes and combinations of relative positions between the robots. Coupled with reinforcement learning algorithms, they also enable searching for optimal strategies for collective locomotion. The unsteady flows generated by the motion of robots in the experiments will be captured via time-resolved, volumetric particle tracking velocimetry. The fundamental knowledge gained during this project is expected to directly contribute to the design and implementation of future aquatic robots capable of functioning alongside each other with a high degree of coordination, similar to the behaviors exhibited by fish in schools and birds in flocks. The planned research studies in this project are coupled with a range of educational activities that involve outreach to middle and high school students, engagement with the general public, mentorship of community college and graduate students, and curriculum development.

Jonathan Lund Receives the Making a Difference Award for Serving Others

Jonathan Lund
Jonathan Lund

Congratulations to all of our 2022 Making A Difference Award nominees and winners, who were honored at an awards program Jan. 4 in the Memorial Union Ballroom.

Senior Capstone Design Training Specialist Jonathan Lund was recognized for serving others.

Jon’s nominator says: Jon is a highly effective—and entertaining—trainer. Students seek him out because he is very friendly and motivated to help them succeed. While it is his job to teach students how to safely operate milling machines, lathes, and other tools, he does it in a way that is engaging and even fun. I can tell you that it is fun to watch him in action. The students appreciate the attention and the care that he provides while explaining the complex procedures for machine operation. Machine shops are full of intimidating equipment, so he tries to make them feel welcome and at ease through encouragement and conversation about their projects.

Top Teams Advance in NASA’s Break the Ice Lunar Challenge

NASA named 15 teams moving on to compete in the semifinal level of its Break the Ice Lunar Challenge on December 14, 2022. The $3.5 million multi-phase challenge invites problem-solvers from businesses, academia, maker communities, and more to play a role in building a lasting human presence and vibrant economy on the Moon by tapping into resources that are already there.

The second phase of competition kicked off in June with the goal of furthering development of lunar excavation and transport technologies. Level 1 challenged solvers to design a robotic system for digging and moving large quantities of icy Moon “dirt,” or regolith, found in the coldest, darkest places on the lunar surface.

Phase 2, Level 1

Twenty-five teams from around the world submitted entries for the first, qualifying level of Phase 2 competition. A panel of government, industry, and academic experts in in-situ resource utilization, or ISRU – the technical term for using local resources – evaluated teams’ entries and selected the winners based on submissions of detailed technical reports, engineering designs, and test plans.

Michigan Tech’s Planetary Surface Technology Development Lab (PSTDL) was selected among the winning teams. The founder and director of PSTDL is Paul van Susante, assistant professor in mechanical engineering-engineering mechanics and faculty advisor for Multiplanetary INnovation Enterprise (MINE).

Read more at NASA.gov.

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NASA Announces Newest Winners in Break the Ice Lunar Challenge

NASA Announces Newest Winners in Break the Ice Lunar Challenge

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To the Moon—and Beyond

Jason Blough Receiving SAE International Lifetime Achievement Award

Jason Blough
Jason Blough

Jason Blough, interim chair and distinguished professor of the Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics (ME-EM), has been selected as the 2023 recipient of SAE International’s Ralph K. Hillquist NVH Lifetime Achievement Award.

Established by the Noise & Vibration Conference Committee, this award recognizes those individuals who have shown a continued contribution to ground vehicle voise, vibration and harshness (NVH) over a period of 15 years or more.

According to the award notification, Blough has “been instrumental in shaping the sound package material industry over the last 30 years, alongside unmatched dedication and commitment to industry and SAE.” He was nominated for the award by Darrell Robinette (ME-EM), associate professor.

Blough’s research includes dynamic measurement problems, developing new digital signal processing algorithms to understand NVH-type problems and ways to improve the NVH characteristics of virtually any machine. He routinely teaches many experimental NVH techniques in both classroom settings and industry short courses, and serves as the SAE Clean Snowmobile Team faculty advisor under Tech’s Advanced Motorsports Enterprise.

Formal recognition of the award will occur during the 2023 SAE Noise & Vibration Conference, being held May 15-18.

Congratulations to Dr. Blough on this significant achievement.

By Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics.

Mattey and Sharma Place in 2022 3MT Competition

This year’s Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition, organized by the Graduate Student Government (GSG) of Michigan Tech, wrapped up with great success. Seventeen participants competed at the MUB Ballroom for a place at the finals, held at the East Reading Room of the Van Pelt and Opie Library.

Each presentation was scored by a panel of judges from diverse academic backgrounds. The judges for the finals were Will Cantrell (Grad School/Physics), Andrew Storer (Provost/CFRES) and Mark Rhodes (SS).

Congratulations to the winners:

  • First Place: Xiaoqing Gao
  • Second Place: Katy Matson
  • Third Place: Udit Sharma
  • People’s Choice: Revanth Mattey

If you missed the competition, do not worry — you will be able to watch the finals on the GSG YouTube channel soon. Stay tuned!

GSG would like to thank all the volunteers, participants and judges for making this event possible.

By Graduate Student Government.

Aneet Narendranath Selected as IAALDE VISTAS International Scholar

Aneet Narendranath
Aneet Narendranath

Associate Teaching Professor Aneet Narendranath (ME-EM) has been selected as one of nine international scholars for the International Alliance to Advance Learning in the Digital Era (IAALDE) VISTAS Colloquium Series.

In a first phase, IAALDE has called for ambitious midcareer researchers, pre-tenured or recently tenured, who are developing and implementing a long-range research vision (think: 5-10 years ahead) and are therefore interested in discussing their research vision with peers from multiple societies and different disciplinary backgrounds.

The goal of the VISTAS (Vision, Inspiration, Synergy, and Transformation Across Societies) Colloquium Series on Learning and Technologies Research is to create a discussion space where researchers can connect with one another to explore ideas across multiple disciplinary and society perspectives. It is envisioned to inspire transformative research and to improve our societies by better connecting researchers to one another and to cross-disciplinary ideas.

A graduate of Michigan Technological University, Narendranath’s teaching interests include classical mechanics, numerical methods for differential equations and symbolic solution packages. His research interests focus on numerical solutions and applications to engineering of nonlinear partial differential equations and low Reynolds Number fluid physics.

Congratulations to Narendranath on achieving this honor.

PhD Funded Student Position Available in Kai Zhou Lab

One PhD student position with full assistantship is available in the Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics (MEEM) at Michigan Technological University. The student will work under Dr. Kai Zhou’s supervision.

The position will start in Spring 2023. It is available immediately and open until filled. The applicants must have a BS or MS degree in Mechanical Engineering with a particular emphasis on Structural Dynamics and Vibrations. The qualified applicant is expected to:

  1. Have the extensive experiences and strong skills in testbed set-up, experimental instrumentation and data acquisition.
  2. Demonstrate the capability in using FE simulation to perform both the linear and nonlinear structural dynamic analysis. It is a plus if the student has the experiences conducting other multi-physics FE simulations, e.g., electromechanical FE, fluid-structure coupled FE, thermal-structural coupled FE. The preferred software include: Abaqus, Ansys and COMSOL.
  3. Have the in-depth knowledge in signal processing, machine learning (especially deep learning), data analytics and optimization. Have the strong programing skill using MATLAB, Python to support the implementation. The knowledge of Fortran and LabVIEW is a plus.

Interested applicants are encouraged to contact Dr. Kai Zhou (kzhou@mtu.edu) with your CV, transcripts.

Hannah Stoll : Women in STEM Wednesday

The Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics department is proud to feature students and other community members in Women in STEM Wednesday. This week we take a look into the life of alumna Hannah Stoll.

WHERE ARE YOU FROM?

Lansing, MI

Currently live in the Twin Cities working for SICK Sensor Intelligence as a Test Systems Engineer

DEGREE(S) | WHAT YEAR?

BS, Mechanical Engineering  |  2019

MS, Electrical Engineering  |  2020

WHAT GROUPS ARE YOU INVOLVED IN?

I joined a beginner hockey league through AHA with a friend, and I sub in a sand volleyball league. 

WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO OUTSIDE OF SCHOOL?

I spend the majority of my time 3D printing, playing video games, creating models and graphics online, hanging out with friends and family, camping, and playing sports.

FAVORITE PLACE IN THE AREA?

My favorite places in the Houghton area would have to be the waterfront trails and covered road. 

FUN FACTS / PETS / FAVORITE QUOTE

I am an only child!  |  No pets yet sadly.  |  Wayne Gretzky: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TECH?

I chose MTU to play college basketball, to enjoy the beautiful copper country and its community, and to go to an impressive engineering school.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT TECH?

I love the area and the people are just like family. The pep band is amazing and creates atmospheres like no other for all of the sporting events. At tech everyone has a place to feel welcome and a great opportunity to excel and prepare for the future.

HOW HAS TECH IMPACTED YOUR VIEW OF STEM?

MTU showed me how many different areas of STEM there really are and how fun it can be to dig into those topics. There is no getting bored as there is plenty to learn no matter what age you are! STEM also has so many great career opportunities to choose from. 

WHAT ORIGINALLY INTERESTED YOU IN STEM?

I have always enjoyed messing around on the computer, building things, and knowing how stuff works! I first took a class in my early high school years where I got to do some CAD modeling and woodshop work.

WHAT PIECE OF ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE YOUR YOUNGER SELF?

I would tell my younger self to get into programming sooner because it could have made my life a lot easier in school 😉 

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO STUDENTS THAT ARE INTERESTED IN STUDYING STEM?

I would tell them to ask their peers and professors about real world applications and focus on what interests them because it will help them go in the right direction to find a job they really like in the future! P.S. – The hard work is really worth it!

WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO TO CHANGE THE WORLD?

I will continue to work with new and upcoming technologies to advance our industries and make an impact on future generations. 

If you would like to nominate a student, graduate, or community member for Women in STEM Wednesday, please email Donna Jeno-Amici (djenoami@mtu.edu) or Meg Raasakka (mraasakk@mtu.edu).

Tylore Baker : Women in STEM Wednesday

The Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics department is proud to feature students and other members of our community for Women in STEM Wednesday. This week we take a look into the life of student Tylore Baker.

WHERE ARE YOU FROM?

Lapeer, MI 

DEGREE | WHAT YEAR?

Mechanical Engineering with a Minor in Manufacturing 5th year 

WHAT GROUPS ARE YOU INVOLVED IN?

Theta Chi Epsilon Sorority, Mont Ripley Ski Patrol, Mont Ripley Instructors, & MTU 4X4

WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO OUTSIDE OF SCHOOL?

I enjoy backpacking, cooking/baking, reading, and being around friends.

FAVORITE PLACE IN THE AREA?

My favorite place in the area is either Lac La Belle, or the top of Ripley at night so you can see all the lights of Houghton. 

FUN FACTS / PETS / FAVORITE QUOTE

Fun Fact: I am forklift certified and while volunteering with the Exercise Physiology Lab I found out I have above average bone density. 

Pets: My family has a Newfoundland named Leo, and a Black Lab/ Blue Heeler mix named Angus.

Favorite Quote: “That which we obtain too easily, we esteem too lightly” – Thomas Paine 

Or “You’re not too late. You’re not too early. You are right on time” 

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TECH?

I chose Tech because of Mont Ripley, the fact that Tech is a respected STEM school also helped a lot. 

WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT TECH?

I love the people at Tech. The faculty, staff and students are always looking out for each other; it very much feels like a giant family. 

HOW HAS TECH IMPACTED YOUR VIEW OF STEM?

Tech has impacted my view on STEM in an odd way. It has made me appreciate STEM because of its rigor, but has also made me realize how important other fields of study are. You can have a great product or manufacturing process but without other fields of study there is no way that your product  will be successful. 

WHAT ORIGINALLY INTERESTED YOU IN STEM?

Going to Astronomy Nights with my late uncle at the local nature center. Being able to learn about stars and constellations, while also being able to look at them through a telescope was monumental for me. He also gifted me his old telescope, which I was able to deconstruct to learn how telescopes worked and how to maintain them. 

WHAT PIECE OF ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE YOUR YOUNGER SELF?

Your path will look different than others and that is OKAY. It will be difficult, and that’s what makes it so worth it in the long run; but no matter what just keep going and enjoy yourself along the way. 

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO STUDENTS THAT ARE INTERESTED IN STUDYING STEM?

Do it! STEM has so many opportunities, and different topics that you will always be able to find something that you are interested in. As long as you are willing to put in the work, and you enjoy what you are studying; the learning will be the easy part. 

WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO TO CHANGE THE WORLD?

I want to be able to make as many small changes to things as possible, because I know the smallest change can lead to drastic changes. I want to project as much positivity, and goodwill into the universe as possible. Even if I do not make positive changes to the entire world, I want to positively impact as many people’s lives as possible.

If you would like to nominate a student, graduate, or community member for Women in STEM Wednesday, please email Donna Jeno-Amici (djenoami@mtu.edu) or Meg Raasakka (mraasakk@mtu.edu).

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.