Category Archives: Research

Orbion Awarded NASA Contract

Orbion Space TechnologyOrbion Space Technology, a company that develops plasma thrusters for satellites, announced a contract award from NASA‘s Science Mission Directorate. Under the contract, Orbion will develop advanced propulsion system components that will help spacecraft to rendezvous with, orbit, and conduct in-situ exploration of planets, moons, and other small bodies in the solar system. The NASA contract will focus on increasing the reliability of spacecraft thrusters while decreasing the cost to produce and fly them on space missions.

“More than 10,000 small satellites will be launched into space in the next 5-7 years. While the US has been a space-faring nation for 70 years, we are just now learning how to build spacecraft and their components on assembly lines like automobiles instead of like fragile science-fair experiments,” says Lyon B. King, Orbion’s CEO, “Orbion specializes in mass-manufacturing spacecraft hardware, and we are honored that NASA has selected Orbion to develop critical technology for solar system exploration.”

The award is administered by the NASA Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) program. In the first phase of the project, Orbion will utilize new 3D printing technology to create extremely high-temperature heating elements that can reduce the complexity and cost of critical spacecraft thruster components. The components will be tested in space-simulation chambers on the ground to prove their performance and reliability. In a follow-on, second phase of the contract, Orbion anticipates integrating the new heaters with their commercial plasma propulsion system for demonstration in space.

To learn more about Orbion, visit their website.

By MTEC SmartZone.


US DOE Funding for Sajjad Bigham

Sajjad Bigham
Sajjad Bigham

Sajjad Bigham ( MEEM/APSRC) is Principal Investigator on a project that has received a $534,565 research and development cooperative agreement with the US Department of Energy. The project is titled “Next-Generation Desiccant-Based Gas Clothes Dryer Systems.” This is a potential three-year project.


Paul van Susante Presents on Space Topics

Paul van Susante on Google Hangout with presenter
2019 Space Resources Roundtable Reception. Live from Golden, Colorado!

Paul van Susante (MEEM) presented during the Moon Development & Exploration track at the International Space Development Conference in Arlington, VA on June 8, 2019, about “Lunar ISRU and Design and Sizing of Regolith Excavation & Handling Hardware.” He participated/organized a workshop/panel session on “ASCE Resources and Standards workshop.”

He also participated in the Space Resources Roundtable in Golden, CO from June 10 to 15 and chaired Technical Session 4 on Space Manufacturing and Processing Technologies, presented a paper during the “Mars Resources” track on ” Poly-Hydrated Sulfate Mining and Water Extraction on Mars: Experimental Results and System Requirements.”

As the secretary of the AIAA Space Resources Technical Committee, he helped organize the technical committee meeting, organized a roundtable discussion on landing pad necessity and construction and helped host a Google Hangout Session of the AIAA Space Resources TC during the reception. Watch the hangout channel on YouTube.


ACM and Michigan Tech Showcase New AV Technologies

Michigan Tech Mobile Lab

Experts from Michigan Tech showcased some of the newest AV technologies—from connected car communications to infrastructure—and how they impact and improve fuel economy. The event—Connected and Automated Vehicles and Modern Methods for Light-Duty Automotive Energy Savings—took place at one of the state’s premier testing grounds, the American Center for Mobility (ACM), on May 7 and May 9, 2019.

The event addressed key trends and challenges by showcasing how these technologies can improve fleet fuel efficiency. Researchers from the University shared background knowledge on the technologies. There were also tours of the Michigan Tech Mobile Lab and the Advanced Power Systems Laboratories (APS LABS).

As part of ACM’s Academic Consortium, a partnership between ACM and 15 Michigan colleges and universities to collaborate on talent training, this event ties industry to education to further discussion on talent retention and training in addition to addressing energy savings within autonomous and connected vehicles.

Michigan Tech Mobile Lab Headed To ACM In Ypsilanti, MI, May 7th And 9th

After being connected by the team at PlanetM, with MEDC, Jeffrey Mosher speaks to a pair from Houghton, MI, Christopher Morgan, and Jim Desrochers who are set to hit the road next month for a special open house.

Read the article and listen to the SoundCloud Podcast at Michigan Business Beat, hosted by Chris Holman.


Gregory Odegard Elected ASME Fellow

Greg Odegard
Greg Odegard

Gregory M. Odegard has been elected a Fellow of ASME. This is a recognition of Dr. Odegard’s significant impact and outstanding contributions in the field of composite materials research through the pioneering of computational modeling techniques to predict the influence of molecular structure on bulk-level properties of composite materials. The Fellow grade is truly a distinction among ASME members.

Odegard is the Richard and Elizabeth Henes Professor of Computational Mechanics, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics.


2019 Forest R. McFarland Award for Darrell Robinette

Darrell Robinette
Darrell Robinette

Dr. Darrell Robinette has been selected to receive the 2019 Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Forest R. McFarland Award.

This award recognizes individuals for their sustained outstanding contributions toward the work of the SAE Engineering Events in the planning, development, and dissemination of technical information through technical meetings, conferences, and professional development programs at SAE events or outstanding contributions to event operations in facilitating or enhancing the interchanges of technical information.

Established in 1979, this award is administered by SAE Engineering Events and honors the late Forest R. McFarland who was himself an outstanding session organizer, a chairman of the Passenger Car Activity, and a member of the Engineering Meetings Board. Funding for this award is through a bequest by Mr. McFarland to SAE and consists of a framed certificate to be presented at the 2019 SAE World Congress on Tuesday, April 19, 2019.


2019 Rekhi Innovation Challenge Winners

Beach ChallengeThe 2019 Rekhi Innovation Challenge ended Feb. 28. This year there were seven teams competing. The Rekhi Challenge is a crowdfunding competition to help promote and support student innovation and entrepreneurship through Michigan Tech’s crowdfunding site, Superior Ideas. A total of $3,035 was raised between the projects. Congratulations to the Automated Beach Safety Flag project for raising the most at $2,245. This project team will receive a matching gift of $1,000.

Here are results in the other prize categories:

Most Unique Visitors – 1st Place Wins $50 For Their Project

  • 1st place – Audio to Visual Translator
  • 2nd place – Automated Beach Safety Flag
  • 3rd place – LifePro Jackets

Most Unique Funders – 1st Place Wins $50 For Their Project

  • 1st place – Audio to Visual Translator
  • 2nd place – Automated Beach Safety Flag
  • 3rd place – LifePro Jackets

Social Media Engagement – 1st Place Wins $50 For Their Project

  • 1st place – Automated Beach Safety Flag
  • 2nd place – Audio to Visual Translator
  • 3rd – LifePro Jackets

Most Creative Marketing Communications Strategy – 1st Place Wins $50 For Their Project

  • 1st place – Automated Beach Safety Flag

The Audio to Visual project won a total of $100 in prize money and the Automated Beach Safety Flag project won a total of $1,150. Thanks to all of the donors that contributed to these projects. Your support for student innovation and entrepreneurship at Michigan Tech is greatly appreciated.

Superior Ideas was established in 2012 to help bring University research and public service projects to life. The site uses crowdfunding to raise money and awareness for University research and public service projects that may not qualify for grant funding.

Meet the Researchers

Audio to Visual Translator

Automated Cellular Beach Safety Flag System

  • Jacob Soter
  • Andrew Barnard is an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics.

APS Lab Efficient Platooning Featured by dSPACE

Christopher Morgan Efficient Platooning Interview

Michigan Tech’s Advanced Power Systems (APS) lab was one of the cover stories in the January edition of dSPACE Magazine. The story “Efficient Platooning,” begins on page 22, and features quotes and a photo of Christopher Morgan (ME-EM). There is also a video link in connection with the story.

Efficient Platooning

Cooperative and predictive control strategies boost energy efficiency in automated vehicles

“The purpose of the project is to use upcoming technologies, such as automated vehicles, V2I, V2X, and sensors, to improve energy consumption on modern vehicles,” says Chris Morgan, Operations Manager at Michigan Tech.

Read more at dSPACE.

Michigan Technological University: Efficient Platooning

Students and Faculty at Michigan Technological University’s Advanced Power Systems Lab (APS Labs) are deeply involved in the NEXTCAR project, as they strive to boost vehicle energy efficiency through driverless technologies.

NEXTCAR stands for Next-Generation Energy Technologies for Connected and Autonomous On-Road Vehicles – an initiative that is funded through the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) of the U.S. Department of Energy.

The video features interviews with:

  • Jeffrey Naber, Director, APS, Michigan Tech
  • Maribeth Yabes, Engineering Group Manager, General Motors
  • Christopher Morgan, Operations Manager, APS, and Instructor, Mechanical Engineering, Michigan Tech
  • Chuck Drews, IT Systems – Pilot Systems
  • Stuart Steel, Program Manager – Pilot Systems

WATCH THE VIDEO


American Heart Association Postdoctoral Fellowship for Michael Hill

Michael Hill
Michael Hill

Michael Hill, PhD, researcher in the Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics, has received an American Heart Association Postdoctoral Fellowship in the amount of $104,060 over two years.

The funding is for his proposal on “Nanoengineered Polymers for Mature Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Derived Cardiomyocytes.”

The goal of the proposal is to produce multiscale materials that can mimic the signals which govern cell behavior in the human heart, in order to guide stem cells into becoming cardiac muscle cells.

Dr. Hill and colleagues work in the lab of Assistant Professor Parisa Abadi, where they are using nanomaterials to develop solutions to medical problems. Due to the shortage of organ donors, myocardial infarction—or heart attack—is one of the major killers in the United States. The research team is seeking to use nanomaterials to engineer systems that can provide viable cardiac muscle cells for cell therapy post-myocardial infarction. These studies could provide a rationale for nanoscale material design for producing patient-specific cardiac cells which help regenerate damaged heart tissue.


Allen and Bellur Present on Phase Change Studies

Jeffrey Allen (ME-EM) gave the presentation “Accommodation Coefficients During Liquid-Vapor Phase-Change: A Cryo/Neutron Study,” at the Gordon Research Conference (GRC) “Micro and Nanoscale Phase Change Heat Transfer,” in Barga, Italy.

Postdoctoral Scholar Kishan Bellur presented a poster at the conference.

The conference took place February 3 – 8, 2019. The GRC and associated Gordon Research Seminar are focused on fundamental descriptions of phase change processes and how these forces interact to prescribe how equipment can be designed and processes can be run.

Jeffrey S. Allen
Jeffrey S. Allen
Kishan Bellur
Kishan Bellur