Category: Seminars

MEEM Graduate Seminar: Mar 21

Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics Graduate Seminar: Thurs., Mar. 21 at 4:00 in 112 MEEM.
Topic: “Alternative fuels for transportation – drivers, options and trends”
Dr. Thomas Wallner, Principal Mechanical Engineer, Argonne National Laboratory

Thomas Wallner is a research engineer and Principal Investigator at Argonne’s Center for Transportation Research. In this role Thomas plans, performs and analyzes work for research projects on engine and combustion research topics with various fuels including hydrogen and natural gas, gasoline and alcohol fuels as well as diesel fuel in the “Engines and Emissions Research Group” and on vehicle-related applications with the “Vehicle Systems Group”.

Dr. Wallner has received numerous awards including the SAE Forest R. McFarland Award for outstanding contributions toward the work of the SAE Engineering Meetings Board in 2012, the Presentation Award for Young Researchers and Engineers from the 2011 Japan Society of Automotive Engineers/Society of Automotive Engineers (JSAE/SAE), an Environmental Achievement Award from the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) for extraordinary efforts in support of greenhouse gas emissions testing
on behalf of the entire recreational boating industry in 2011 as well as the SAE Lloyd L. Withrow Distinguished Speaker Award in 2011.

Dr. Wallner has published more than 50 peer-reviewed technical papers and holds a European Patent on Hydrogen Injection Strategies. He is also an active member of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and has been acting as a session organizer and chair at several national and international conferences. He recently finished a term as the Chair of the Society of Automotive Engineers’ (SAE) Advanced Power Source Committee and currently serves as an Associate Editor for SAE’s International Journal of Engines.

Topic: “Alternative fuels for transportation – drivers, options and trends”

Despite the fact that the idea of using alternative fuels for transportation applications is as old as the internal combustion engine itself, 95% of vehicles worldwide are powered with conventional fuels. In light of concerns over limited fossil resources as well as regulated and greenhouse gas emissions several alternative fuels have been promoted over the last decades with ethanol and electricity currently being the most dominant options. However, most (all) alternative fuels share similar shortcomings in terms of infrastructure, storage and vehicle range. This seminar discusses drivers for alternative fuels research, highlights past and predicted trends for non-conventional fuels and outlines some of the main challenges for various alternatives.

MEEM Graduate Seminar: Mar. 7

Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics Graduate Seminar: Thurs., Mar. 7 at 4:00 in 112 MEEM. Dr. Joshua M. Pearce from the Department of Materials Science & Engineering and the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering here at Michigan Technological University. His presentation is entitled ‘The Rise of Open-Source 3-D Printing (Or How We Can Make Everyone a Mechanical Engineer)’.

Dr. Joshua M. Pearce received his Ph.D. in Materials Engineering from the Pennsylvania State University. He then developed the first Sustainability program in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education as an assistant professor of Physics at Clarion University of Pennsylvania and helped develop the Applied Sustainability graduate program while at Queen’s University, Canada. He currently is an Associate Professor cross-appointed in the Department of Materials Science & Engineering and in the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering at the Michigan Technological University where he runs the Open Sustainability Technology Research Group. His research concentrates on the use of open source appropriate technology to find collaborative solutions to problems in sustainability and poverty reduction. His research spans areas of electronic device physics and materials engineering of solar photovoltaic cells, and 3-D printing, but also includes applied sustainability and energy policy.

Abstract: “The Rise of Open-Source 3-D Printing (Or How We Can Make Everyone a Mechanical Engineer)”

The benefits of this economy of scale have driven a historical trend towards large-scale manufacturing in low-labor cost countries (e.g. China), especially for the now ubiquitous inexpensive plastic products. However, advances in rapid prototyping with 3-D printing have challenged this cost savings paradigm. With the recent development of low-cost, open-source and self-replicating 3-D printers there is now a technically viable form of distributed manufacturing of many plastic products. The costs of the products are 10-100X less than commercial products and can be ultra-customized. In addition, using distributed open-source 3-D printing for manufacturing eliminates non-productive intellectual monopoly rents and associated encumbering overheads, almost all subtractive waste, allows for lower fill products, and cuts most embodied energy transportation, distribution and packaging-related pollution. This indicates that 3-D printing will not simply be a fad, but a fundamentally new way of providing goods to the world’s population via a transition to local (e.g. U.S. or even U.P.) manufacturing. These properties are already attractive for a large percentage of the population and in the last few years the number of 3-D printer operators has grown rapidly, essentially democratizing mechanical engineering. However, this ‘maker’ movement is primarily made up of amateur DIY engineers and thus there exists an enormous opportunity for traditional engineers to help accelerate the technical progress. This seminar will summarize the state-of-the-art of open-source 3-D printers, the Michigan Tech Open Sustainability Research Group’s work on distributed manufacturing, and conclude with an invitation to participate in what the Economist calls the “next industrial revolution”.

March 07, 2013 Seminar PDF

MEEM Graduate Seminar: Feb 28

Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics Graduate Seminar: Thurs. Feb. 28 at 4:00 in 112 MEEM. Dr. Steve Przesmitzki, Technology Development Manager, United States Department of Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Program.

Topic: DOE Fuels and Lubricants Subprogram

Steve Przesmitzki is a Technology Development Manager within the United States Department of Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Program. Steve’s responsibility is to support the development of energy policy and management of research programs as applied to fuels and lubricants in transportation. Steve has worked at DOE Headquarters in Washington, DC since 2009. Steve’s prior work experience includes 2 years as a project manager for DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory and 14 years in vehicle powertrain design and development at Ford Motor Company. While at Ford, he spent significant time developing powertrains for flexible-fuel vehicles as well as developing on-board diagnostic systems.
Steve holds a PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a MS from the University of Michigan, and a BS from Kettering University; all in Mechanical Engineering. He is also registered as a Professional Engineer in Michigan

Abstract: DOE Fuels and Lubricants Subprogram

The presentation by Dr. Przesmitzki will discuss the U.S. Department of Energy’s end-use transportation fuels and lubricants research program. The research is coordinated within the Vehicle Technologies Program in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and supported by National Laboratories, universities, and industrial partners. The program is designed to support the major R&D programs in transportation research, including the U.S. DRIVE Initiative and the 21st Century Truck Partnership. This program has been undertaken to enable current and emerging advanced combustion engines and emission control systems to be as efficient as possible while meeting future emission standards. The program also addresses
petroleum displacement and efficiency improvements through the use of alternate fuels and blending components, and improved lubricants. The presentation will include an overview of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy organization, highlights from previous fuels and lubricants R&D programs, and a summary of current work. The presentation will also discuss some of the opportunities and challenges in running R&D programs within DOE and potential ways to work with DOE as a partner.

MEEM Graduate Seminar: Feb 21

Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics Graduate Seminar: Sean Egmon
Assistant Director of Services, AVL North America; Thurs. Feb. 21 at 4:00 in 112 MEEM. His presentation is entitled, ‘Success in Engineering is More Than an Equation’

Sean Egmon is the Assistant Director of Services and heads a department of 90 application and service engineers at AVL North America. Sean is a graduate of Wayne State University and has worked in the engine and power train community for over 25 years. After almost a decade at Ford Motor Company in the engine testing laboratory, Sean helped a small engineering company grow 7 fold in the data acquisition and dynamometer control market. He came to AVL to establish a group of applications engineers and technical experts. The localization of these industry experts has helped AVL become the market leader in North America and driven change in AVL’s global service delivery models. AVL is the world’s largest independent company for development, simulation and testing technology of power trains (hybrid, combustion engines, transmission, electric drive, batteries and software) for passenger cars, trucks and large engines. With over $1.3 billion in annual sales, offices in 45 countries and over 6250 employees, AVL is at the forefront of engine and power train development, testing and instrumentation.

Abstract: Success in Engineering is More Than an Equation

Success in engineering comes from working with people. Learning how to work with other engineers and non-engineers alike is paramount to accomplishing your goals. If you want to develop leading edge technical solutions you need knowledge, experience and creative thinking. These things come from groups of engineers, designers, and marketing people. Success requires leadership to get these different people working together to accomplish great things.

ME-EM Graduate Seminar: Feb 14

Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics Graduate Seminar: Professor Venkat Krovi from the Automation Robotics & Mechatronics Lab in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department at SUNY- Buffalo will be the ME-EM graduate seminar guest for Thurs. Feb. 14 at 4:00 in 112 MEEM. His presentation is entitled, ‘Cooperative Payload Transport by Robot Collectives’.

Prof. Venkat Krovi is currently an Associate Professor in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department at the State University of New York at Buffalo where he directs the Automation Robotics and Mechatronics (ARM) Lab. He received his Bachelor’s degree from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras and his Masters and Ph.D. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania. His research interests are in the lifecycle treatment (design, modeling, analysis, control, implementation and verification) of novel robotic and mechatronic systems, with emphasis on both theoretical formulation and experimental validation. The underlying research theme has been to take advantage of the “power of the many” to unlock new opportunities in various plant-automation, automobile, defense and healthcare/surgical applications. The principal opportunities lie in building upon heterogeneous loosely-interconnected physical- and information-systems and architecting high-confidence and reconfigurable operational capabilities in the presence of uncertainties. His work has been funded by NSF, DARPA, ARO as well as numerous state and industrial grants and has received multiple awards, including the National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award, Petro-Canada Young Innovator Award, several best poster, conference and journal paper awards. His work has been published in more than 90 journal/conference articles, book chapters and patents. Within ASME he was past Chair of the Robotics Technical Committee (Dynamic Systems and Control Division) and is Chair-Elect for the Mechanisms and Robotics Technical Committee (Design Engineering Division). He has served as the Conference Chair of the 2010 ASME Mechanisms and Robotics Conference and is slated to serve as General Chair of the 2014 ASME International Design Engineering Technical Conferences. Within IEEE, he has served as Finance Chair for CASE 2010, ICRA 2012, IROS 2014 and is a member of the Conference Activities Board and the Industrial Activities Board of the Robotics and Automation Society. He has previously served as an Associate Editor of ASME Journal of Dynamic Systems, Measurement and Control, and the IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics – he currently serves an Associate Editor for the IEEE Transaction on Robotics.


Cooperative material-handling by a fleet of decentralized manipulation agents has many applications ranging from hazardous waste removal, material handling on the shop floor, to robot work crews for planetary colonization. Our long-term goal is the development of a theoretical and operational framework to model, analyze, implement and validate cooperative payload transport capabilities in such distributed robot collectives.

Our particular focus is on creation, control and active reconfiguration of marching formations of wheeled mobile robots for cooperative payload transportation tasks. The selection of the underlying physical/informational infrastructure, system architecture, and mechanisms of cooperation creates many alternatives. A systematic framework is therefore critical for evaluation/selection of suitable implementations with quantifiable cooperative-performance benefits and forms the focus of our research activities. In particular, we will present our efforts to develop methodologies for design and optimization of formations for apriori known tasks, adaptation of formations for changing tasks and scalable schemes for control under the common theoretical but computationally tractable framework.

Time permitting, I will also provide a brief overview of the many other related research initiatives ranging from: (a) uneven terrain locomotion systems; (b) human-computer interfaces for mediated teleoperation; (c) haptic user-interface design and (d) quantitative surgical skill assessment.

MEEM Graduate Seminar: Jan 31

Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics Graduate Seminar: January 31, 2013; 4:00 – 5:00 p.m., Room 112, ME-EM Building

Hugh Blaxill. Managing Director MAHLE Powertrain LLC. Novi, Michigan

Hugh Blaxill is currently Managing Director of MAHLE Powertrain LLC based in Novi, Michigan. MAHLE Powertrain is an engineering consultancy working in the automotive and aerospace fields under the ownership of MAHLE, the well known tier 1 component supplier. Hugh leads a team of specialized engineers in design, development, calibration, controls and diagnostic tools. Hugh was previously Chief Engineer for Research and Development at MAHLE Powertrain (and previously Cosworth) in the UK working on many IC engine research topics such as; downsizing, range extenders, advanced combustion concepts and hardware solutions. Prior to that he worked on a number of production engine development projects for many of the major OEM’s globally. Hugh joined MAHLE from Ricardo where he worked on production diesel engine development. He completed his two degrees at The University of Bath, in the UK.

Topic: Turbulent Jet Ignition: An efficient, clean combustion concept for the future?

In order to meet future global emissions goals, in the short to medium term it will be necessary to continue to improve the fuel consumption of the spark ignited gasoline engine. Gasoline engine downsizing is the dominant technology being implemented in the US and globally. In addition technologies such as variable valvetrains and stratified lean combustion have been implemented by some manufacturers. This presentation considers the application of a homogenous ultra lean combustion system to current and future engine technologies. The ultra lean combustion system is achieved via a high energy Turbulent Jet Ignition system. Turbulent Jet Ignition is an advanced spark initiated prechamber combustion system. The ultra lean combustion system has been shown to achieve high thermal efficiencies and low NOx emissions. Furthermore the improved knock resistance of the system allows, due to the distributed ignition sites, improvements in the compression ratio or a synergy with boosted applications.

PDF Flyer for Jan 31, 2013 Seminar

MEEM Graduate Seminar: Jan 24

Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics Graduate Seminar: January 24, 2013; 4:00 – 5:00 p.m., Room 112, ME-EM Building

Mark R. Vaugh, Research Professor, Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics Michigan Technological University

Mark Vaughn holds a PhD in mechanical engineering and an MS in biomedical engineering from The University of Texas at Austin as well as a BS in biomedical engineering from the University of New Mexico. He began his career at the
Center for Electromechanics in Austin designing and building pulsed power flywheel inertial energy storage systems and railguns for SDI. This work required him to invent new hydrostatic bearing technology. Mark worked for over 26 years at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque New Mexico. He spent four years working in advanced nuclear weapon use control systems. He then worked building one-of-a-kind missile payloads for the next ten years, primarily for SDI. During this time he began work in medical devices including prosthetics, wound healing, and wheelchair assistive devices. A robot project took him to the robotics department for four years, where he worked on a variety of DARPA projects. After doing design and development work for earth penetrators, he worked for several years in the Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) gimbal group on heat removal and bearing tasks while also starting up a UAV payload effort. Finally, he followed a DARPA drilling project to the geothermal group, where he also collaborated on a study of energy storage for microgrids. He holds ten US patents.

Topic: Energy Storage for Power Grid Integration of Renewables

Renewable energy sources, solar, wind, etc, are becoming a larger proportion of overall electrical energy production. In order to improve the utilization efficiency of these new sources in the existing power grid, energy storage will be needed. Numerous energy storage modalities are examined, with commentary on advantages and disadvantages of each. Selection strategies will be discussed.

PDF Flyer

MEEM Graduate Seminar: Jan 17

Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics Graduate Seminar: January 17, 2013; 4:00 – 5:00 p.m., Room 112, ME-EM Building

Brett Chouinard, Chief Operating Officer. Altair Inc.

Brett Chouinard has been with Altair Engineering for 19 years in
various positions in management, engineering, consulting, sales and technical support. In his current role as Chief Operating Officer he is responsible for sales, marketing and technical support for the Altair’s global field operations. Prior to joining Altair, Mr. Chouinard was a structural engineer for GE Aircraft engines specializing in the design and analysis of metallic and composite structures. He holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Michigan Technological University and an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from The University of Cincinnati with emphasis in simulation of structures and human tissue engineering.

Topic: Altair Engineering – In pursuit of Lightweight Design

PDF Flyer

MEEM Graduate Seminar: Dec 13

Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics Graduate Seminar: December 13, 2012; 4:00 – 5:00 p.m., Room 112, ME-EM Building

Christopher S. Johnson, Ph.D., Chemical Sciences and Engineering Division, Argonne National Laboratory

Dr. Christopher S. Johnson is currently a chemist at Argonne National Laboratory, specializing in the research & development of battery materials and battery systems with over 20 years of experience. His education background is the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (B.S. Chem.) and Northwestern University earning his Ph.D. in 1992. He has been active in the lithium battery materials field having published over 90 publications and 10 patents issued. He is cathode projects leader at Argonne, and has managed several DOE, AFRL contracts and work-for-others programs. He was elected a Member-at-Large of the Battery Division of The Electrochemical Society (ECS) in 2008, and the Treasurer in 2010. He is active in organizing battery subject symposia at biannual ECS meetings. He is a member of the American Chemical Society, Materials Research Society, the Society for Electroanalytical Chemistry, and The Electrochemical Society-Battery Division since 1993. He has received research awards from the International Battery Association in 2006, and a R&D-100 award for the commercialization of lithium battery materials in 2009. Currently he is developing room-temperature Na-ion batteries for niche applications.

Title: Advanced Materials to Enable High-Energy Li and Na-Ion Batteries

The need for energy storage and its rising demand has become a major issue that the world faces today and going forward in the future. Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries are widely used for energy storage in a myriad of portable consumer applications and now are being introduced in transportation technologies, such as plug-in hybrid (PHEV) electric vehicles. The small size and low weight of the batteries have enabled new devices for many applications. The specific energy and power of Li-ion batteries continues to grow as high-performance anode and cathode materials become commercially available. This presentation will focus on advanced materials and their chemistry for Li-ion battery applications and also emerging low-cost Na-ion batteries as energy storage chemistry for electrical grid applications.

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MEEM Graduate Seminar: Dec 6

Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics Graduate Seminar: December 6, 2012; 4:00 – 5:00 p.m., Room 112, ME-EM Building

Professor Cortino Sukotjo, Assistant Professor at Department of Restorative Dentistry, College of Dentistry
University of Illinois at Chicago

Dr. Cortino Sukotjo received his Dental Degree from Padjadjaran University in Indonesia, followed by Ph.D in Oral Biology from College of Dentistry, University of California at Los Angeles. He then pursued his specialty training in Prosthodontics at Harvard School of Dental Medicine. Presently he holds a position as Assistant Professor at Department of Restorative Dentistry, College of Dentistry, University of Illinois at Chicago and adjunct
assistant professor at Michigan Technology University. His research interest is in the area of implant surface modification iand dental education.

Title: Current Research Trend in Implant Dentistry

Dental Implant has been used widely to replace missing teeth. However, the implant success rates in patients with smoking and/or uncontrolled diabetic history are still relatively lower than healthy individuals. To improve implant success rate, implant surface modification is needed. In this presentation, I will present some background about implant dentistry and current research trend in implant dentistry such as implant corrosion and implant surface modification.

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