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:
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In-SiTU Resource Utilization (ISRU) on Mars
- Where gypsum deposits ARE found on earth (blocks (not grains) of gypsum)
- What mining methods are employed typically on Earth
- What techniques are used for processing gypsum on Earth
- What characteristic particle size distributions do they result in
- Do empirical or analytical methods exist (and what are they) to estimate how much energy would be required to "crush" gypsum from a state with a larger characteristic dimension to a smaller one (by unit mass or by unit volume)?
- Visit a gypsum quarry/mine and factory to discuss processes in person and study applicability for Mars use based on Earth experience not typically documented.
- Discuss if any of the Earth methods for mining and processing are suitable for adaptation for Mars
- Discuss the most important trade-off factors for achieving the highest mass/power efficiency mining and processing of Mars gypsum for extracting water. Try to setup a relationship between the trade-off factors (e.g. size of feedstock particles/chunks and excavation energy vs. heating time and extraction percentage.
- Based on the identified trade-off factors, recommend the most mass/power effective method/process to extract gypsum on Mars and extract water from the gypsum deposit.
Delivery of Professional Development Courses in Propulsion Systems
- A spacious classroom with thermostatically controlled heating and air-conditioning, a whiteboard, and large screen TV's for slides and video's.
- Two full-functional powertrain test cells; AC Dynamometers, combustion analysis, emissions analysis, measurements of torque, flows, pressures, temperatures, etc., embedded I distributed rapid prototyping powertrain controls systems, and automated testing capability.
- Fleet of instrumented test vehicles consisting of conventional powertrains, mild hybrids, strong hybrids, range extenders, and full electric vehicles.
- Transport truck with capacity for 8 vehicles. The truck is also used to elevate vehicles for certain coursework activities requiring underbody access.
- Wide array of cutaway engines and transmissions, and various components used for teaching aids.
The Mobile Lab is entirely self-supportive and is setup at the client's location, thus course participants do not need to travel to training, and remain on-site should a job related emergency arise.
All courses are delivered by professional educators with research and development expertise in their field.
All courses include both direct learning through slides and whiteboard combined with fully integrated hands-on experiments. It has been consistently proven, that experiential learning such as this significantly enhances the participant's comprehension and retention the subject matter.
As a University we can offer college credit for each course. This can be beneficial to employees pursuing an advanced degree.
ICorps: Software for Aircraft Analysis and Design
Senior Design: Automatic Transmission Efficiency Improvement
Development of Dynamic Torsional Measurement Capability using Hybrid Electric Motor - Year 2
Experimental and Modeling Studies of Mahle Smart Heat Injector Concept
Senior Design: Power Seat Noise Abatement
Senior Design: Versatile Test Die Design
Continuation of Engine Ignition Studies-B
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
Oculus-ASR Nanosatellite Flight Integration
Senior Design: Non-Sterile Oral Solution Dosing System
Oculus - ASR Nanosatellite Flight Integration
Carbon Nanotube Speaker for Exhaust Active Noise Control
Sensor Evaluation and Fusion for Closed Loop Combustion Control (CLCC) for SI Engines
Collaborative Research: On Making Wave Energy an Economical and Reliable Power Souce for Ocean Measurement Applications
Hydrodynamic Control Using X-Band Radar for Wave Energy Converter Technology
On Integrating Object Detection Capability into a Coastal Energy Conversion System
I/UCRC: Novel High Voltage/Temperature Materials and Structures-B
CAREER: An Ecologically -Inspired Approach to Battery Lifetime Analysis and Testing
Antibacterial Orthopaedic Implant Commercialization
Development of Advanced Model for Pre-Ignition Prediction in Gas Engines
NEXTCAR: Connected and Automated Control for Vehicle Dynamics and Powertrain Operation on a Light-duty Multi-Mode Hybrid Electric Vehicle
Increasing Ship Power System Capability through Exergy Control
Novel Ionomers and Electrode Structures for Improved PEMFC Electrode Performance at Low PGM Loadings
Collaborative Research: On Making Wave Energy an Economical and Reliable Power Source for Ocean Measurement Applications
Development of Advanced Modeling Tools for Diesel Engines
Ignition System Characterization for Chrysler
Tailorable Resonant Plate 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.
High Brake Mean Effective Pressure (BMEP) and High Efficiency Micro-Pilot Ignition Natural Gas Engine
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.
Auris: A CubeSat to Characterize and Locate Geostationary Communication Emitters
Stratus: A CubeSat to Measure Cloud Structure and Winds
Senior Design: Flywheel Balance Measurement System
On Integrating New Capability into Coastal Energy Conversion Systems
Developing a Talent Pipeline: Inspiring Future Naval Engineers and Scientists using Real-World Project Based Instruction
High BMEP and High Efficiency Micro-Pilot Ignition Natural Gas Engine
Toward Undersea Persistence
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
Center for Novel High Voltage Temperature Materials and Structures
Technical Survey on High Efficient Intensive Cooling Control Technology
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.
Center for Novel High Voltage/Temperature Materials and Structures
Development of Conformable CNG Tanks for Automotive Development
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.
CAREER: Autonomous Underwater Power Distribution System for Continuous Operation
Senior Design: AFRL Design Challenge Project Sequence
CPS: Breakthrough: Toward Revolutionary Algorithms for Cyber-Physical Systems Architecture Optimization
GOALI: Collaborative Research: Easily Verifiable Controller Design
MRI: Acquisition of a High Resolution Transmission Electron Microscope for In Situ Microscopy Research and Education
NRI: Co-Robots to Engage Next Generation of Students in STEM Learning
Electrospray from Magneto-Electrostatic Instabilities
Fundamental Understanding on the Role of Structural Defects on Lithiation of Nanoscale Transition Metal Oxides
Nano-sized transition metal oxides (TMO) are promising materials for lithium-ion batteries. These materials operate through conversion reactions and are associated with much higher energy densities than intercalation reactions. Extensive research is ongoing on the electrochemical characterization of TMO-based electrodes; however, many fundamental questions remained to be addressed. For instance, TMOs exhibit a mysterious extra capacity beyond their theoretical capacity through mechanisms that are still poorly understood. In addition, nano-sized TMOs are highly vulnerable to structural defects produced during synthesis that can alter lithium ion pathways by perturbing the local electronic and lattice strains. No experimental work has been reported to reveal the underlying mechanisms that can correlate structural defects to the electrochemical lithiation in TMOs owing to the difficulty in characterizing structure at the nanoscale, particularly at buried interfaces. This research aims to fill this gap.
The objective is to understand the underlying atomistic mechanisms by which structural defects such as hetrointerfaces, heteroatoms, dislocations, twining, and grain boundaries affect the lithiation behavior of TMOs. In order to meet this objective, single TMO nanowires (NWs) will be subjected to in situ electrochemical lithiation inside high-resolution transmission electron microscope (HRTEM) and aberration-corrected scanning transmission electron microscope (CsSTEM). The in situ electrochemical lithiation will be conducted using state-of-the art scanning tunneling microscope (STM-TEM) and conductive atomic force microscope (cAFM-TEM) holders. This unique combination enables the study of evolution of local lattice strains and electronic perturbations at the vicinity of defects with unprecedented spatial resolutions better than 0.7 A and chemical sensitivity down to 0.35eV.
The in situ studies will enable research in three poorly understood fields: (I) the effect of structural defects (twins, dislocations, grain boundaries, and hetrointerfaces) on the nucleation of Li20 and TM particles due to conversion reactions in TMOs; (II) the pinning/unpinning effect of impurities or dopants during grain boundary movement associated with the nucleation of Li20 and TM phases; and (III) the evolution of localized strain and electronic structure at the vicinity of structural defects and their effect on Li-ion pathways The new understanding can facilitate the design of structurally-tailored TMOs for Li-ion battery applications. Furthermore, the experimental methodology and protocols to analyze the in situ data can be extended to other nanomaterials to enable high performance batteries.
I/UCRC: Novel High Voltage/Temperature Materials and Structures
CAREER: A New Perspective on Biomineralization in Healthy and Dysfunctional Ferritins
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.
MTU Consortium in Diesel Engine Aftertreatment Research
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.
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.
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?