Author: Sue Hill

Mehendale Publishes on Carbon Fiber Cold Surface Research

Sunil S. Mehendale
Sunil S. Mehendale

Sunil Mehendale (MMET) co-authored a research article titled “Research on the phase transition process of sessile droplet on carbon fiber cold surface,” which has been accepted for publication in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers’ Journal of Thermal Science and Engineering.

The article describes how the droplet phase transition process on the cold surface of a carbon fiber substrate was studied by observing the droplet freezing process. The experiments involved visualizing and measuring the progression of the solid-liquid interface during the phase transition process and the droplet deformation rate. The phase interface presented an irregular wave shape early on and a smooth concave shape later in the freezing process.

This study provides good data and ideas for designing anti/de-icing of carbon fiber equipment operating in low-temperature environments in industrial refrigeration, aerospace and other situations.


Hunter Wilke is the 2021 Podkul Competition Winner

Three people, with Hunter Wilke in the center.
Hunter Wilke (center)

MET student Hunter Wilke is the winner of the 2021 Zachary Richard Podkul MET Memorial Annual Scholarship Challenge.

2021 Winning Design

“Door Opening Device”

The challenge was to design an item that can be used to decrease the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The device could be something that can be worn, hooked to a backpack or clothing or easily carried on one’s person. The competition required a 3D CAD model to be produced using Siemens NX software. The winning design was to be 3D printed using a Stratasys Fortus 400 MC which uses a Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) process of extruding plastic filament.

Competition Description

$1,000 Scholarship Award for MET Student Fall 2021

Design a device/gadget that can be manufactured using additive manufacturing (3D printing) methods. The CAD model must fit inside a 3D printing volume envelope of 4 cubic inches. The challenge is to design an item that can be used to decrease the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The device can be something that can be worn, hooked to a backpack or clothing, or easily carried on one’s person. The competition requires a 3D CAD model to be produced using Siemens NX software. To choose the winning design, the top rated entries will be 3D printed using the Stratasys Fortus 400 MC which uses Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) process of extruding plastic filament. Competitors are not required to 3D print their own designs, but it is okay if they desire to test their design prior to entry.

Judging Rubric

  1. Parametric – 3D CAD model utilizes sketches fully constrained with parametric features – 5 points
  2. Originality – Unique idea to decrease spread of virus – 5 points
  3. Optimized – Minimized use of material not compromising strength – 5 points
  4. Manufacturability – Minimal need for support material and post processing – 5 points
  5. Ease of use – The design is ergonomic and simple to operate – 5 points

Note: designs not meeting the requirement of volume and software will be disqualified from judging.

In Memory of Zachary Richard Podkul, MET Alum

The winner of the competition will be awarded the Zachary Richard Podkul Memorial Scholarship.

John Irwin standing by a poster.
Dr. John Irwin, chair of MMET department, stands by Zachary Podkul’s senior design project team poster “Incremental Forming Tool Design.”
Three people standing by memorial table.
Hunter Wilke (center)
Five people standing in the shop.
Family of Zachary Podkul standing with Hunter Wilke (rightmost back), MMET Operations/Facilities Supervisor Nicholas V. Hendrickson (left), and College of Engineering Director for Advancement Bryant Weathers (second from left).


Mehendale Publishes on Metal Foams

A research paper by Sunil Mehendale (MMET), has been accepted for publication in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Journal of Heat Transfer (JHT), a top-notch journal that disseminates information of permanent interest in the areas of heat and mass transfer.

The journal is reputed for its rigorous peer review process and there is a general consensus that the JHT is the world’s premier journal in its field. The paper, “Thermal-Hydraulic Optimization of Open Cell Metallic Foams Used as Extended Surfaces,” has been posted online and is available in the Accepted Manuscript section of the journal on the ASME Digital Collection.

Article Summary

Heat transfer and fluid flow in metal foams is encountered in a broad range of natural and industrial processes which includes such diverse fields as compact heat exchangers, fuel cell technology, filtration, and physiological processes. An analytical validated model for predicting temperature distribution, heat transfer, pressure drop, and fluid pumping power in an open-cell metal foam fin is developed. A foam length optimization technique based on its performance factor (PF) is proposed. An often-used fin optimization criterion recommends that the fin effectiveness should equal or exceed 2. The present study shows that the effectiveness of any optimized foam always exceeds 2. However, the converse, i.e., requiring the foam effectiveness to at least equal 2, does not guarantee an optimal foam, which implies that the PF-based optimization criterion is an inclusive one. It is also proved that a previously suggested optimization criterion of maximizing a foam’s geometric mean efficiency will result in a sub-optimal foam design.

https://doi.org/10.1115/1.4050921


Mehendale and Warty Co-author Paper on Energy Modeling

Sunil Mehendale (MMET) co-authored, with graduate student in ME-EM Amarnath Warty, the peer-reviewed paper “Energy Modeling and Energy Efficiency Opportunities for a Public Library Building in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.” 

The paper has been accepted for publication and presentation at the 2021 Purdue High Performance Buildings conference.

Brief description of research: The present research has a twofold aim: (1) to model the natural gas consumption and the total electricity consumption of a 12600 sq. ft. public library building in Houghton, MI, and (2) to identify any opportunities to improve energy efficiency. This was accomplished by first developing and validating an eQUEST model for the library building in conjunction with a linear regression model correlating the natural gas consumption (during winter) with heating degree days and the electricity consumption (during summer) as a function of cooling degree days. The said library building, which is serviced by two rooftop furnaces, each with a DX coil, and a hot-water loop using two boilers, has been facing HVAC issues for a few years now, the most common complaint being that it gets too hot in the winter despite the thermostat being set to provide comfortable temperatures. Preliminary results suggest that the principal factors affecting the building energy consumption are the HVAC loads, lighting, and occupancy and that the natural gas consumption of the building could be lowered by up to 20% using the furnace units alone (i.e., by dispensing with the boilers), while still meeting the building’s heating requirements.


Mehendale Publishes on Heat Exchanger Project

Sunil S. Mehendale
Sunil S. Mehendale

Sunil Mehendale (MMET) co-authored the article, “The influence of Header Design on Two-Phase Flow Distribution in Plate-Fin Heat Exchangers”, which has been accepted for publication in the ASME’s (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) Journal of Thermal Science and Engineering Applications.

This paper experimentally demonstrates that improved heat exchanger header designs through the use of carefully designed perforated plates placed prior to the entry of fluid into the heat exchanger can significantly aid in distributing the two-phase flow more evenly. Thereby, any degradation in the thermal-hydraulic performance of the equipment stemming from flow maldistribution can be effectively minimized.


Sunil Mehendale Comments on Geothermal Systems

Sunil S. Mehendale
Sunil S. Mehendale

A modern remix of old technologies that cuts home energy bills has the potential to utterly transform homes in the future, and the system was created in East Tennessee’s own Oak Ridge National Lab.

Scientists have developed prototype geothermal “batteries” that, unlike conventional batteries, actually tap and store the heat energy of the Earth to provide heating, cooling and hot water.

Phase change materials have been in use for at least a decade in diverse applications, from medical care to home climate control.

“None of these technologies themselves are new,” said Sunil Mehendale, associate professor of mechanical engineering at Michigan Tech. “But combining all these technologies together in one structure, that’s what brings the novelty.”

“I would really like to see how a full-scale device stacks up against current technology,” Mehendale added.

Read more at Knoxville News Sentinel, by Vincent Gabrielle.


Professor John Irwin Elected to Engineering Technology Council Director Position

John Irwin
John Irwin

John Irwin (SoT) was elected by the Engineering Technology Division (ETD) Membership of ASEE to represent the University for a two-year term, as one of five Director Positions on the Engineering Technology Council (ETC) of ASEE. ETC is committed to promoting quality engineering technology education. ETC convenes engineering technology leaders at the annual Engineering Technology Leadership Institute (ETLI), Oct 10-11, 2019, in Alexandria, Virginia.

ETC also develops position statements and policies to bring attention to national issues. The ETC Director Position requires attending annual executive and business meetings, interim web-based meetings, and champion specific tasks related to mission, goals, strategic plan, or a specific project. ETC of ASEE institutional membership provides Michigan Tech a voice at the table for the future of Engineering Technology nationally.


2018 and 2019 Program Scholar Awards

2018 Program Scholars
2018 Program Scholars

The 2018 and 2019 Program Scholar Awards were given to the following students:

  • Surveying Engineering: Kyle Hiltunen and Steven Smendzuik
  • Mechanical Engineering Technology: Frances Luo and Alyssa DePauw; Isai Jonatan Hudy-Velasco
  • Construction Management: Brandon Taavola and John Batsikouras
  • Computer Network and System Administration: Michael Dabish and Dina Falzarano
  • Electrical Engineering Technology: Thomas Prica and Spencer Thompson

Thomas Prica (EET) was also selected from the above program scholars as the nominee for the University’s 2018 Departmental Scholar Award and Isai Jonatan Hudy-Velasco (MET) was nominated for the University’s 2019 Departmental Scholar Award.


Epsilon Pi Tau Induction Spring 2019

Epsilon Pi Tau Spring 2019 Initiates
Epsilon Pi Tau Spring 2019 Initiates

Nine students were inducted into the Michigan Tech Delta Zeta Chapter of Epsilon Pi Tau Honor Society, Spring 2019. Epsilon Pi Tau is the international honor society for professions in technology, recognizing students and technology professionals for academic excellence. The student chapter of Delta Zeta Epsilon Pi Tau was recently selected as the recipient of the 2019 Warner Chapter Award for Region 3.

Spring 2019 Delta Zeta—Epsilon Pi Tau MET Initiates

  • Anna Connelly
  • Isai J. Hudy-Velasco
  • Timothy Ingram
  • Justin Mondeik
  • Taren Odette