Current Projects

Below, you will find a sample listing of some of the research projects taking place within the Mechanical Engineering department. Use the search box or advanced filtering options to search our research projects by keyword or by investigator. You may also learn more about our research thrusts and the projects related to each area:

Research Thrusts


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Evaluation of Additive Manufactured Part Integrity

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Jason Blough
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Summary
The goal of this program is to gain insight into what methods can be used to evaluate the structural integrity of additive manufactured parts. The parts, provided by the buyer, will be evaluated from a structural dynamics perspective exploring the concepts of different excitation and methods to measure the part response to allow the calculation of Frequency Response Functions and estimates of natural frequency, damping, and possibly mode shapes. The project is to provide proof of concept.

Awarded Amount: $30,000

Fixture Design and Damage Potential

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Jason Blough
Co-PI: Charles Van Karsen
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Summary:
The goal of this program is to gain insight into what variables effect the damage potential of a unit under test on a surrogate fixture. The project will use a combination of modeling and testing to attempt to develop insight into a testing approach which generates a given damage potential at the unit under test.
 
This project will explore how to model and test the surrogate fixture dynamics. Analytical and experimental studies will be performed to understand the critical parameters in modeling and testing the surrogate fixture to understand what variables effect the part under test damage.
  • FEA models of the surrogate fixture will be created.
  • FEA models will be used to explore the critical design factors in understanding the relationship between the energy input location/direction and the damage produced at the unit under test.
  • Modal analysis will be performed on the surrogate fixture and unit under test to validate the FEA models.
  • A shaker test will be performed on the surrogate fixture to explore the effects of input location and drive file shaping on the strains and acceleration measured at the unit under test.

Awarded Amount: $30,900

ICorps: Software for Aircraft Analysis and Design

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Chunpei Cai
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Overview:
Airflows at high altitude around high speed aircrafts (e.g., airplanes or missiles) are complex where many factors shall be considered. For example, the rarefaction effects may be considered in aircraft designs. With consideration of the rarefaction effects, it may be necessary to adjust some designs, such as the size, location, and geometry of aircraft control surfaces (e.g. fins for a missile). An aircraft may have fairly different performance at high altitudes. However, current commercial software packages do not take into consideration these factors.
 
Recently, there have been many technology advancements in the field of computational fluid dynamics
(CFD), and they may prove helpful in aircraft designs. This project is aimed at developing a new commercially viable CFD software package for aircraft design in aerospace engineering, over the next 5 years. Through the I-Corps program, the team will validate that a clear market need exists following with developing technology to build a first prototype. Furthermore, this training will educate the research team with proper market-survey skills, help plan future research work.
 
Intellectual Merit:
The planned new CFD tool can assist in high speed, high altitude aircraft designs. Not only will it be able to perform fast preliminary designs for size, geometries for control surfaces, such as fins, but also possibly perform accurate late stage designs to create optimal shapes. These new tools will consider some new physical factors which are not at all included in current commercial software packages, such as the popular ANSYS/Fluent. The new software package will build upon the past successful investigations on fundamental CFD scheme development, the research team. By using the new software package it will be feasible to form large databases, with different parameter combinations, e.g. fin sizes, number of fins, locations, geometries. These databases would allow engineers to develop a prototype for aircraft design promptly simultaneously reducing other demanded resources such as time, labor, materials, number of experiments, etc.
 
Broader Impacts:
This software package can provide accurate predictions on the air loads (forces, momentums, and heat transfers) for aircraft designs. It can ensure that a design is optimal, such as flight control surfaces, increase safety of aircrafts and reduce cost related to long term operations especially for aircraft manufacturers (OEMs and third party).  This CFD package could also be extended for many other engineering applications in several sectors, such as design and optimizations of tiny parts in MEMS (Micro-Electro- Mechanical-Systems) and NEMS (Nano-Electro-Mechanical-Systems), or applications with dilute plasma flows. Physically, rarefaction plays similar roles in those applications, and mathematically, the governing equations are identical or very close.
 
Through this I-Corps project, Michigan Tech will investigate potential markets for new
CFD tools and determine a product-market fit.

Awarded Amount: $54,930

Senior Design: Automatic Transmission Efficiency Improvement

Investigators
Principal Investigator: William Endres
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Project Goal
Introduce design improvements aimed at reducing parasitic losses in an automatic transmission and improve its efficiency.
 
Background
Automotive manufacturers are undertaking a significant engineering challenge in working toward compliance of aggressive Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFB) standards mandated by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The 2017 CAFE standard of 44 mpg for passenger cars and 27 mpg for light duty trucks will be progressively increased to an overall standard of 54.5 mpg by 2025. To meet these new regulatory requirements, vehicle systems across the board are being scrutinized. Among these systems, improving efficiency of automatic transmissions is seen as a high leverage opportunity.
 
Needs Addressed
Automatic transmission manages power and torque to the vehicle wheels. Conventional 6 speed transmissions use planetary gearsets to shift into different ratios. Inherent in these systems is friction from mechanical, hydraulic, and windage sources. Incremental improvement in any of these subsystems would contribute to a more efficient powertrain, and to a more fuel-efficient vehicle overall.
 
Project Scope
The design team on this project will focus on discovering areas for mechanical efficiency improvement within an automatic transmission. The team will have a high degree of latitude in exploration and discovery of possible strategies for mitigating mechanical losses. The project presents an opportunity to address a real-world problem with a complicated mechanical, hydroelectric system.
Foundationally, the team will have the benefit of a previous team's work, focused on the same challenge, and completed this past December. That team uncovered untapped potential for efficiency improvement in how friction plates interact with automatic transmission fluid during operation
 

Awarded Amount: $25,651

Development of Dynamic Torsional Measurement Capability using Hybrid Electric Motor - Year 2

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Darrell Robinette
Co-PI: Jason Blough
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Project Abstract
As the role of the torque converter in the vehicle has changed with the increasing need for better fuel efficiency it has become important to better understand the torsional isolation properties of the torque converter. The torsional isolation performance is accomplished by the fluid coupling portion of the torque converter at low speeds, and by the torque converter clutch assembly once the converter clutch is applied. Recent changes in the operational profile of the torque converter to improve fuel efficiency require that the clutch be applied at lower and lower vehicle speeds. In addition, the use of reduced displacement engines and engine cylinder deactivation results in greater engine torsional excitations at lower engine firing frequencies, demanding increased isolation capability from the torque converter. Due to these changes in operation, as well as the increased torque carrying capacity of the clutch assembly, there is an important need to be able to study the response of the torque converter and clutch assembly to torsional inputs which are representative of the torsional excitation provided by an engine.
 
This project seeks to develop the necessary test stand to perform these required torsional isolation studies. The hardware will be developed from a hybrid electric drive motor. This project aims to use this motor to develop a torsional dynamometer that can be used to input a torsional excitation to a torque converter that has frequency content similar to an operating internal combustion engine.
 
Once the dynamometer is functional it will be used to study the isolation performance of torque converter clutch and isolator assemblies. Year two of this project will seek to validate the setup and begin testing torque converter clutch and isolator assemblies for damping characteristics. The experimental data will be used to validate a model methodology for torque converter clutch dampers on select production designs.

Awarded Amount: $92,457

Experimental and Modeling Studies of Mahle Smart Heat Injector Concept

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Jeffrey Naber
Co-PI: Youngchul Ra
Co-PI: Seong-Young Lee
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

Awarded Amount: $226,438

3-D Printed Nano-Bioactuators and their Application in Navigation of Endovascular Catheters

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Parisa Abadi
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
SPECIFIC AIMS
Endovascular catheterization is a common approach in minimally invasive diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. The initial step in these procedures is to use an intravascular guidewire, which is a flexible and torquable wire, to navigate into target blood vessels for angiography or for an intervention. Guiding microwires to 4th or 5th order branches in the mesenteric vasculature or in the neurovasculature for the treatment of acute bleeding, vascular malformation, a fistula or a tumor requires significant experience and advanced skills. The tip of these microwires are manually shaped after careful review of the target anatomy evaluating the size, angle and shape of these branches which maybe <1 mm in diameter. At distances >120 cm, trackability or torquability of these wires are significantly impacted leading to numerous trial and error using multiple types of wires with various shapes at their tips to access arterial branches that may be at acute angles. Such challenging vascular anatomy can lead to prolonged procedure times, excessive ·radiation exposure to the patient and the medical staff, fatigue to the operator, high procedure failure rates and extreme costs. The next generation of catheters should be engineered to provide the operator the ability to bend the tip of the catheter in a controllable fashion for in vivo real-time guidance. Such actuation system could replace the current guidewires provided that it has an optimum stiffness, to maintain the trackability of microactuators and, its deformations are elastic, such that only one catheter is used for the case.
The goal of this proposal is to develop a high precision active catheter with tunable and reversible actuation capability. This technological advancement will be clinically transformative in minimally invasive endovascular interventions by reducing procedure time, increasing procedure success rates, reducing costs, reducing radiation exposure and physician fatigue. Our exciting preliminary data using a composite of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and polymers as electrochemical actuator produced strong electrochemical capacitance and axial strain by applying low potential. We will build upon these preliminary data by first fabrication and characterization of 30 printed nano-bioactuators with higher electrochemical capacitance and better mechanical properties (Aim 1) and their assembly into bending actuators (Aim 2). Then, we will incorporate bending actuators into clinical microcatheters and perform in vitro testing of the active catheter system in blood vessel models (Aim 3).
 
INNOVATION: The innovation of this research is in the design, prototype fabrication, and in vitro testing of safe and easily controllable nanotechnology-enabled active catheters capable of bending 90 degrees. This system will replace the currently used guidewire-catheter systems. There is no heating, encapsulation, strong electrolyte, or complicated control systems required for this design. We will fabricate and test the electrical, mechanical, and electrochemical properties of the fibers. Then, we will incorporate the actuators with clinically used catheters such as 0.018 inch Terumo glidewires and, subsequently, evaluate the actuation performance. We will fabricate artificial blood vessel models and test the system of catheter and actuator in vitro. We believe that the nanotechnology-enabled microwires will reduce procedure failure rates, cut OR time, reduce radiation exposure and lower costs. This platform technology has the potential to be widely disseminated to other devices such as catheters, stents, biopsy needles and tumor ablation needles.

Awarded Amount: $403,000

Senior Design: Power Seat Noise Abatement

Investigators
Principal Investigator: William Endres
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Project Goal
Reduce intermittent noise emissions in an automotive power seat system.
 
Background
Adient (formerly Johnson Controls) is a global Tier-I supplier and interior integrator, supplying major automotive subsystems to OEMs worldwide. Instrument panels, interior trim, control systems, and power seat systems are among the products designed and manufactured by Adient.
Automotive interior products and systems are held to very high standards in terms of customer experience. Undesirable noise, vibration, or harshness (NVH) or buzz, squeak, and rattle (BSR) issues are particularly scrutinized.
 
In general, the OEM NVWBSR requirements are more demanding with each product development cycle. Also, smooth and quiet operation of seat functions is becoming more noticed and desired by customers, as vehicle interiors are getting quieter and more luxurious overall. Loud or objectionable sounds while adjusting the seat can detract from the perception of quality and cost the customer, OEM, and Adient time and money due to warranty returns.
 
OEM operating sound specifications must be met while meeting all of the other applicable requirements (speed of operation, durability, current consumption, load capability, etc.).
 
Needs Addressed
During horizontal travel operation of Honda seats, objectionable noise is sometimes emitted from the horizontal cable assembly.
These noise issues are being reported from two sources: 1) Adient's downstream customer (the complete seat manufacturer and/or the vehicle OEM), and 2) vehicle owners making repair claims under warranty. In both cases, these represent cost incurred by Adient to replace either the seat adjuster assembly or the complete seat. The noise occurrence is sporadic, and it arises after the adjuster assembly leaves the manufacturing facility. There are checks for sound/vibration issues at the end of the assembly line but the issue occurs at various times in the product life when it is detected. In the worst case, the noise is a very loud "howl" or "squeal:
 
Project Scope
This project will focus on improving the performance of the existing Honda power seat assembly relative to noise emissions. The team will become familiar with the production system, investigate sources of current issues, and introduce design improvements aimed at eliminating negative NVH and BSR sources in affected components.
Key Focus: pinpoint the root cause of the issue. It appears to be caused by some stick/slip interaction between the cable flocking and the cable housing.
With an understanding of root cause, the goal would be design improvement proposals that work with the existing assembly process, and don't require additional lubrication.

Awarded Amount: $25,650

Senior Design: Versatile Test Die Design

Investigators
Principal Investigator: William Endres
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Project Goal
Design and fabricate a versatile die set to accommodate various size pin shape dies for the bending under tension test.
 
Background
United States Steel Corporation is a global steel manufacturer, and the automotive manufacturers are key customers for our flat roll products. As driven by government's new safety regulations and Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, the lately developed advanced high strength steels (AHSS) and ultra-high strength steels (UHSS) have been widely used for vehicle weight reduction and safety performance improvements. Due to the higher strength nature of these specially developed sheet steels, the forming conditions are more extreme and challenging than conventional low and medium strength automotive sheet steels. In order to develop an issue-free AHSS forming process for automotive components, it is crucial for USS to understand and characterize any new forming behaviors during the material developing process.
 
Among various benchmarking tests for advanced high strength steels, the bending under tension (BUT) test is a unique test for evaluating friction coefficient, springback, die wear, and critical bending radius over sheet thickness (Rff) ratio under the stretch bending condition. Current dies for the BUT test are designed to accommodate only one size of die for one die set. Under the current design, various die sets are required to test the material at different die radius conditions, which is neither robust nor cost effective. Therefore, it would be very beneficial to re-design and build a flexible and robust BUT test die to meet the versatile requirements under various testing conditions.
 
Needs Addressed
The bending under tension (BUT) test is a system for investigating friction and lubrication in sheet metal forming in which a metal strip is drawn over a fixed cylindrical pin with a pair of independently controlled hydraulic actuators, as shown in Figure I. The two actuators are offset by 90 degrees. Two load cells, mounted between the actuators and the strip grips, measure the pulling force and the back-tension force independently. As identified in the enlarged view of the die set, one fixed radius pin shape die can only fit into one die set.
The design is not flexible and each die set can only accommodate one pin shape die with one die radius. To benchmark all advanced high strength steels with different thickness, it would be very beneficial to design a more robust die system, which can accommodate a variety of die sizes while maintaining 90-degree offset.
 
There will be 2 main phases of this project: (l) Concept and CAD design (2) Fabrication and validation test:
Phase (1) Concept and CAD design. In this phase MTU team will research in design to come up with various die assembly configurations and recommend to U. S. Steel the best and most cost-effective design based on the boundary conditions set by U.S. Steel and the machining feasibility. The final CAD design will need to meet all functional objectives (geometry and load) as defined by U.S. Steel. The design phase will have a deadline for approval. U. S. Steel will need to buy-off on the team's recommendation for the project to continue.
Phase (2) Fabrication and validation test. In this phase the MTU team will utilize a vendor that is capable of fabricating parts to the agreed upon manufacturing process and the designs from Phase I. After approval by U.S. Steel through this milestone, the fabrication of the die sets is assumed to be about 8-10 weeks. The fixed pin die assembly fabrication will take place during the summer break in this manner. The roller die station fabrication and validation will be the responsibility of the design team, although the customer can assist in sourcing certain aspects.

Awarded Amount: $25,650

Continuation of Engine Ignition Studies-B

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Jeffrey Naber
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Objective
Utilize the optical engine to examine the interactions of in-cylinder flow with the ignition process (manipulating discharge characteristics & spark plug design variables) as supplemented by multiple locations of ion sensing.
 
Fundamental understating of how to optimize the ignition system's design attributes for different engine applications. Increased understanding will result in more efficient & cost effective hardware & controls.  This continues work from the Ford funded work through 2016 focused on ignition with optical engine. The work enables the development of a critical understanding of the ignition process and its interaction with the in-cylinder flow. Results will provide quantitative data on ignition processes including the initial flame kernel development, growth and transition to turbulent flame propagation in-cylinder. The results will also provide quantitative data on flow characteristic via high resolution particle image velocimetry (PIV) around the electrode in the optical engine.
Continue studies of combined imaging with high resolution PIV. High speed imaging and analysis shows high variability cycle to cycle of arc stretch and strong correlation of the arc stretch and flame development and burn rates. Areas of study for this year include:
  • Studies to be conducted under higher in-cylinder flows with tumble planks installed in the intake port
  • Studies of alternative geometry plugs
  • Studies of plug orientation and gap
  • Chemiluminescent imaging for combustion signature

Awarded Amount: $115,000

Oculus-ASR Nanosatellite Flight Integration

Investigators
Principal Investigator: L. King
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Statement of Work
Michigan Technological University is presently preparing the Oculus-ASR nanosatellite for launch and in-space operation. The final development activity will be to assemble the satellite structure so that it is compliant with launch vehicle mechanical requirements. This will require integration of flight-quality structural fasteners as well as electrical wire harnessing equipment.  Acquire aerospace-grade fasteners and wire harnessing components, and to install and test these components in the Oculus-ASR flight vehicle. Specific tasks include:
(1) Purchase space-flight-quality stainless-steel fasteners
(2) Purchase space-compatible wiring, electrical connectors, and strain-relief components
(3) Acquire and/or build electrical and mechanical testing apparatus to ensure proper installation of fasteners and harnessing
(4) Assemble the Oculus-ASR nanosatellite into a launch-ready configuration

Awarded Amount: $19,372

Senior Design: Non-Sterile Oral Solution Dosing System

Investigators
Principal Investigator: William Endres
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Project Objective
Design and prototype an improved non-sterile oral solution dosing system for patient use (from withdrawal of dose to dilution) that simplifies dose preparation and reliably and repeatedly delivers a diluted solution containing the prescribed dosage.

Awarded Amount: $25,650

Oculus - ASR Nanosatellite Flight Integration

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Lyon King
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

Carbon Nanotube Speaker for Exhaust Active Noise Control

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Andrew Barnard
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

Confidential

Awarded Amount: $154,037

Stratus Meteorological CubeSat: Payload Integration and Mission Level Design:

Investigators
Principal Investigator: L. King
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Introduction
Understanding of the atmosphere and its processes draws from many fields of science and engineering due to its global scope and importance to life on this planet. The most visible and well known facet of this system would be cloud formations. The varied nature of clouds allows them to act as a herald for near-future meteorological events and as indices for general climate trends. Gathering more data on cloud properties will improve global climate models and forecasting, benefiting the scientific community and general population. This data can be collected via the use of CubeSats.
 
Stratus is a pathfinder mission whose goal is to build, deploy, and demonstrate a low-cost
CubeSat platfon11 capable of measuring Cloud Fraction (CF), Cloud Top Height (CTH), and Cloud
Top Wind (CTW). If successful, several inexpensive Stratus spacecraft could be deployed in the future to gather accurate and extensive data relevant to cloud-driven climate forecast models at a continuous rate across the world. Stratus will measure CF data while in Nadir-Pointing Mode. Stratus will then measure CTW and CTH data utilizing spin-stabilized stereoscopic imaging. The Stratus mission shares similar goals to NASA as described in the 2014 NASA Strategic Plan document. It is most with objectives 2.2, 2.3, and 2.4 of Goal II: "To advance the understanding of Earth and develop technologies to improve the quality of life on our home planet."
 
Research Goals & Desired Outcomes
The goals of the payload integration and mission-level design is to produce documentation which can wholly describe the mission operations of Stratus, and to design, implement, and document the payload of the satellite to ensure successful integration. The desired mission outcome is that Stratus is completed, launched, and performs at or above the levels indicated in the mission-level documents. The long-term functionality of Stratus would demonstrate the cost effectiveness of using CubeSats to gather cloud data. This could justify the efficacy of a swarm of Stratus craft to gather global hyper-local weather data.
 
The desired subsystem outcome is a fully integrated payload subsystem which can accurately image data during nadir-pointing and stereoscopy phases of the mission. This fully characterized subsystem would have all interactions with other subsystems described in Interface Control Documents to ensure safe and correct integration of the payload into Stratus.
Research Plan
The plan of attack for completing research on the Stratus is as follows: (I) Develop mission-level design documentation so stratus is developed with a clear direction. (2) Research and develop methods to improve the ability of the payload to produce accurate, on-demand data retrieval. (3) Document the Stratus payload and its interactions created with other subsystems via Interface Control Documentation. (4) Characterize the payload through rigorous and through testing procedures to ensure intended functionality. Note that some of these processes are cyclic in nature due to redesigns that may occur during the development process.

Awarded Amount: $2500

Understanding and Mitigating Triboelectric Artifacts in Wearable Electronics by Synergic Approaches

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Ye Sun
Co-PI: Shiyan Hu
Co-PI: Shiyan Hu - Alternate
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Abstract
Electrophysiological measurement (e.g. ECG, EEG, EMG) is a well-accepted tool and standard for health monitoring and management. A great variety of electrophysiological measurement devices are widely used including clinical equipment, research products, and consumer electronics. However, until now, it is still challenging to secure long-term stable and accurate signal acquisition, especially in wearable condition, not only for medical monitoring such as Holter but in daily well-being management. Motion-induced artifacts widely exist in the electrophysiological recording process regardless of electrodes (wet, dry, or noncontact). These artifacts are one of the major impediments against the acceptance of wearable devices and capacitive electrodes in clinical diagnosis. Also, the development of wearable devices for disease diagnosis and health monitoring is one of the nation's focal points. This project is to provide new strategies to mitigate motion-induced artifacts in wearable electronics for designing accurate wearable electronics for daily monitoring and disease diagnosis. The PIs will disseminate the research products to both students and the research community. New course materials will be developed for undergraduate and graduate education. Undergraduate and graduate students involved in the research program will obtain diverse knowledge in hardware design and data analytics. For K-12 students, the PIs will provide an integrated research and educational experience through unique programs at Michigan Technological University including Engineering Exploration Day for Girls and the Summer Youth Program (SYP). A research demo and hands-on experience for triboelectric generation in textile materials will be developed and provided to K-12 students.
The research goal of this proposal is to understand the fundamental mechanism of motion artifacts in wearable devices and provide synergistic solutions to mitigating the artifacts. Three approaches are proposed to achieve the goal: 1) understanding generation mechanism of triboelectric charge generation in wearable condition; 2) guided by the understanding, developing tribomaterial-based sensors to manipulate triboelectric charges for triboelectric artifact removal; 3) leveraging new tribomaterialbased sensor data statistical data analytics for true electrophysiological signal estimation. If successful, the synergic knowledge of accurate signal acquisition produced by the project will not only enhance the traditional bioinstrumentation in medical society, but also benefit industrial community of consumer wearable electronics.

Awarded Amount: $330,504

Sensor Evaluation and Fusion for Closed Loop Combustion Control (CLCC) for SI Engines

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Jeffrey Naber
Co-PI: Jason Blough
Co-PI: Bo Chen
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Overview
This is continues work from the Ford DOE Program1 on "Advanced Gasoline Turbocharged Direct Injection (GTDI) Engine Development," and from work completed in 2014-2016 under Ford departmental budget working on Closed Loop Combustion Control (CLCC). As a separate activity a URP is underway working on metrics for combustion control, air-charge estimation, statistically significant combustion control decisions.Work focuses on a Ford 2.0L engine platform with integrated control via strategies connected through the Ford PCM to a Delphi Combustion Pressure Development Controller (CPDC).
 
Objective
Develop and employ closed loop combustion control (CLLC) via in-cylinder sensors with closed loop control for individual cylinder fuel, spark, and overall engine dilution on engine dynamometer with study of steady-state and transient performance. Additionally other sensors including exhaust pressure, integrated and standalone ion sensing will be added to the instrumentation and evaluated with respect to providing information for CLCC.

Awarded Amount: $165,000

Collaborative Research: On Making Wave Energy an Economical and Reliable Power Souce for Ocean Measurement Applications

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Umesh Korde
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

Hydrodynamic Control Using X-Band Radar for Wave Energy Converter Technology

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Umesh Korde
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

On Integrating Object Detection Capability into a Coastal Energy Conversion System

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Umesh Korde
Co-PI: Ossama Abdelkhalik
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Project Summary
Near-shore wave energy converter arrays may be designed to provide uninterrupted power to a number of coastal sensing applications, including sensors monitoring meteorological conditions, sea-water chemical/physical properties, tsunamis and storm surges, fish and other marine life, coastal and sea-floor conditions, etc. Active control seeking near-optimum hydrodynamic operation has been shown to enable a dramatic reduction in device size for required amounts of power. Certain features of the control strategies developed make them particularly amenable to incorporation of additional sensing capability based on the wave patterns generated by intruding submerged objects (at distances on the order of 1000 m), in particular, the phase changes to the approaching wave field that occur in the presence of an object.
This project investigates schemes for actively controlled wave energy converter arrays in coastal waters which enable detection of intruding marine vessels by monitoring the spatial and temporal energy conversion rates over the arrays. The proposed approach mainly utilizes a linear-theory based understanding of wave propagation, body hydrodynamics, and controller design, but also incorporates nonlinear extensions based on Volterra series modeling. Of particular interest, is using small device sizes, for which response nonlinearities can be significant. Therefore, it is proposed to exploit the nonlinearities to enhance energy generation. Furthermore, also investigate ways to utilize features of the nonlinear response that enable preferential coupling to certain phase signatures, so that energy conversion by certain array elements would imply the presence of an object. Analysis and simulation results on arrays of moored devices will be extended to free-floating arrays.
The first objective of the overall effort is to evaluate the proposed techniques through analysis and simulation. For near-shore sea areas to be identified, two categories or types of array designs with their own particular control strategies will be investigated, using Hydrodynamics and Controls based analytical techniques and detailed simulations (linear and nonlinear). Necessary in this process is the characterization of the phase-change signatures of various submerged objects when stationary and when in translation. This knowledge will provide the test parameters for the designs to be investigated. The first two years of the overall, 4-year long, effort are expected to provide the groundwork for the development of a prototype system. Prior to 'at-sea' prototype testing, first test the prototype in a wave-basin environment. To provide reliable designs for the testing in the wave basin, wave tank testing under simplified conditions is also proposed. The overall testing sequence from wave tank tests through wave-basin tests to 'at sea' tests is expected to occur over years 3 and 4.

Awarded Amount: $776,231

CAREER: An Ecologically -Inspired Approach to Battery Lifetime Analysis and Testing

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Lucia Gauchia
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Overview
Batteries are increasingly relied upon to provide multiple services during applications (e.g. traction in an electric vehicle, vehicle-to-grid, ancillary services) and to act as the ultimate resiliency element (e.g. electric vehicles used as power units during Hurricane Sandy). However, the ability to perform these diverse services is compromised by battery aging phenomena that eventually lead to failure. Understanding of how service conditions and context affect battery aging is limited due to a) battery high context dependency on generation and load dynamics, and environmental conditions; b) the multi-scale cell and module nature of battery systems; and c) the fact that a battery itself varies with age, as batteries are repurposed after a first life (e.g. electric vehicle) into a second life (e.g. grid or residential).
 
This CAREER project aims to understand battery aging dynamics as context-dependent, and to provide a unified theory that links application-level events and conditions with cell- and module-level aging events. The Pl hypothesizes that a battery electrochemical nature and aging, multi-scale system, observability challenges, and its context-dependency can all be modeled using ecological tools, with ecology defined as a branch of biology that explores organism relationships to one another and to their environment. Therefore, methods proven useful to study ecological relationships are well suited to study battery life, and can provide new knowledge, testing and estimation techniques. This project draws from two pertinent areas in ecology: 1) multi-scale field testing and 2) modeling of interrelationships among ecosystem elements to understand coupled effects and improve remaining life predictions. Hence, the research objectives are: 1 ) Identify a battery context and its observability through sensors and data in real deployment conditions for two lives (electric vehicle and grid); 2) Optimize a methodology to translate real-life conditions into the laboratory; 3) Design a large multi-scale testing platform in the laboratory for new and aged cells and modules that mimics real-life conditions; 4) Explore multi-scale battery dynamics and aging by developing reasoning networks that capture the whole battery context variations throughout its scales, reaching the application level; develop theories that link these networks across lives; design battery management systems that can learn to construct and apply these networks to improve their decision making and prediction.
 
Intellectual Merit
This novel project will provide knowledge and perspectives to two fields by capitalizing upon the similarities between battery context-dependencies, battery life, and ecological systems. This new outlook will provide a unified theory for testing, estimation and management of batteries across cell, module, pack, and application scales and life scales in a research field that up to this point has been disconnected between scales. Testing approaches, interrelationship models, and estimation methods used in ecology are predicted to improve upon present, state-of-the-art battery research methods to provide economic, resiliency and environmental benefits by better understanding and leveraging the unique, time-dependent relationships each battery has with its context.
 
Broader Impacts
This work will benefit all battery portable, transportation, and grid applications as well as multiple sectors. It will include the emerging battery repurposing sector, by providing tangible methods to improve testing, estimation and management techniques. The result will be longer battery life, better performance, and less environmental waste. Educational impacts include active learning opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students via research and educational interactions with individualized testing boards linked to the newly created large multi-scale testing platform. This strategy will enable low cost, highly distributed testing environments. The Pl will disseminate tools via national education conferences to improve the nearly nonexistent battery testing training of students. This project will facilitate new paths in multi-disciplinary graduate courses. The Pl has a passion to increase representation of Hispanic females in STEM. Outreach will include hosting 4 diverse Community College students for summer research through the Michigan College and University Partnership, and participating in Society for Hispanic Professional Engineers conferences, specifically in the female Hispanic track.

Awarded Amount: $592,243

Antibacterial Orthopaedic Implant Commercialization

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Craig Friedrich
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Overview:
Periprosthetic infection is challenging complication that may lead to multiple orthopaedic revision surgeries, increased healthcare spending, long-term disability, and increased mortality.  The estimated cost for treating total joint (hip and knee) infections is anticipated to rise to 1.62 billion in 2020. The proposed work is intended to speed implant technology to commercialization that reduced the chronic effects of infection and enhances osseointegration and bone bonding.
 
In vitro work shows nanotexturing titanium implant materials (TiNT) promotes osteoblast differentiation, and upregulated metabolic markers.  In vivo studies confirmed increased bone-implate contact and de novo bone formation, higher pull-out forces, and stronger bone bonding.  In vitro evidence shows that a nanostructured surface alone has some antibacterial properties, and adding nanosilver shows a very strong antibacterial property.  Technology partially supported by prior MTRAC funding to Michigan Tech, uses a benign ammonium fluoride process in contrast to hazardous hydrofluoric acid used elsewhere.
 
In vitro studies will be conducted to demonstrate the ability to TiNT surfaces to kill bacteria and inhibit adhesion.  Clinical isolates of Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) from joint aspiration of orthopaedic patients with infected total joint replacements presenting at William Beaumont Hospital (Royal Oak, MI) will be used.  TiNT surfaces will be tested including nanotubes with diameters 60 nm, 80 nm. And 150 nm.  A group consisting of TiNT embedded with nanosilver will be investigated in vitro, all with up to 48 hour time points and informing in vivo studies.
 
Rabbits will serve as the model for implantation of an intramedullary tibial nail with four groups.  Following implantation, in one tibia a human clinical isolate of MRSA will be introduced to the implant.  After inoculation of media+/- MRSA, closures will be performed.  Osseointegraton will be assessed by longitudinal, clinical-resolution CT scanning at 6 and 12 weeks.  Harvested tibiae will be subjected to high-resolution micro-computed tomography. 
 
Nanotube surfaces can improve devise function in the spinal market, which in total size is now equivalent to the joint market. Numerous devices could benefit from the nanotube treatment including fusion devised such as rods, plates, and screws used for thoracic, lumbar, and cervical vertebrae, interbody fusion devices, and artificial disks.

Awarded Amount: $163,648

Development of Advanced Model for Pre-Ignition Prediction in Gas Engines

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Youngchul Ra
Co-PI: Jeffrey Naber
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

Awarded Amount: $275,000

NEXTCAR: Connected and Automated Control for Vehicle Dynamics and Powertrain Operation on a Light-duty Multi-Mode Hybrid Electric Vehicle

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Jeffrey Naber
Co-PI: Bo Chen
Co-PI: Darrell Robinette
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Summary for Public Release
Michigan Technological University in partnership with General Motors will develop, validate and demonstrate on a fleet of eight model year 2016 Chevrolet Volts and a mobile connected cloud computing center, a model based vehicle and powertrain controller. The selected vehicle, the MY16 Volt contains a unique powertrain architecture and enables five distinct operating modes including all electric (EV), plug-in-electric hybrid (PHEV), and hybrid electric vehicles (HEV). The model based controller will encompass a full real-time physics based coupled powertrain vehicle dynamics model leveraging vehicle conductivity with vehicle-to-vehicle and infrastructure to vehicle communications with real-time traffic modeling and predictive speed horizons and eco-routing. The goal is to achieve at least a 20% reduction in energy consumption (electrical + fuel) and a 6% increase in electric range through the first ever implementation and connection of route planning, powertrain energy management model predictive controller algorithms.  Connectivity data from other vehicles, infrastructure, GPS, traffic, and desired route planning combined with a physical model of the powertrain-vehicle system allows prediction of the vehicle’s future speed and enables forward looking powertrain mode selection and reduction of the energy utilization from the battery and fuel.

Awarded Amount: $3,505,540

Increasing Ship Power System Capability through Exergy Control

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Gordon Parker
Co-PI: Rush Robinett
Co-PI: Eddy Trinklein
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

Novel Ionomers and Electrode Structures for Improved PEMFC Electrode Performance at Low PGM Loadings

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Jeffrey Allen
Co-PI: Kazuya Tajiri
Co-PI: Ezequiel Medici
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
lonomer Development and Characterization
The objective of this task is focused on characterization of novel ionomers as thin film, bulk and electrodes. The Michigan Tech activity will include ex-situ thin film characterization of water transport and swelling, ex-situ bulk characterization of water permeability and oxygen transport of ionomers and electrodes, water imbibition, permeability and wettability of electrodes, and in-cell characterization to extract electrode transport limitation dependency upon ionomer type and content.
 
NSTF Electrode Development
The objective of this task is focused on characterization of dispersed NSTF electrodes developed by 3M. The Michigan Tech activity will include ex-situ characterization of water imbibition, permeability and wettability and evaluation of electrode transport limitations using in-cell and ex-situ techniques.
 
Electrode Integration
The objective of this task is to integrate best-in-class ionomers with dispersed NSTF catalysts. Task focuses on ionomer characterization and is similar in scope and includes water imbibition, permeability and wettability of the dispersed NSTF electrodes as well as in-cell characterization of electrode transport limitations and is similar in scope to Ionomer Development and Characterization.
 
Model Development
The objective of this task is to develop a pore-network architecture for the cathode catalyst layer in order to understand and predict oxygen transport limitations and liquid water transport within the electrodes with the novel ionomers. This task is focused on adaptation of the current GDL pore-network model to the cathode electrode by incorporating the necessary framework to account for ionomer and electrochemical reactions,  links the new electrode pore-network model to a continuum model for the membrane and anode, and integrating capillary pressure and transport models into the pore-network architecture. This task will be continuous to coincide data and knowledge gained through ex-situ and in-cell characterization testing.

Awarded Amount: $650,998

Collaborative Research: On Making Wave Energy an Economical and Reliable Power Source for Ocean Measurement Applications

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Ossama Abdelkhalik
Co-PI: Rush Robinett
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

Development of Advanced Modeling Tools for Diesel Engines

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Youngchul Ra
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

Awarded Amount: $188,515

Tailorable Resonant Plate Testing

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Jason Blough
Co-PI: James DeClerck
Co-PI: Charles Van Karsen
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Overview:
The goal of this program is to gain insight into tunable resonant plate testing procedures. The project will use a combination of modeling and testing to attempt to develop insight which reduces test time and expands the range of possible testing. The following is a breakdown of the tasks:
 
Statement of Work:
Research will explore how to model the resonant plate and fixture dynamics. Analytical and experimental studies will be performed to understand the critical parameters in more accurately controlling and understanding the design of the resonant plate and fixture to extend its range of testing.
  • FEA models of the resonant plate and fixture will be created.
  • FEA models will be used to understand how each parameter of the test system effects the shock response spectrum.
  • Identify potential limits for the shock response spectrums which can be reproduced within the framework of the resonant plate test system.
  • Propose design approaches and tailoring strategies which will enable the resonant plate test system to deliver a specified shock response spectrum (within the capability limits of the resonant plate test system framework).
  • Mechanisms to add damping to the resonant plate will be explored both analytically and experimentally as a potential tailoring strategy.
 
Deliverable(s): All FEA models and test data will be provided. A report will be written which summarizes the analytical and experimental modeling and testing as well as any damping mechanisms/devices which were evaluated and their effectiveness.

Awarded Amount: $204,000

High Brake Mean Effective Pressure (BMEP) and High Efficiency Micro-Pilot Ignition Natural Gas Engine

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Jeffrey Naber
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
OBJECTIVES:

The objective of this project is to develop the combustion system for a low-cost, low diesel contribution, high brake mean effective pressure (BMEP), high-efficiency premixed charge medium/heavy duty (MHD) natural gas engine and demonstrate the technology on an engine with peak thermal efficiency of up to 44%, diesel pilot contribution of 1-5%, and BMEP up to 25 bar. Emissions will be compliant with current Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards for heavy-duty (HD) on-road engines by using a three-way catalyst.

SCOPE OF WORK:
This project will evaluate and develop solutions to the barriers to micro-pilot combustion in a stoichiometric natural gas engine. A combination of combustion vessel (CV) testing and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulation will evaluate fundamental limitations and develop solutions. The results will then be applied to a multi-cylinder engine test bed, where the combustion system will be developed and emissions and efficiency demonstrated.
The project will be conducted in 3 budget periods:
Budget Period 1: Fundamental study of micro-pilot NG ignition
In BP 1, prior art on micro-pilot natural gas (NG) ignition will be investigated, CV will be set up and used to conduct some preliminary study on micro-pilot NG ignition, combustions models will be validated using existing data, and engine baseline will be established.
 Budget Period 2: Development of micro-pilot NG combustion
In BP2, more CV testing will be conducted to further develop the micro-pilot NG ignition concept.
Engine testing will then be carried out using the promising design and operating conditions determined by the CV and CFD simulation.
Budget Period 3: Optimization of micro-pilot NG engine
In BP3, micro-pilot NG engine concept will be further optimized on the engine with the help of both CV testing and CFD simulation. Based on that, design specifications will be provided and the readiness of the technology for commercialization will be assessed.

Awarded Amount: $1,229,000

Auris: A CubeSat to Characterize and Locate Geostationary Communication Emitters

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Lyon King
Co-PI: Ossama Abdelkhalik
Co-PI: Michael Roggemann
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

Stratus: A CubeSat to Measure Cloud Structure and Winds

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Lyon King
Co-PI: Ossama Abdelkhalik
Co-PI: Michael Roggemann
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

Senior Design: Flywheel Balance Measurement System

Investigators
Principal Investigator: William Endres
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Project Goal
Create a flywheel balance measurement process that yields improved performance versus currently available methods and equipment.
 
Background
The current best industry practice for measuring the imbalance of flywheels produces results that are inconsistent and has insufficient sensitivity. Mercury has not been able to identify equipment that can demonstrate statistically acceptable results for Repeatability and Reproducibility (R&R). It appears that the flywheel balancing process is not completely understood by suppliers currently providing balance measurement equipment.
Project Scope
This project will focus on identifying a methodology to measure the imbalance of a single mass marine flywheel within a set weight and diameter range. The design team on this project will initially research past and current methods of measuring imbalance initially starting with focusing on other rotating assemblies outside the current flywheel methods. Based on research results, the team will devise a concept for the measurement process, construct a prototype, and use the prototype to produce data demonstrating validity of the concept.
 The existing methods for flywheel balance measurement are evolutionary and very similar to one another. These methods have demonstrated low repeatability and have low accuracy relative to some existing part tolerances. A new method will be developed with an alternative technology and not focusing on current practices.
Project Objectives
• Design concept for a flywheel balance measurement system
• Prototype unit based on the design concept
• Data set demonstrating concept validation

Awarded Amount: $25,650

On Integrating New Capability into Coastal Energy Conversion Systems

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Ossama Abdelkhalik
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Overview:
MTU will analyze and simulate the power capture from arrays of wave energy converters (WECs) with and without the presence of an object. Nonlinear WECs will be analyzed and exploited for more energy capture. For object detection, MTU will develop an estimator. In addition to having a model that detects the presence of an object, the estimator will use that model and account for uncertainties that we have in the model and also measurement errors; in any case we need to know statistical characteristics about these uncertainties and errors. MTU will participate in the WEC array overall design, analysis, modeling and simulations; control design for Design 2, nonlinear modeling and control, and topology optimization.

Awarded Amount: $405,139

Developing a Talent Pipeline: Inspiring Future Naval Engineers and Scientists using Real-World Project Based Instruction

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Andrew Barnard
Co-PI: Nina Mahmoudian
Co-PI: Guy Meadows
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

High BMEP and High Efficiency Micro-Pilot Ignition Natural Gas Engine

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Jeffrey Naber
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

Awarded Amount: $137,905

Toward Undersea Persistence

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Nina Mahmoudian
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

Evaporation Sub-Model Development for Volume of Fluid (eVOF) Method Applicable to Spray-Wall Interaction Including Film Characteristics with Validation at High Pressure-Temperature Conditions

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Seong-Young Lee
Co-PI: Jeffrey Naber
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

Center for Novel High Voltage Temperature Materials and Structures

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Gregory Odegard
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

Technical Survey on High Efficient Intensive Cooling Control Technology

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Chang Choi
Co-PI: Jeffrey Allen
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

Project Description

Quenching, rapid cooling, has been used to improve hardness and reduce crystallinity by preventing low temperature processes of phase transformations. So cooling alloys and steels in an extremely rapid manner produces martensitic microstructure in their surfaces. Conventional quenching methods use oil, polymer, air, and water. In this proposal, intensive quenching using high velocity water flows is proposed to improve heat-extraction rate by increasing 3-5 times greater heat fluxes from the heated surface of metals. This method is highly efficient and ecofriendly because it uses water and provides greater heat-extraction rates resulting in greater temperature gradient in the sample. This temperature gradient forms compressive stresses from the surface that mainly eliminates cracking. So the intensive quenching keeps the residual surface stresses compressive, while the conventional quenching normally produces tensile or neutral residual surface stresses. The main goal of this project is to establish fundamental and practical technology on intensive quenching heat treatment.

 Michigan Tech will do survey on intensive heat treatment technologies available and/or practical in the world and also do corresponding analytical studies for Year I. For the second year, Michigan Tech will continue doing market survey and analyzing recent research trends for intensive quenching and traditional heat treatment technologies. For Year III, Michigan Tech will provide future market trends and comprehensive technology analysis on heat treatment.

Awarded Amount: $176,724

Center for Novel High Voltage/Temperature Materials and Structures

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Gregory Odegard
Co-PI: Julia King
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

Development of Conformable CNG Tanks for Automotive Development

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Gregory Odegard
Co-PI: Jeremy Worm
Co-PI: Jeffrey Naber
Co-PI: Paul Sanders
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

A group of researchers at Michigan Tech and REL propose to design, develop, integrate, and test a CNG tank that will have a conformable shape for efficient storage in a light-duty pick-up truck. Michigan Tech is well known for its research in automotive technology, design optimization via simulation, and aluminum material research. REL is the leader in design and manufacturing of aluminum conformable pressure tanks.

This research will be conducted in two phases. Phase 1 (1 year) will be a proof-of concept phase in which existing technology will be used to fabricate, integrate, and test a conformable tank for a light-duty truck using existing materials technology and fabrication techniques. In Phase 1, the materials development effort will initiate.

The Phase 1 tank is a simple rectangular box geometry to demonstrate capability of non-cylindrical shapes. The end of Phase 2 (2 years) will result in a conformable tank with an optimized internal structure and improved lightweight material for greater efficiency, capacity and durability. The optimized tank will be integrated and tested on a light-duty pick-up truck that has been converted for CNG.

Awarded Amount: $2,107,965

CAREER: Autonomous Underwater Power Distribution System for Continuous Operation

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Nina Mahmoudian
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

CPS: Breakthrough: Toward Revolutionary Algorithms for Cyber-Physical Systems Architecture Optimization

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Ossama Abdelkhalik
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

MRI: Acquisition of a High Resolution Transmission Electron Microscope for In Situ Microscopy Research and Education

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Reza Shahbazian Yassar
Co-PI: Stephen Hackney
Co-PI: Claudio Mazzoleni
Co-PI: Tolou Shokuhfar
Co-PI: Yoke Khin Yap
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

Electrospray from Magneto-Electrostatic Instabilities

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Lyon King
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

I/UCRC: Novel High Voltage/Temperature Materials and Structures

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Gregory Odegard
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

CAREER: A New Perspective on Biomineralization in Healthy and Dysfunctional Ferritins

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Tolou Shokuhfar
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

Abstract

Overview: Apoferritin is an organic cage that captures the toxic free ferrous ions and transforms them into a ferrihydrite and iron oxide crystalline nanoparticle through a complex biomineralization process (the resulting structural protein is called ferritin). Any dysfunction of ferritin protein can result in iron toxicity, serious illness, chronic diseases, and especially neurological diseases. Dysfunction in ferritin results in the alterations in the biomineralization of the ferritin cores, and therefore, understanding the process of biomineralization within ferritin, is of great importance in the study of neurodegeneration and other chronic diseases. While these unique proteins have been the subject of intense research in biology and chemistry fields due to their importance in many chronic diseases, little effort has been made to unveil the dynamics of such biomineralization processes in liquid conditions. To the Pl's knowledge, there has been no direct evidence at atomic level on how the biomineralization or demineralization inside a ferritin protein progresses over time. This research aims to fill this gap.

The objective of this project is to investigate the in situ crystallization of ferrous ions into crystalline ferrihydrite and iron oxide nanoparticles as well as the demineralization of crystalline core in healthy and dysfunction ferritins in unprecedented resolutions within liquids. In-situ studies conducted inside an atomic resolution aberration-corrected scanning transmission electron microscope (STEM) enabling imaging at resolutions better than 1A. A miniaturized graphene-based electron transparent bio/nano reactor compatible with the microscope chamber is utilized to preserve the liquid environment inside the electron microscope. In this graphene bio/nano reactor, ferrous ions delivered to apoferritins through break down of liposomes acting as reservoirs of irons to trigger the biomineralization within apoferritins cores.

The research is the first atomic resolution study of proteinmediated biomineralization and demineralization within a liquid media and inside a transmission electron microscope. This CAREER research unfolds: (I) The nucleation and growth mechanisms of mineral core (ferrihydrite and iron oxide crystals), (II) the existence and evolution of atomic defects (vacancy, twinning, misorientation boundaries, amorphous regions, etc) during the crystallization, (Ill) the evolution of chemical gradient from surface to core of crystals during the biomineralization, (IV) the mechanisms of demineralization due to iron release, and (V) The atomic-scale morphological and structural differences between a healthy and dysfunctional ferritins.

This research probes the ground rules for ferritin biomineralization with the goal to unveil the fundamental differences with dysfunctional ferritins responsible for neurological diseases. In addition, a new research field for the utilization of bio/nano reactors to image complex biochemical reactions at atomic resolutions will be developed. The CAREER plan will impact the society by integrating multi-disciplinary research with education at all levels while promoting diversity. Graduate and undergraduate students involved with the project will be trained in cross-cutting areas.

Awarded Amount: $554,593

MTU Consortium in Diesel Engine Aftertreatment Research

Investigators
Principal Investigator: John Johnson
Co-PI: Gordon Parker
Co-PI: Jeffrey Naber
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

MTU Consortium in Diesel Engine Aftertreatment Research

Starting from a well-established research program and as a result of a Dept. of Energy 3 year project, we have significantly enhanced our laboratory, experimental methods and procedures, and modeling/estimator capability.  The faculty and students have produced thirteen publications from this research.

Consortium Goal:

The underling goal of the consortium is to develop and conduct precompetitive research on advanced aftertreatment systems through experimental engine methods, development and calibration of high fidelity models, and development and application of estimators and controllers. Achieving this goal will provide an improved understanding of the systems under dynamic and low temperature conditions characteristic of advanced medium and heavy duty diesel engines allowing the consortium members to apply this knowledge and models to improve system performance, reduce cost, and develop new approaches to diagnostics and increase robustness of their on-board-diagnostics.

Research Activities:

The existing facilities and an extensive model base will be used as developed in previous research including the current DOE program. This includes temperature controlled exhaust, positive torque drive cycles, and validated component models and estimators. Additionally we will add real-time functionality to perform aftertreatment estimation and control in the engine test cell.

The consortium research themes integrate fundamental and applied aspects of (1) Experimental Engine Studies (2) Modeling and Simulation and (3) Estimation, Control, and diagnostics. The proposed research is split into three major themes (I) Experimental, (II) Modeling, and (III) Estimation and Controls with a number of outcomes from the composite research program.

Areas of study will be determined based upon proposed research by MTU with input from the Partners to direct the research.

Based upon input from our partners and continuing some efforts from the DOE program, the following have been identified as key areas from which yearly research topics will be selected.

  • Experimentally validated reduced order models and state estimation algorithms of aftertreatment components which are accurate for low temperature and dynamic operation.
  • Quantify particulate matter (PM) maldistribution, loading, and NO2/PM ratio effects on passive and active regeneration, bio-fuel blends, and aging for catalyzed particulate filters (CPFs).
  • Increased knowledge of ammonia (NH3) storage behavior, optimal NH3 loading, hydrocarbon (HC) poisoning, and aging for selective catalytic reduction (SCR) catalysts
  • Understanding effect of sensor type/configuration on state estimation quality.
  • Optimal reductant strategies for SCR operation and CPF regeneration.
  • Integrated response and optimization of engine feedgas and aftertreatment systems
  • Thermal control of the aftertreatment components for light-off, maintaining operational temperature, and regeneration relevant to engine low temperature operation and integration with exhaust energy recovery systems
  • Fundamental studies of DEF introduction and functional responses – hydrolysis and pyrolysis
  • Diagnostic concept development: Based upon existing virtual sensor and estimator work this will be translated into system and component diagnostics
  • Sensor displacement by applying estimators and virtual sensors. For example, determining whether a NH3 sensor is needed if an accurate SCR NH3 storage model is available.
  • Improved DPF PM estimation and measurement. Although systems are going to increase passive oxidation with engines moving to higher NOX and lower PM, this is still an important research area to improve methods to accurately estimate CPF loading.
  • Alternative and integrated aftertreatment technologies such as integrated SCR with PM filtration. Many fundamental questions remain about this technology including architecture of combining functions that still enable high passive PM oxidation and high NOX conversion.
  • PM Sampling and related diagnostic use. Quantifying the effect of sensor location on the ability to detect failures. does it matter where the sensor is and what the type of failure is. e.g.  For example, how does the location of the PM sensor impact the speed of CPF melt down detection and can this speed of detection be optimized?

Awarded Amount: $1,218,935

CAREER: Steerable Powered Ankle-foot Prostheses for Increased Mobility in Amputees

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Mohammad Rastgaar Aagaah
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics