Category Archives: Research

John Johnson Invited Member to National Research Council Committee on Fuel Economy of Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicles

Dr. John Johnson, Presidential Professor Emeritus, has been invited to join the National Research Council’s Committee on Fuel Economy of Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicles. His appointment will be effective through May 2010.

The committee will conduct an assessment of fuel economy technologies for medium and heavy-duty vehicles. According to the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, Section 108, the study is to develop a report evaluating medium-duty and heavy-duty truck fuel economy standards. The committee will 1) consider appropriate approaches to measuring fuel economy for medium- and heavy duty vehicles that would be required for setting standards; 2) assess current and potential technologies and estimate improvements in fuel economy for medium-duty and heavy-duty trucks that might be achieved; 3) address how the technologies identified in Task 2 above may be used practically to improve medium-duty and heavy-duty truck fuel economy; 4) address how such technologies may be practically integrated into the medium-duty and heavy-duty truck manufacturing process; 5)assess how such technologies may be used to meet fuel economy standards to be prescribed under section 32902(k) of title 49, United States Code, as amended by Section 108; 6) discuss the pros and cons of approaches to improving the fuel efficiency of moving goods in the trucking sector against setting vehicle fuel economy standards; and 7) identify the potential costs and other impacts on the operation of medium-duty and heavy-duty trucks. The study committee will not recommend a standard but the results of its analysis will give guidance to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as it moves forward with how to address fuel economy standards for medium and heavy-duty trucks.


Bo Chen Awarded Best Paper in Computational Methods and Software at Conference

Bo Chen has received the Best Paper in Computational Methods and Software Award at the 2008 IEEE/ASME International Conference on Mechatronic and Embedded Systems and Applications in Beijing China. Her co-author was Dr. M. Tomizuka. The award was presented by the IEEE Intelligent Transportation Systems Society, the ASME Division of Computers and Information in Engineering, and the ASME Division of Design Engineering.


Faculty Awarded Grants

Jeffrey Allen, (CoPI, ME-EM), “Center for Fundamental and Applied Research in Nanostructured and Lightweight Materials”, sponsor: National Science Foundation, total award amount: $1,544,553

Jeffrey Allen, (CoPI, ME-EM); Jeffery Naber, (CoPI, ME-EM); “Hydrogen Education Curriculum Path at Michigan Technological University”; sponsor: U.S. Department of Energy; total award amount: $482,244.

Jason Blough, (PI, ME-EM); Jeffery Naber (CoPI, ME-EM), “Combustion Pressure Engine Testbed Setup”, sponsor: PCB Piezotronics, total award amount: $36,347.

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MuSTI: Multi-Scale Technologies Institute

MuSTI at Michigan Tech promotes interdisciplinary research and the implementation of nanotechnologies and microtechnologies into deployable systems. Ten departments and colleges on campus are involved in this initiative. Participating Physics faculty include Dr. John A. Jaszczak, Dr. Miguel Levy, Dr. Ravi Pandey, Dr. Ranjit Pati, and Dr. Yoke Khin Yap. The institute is directed by Dr. Craig Friedrich, a Professor in the Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics Department. Some recent Physics/MuSTI proposals include:

Associate Professor Yoke Khin Yap (Physics/MuSTI), Assistant Professor Henry A. Sodano and Assistant Professor Greg Odegard (MEEM/MuSTI), “Functionalized Carbon Nanotube Arrays for Aerodynamic Sensing,” DoD-Missile Defense Agency

Professor Ravindra Pandey and Visiting Assistant Professor Ralph Scheicher (Physics/MuSTI), “Comprehensive First-Principles Study of Novel Bio-Nano Sensor Technology Based on DNA-Wrapped Carbon Nanotubes,” NSF-NER

Professor Miguel Levy (Physics/MSE/MuSTI), “Materials World Network: Nonlinear Magnetophotonic Crystals,” NSF


MEEM Faculty Receive 2008 HP Technology for Teaching Grant

Associate Professor/Associate Chair Chuck Van Karsen, Associate Professor Michele Miller, Professor John Gershenson, Assistant Professor Jason Blough and Assistant Professor Spandan Maiti (MEEM) have received a 2008 HP Technology of Teaching grant, “Enhancing Engineering Analysis and Creative Design with Tablet Technology.” The award process was very competitive; only 44 higher education institutions were selected out of more than 370 applicants.


Michigan Tech Awarded $897,000 for Automotive Fuel Cell Research

Michigan Tech has been awarded $897,000 to investigate methods of improving automotive fuel cell performance and durability. The award is part of a $2.7 million Department of Energy collaborative project with Rochester Institute of Technology, General Motors and Michigan Tech.

Assistant Professor Jeffrey Allen (MEEM) is the Michigan Tech investigator for this project. Collaborators on this project include the principal investigator Satish Kandlikar, the James E. Gleason professor of mechanical engineering at Rochester Institute of Technology, and Thomas Trabold, senior research engineer with General Motors Fuel Cell Development Center.

The project, “Visualization of Fuel Cell Water Transport and Performance Characterization,” will explore water transport and accumulation in automotive fuel cells to develop components and materials that minimize water accumulation and freeze damage, which degrades performance and durability of automotive fuel cells.

The three-year project began March 1 and will involve undergraduate, master’s and doctoral engineering students. The project is part of a $100 million hydrogen research and development program announced by the Department of Energy supporting President Bush’s Advanced Energy Initiative.


Helton, Brad King Receive Major Defense Department Grants

Assistant Professor Deak Helton (Cognitive and Learning Sciences) and Associate Professor Brad King (MEEM) have been awarded two major grants from the US Department of Defense.

Helton has requested $467,017 to equip a Human-Robot Interaction Lab. King’s proposal includes $151,069 to support his work developing ion thrusters, used to power a new, small class of satellites. Both proposals will receive funding; the final amounts have not been determined.

“We are trying to build nanosatellites as small as cell phones that will be able to take pictures and relay them back to Earth,” King said. “They’ll need a propulsion system, a rocket engine the size of a thumbnail.”

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Improving Fuel Cell Performance and Durability

Michigan Technological University has been awarded $897,000 to investigate methods of improving automotive fuel cell performance and durability. The award is part of a $2.7 million Department of Energy collaborative project with Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), General Motors (GM), and Michigan Tech (MTU).

Jeffrey Allen, (in photo) Assistant Professor in Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics, is the MTU investigator for this project. Collaborators on this project include the principal investigator Satish Kandlikar, the James E. Gleason Professor of Mechanical Engineering at RIT, and Dr. Thomas Trabold, Senior Research Engineer with GM Fuel Cell Development Center.

The project, Visualization of Fuel Cell Water Transport and Performance Characterization, will explore water transport and accumulation in automotive fuel cells with the goal to develop components and materials which minimize water accumulation and freeze damage which degrade performance and durability of automotive fuel cells.

The three year project, beginning March 1, 2007, will involve undergraduate, master’s degree and doctoral engineering students. The project is part of a $100 million hydrogen research and development program announced by the Department of Energy supporting President Bush’s Advanced Energy Initiative.


Improved MEMS Chemical Vapor Sensors

A team of Michigan Tech researchers has won an $800,000 contract from the State of Michigan 21st Century Jobs Fund to develop improved MEMS chemical vapor sensors.

Mechanical Engineering Associate Professor Michele Miller (in photo) leads a project team of faculty from Mechanical Engineering (Professor Gordon Parker, Assistant Professor Henry Sodano), Chemistry (Assistant Professor Haiying Liu, Professor Sarah Green), and Electrical Engineering (Associate Professor Paul Bergstrom). The Michigan Tech faculty will collaborate with researchers at the University of West Virginia, Sandia National Labs, and one or more Michigan MEMS companies to improve sensitivity, selectivity and reliability of MEMS based sensors for detecting nerve gas and other chemical vapors. One goal for the project is to fabricate novel porous structures for increasing sensing surface area. Another key goal is to incorporate chemical and structural behavior into a multi-regime design optimization. Expected outcomes are new MEMS sensors with superior performance and a new design methodology for dealing with the vast design parameter space of chemo-mechanical devices.


High Pressure Combustion Laboratory

A team of Michigan Tech researchers has been awarded a National Science Foundation Grant for $1.3M to develop a high pressure combustion laboratory.

Mechanical Engineering Associate Professor Jeff Naber (in photo) leads a project team of colleagues from Mechanical Engineering (Professor Carl Anderson), Chemical Engineering (Professor Daniel Crowl), and Math Sciences (Professor Franz Tanner). The Michigan Tech faculty will collaborate with Assistant Professor Scott Post of Bradley University, and engineers at the Keweenaw Research Center. The focal point of the laboratory will be a configurable high pressure combustion vessel with optical access. The laboratory will provide the foundation for basic and applied research for clean and efficient combustion with petroleum based and alternative fuels including biodiesel and ethanol. It will also provide the ability to examine the flammability and combustion characteristics of hydrogen and other fuels at elevated pressures and temperatures to improve safety standards and handling. The experimental investigations will be closely linked to computational research directed at developing and optimizing the next generation of clean engines. The laboratory will enhance established efforts in alternative fuels research at the University and enable new opportunities for collaboration within and outside the University.

Advanced Power Systems Research