Zachary Richard Podkul MET Memorial Annual Scholarship and Design Contest

Zachary Podkul ’18

Richard T. and Catherine F. Podkul have established a new 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. As a young boy, he had a curiosity for discovering how things worked. With this passion for knowledge, he enrolled in Michigan Tech and graduated in 2018 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology.

It was no small secret that Zachary loved the Upper Peninsula and his best times were at Michigan Tech. His intelligence inspired others to never stop learning. Zachary’s scholarship is intended to ease the financial burden for students who share his MTU experience and who also live with chronic health conditions. Zachary will always be remembered by his Michigan Tech Family and Alumni. Learn more here.

The Zachary Richard Podkul MET Design Competition

Zachary’s family also supports the annual Zachary Richard Podkul Design Competition. Each year, the contest winner will receive a $1,000 scholarship. Contest rules stipulate that students must use NX CAD software to design their content submission. Once selected by a panel of judges, the top-rated design is then 3D printed using the Stratasys Fortus 400 MC which uses Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) process of extruding plastic filament. 

The family of Zachary Podkul stands with Hunter Wilke (right back), MMET Operations/Facilities Supervisor Nicholas V. Hendrickson (far left), and College of Engineering Director for Advancement Bryant Weathers (second from left).

And the 2021 winner is….HUNTER WILKE!

The challenge: design an item that can be used to decrease the spread of the COVID-19 virus, something that can be worn, hooked to a backpack or clothing, or easily carried on one’s person. Hunter was declared the winner in 2021 for his “Door Opening Device.” Read the full story here.

For this year’s competition in 2022, the challenge is to design a Michigan Tech cookie cutter and provide an assembly of the automated process used to manufacture the cookie cutter, which will be used by the department to send to MET prospective students, employers, and alumni. Read the full story here. 

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

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.

Awards

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.

Timeline

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.

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.

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.