Category: Research

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

Happy Holidays: A Note from MMET Chair John Irwin

Dr. John Irwin, Chair, Department of Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering Technology

Dear Friends,

Even though it has been yet another pandemic year for us all, I want to share some good news. Despite all the challenges, we are still thriving here at Michigan Tech. We hope you are too.

This past week, 16 of our MET students graduated at Michigan Tech’s mid-year commencement, and most have accepted offers for engineering positions.

Our fall 2021 MET freshman class was again one of the larger groups in recent history at 24 students (same as last year). And our total enrollment for the MET degree program reached an all-time high: 172 students.

Several students enrolled in online courses to attain a graduate certificate in Manufacturing Engineering, which was initiated this year. The majority are MET alumni who work in manufacturing-related positions. In addition, we offer a new MS in Manufacturing Engineering and will soon begin accepting applicants for fall 2022.

Our annual MMET holiday lunch!

Here in MMET, we continue to support the very popular new interdisciplinary MS degree in Mechatronics, offering five graduate courses including an innovative new course, MET5400: Key Factors of Holistic Safety Programs.

We look forward to a productive new year for 2022. We will continue to strive to prepare hands-on professionals that can apply industry 4.0 methodology. Please visit MMET to see our newly developed Mission, Vision, and Goals.

We’ve already gotten about 31″ of snow so far this year…

Be sure to reach out to me with any questions, and let me know if you have any news you would like to share. I always enjoy hearing from you. 

On behalf of all of us in the Department of Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering and Technology, I wish you all a very happy and healthy holiday season.

John Irwin, Professor and Chair
jlirwin@mtu.edu
Support MET: https://www.mtu.edu/mmet/department/giving/

MMET Applied Fluid Power Lab Thrives with Industry Support

New equipment in the Applied Fluid Power Lab, purchased with support from the Parker-Hannifin Foundation, was set up and operational by the start of classes in January 2021. In addition, grant funds from the National Fluid Power Association (NFPA) were used to develop a revised curriculum.

“Our new hydraulic equipment includes an additional set of basic and advanced modules for our existing double-sided trainer (donated by Parker in 2019), plus a new double-sided trainer, pump, basic and advanced modules to equip both sides,” Irwin explains. “We immediately put this new equipment to good use.”

In the MMET Applied Fluid Power course, students perform all the labs in the basic and advanced Parker manuals during a two-hour lab session. They use Automation Studio software for the simulation and analysis of hydraulic circuits.

One brand-new 3-credit graduate course, Advanced Hydraulics: Electrohydraulic Components and Systems was offered for the first time in fall 2021 for students pursuing an MS in Mechatronics. The curriculum for the course was developed this past spring and summer.

Mechatronics MS student Namratha Karanam was hired to set up and test the electrohydraulic system components–an Electrohydraulic Module and an Electrohydraulic Expansion Module, both donated by Parker in 2019. 

“In addition, Donald Engineering President, Mark Gauthier, generously donated a Pump Test Stand to supplement our course learning objectives,” says Irwin. “Their donation enables MMET faculty and students to evaluate flow rate and temperature change in and out of the cooling unit for the hydraulic pump.”

MMET Department and Faculty Earn New Funding

New funding in the Department of Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering Technology includes a MiLEAP grant to support the creation and delivery of innovative, short-term programs in manufacturing to UP residents affected by COVID-19.

AIST Grant Supports Teaching Industry 4.0

MMET Assistant Professor David Labyak received a $25,000 Steel Curriculum Development Grant from the Association for Iron and Steel Technology (AIST). Dr. Paul Sanders (MSE), Dr. Nathir Rawashdeh (AC), and Dr. John Irwin (MMET) are co-PIs. The team will use the award to teach Industry 4.0 to MET students in pilot-scale metal/steel processing facilities at Michigan Tech.


Michigan Tech CTE Offers a Seamless Transition from High School to College

Last fall Michigan Tech launched a year-long Career and Technical Education (CTE) program for high school juniors and seniors in the area of mechatronics. The partnership allows local students a seamless transition from high school to college. The program is offered through a partnership between Michigan Tech and the Copper Country Intermediate School District (CCISD).

This fall, Dr. John Irwin received funding from CCISD to support the two MS Mechatronics students who prepare, teach and administer the program. The CCISD provides a total of $40,000 per year from local millage funds to support the delivery of the program. “Our hope is that upon completion of the program students will enroll in mechanical engineering technology and/or applied computing degree programs at Michigan Tech,” says Irwin.

The CTE program utilizes facilities in Michigan Tech’s EERC building for specialized training. Courses take place from 10:15 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. each day.


MiLEAP: Getting Michigan Back to Work

Last summer a $1,695,000 grant was awarded to Upper Peninsula Michigan Works! to help UP residents transition from short-term education programs to high-wage employment. The funding from Michigan Learning and Education Advancement (MiLEAP) will implement innovative, short-term, customized education and training programs in manufacturing and healthcare, with the goal of assisting over 450 participants from across Michigan’s Upper Peninsula who have been impacted by COVID-19.

Michigan Tech contracted $61,703 for the MMET department led by Dr. John Irwin, and $61,703 for the Advanced Power Systems Research Center (APSRC) Mobile Lab, directed by Dr. Jeremy Worm (ME-EM).
MiLEAP aligns with the state of Michigan’s “60 by 30” goal: to increase the number of working-age adults with a skill certificate or college degree to 60% by 2030.

More details about specific training opportunities will be coming soon from the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity’s Office of Employment and Training. Opportunities will be available until June 30, 2023. Learn more here.


Parker Donates Funds to Support Parker Motion and Control Lab

John Irwin, MMET Professor and Chair, received $8,500, a grant from Parker Motion and Control Lab Upkeep, in support of MMET Applied Fluid Power courses at Michigan Tech.

The upkeep funds have been allocated for a hydraulic platform, hydraulic pump, and hoses to expand the teaching labs in the Parker Motion and Controls Lab. An order has been placed with Triad Technologies for early February 2022 delivery, so that the new equipment can be used in the MMET Applied Fluid Power course. The course is available as a technical elective for students working toward BS and MS degrees in either Mechanical Engineering and Mechatronics, as well as MET majors. 

“Fluid power engineering is growing in the US and globally, which is one of the conclusions of the recent 2021 NFPA Industry Brief,” says Irwin. “According to the brief, fluid power has a major downstream economic impact. It is estimated that the top industries that depend on fluid power represent thousands of companies in the United States, employing more than 845,000 people for an annual payroll of more than $60 billion.” 

MMET Faculty Research Publications

Aluminum OCMFs with different pore sizes and porosities. Photo credit: MMET Associate Professor Sunil Mehendale

Heat transfer and fluid flow in metal foams. Energy modeling and efficiency opportunities for a Public Library Building in the UP. Here’s a quick update on MMET faculty research.

Dr. John Irwin co-authored with Dr. Laura Kasson Fiss (Pavlis Honors College) and Dr. Sarah Tan (Engineering Fundamentals) a paper published and presented in the 2021 ASEE virtual conference proceedings, “S-STEM Student Reflections and IDP Process.”  

Dr. Irwin also co-authored with Dr. David Labyak and Dr. David Wanless, published and presented in the 2021 ATMAE conference proceedings titled “Manufacturing Engineering Certificate and MS Degree for the Working Professional.” Presented in Orlando, Florida at the ATMAE Annual Conference on November 4, 2021. 

Dr. Sunil Mehendale co-authored “Research on the Phase Transition Process of Sessile Droplet on Carbon Fiber Cold Surface,” an article published in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Journal of Thermal Science and Engineering. The study provides data and ideas for designing anti/de-icing carbon fiber equipment while operating in low-temperature environments, such as industrial refrigeration, aerospace, and more. 

Dr. Mehendale also co-authored, with ME-EM graduate student Amarnath Warty, “Energy Modeling and Energy Efficiency Opportunities for a Public Library Building in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.” The paper was published and presented n at the 2021 Purdue High-Performance Buildings conference. The research found that natural gas consumption of the building could be lowered by up to 20% using the furnace units alone (for instance, by dispensing with the boilers), while still meeting the building’s heating requirements.

Last but not least, Dr. Mehendale’s research was published in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Journal of Heat Transfer: “Thermal-Hydraulic Optimization of Open Cell Metallic Foams Used as Extended Surfaces.” His work investigates heat transfer and fluid flow in metal foams, 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. 

MMET’s Machine Shop Additive Manufacturing Lab Poised for Growth

Vat Photopolymerisation

Michigan Tech’s production-style, polymeric additive manufacturing (AM) machines are all located in the MMET Machine Shop. MMET Department Chair John Irwin envisions a total of seven.

“In accordance with ASTM, all AM processes must fall into one of seven technology groups,” Irwin explains. “For optimum teaching and research, it’s become increasingly clear that we need seven types of printers, one for each different technology.”

“The first of the three machines in our MMET AM Lab is a Stratasys Fortus 400mc 3D prototyping machine with wash station, used for Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM). The second machine, for Vat Photopolymerisation—more commonly known as stereolithography—uses the 3D Systems Figure 4 Standalone Industrial 3D Printer. Finally, Material Jetting is done using the MJP 3600 with the PRO JET Finisher.”

Both undergraduate and graduate students stand to benefit from added equipment, says Irwin. “The MMET Machine Shop already serves as an important campus resource, serving both the MMET department and numerous other departments on campus.”

“Several undergraduate MMET labs are held in the Machine Shop,” notes Irwin. “A number of undergraduate Enterprise teams use the facility, as well.”

In addition, MMET graduate students use the Machine Shop as a place of learning. “Our Manufacturing Engineering MS degree course, MFGE 5300, covers the seven AM processes, how they work to produce a part, and how to design a part for the additive process,” says Irwin. “A second course, MFGE 5400, is a lab-based class in which students will bring their newly acquired knowledge from MFGE 5300 and apply it to designing and producing parts on each type of technology.”

“One of our most important goals is to become a leader in manufacturing, teaching and research. To reach this goal, our AM Lab is continually evolving.”

Dr. John Irwin, MMET department chair

A great deal of research goes on in the Machine Shop, too. “Graduate research projects are produced in this space on a daily basis for many disciplines across campus,” says Irwin. “Access to the best technology ensures the best research results. It also saves time, and in many cases, money, to the researcher—meaning they will be able to do more with their budget.” 

Fortunately, the MMET AM Lab is ready for growth. MMET Master Machinist Scott Meneguzzo and Operations/Facilities Supervisor Nicholas Hendrickson staff the Machine Shop full-time, along with help as needed from temporary employees. 

“Nicholas has operated the polymeric AM facility since 2013,” notes Irwin. “He has developed a billing structure to account for time and materials for AM projects, and recently completed training in order to operate and maintain Michigan Tech’s new Direct Metal Printer.” Hendrickson is also pursuing a PhD in Mechanical Engineering with a research focus in AM.

Last, but not least, printer material for AM is a critical need. “Each of the seven AM printing technologies is capable of printing a range of different material types. We need to have all these materials on hand,” says Irwin. “We also need example parts—produced from each material from each machine—so that a researcher can hold in their hand, feel and see each option in order to select the best printer and material for their project.”

“For the very same reasons, example parts are also important for educating students,” says Irwin. 

Michigan Tech Opens New Metal AM Facility

Adjacent to the Machine Shop, room 117 houses Michigan Tech’s new 3D Systems Direct Metal Printer (DMP), and the Flex 350 Production Printer. “This type of AM is for the manufacturing of high-precision metal parts with the 3D systems approved powders,” says Irwin. “This unit has a resolution of five microns and can process 11 unique metals, including bio-grade titanium (for biomedical applications), cobalt and chromium, several types of stainless steel, and more. “It’s available for research and development using custom powders, too.”

Read more
Alumni Gift of Advanced 3D Metal Printer Now Up and Running at Michigan Tech

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.

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.

https://doi.org/10.1115/1.4050921

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.