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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In-SiTU Resource Utilization (ISRU) on Mars

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Paul van Susante
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Summary:
For sustainable human exploration of Mars, in-situ production of water is highly beneficial because it will reduce the required low earth orbit launch mass significantly. Local production of rocket propellant and consumables also has the potential to increase redundancy, robustness and reduce risk. Various potential sources of water have been identified during the MWIP study effort.  The potentially viable water sources considered were 'garden variety' regolith, hydrated minerals (such as smectite clays and gypsum) as well as buried glacial ice south of 50 degrees latitude. During the MWIP study it was determined that the required energy and mass to produce the required minimum amount of rocket propellant and oxidizer was lowest when using Gypsum as the source unless glacial water was available. For reasons of planetary protection, gypsum ends up on the top of the list of desired resource on Mars.
 
This study researches Earth mining and processing of gypsum and the potential for gypsum as feedstock for In-Situ Resource Utilization on Mars. Specifically the following items are under investigation:
  1. Where gypsum deposits ARE found on earth (blocks (not grains) of gypsum)
  2. What mining methods are employed typically on Earth
  3. What techniques are used for processing gypsum on Earth
  4. What characteristic particle size distributions do they result in
  5. 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)?
  6. 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.
 Based on these Earth methods:
  1. Discuss if any of the Earth methods for mining and processing are suitable for adaptation for Mars
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
 (recognizing, of course, that there are different power I extraction efficiencies available depending on the characteristic dimensions of "ore" fed into the "calcination reactor" on Mars - i.e small particles take relatively low energy to heat up throughout and would be expected to release most of the total available water content, but if we are feeding 1-2 cm chunks of gypsum rock in, it may both take more power to heat them up, AND the released water may only be in the outermost surface volumes of each chunk without liberating the potential water content in the inner most parts of each chunk.

Awarded Amount: $34,999

Delivery of Professional Development Courses in Propulsion Systems

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Paul van Susante
Co-PI: Jeremy Worm
Co-PI: Darrell Robinette
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Overview:
TARDEC has specifically requested delivery of Hands-On short courses in Hybrid Electric Vehicles, Instrumentation and Experimentation, and High Voltage Safety.
 
The Mobile Lab, as a whole, consists of a range of facilities and equipment including:
  • 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.
 All standard courses are 2.5 days in duration and are suitable for Engineers, Managers, and
Technicians. As with any course, smaller class sizes are always better, but the Mobile Lab can comfortably accommodate group sizes as large as 16 participants with overflow potential to 20 if needed.
 
There are several advantages of professional development training offered through the Michigan
Tech Mobile Lab as compared to other available options:
  • 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.

Awarded Amount: 115,000

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

Investigations of Turbulent Energy's Device for Fuel Mixing and Homogenization on a Single Cylinder-Spark Ignition Test

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Jeffrey Naber
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Summary
An experimental study investigating the engine performance utilizing Turbulent Energy's fuel mixing-homogenization device in a spark-ignition engine. It was determined the best platform for initiation of these tests is a single-cylinder spark-ignition engine Michigan Tech has setup and running for injector, ignition, fuel, and combustion studies. The following outlines the engine and the statement of work and estimated budget to perform this investigation.
Single Cylinder Test Engine (SCTE)
The engine selected for testing Turbulent Energy's fuel mixing-homogenization device is a single cylinder engine that is fully instrumented with custom controls to enable a wide range of studies. The engine is based upon GM's Ecotec2 engine family which is a direct-injection homogenous charge engine.
The objective of this project is to provide a direct comparison of engine performance utilizing Turbulent Energy's FAD fuel mixing-homogenization device and the Vortex Generator. This includes both gasoline and gasoline water testing under gasoline direct injection (GDI) and port fuel injection (PFI).

Awarded Amount: $29,750

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

Advanced Engine Technologies for Light Duty Vehicles Consortium

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

Modeling and Control Development for Electric Vehicle and Smart Grid Integration

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

Oculus - ASR Nanosatellite Flight Integration

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

Engine Heat Transfer Analysis

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Scott Miers
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Overview:
Increased demand to improve vehicle fuel economy and reduce engine emissions requires the development of accurate simulations to speed new product development. Experimental data is required to validate complex models to ensure the solutions are correct. One particular area of focus in internal combustion engines is the in-cylinder heat transfer process. Significant interest exists to better understand how heat transfer is affected by parameters such as fuel injection timing, the ratio of air and fuel in the cylinder, the amount of residual gas in the cylinder, and even the coolant temperature.
 
Project Work Plan:
Raw data files include: temperature and heat flux data from the piston, cylinder head, and liner (block) as well as cylinder pressure data from a four-cylinder, spark-ignited engine. The engine was operated at various speed/load points, with varying fuel injection and valve timing.
The post-processing includes writing software code to plot the raw signals, as well as correlate the temperature and heat flux with in-cylinder pressure measurements. Tasks include implementing proper signal filtering, time alignment, addressing drop-outs in the data, noise, and selecting appropriate material properties. A detailed explanation of transient versus steady-state heat flux is required, to understand the value added from each component. Overall trends in the data, as they relate to the operating conditions of the engine.
 
Deliverables:
The primary deliverable is the increased understanding of the complex heat transfer processes inside an internal combustion engine, to further improve the accuracy of complex simulations. This will be accomplished via weekly conference calls to discuss the observed trends in the processed data. All software code developed for this project will be offered to the sponsor.

Awarded Amount: $7,500

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

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

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

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

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

Advanced Controls in Wave Energy Conversion

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

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

Spray Characterization of Solenoid Injectors

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Jeffrey Naber
Co-PI: Jaclyn Johnson
Co-PI: Seong-Young Lee
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Project Description and Research Objectives:
Michigan Technological University (MTU) will investigate and characterize one FCA US supplied fuel injector to provide data for injector evaluation and model validation. The Injector driver will be supplied by FCA US. Tests will be conducted under a set of ambient and injection conditions as defined by FCA US. Results will include vapor and liquid penetration length from Schlieren and Mie Scatter imaging and quantitative fuel vapor distribution via PLIF (Planar Laser-Induced Fluorescence). Tests will be conducted in MTU's optically accessible combustion vessel (CV) research facility. Existing hardware in the facility will be used; including a gasoline fuel system to reach the target injection pressure of 300 bar, high speed imaging for liquid and vapor, and simultaneous single shot PLIF diagnostics for fuel vapor distribution. A new diffraction based instrument is planned for measuring spray droplet sizing.

Awarded Amount: $159,888

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

Ignition System Characterization for Chrysler

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Jeffrey Naber
Co-PI: Jaclyn Johnson
Co-PI: Seong-Young Lee
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Project Description and Research Objectives:
Michigan Technological University (MTU) will investigate and characterize Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) supplied ignition systems to provide ignition characteristics and data for FCA model validation under various ambient conditions. Tests will be conducted in Michigan Tech’s optically accessible Combustion Vessel (CV) research facility. The ambient conditions that will be varied include Air-Fuel Ratio (AFR), charge velocity, and pressure at ignition. Limited testing will also occur to evaluate the impacts of spark plug orientation. Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) will be conducted in the CV, without the presence of an igniter, to quantify charge velocity. A total of three ignition systems will be tested. Ignition system calibration settings will be defined by FCA. All testing will be conducted with propane fuel. Results will include high speed Schlieren imaging to quantify flame kernel development and flame propagation. Results will also include ignition system measurement of primary and secondary current and voltage ignition System Characterization for Chrysler

Awarded Amount: $90,606

Robotic ISRU Construction of Planetary Landing and Launch Pad

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Paul van Susante
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Objective
The main objective of this effort is to develop an integrated robotic system for excavating planetary regolith, sorting rocks into discrete sizes, and building of the landing pad.
From tests done at KSC and CSM it is clear that a combination of methods will be required to build a landing pad able to withstand the landing and take-off exhaust gases and prevent the fine regolith dust from being a danger to the vehicle and surrounding infrastructure. For that reason a combination of using pavers in the center zone and stacked rocks for the surrounding apron zone is proposed. The crucial parameter is to determine the size of the armour stone; based on wave parameters such as frequency, spectrum, and amplitude which formed the basis for the manual on the use of rock in hydraulic engineering.
Proposed Work
To design a fully integrated TRL 5 robot or robotic tool attachment to pick up/excavate, sort in the required size ranges, store and deposit rocks in three layers with the purpose to stabilize (lock in) the fine regolith in the secondary (apron) zone of Lunar and Martian landing pads for repeated landings and takeoffs. The design process will aim to integrate the solution with the existing Helelani rover of PISCES which is currently testing a Honeybee Robotics robotic arm for the deployment of ceramic pavers that may form the central landing pad zone at the Hawaii field site, using an armour stone size of 6 inches while using the PISCES Helelani rover.
 The work would start with trade studies for the required subsystems, i.e. excavation, sorting and apron construction followed by breadboarding of subsystems for testing and refinement followed by the detailed integrated design as the final deliverable for Phase I.

Awarded Amount: $54,000

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

Senior Design: AFRL Design Challenge Project Sequence

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

Awarded Amount: $89,217

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

MicroCSPs Contribution on the Management of an Electrical Grid Including Renewable Energy Sources

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

Collaborate with Mohammadia School of Engineering (EMI), Rabat, Morocco within the framework of the Project: "MicroCSPs Contribution on the Management of an Electrical Grid Including Renewable Energy Sources."

 Statement of Work:

  • Support the Design of an intelligent monitoring system for load balancing of a network based on a CSP with storage and photovoltaic panels.
  • Help and support in the study of the integration of CSP in the Moroccan grid.
  • Support the Economic Survey of the implementation of the CSP in the Moroccan power grid in the short term.
  • Support the calculations of the cost of energy generation by the CSP.
  • Support the calculations of an appropriate cost price PPA (Power Purchase Agreement).
  • Transfer of skills where desired.

 

Awarded Amount: $17,616

GOALI: Collaborative Research: Easily Verifiable Controller Design

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Mahdi Shahbakhti
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

NRI: Co-Robots to Engage Next Generation of Students in STEM Learning

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Nina Mahmoudian
Co-PI: Michele Miller
Co-PI: Mohammad Rastgaar Aagaah
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

Fundamental Understanding on the Role of Structural Defects on Lithiation of Nanoscale Transition Metal Oxides

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Reza Shahbazian-Yassar
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

Overview:

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.

Intellectual Merit: 

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.

Awarded Amount: $445,658

Fundamental Investigations for Very High Heat-Flux Innovative Operations of Milli-Meter Scale Flow Boilers

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Amitabh Narain
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

Mass Measurements of an Electrospray Beam from a Single Emitter Ionic Liquid

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

Distributed Agent-based Management of Agile Microgrids

Investigators
Principal Investigator: Gordon Parker
Co-PI: Laura Brown
Co-PI: Steven Goldsmith
Co-PI: Wayne Weaver
College/School: College of Engineering
Department(s): Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

NSF/DOE Advanced Combustion Engines: Ignition and Combustion Characteristics of Transportation Fuels under Lean-Burn Conditions for Advanced Engine Concepts

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