Author: Sue Hill

Sue Hill is the Digital Content Manager for the College of Engineering.

Irwin and Labyak Present on Integration of Industry 4.0 with the Graduate Curriculum

IAJC 2022 Interntional Conference

John Irwin and David Labyak (MMET) co-authored and presented a paper at the eighth IAJC International Conference on Engineering and Technology, held October 13–16, 2022, in Orlando, Florida (IAJC 2022).

The paper is titled “Industry 4.0 Integration in a Manufacturing Engineering Graduate Certificate and MS Degree.”

The paper has not yet been published. Contact Irwin at or Labyak at for more information.

IAJC is the International Association of Journals and Conferences.


Sunil Mehendale Publishes on the Freezing Process of a Water Droplet

Heat Transfer Research cover

Sunil Mehendale (MMET) has co-authored an article accepted for publication in the Journal of Heat Transfer Research.

The article is titled “Visual Study of the Freezing Process of a Water Droplet on a Horizontal Copper Plate.”

In this study, based on the droplet shape analyzer, the freezing process of droplets has been studied experimentally. The effects of the substrate temperature, ambient relative humidity, and volume of droplets on the freezing process were analyzed. The ambient relative humidity and substrate temperature influenced the degree of supercooling. With decreasing substrate temperature, a critical value of supercooling was found to exist. The effect of droplet volume on supercooling time was found to be non-monotonic. With increasing droplet volume, the supercooling time first decreased first and then increased.

This research has potential applications to ice control and mitigation, and de-icing technologies.

DOI: 10.1615/HeatTransRes.2022040980

Design a Cookie Cutter: Announcing the 2nd Annual Zachary Richard Podkul ’18 MET Design Challenge

Cookie cutter example, in the machine, and in design.

You Could Earn an MET Student Scholarship for Fall 2022!

Are you a mechanical engineering technology student in the Department of Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering Technology at Michigan Tech? Design a Michigan Tech cookie cutter to be used by the department to send to MET prospective students, employers and alumni. Also, provide an assembly of the automated process used to manufacture the cookie cutter. See an example of the manufacturing process.

The cookie cutter design should conform to the size of the manufacturing fixture, provided as an NX CAD model to get you started. (See the related Canvas Course for a model download.)

The top-rated design (Blue and Green parts) for manufacturing the cookie cutter will be 3D printed using the Stratasys Fortus 400 MC which uses Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) process of extruding plastic filament. NX CAD software must be used for this contest.

Watch the Video Introduction

Judging Rubric

  • Parametric—3D CAD model(s) utilizes sketches fully constrained with parametric features and fully constrained parts in the assembly – 5 points
  • Originality—Unique and innovative design – 5 points
  • Optimized—Minimized use of material not compromising strength – 5 points
  • Manufacturability—Ability for part to be easily formed in manufacturing fixture – 5 points
  • Ease of use—The manufacturing design is ergonomic and simple to operate – 5 points

Note: designs not meeting the fixture size and software will be disqualified from judging.


1st Place of $1000 and 2nd Place of $500

The winners of the competition will be awarded the Zachary Richard Podkul Memorial Scholarship for the fall of 2022 semester. The designs will be highlighted in MMET online publications in memory of Zachary Podkul, who graduated from MET in 2018. It’s a nice way to build your resume or have a great talking point during an interview, all while helping lower the cost of your tuition for next year.


Challenge is posted/released—December 8, 2021
Entries due—April 1, 2022
Winner announced—April 19, 2022

To Submit Entry: Join this Canvas course and submit your file.

More about Zachary

Richard T. and Catherine F. Podkul established an endowed scholarship in honor of their dear son, Zachary Richard Podkul, who passed away in 2020 from Crohn’s disease at age 25. Zachary shared a love of cooking, the outdoors and nature, writing and poetry. Learn more here.

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.

Device component set 2.
Device component set 3.
Device component set 1.

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

Journal of Heat Transfer

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.

Mehendale and Warty Co-author Paper on Energy Modeling

High Performance Buildings

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.