Mechanical AT MINES
Mechanical Engineering welcomes
Braun wins $7.7M to test highly efficient, hybrid stationary power system
4....................................................................................................................................................... Welcome Message
5.................................................................................................................................................................. New Faculty
6......................................................................................................................................................... Faculty Spotlight
7............................................................................................................................................................. Graduate News
8..................................................................................................................................................... Emeritus Reflection
10....................................................................................................................................... Response to the Pandemic
12............................................................................................................................. Department and Research News
20................................................................................................................................................ Undergraduate News
22.............................................................................................................................................. Welcome New Alumni
25........................................................................................................................................................... Alumni Update
26................................................................................................................................................... Department Events
Above: The Mechanical Engineering leadership team meets on Zoom, demonstrating flexibility and resiliency in a most unusual spring semester.
On the cover: Research Professor Chris Cadigan (left) and Research Engineer Chris Chmura (right) discuss performance characterization of solid oxide fuel cells for hybrid, high-efficiency electric generators. By defining unusual hybrid operating conditions, researchers at the Colorado Fuel Cell Center seek to double fuel cell power production while maintaining high electrical efficiency.
1500 Illinois Street
Golden, CO 80401
303-273-3000 or 800-446-9488
SUMMER 2020 • VOL. 3, ISSUE 2
A newsletter for friends and supporters
of the Colorado School of Mines
Department of Mechanical Engineering
1500 Illinois Street
Golden, CO 80401
Brown Hall W350
1610 Illinois Street
Golden, CO 80401
Dr. Paul C. Johnson
Dr. John Berger
TECHNICAL & OPERATIONS MANAGER:
ME students, staff and alumni contribute to Colorado's Make4COVID effort
John R. Berger
Department of Mechanical Engineering
Colorado School of Mines
As we all have adjusted our way of doing business and living life during the COVID-19 pandemic, so has Mines ME. In mid-March, Mines sent all students, faculty and staff home to learn and work safely using virtual platforms like Zoom, MS Teams and Canvas. While the transition was challenging, virtual learning was a success. In May, Mines ME awarded 175 BS, 28 MS and 6 PhD degrees via a virtual graduation ceremony. We commend our students for their perseverance and resiliency in these most unusual times.
Mines ME is ready for a return to campus this fall, with a mix of virtual and in-person classes and new guidelines for field and lab research – all following comprehensive protocols for health and safety. Some of these protocols are detailed in a special “Response to the Pandemic” section in this newsletter, as is ME’s contribution to Colorado’s Make4COVID effort.
Mechanical Engineering continues to lead the way at Mines, with over 1,270 undergraduate students, over 220 graduate students and 42 faculty (including two new faculty – see their profiles on the adjacent page). In the last fiscal year, Mines ME was number one on campus in proposal writing, number two in awards ($11.9M) and number two in research expenditures.
We are also proud to report that Mines has received approval for the delivery of distance education courses and programs by the Higher Learning Commission. The fully online FEA Pro certificate program will launch this fall, led by ME Professor Anthony Petrella. See our spotlight on interdisciplinary programs for more on our unique graduate offerings.
We hope to see you on campus again in the near future. Until then, stay healthy, and go Orediggers!
New faculty in Mechanical Engineering
PhD, Royal Institute of Technology
Veronica Eliasson comes to Mines from the Structural Engineering Department at UCSD, and prior to that she spent seven years at USC in their Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering Department. Her research interests are multidisciplinary, ranging from shock wave dynamics to fracture mechanics, with a foundation in experimental mechanics and ultra-high-speed photography techniques. Veronica sums it up by saying, “I love to hit things hard and see what happens!” She has the equivalent of BS and MS degrees in Vehicle Engineering from the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm, Sweden. Her PhD in Mechanics is also from KTH, and she completed a postdoc at Caltech with Drs. Ares Rosakis and Paul Dimotakis. After many years in SoCal, Veronica is excited for snow and to hit the Colorado slopes this winter. She is also an avid cyclist and enjoys running, boxing, drawing, painting and driving her ’66 Mustang.
Teaching Assistant Professor
PhD, Colorado School of Mines
Steve Geer is a familiar face in the Mechanical Engineering department – not only did he earn all three of his degrees in ME at Mines, he also served as an adjunct for the department while working remotely as a postdoctoral scholar with Dr. Michelle Bernhardt at the University of Arkansas. Steve's areas of interest include discrete element method simulations and finite element analysis (FEA) in SolidWorks and Abaqus. He was an adjunct for several courses, including Dynamics, Computer Aided Engineering/Intro to FEA, Multidisciplinary Engineering Lab (now Intro to Instrumentation and Automation), and Static and Dynamic Applications in FEA. Steve is a Denver native and an avid skier. His other interests outside of work include Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, drumming, gaming, barbecuing and being dad to his 3-year-old daughter. Steve is excited to explore new courses to teach and to help with undergraduate advising.
FROM THE TOP
Greetings from the department head
A welcome message from
Department Head John Berger
Jackson guest-edits ECS member magazine
Associate Professor Garritt Tucker and his research group contributed to the article chosen for the cover of the April issue of JOM, titled “Grain-Size- Dependent Grain Boundary Deformation during Yielding in Nanocrystalline Materials Using Atomistic Simulations.”
Three Advanced Manufacturing master’s students were awarded Most Innovative Design for their team’s solution to the COVID-19 Maker Challenge: First Responders, the first of five events in a program designed to find innovative solutions to challenges faced by essential workers on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. Veterans Health Administration Innovation Ecosystem and Challenge America (a veteran nonprofit) partnered to develop the challenge, which was sponsored by America Makes.
Steven Sullivan, Noah Mostow and Kelly Pickering competed in the Connected Cruiser challenge, one of eight challenges in the first virtual maker event. The challenges were selected from ideas submitted by police, fire and paramedic units across the country. Their task was to redesign a police cruiser laptop mounting system that would allow officers in the rural community of Basalt, Colorado, to work from their cruisers to socially distance from other officers at the station and to limit the driving required to return to the station to complete administrative tasks. The team included three more members from Massachusetts, Tennessee and Arizona.
Two of the biggest design constraints in the challenge were the cost and speed of production for the part. “Our solution has proven to dramatically reduce the cost of cruiser mounts and allows us to spread the production efforts across a decentralized maker community,” Pickering said.
The three Mines team members credited what they learned in their Advanced Manufacturing courses. “We applied practical knowledge to our solution from a software and production standpoint that allowed us to iterate quickly,” said Pickering. “Because of this we were able to design a solution that will help not only the Basalt PD but also many other rural communities.”
Pickering said that the challenge gave the team valuable insights into the production process, from concept to prototype to final production, and how to scale a product with a small, dispersed group in a short amount of time.
Team wins award in COVID-19 Maker Challenge
ME Research chosen for journal covers
Past-due congratulations are owed to Associate Professor Mohsen Asle Zaeem for being named a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers in December 2018. Fellows are chosen by the ASME Committee of Past Presidents based on outstanding engineering achievements. Asle Zaeem was nominated in the categories of Research and Development, Education, and Leadership in the Engineering Profession.
ME students receive graduate fellowships
Erin Burrell (’20) received an NSF graduate research fellowship and will be starting a PhD program in mechanical engineering at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor to study thermofluids.
Emily Pittman, a PhD candidate in Leslie Lamberson’s group, won DoD’s prestigious National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate fellowship. With the 3-year funding she will investigate metals under impact, analyzing their phase transitions and rate-dependent material and failure behaviors.
Fulbright scholar wins GRADS awards
Fulbright scholar Fatima Zhara Benaddi won first place in oral presentations for the Energy and Energy Materials session. She also won second place overall in the audience awards. Fatima is visiting from Cadi Ayyad University in Marrakesh, Morocco, and working with Paulo Cesar Tabares-Velasco. Her focus is using local materials in sustainable buildings.
Zappulla wins TMS poster contest
Matthew Zappulla, recent PhD graduate (advisor Brian Thomas), won the best poster award for the Materials Processing and Manufacturing Division at TMS 2020. His poster was titled “Investigating Longitudinal Defect Mechanisms in Steel Continuous Casting.”
An article by Associate Professor Jason Porter, former student Adam Phillips and others, titled “The Effect of Membrane Casting Irregularities on Initial Fuel Cell Performance,” was published in Fuel Cells and chosen for the cover feature in February.
Braun promoted to professor
Asle Zaeem named ASME fellow
Congratulations to Robert Braun for his promotion to Rowlinson Professor of Mechanical Engineering. Braun has been with Mines since 2008. He teaches and leads research in the Thermal Fluids and Energy Systems division within ME and directs the Braun Advanced Energy Systems research group (aes.mines.edu). He has a multidisciplinary background in mechanical and chemical engineering, and his current research activities focus on hybrid fuel cell/engine systems, renewable energy pathways to synthetic fuel production, grid-scale energy storage, novel protonic ceramics, supercritical CO2 power cycles, and dispatch optimization of concentrating solar power plants.
Professor Greg Jackson was the guest editor for the Spring 2020 issue of Interface, the quarterly membership magazine of the Electrochemical Society. The issue focused on electrochemistry in space, a topic of special interest to Jackson. He is currently working with Mines’ Center for Space Resources and OxEon Energy to develop a system for using solid oxide electrolysis to split water found on the moon.
John Steele: Emeritus ME faculty (1988–2020)
Follow your heart – those things that are important to you and that you find interesting are the things that will keep you engaged throughout your life. And do something not because somebody tells you to or says that it’s going to make you a lot of money. Find the thing that really gets you excited. I wanted to learn more about welding – so, I learned.
Take an inventory of your skills and abilities and think about the match to your interests. See if there is a way to mold that match such that it allows you to have a career and also bring home the bacon, so to speak.
Do work in areas that you value. For example, for me right now a big value is the environment and the fact that we need to transition to renewable energy. There is a light in the sky that has all the energy we need on this planet. We just need to figure out how to capture it and hold on to it and use it in a way we haven’t done so far.
John's advice for new graduates:
THE EARLY YEARS
I followed a crooked path. It was both interesting and exciting, but it certainly wasn’t the straight arrow that some people follow. When I was in seventh grade, my friend and I used to play chess in homeroom every day. Sam said one day, “I’m going to be a doctor.” I was amazed even then that somebody could actually know what they wanted to be. I’m still figuring out what I want to be when I grow up.
I was raised in Alamogordo, New Mexico. My father was a telemetry engineer who worked on the White Sands Missile Range. I realized in grade school that I liked mathematics – a lot. By the time I got to high school I realized I liked science, too. Going to college was a given. That was when the choice was between going to the Vietnam War or school. I ended up at New Mexico State in Las Cruces. I considered both engineering and physics, but I chose physics, because I thought the arts and sciences would give me a broader education.
I became a co-op with a physical science laboratory that was associated with New Mexico State. That job gave me the opportunity to collect data at Cape Kennedy when the Apollo series rockets were being tested and astronauts went into space (1968–69). We didn’t get the moon until after I left, but when I graduated in 1970, I knew I didn’t want to be a physicist – I wanted to build things! I ended up being a manufacturing engineer for a company that made tape recorders, around the time that 8-track tapes became a reality. I got to see how things were made and diversified my world view.
THE ROAD TO ALASKA
After a couple of years, I looked around and thought, “I don’t think I want to be doing this for the rest of my life.” A couple of my buddies from college had gone to Alaska. I was afraid of missing out on the adventure, so I drove the ALCAN Highway to Alaska with my friend. I thought I would just hang out for the summer and fight fires or work the fishing boats. Instead, I signed up for the Federal Register and got a job with the National Park Service as a cartographer for the newly designated national parks in Alaska. This was 1972. We drew the maps for proposals for seven new national parks in Alaska, including McKinley (now Denali).
After my cartography stint, I decided I needed to learn a trade, so I became an apprentice pipe fitter because I had heard that the Alaskan Pipeline was going to be built. I worked on the Pipeline all through the boom of the mid-70s. I spent 1976 building the Pipeline terminal and working “up in the iron,” as they say – meaning that I was 30–70 feet in the air, welding with no safety attachments. It was thrilling.
I left Alaska for a year in Hawaii where I became a stainless steel TIG welder. When I wasn’t welding, I could look behind me and see the surfers on the beach. It was great, but Alaska called me back for more work in Wasilla.
Then, I hit a crossroads. I could either improve my welding skills even more or I could go back to school. My father had gotten older, so I went back to New Mexico. It was the early 1980s, and I was smitten with solar energy. The energy embargo was a big deal at the time, and I realized that fossil fuels weren’t going to hold up to the demand. We needed to store energy from the sun. I started taking courses in mechanical engineering at UNM.
THE NEXT CHAPTER
I became a tribologist – a lubricant expert – while working in the lab and working toward my MS in ME at UNM. I walked into a lab on campus and saw this machine sitting in the corner. It had a computer wired to it. You typed commands into the keyboard and the machine starting moving around. It was my first interaction with a robot. I had taken a few courses in robotics and it caught my fancy. I said to the lab manager that I would love to continue my education in the field of robotics. With that, I was hired as a PhD student to work on robotics with Sandia National Lab. Robotics was up and coming at the time; I got to design and build a robot that was omnidirectional and would spin in place or do pirouettes to navigate through a lab environment. It had a scanning laser and ultrasonic range sensor. My PhD work focused on planning navigation and obstacle avoidance in real time. The funny thing is that now I’m teaching undergraduates these exact concepts in the introduction to robotics course.
I knew that I liked teaching after I had the opportunity to teach dynamics. I really enjoyed being in the classroom and seeing the light bulb go off for students as they grasped new concepts. My next adventure was with a startup company that built air robotic systems for wafer manufacturing clean rooms in the then-fledgling semiconductor industry (1986). The company was bought out, and I had a choice: move to California or move on.
ON TO MINES
I learned about a new robotics program at Mines. My decision to come to Colorado might have had something to do with a redhead I met in Alaska who was now a teacher in Denver Public Schools: Susan Loftis – she became my wife.
The Engineering department head at the time asked me to come to Mines. In the summer of 1988, I did the third-ever Ride the Rockies, and the ride ended on the Mines campus, right up Illinois Street. I parked my bike under a tree in front of Guggenheim and thought, “This isn’t a bad place to be!” Three months later I was teaching vibrations and engineering design. We started the first Capstone Senior Design program in 1990, and we had maybe 16 students in the course. We didn’t even have PhD students then – we had a master’s in Applied Mechanics.
When the Engineering Division split into degree programs (2012), to some extent, the integrated approach was lost. But the beauty of a specific Mechanical Engineering degree is that a student can start at Mines and not know what they want to do, but gain an incredible breadth from biomechanics to aeronautics and everything in between. With an ME degree, students come out with a very functional and useful degree.
One of my dreams for Mines is to have an interdisciplinary degree option called mechatronics that would encompass electrical, mechanical and computer science engineering. Consider the recent SpaceX launch – the technology that went into designing and building that system is mechatronics.
I say that the reason folks decide to be engineers is that they want to be creative. They have ideas they want to do. They are artists at heart, and they want to manifest it in ways that can help people and society.
So far in retirement I’ve become a carpenter and plumber as I remodel a bathroom in our home. For years I’ve been scheming a “snowbot” that plows snow for you – or a snow-throwing robot! I also have plans to ride my bicycle on the Great Divide Trail from south to north, border to border in the U.S.
ME Machine Shop with spacing, sanitizing and occupancy protocols in place.
Preparing for a safe return to campus
ME contributes to Colorado's Make4COVID
Visit Mines Newsroom to learn more about Oredigger contributions to Make4COVID, including recent ME graduate Chance Reeves’ Montana masks (minesnewsroom.com).
A team that included Advanced Manufacturing master’s students Kelly Pickering, Steven Sullivan and Noah Mostow and ME research assistant professor Garrison Hommer (MS ’16, PhD ’18) printed 408 headbands for medical face shields as part of Make4COVID (make4covid.co), a coalition of Colorado manufacturers and makers working to provide health care professionals with needed personal protective equipment (PPE).
Most of the headbands were fabricated on the high-end industrial printers in the Advanced Manufacturing Teaching Lab, particularly the HP MultiJet Fusion 580 and Stratasys F170. Additional headbands were made on the printers in the ME department’s makerspace in Brown Hall, the Blaster Design Factory. The Advanced Manufacturing program supplied the material for the effort.
MAKING A DIFFERENCE
The team worked tirelessly for about six weeks to fill a critical supply gap for local health care workers. Additional help came from recent ME graduate Bradley Jesteadt, ME undergraduate Quin Guy, ME research faculty Bryan Marsh (BS ’19), ME alumna Allison Bateman (BS ’19) and Engineering and Tech Management grad student Kyle Barras. One of the challenges the team faced was coordinating shifts to run the printers while adhering to the university’s policies for distancing, lab cleanliness and record keeping.
“I am extremely proud of the efforts that this team was able to set forth,” said Kelly Pickering. “The group’s compassion for the larger Colorado community was extremely apparent.”
Garrison Hommer added, “As a few individuals, we were able to make a substantial contribution to the Make4COVID effort, thanks to the abundance of additive manufacturing resources at Mines and the financial support of the Advanced Manufacturing program.”
Finished headbands were brought to Make4COVID drop-off locations in the Denver metro area. The headbands were warehoused and then distributed as needed to local medical facilities where final face shield assembly took place.
A PERSONAL CONNECTION
The effort had a personal connection for Hommer, whose wife, Alexandra Skogen, is a physician assistant in the emergency rooms of two local hospitals and has been seeing COVID-19 patients regularly. “Both of the hospitals were experiencing PPE shortages, so the importance of printing PPE felt especially close to home for me,” Hommer said.
While the pandemic brought unforeseen challenges to universities and communities across the nation, this team demonstrated the resiliency and commitment of Mines students, faculty, staff and alumni.
“Colorado School of Mines is amazingly positioned with talent and resources to be a leader in the community,” Pickering said. “In the future, having response procedures in place will allow Mines to continue in their leadership role.”
Plexiglass barriers and floor markings in the ME front office in Brown Hall.
The Mechanical Engineering Department is ready for the fall semester with a new set of protocols to keep our students, faculty and staff safe and healthy. “Stopping the Spread” means wearing face masks at all times, keeping six feet of distance from one another, routinely cleaning all touch surfaces and copious hand washing.
If you visit the ME department in the fall, you’ll see signs in classrooms, labs and the ME Instructional Machine Shop reminding you of the protocols. You’ll also notice markers on floors reminding you where to stand to maintain a six-foot distance from fellow Orediggers and arrows on the floor to facilitate an easy flow through tight spaces. Reception areas will have clear plastic barriers in place, classrooms will have some seats blocked to allow for adequate spacing, and every room will have reduced occupancy. Stay safe, and take care of each other!
A classroom with reduced occupancy and blocked seats.
A finished headband rests atop the display for the HP MultiJet Fusion 580 in the Advanced Manufacturing Teaching Lab.
RESPONSE TO THE PANDEMIC
High-efficiency, hybrid fuel cell engine demonstration system. Figure credit: Shane Garland, CSU.
Fuel cell researchers at Colorado School of Mines have been awarded $7.7 million in funding from the U.S.Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) to develop and test a full-scale hybrid stationary power system that could provide highly efficient electricity to hospitals, supermarkets, large retailers and more.
“We’re targeting the highest electric efficiency ever for something that’s powered by a fossil fuel – the world’s first 70 percent efficient natural-gas-fueled power generation system,” said ME Professor Robert Braun, principal investigator on the ARPA-E project. “It’s natural gas, so it’s clean and there are very few emissions other than carbon dioxide.”
The system, which was developed by Braun’s team (the Advanced Energy Systems Group) at Mines, integrates pressurized solid oxide fuel cells with a highly efficient stationary engine fueled by pipeline natural gas – a combination that both increases the efficiency and lowers the cost of power generation.
Collaborating on the project are researchers from Colorado State University and industry partners Kohler Power Systems and Air Squared Inc.
With this new funding, the team will build on previous design and development work, assemble the integrated system and test it at full scale to prove the technology. The funding for both phases totals $10.8 million over five years.
The testing will occur on the microgrid at CSU’s Powerhouse facility. The hybrid system should be capable of generating 100 kilowatts of electric power at an unprecedented 70 percent electric efficiency.
“The highest efficiency fuel cell device right now is around 60 percent at beginning of life. By the end of its life, it may not be that efficient any more or it may deliver less power than it did at the beginning,” Braun said.
The type of fuel cell the system uses – a metal supported solid oxide – is a major factor in its lower cost, robustness and high efficiency. The team will pressurize the fuel cell and test its performance at Mines. Braun notes that most high-temperature fuel cells operate at near-ambient pressure, but an important aspect to achieving high efficiency is to operate them slightly pressurized.
“In addition to some pressurization, our fuel cells operate at 200 degrees C cooler than more traditional solid oxide fuel cells,” Braun said. Historically, widespread adoption of this technology has been limited by high cost and poor durability, which are in part associated with high operating temperatures. “By virtue of that lower temperature, other plant equipment like heat exchangers and plumbing can use lower-cost materials, and the heat exchange duties are lower,” Braun added.
Potential users of the hybrid system could include hospitals, schools, supermarkets, data centers and large retailers looking for distributed generation of baseload power.
Other Mines contributors include ME Associate Professor Neal Sullivan, who is leading the pressurized fuel cell testing, and Electrical Engineering Professor Tyrone Vincent, who is leading the controls development.
Visit Mines Newsroom to learn more about the ARPA-E program: minesnewsroom.com
DEPARTMENT AND RESEARCH NEWS
Braun and team awarded $7.7M to test full-scale hybrid stationary power system
Mines principal investigators from top to bottom: ME Professor Robert Braun, ME Associate Professor Neal Sullivan, EE Professor Tyrone Vincent
Research Professor Chris Cadigan (left) and Research Engineer Chris Chmura (right) work on the pressurized solid oxide fuel cell test rig at Mines.
Asle Zaeem noted for YSTZ research
Text adapted from Mines Newsroom: minesnewsroom.com
Mechanical Engineering Assistant Professor Owen Hildreth has received a National Science Foundation CAREER award for work that could speed the commercialization of a low-cost chemical method for the postprocessing of 3D-printed metal parts. Postprocessing is often labor intensive and can add significant cost to a part.
Hildreth will receive $500,000 over five years for his project, “Understanding Sensitization and Corrosion Mechanisms in Additively Manufactured Metals for Improved Surface Finish, Mechanical Properties and Corrosion Resistance.” The goal, says Hildreth, is to generate the fundamental science and understanding necessary to make chemical postprocessing controllable and predictable “based on first-principle scientific understanding, instead of just knob twisting.”
Hildreth has developed a method that enables a specific amount of metal to be removed from any metal surface, and its broadest application is in additive manufacturing (AM). He is using this method for three main purposes: (1) removing support structures inherent to the AM process, (2) improving surface finish and (3) eliminating residual powder that can get stuck in channels within the finished parts (bottom-right image shows an example part processed with Hildreth's technique).
A NOVEL APPROACH
Existing postprocessing techniques to address support structures, surface finish and trapped powder can add a lot of cost to the manufacturing process – on the order of 20 to 76 percent depending on the part. Hildreth’s technology makes use of simple chemical techniques to address all three issues at once, reducing postprocessing costs by 80 to 90 percent. With metal AM projected to be a $25 billion industry by 2025, this accounts for substantial savings.
However, the chemical postprocessing techniques need to be extremely predictable and consistent to transition the technology from the lab to a production environment in a company. Hildreth’s proposal is designed to generate the fundamental science and understanding that are necessary to make the process controllable. He will focus specifically on the sensitization and etching steps and will examine how 3D-printed metals are different from traditionally processed metals.
POTENTIAL FOR HIGH IMPACT
Hildreth says the most exciting aspect of this research is the near-term impact potential. “By reducing high postprocessing costs, we’re enabling American manufacturers to manufacture locally ... and to expand the design space.”
“One of the things that’s generating a lot of interest is rocket nozzles,” Hildreth says. Companies like Blue Origin and SpaceX are investigating using AM to make nozzles that incorporate cooling channels for higher efficiency. “Having an etching process that removes surface roughness and any trapped powder would allow for more complicated channels and better performance from their rockets at lower cost.”
The impact of Hildreth’s research won’t be limited to the lab – in addition to outreach activities, he has plans to develop a new course at Mines on corrosion in AM metals.
Tucker exhibits materials science VR at TMS 2020
Jacob Tavenner (far left), a PhD candidate in Tucker’s research group at Mines, guides a materials science VR demonstration for Dr. Michael Bakas, ARO program manager (right), Prof. Greg Thompson, University of Alabama (left), and Tucker (center). Photo credit: Heather Hall, Colorado State University.
Hildreth wins NSF CAREER award to streamline postprocessing in metal additive manufacturing
Associate Professor Mohsen Asle Zaeem’s research, funded by the DOE–Basic Energy Sciences, was highlighted in the National Science Foundation’s XSEDE (Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment) platform for using some of the largest supercomputers to study nanoscale characteristics of zirconia-based ceramics. The article on the XSEDE website cited his most recent publication in the Journal of the European Ceramic Society, co-authored with Dr. Ning Zhang, for its investigation of the mechanical behavior and corresponding plastic deformation of an advanced shape memory ceramic, yttria-stabilized tetragonal zirconia (YSTZ). YSTZ has applicability under extreme conditions such as in jet engines. View the article at xsede.org. urces-used-for-high-tech-materials-science-study.
Associate Professor Garritt Tucker demonstrated virtual reality (VR) for materials science at the TMS 2020 Diffusion Zone, a new concept for interactive posters and displays at the society’s annual meeting. During the two-day exhibit, well over 1,000 visitors explored microstructures, mineral phases, chemical segregation maps and more at Tucker’s booth.
Tucker and his research group have integrated the immersive VR platform for materials in the Modeling and Advanced Visualization Studio (MAVS) at Mines with collaborators from Colorado State University, who wrote and developed the software for human anatomy visualization. Hewlett Packard provided the computers for the exhibit. The demo consisted of linked VR headsets that allowed up to four users to be in the same VR space simultaneously. The specific demonstrations that visitors could experience included focused ion beam sectioned SEM images of a metallic microstructure, 3D X-ray diffraction of a garnet mineral sample, molecular dynamics simulation of a nanocrystalline nickel alloy and atom probe tomography of chemical segregation in nanostructured metal alloys.
TMS will debut the full Diffusion Zone concept at their 150th annual meeting in 2021.
Petrella launches fully online professional certificate in applied finite element analysis
Learn more about graduate programs at Mines: gradprograms.mines.edu
The Advanced Manufacturing program, led by Professor of Practice Craig Brice, explores the design, materials and data aspects of additive manufacturing as well as concepts such as lean manufacturing. The program offers a master’s non-thesis degree and residential certificates in Advanced Manufacturing and Smart Manufacturing. These certificates are planned for online delivery in the near future.
OPERATIONS RESEARCH WITH ENGINEERING
Operations Research with Engineering (ORwE) is led by Professor Alexandra Newman. Operations research involves mathematically modeling physical systems with the goal of improving or optimizing functionality. Research in this program spans manufacturing, energy, socioeconomic, mechanical and mining systems, and is applicable to both the private and public sectors, including the armed forces. ORwE offers a PhD and master’s non-thesis.
Space Resources, led by Professor of Practice Angel Abbud-Madrid, is the first program in the world focused on educating scientists, engineers, economists, entrepreneurs and policy makers in the developing field of space resources. In December 2018 it became the first accredited online learning program at Mines. The program offers a fully online graduate certificate, online master’s non-thesis degree, and residential and online PhD.
Incoming ME Associate Professor Veronica Eliasson plans to develop a new interdisciplinary graduate program in explosives engineering.
Crossing FEA with additive manufacturing. Models of a bench were printed on the HP MultiJet Fusion printer in the Advanced Manufacturing Teaching Lab with the FEA model displayed in color, predicting the stress distribution across the bench. Blue indicates low stress and red indicates high stress. The test bench (front) was subjected to loading. The deformation in the green zone and the point of failure in the red zone show the accuracy of the FEA model. Models and photo courtesy of Bradley Jesteadt ('20).
Computational representation of tibiofemoral joint (posterior view). Image credit: Ahmet Erdemir, “Open Knee: Open Source Modeling & Simulation to Enable Scientific Discovery and Clinical Care in Knee Biomechanics,” J Knee Surg. 2016 February; 29(2): 107–116. doi:10.1055/s-0035-1564600. For more information, see https://simtk.org/projects/openknee.
Interdisciplinary graduate programs aligned with ME
In the past few years, Mines has launched a number of innovative graduate programs focused on emerging technologies. Four of these interdisciplinary programs (Advanced Manufacturing, FEA Professional, Operations Research with Engineering and Space Resources) are led by ME faculty.
FEA Pro (FEA stands for finite element analysis), led by Associate Professor Anthony Petrella, is unique in that it is a fully online professional certificate. The FEA Pro certificate, comprising four 8-week online courses, will launch this fall. The courses are offered sequentially – two in the fall semester, two in spring – which makes the certificate achievable in one academic year.
Petrella has had a strong connection to Abaqus, a software suite by Dassault Systèmes for finite element analysis and computer aided engineering, for more than 20 years. This relationship, and his desire to provide more opportunities for professionals and recent graduates to pursue advanced technical training with a strong applied focus, led to the development of the FEA Pro certificate program.
Petrella says the goal of the FEA Pro certificate is not just proficiency, but effectiveness. “Anyone can learn where to click in the software to get an answer,” Petrella said. “What makes FEA Pro unique is that we’re delivering not only proficiency with the software but also the more challenging skills needed to actually be effective using the software to drive real business decisions.”
The skills students learn in FEA Pro are applicable to almost any industry, making the program a valuable asset to recent graduates and working professionals across disciplines and focus areas. Petrella developed the certificate’s four core courses with the assistance of Mines’ Trefny Innovative Instruction Center and newly hired teaching professor Steve Geer, who as an adjunct assisted Petrella in assembling problems and videos for one of the courses. The program was also made possible with startup funds from President Paul Johnson’s Innovation Fund.
For the layperson, finite element analysis is a method for using a computer to estimate internal forces in a part to determine if it will be able to do its intended job without breaking. The image of the benches shows an example of FEA in 3D – and demonstrates a great example of interdisciplinary collaboration in action.
The model bench was printed on the HP MultiJet Fusion printer in the Advanced Manufacturing Teaching Lab by recent ME graduate Bradley Jesteadt. The colors show how much force there is in any given location – blue is low force and red is high force. Petrella explains, “Bradley did an FEA on the little bench and predicted where the forces were highest. Then he made an actual bench and put force on it in the shop, and, sure enough, it broke exactly where the FEA said the forces would be high and cause failure.” FEA can help manufacturers change a part design to make the part stronger.
Petrella also applies FEA in his research in the ME department’s biomechanics group in applications where it would be difficult or impossible to directly measure forces, like in an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) after surgery. “FEA can be used to decide how much exercise you can safely do during rehab so you don’t create forces in your knee that would jeopardize healing,” Petrella explained. In another project he used FEA to evaluate an epinephrine autoinjector design for Bristol-Myers Squibb to estimate how long it takes the autoinjector to deliver the full dose of drug, so a user knows how long to hold the injector in place.
To learn more about the program, visit mines.edu/feapro.
Tabares-Velasco to study cross-laminated timber
Publications of note
Assistant Professor Paulo Cesar Tabares-Velasco won funding from the U.S. Forest Service for a project to characterize the environmental and economic benefits of cross-laminated timber (CLT) buildings. CLT is a mass timber material that has the potential to expand the wood building market in the U.S., but for broad adoption of CLT, extensive field and numerical validation is needed. Tabares-Velasco is partnering with Viega, the University of Denver and Oak Ridge National Laboratory to develop models and optimize the performance and design of CLT to quantify the benefits of this sustainable material.
In his six years with Mines, Tabares-Velasco has focused on making buildings more energy efficient, sustainable and grid-friendly. Because they are prefabricated, massive wood buildings made from CLT are a sustainable option that also reduce onsite construction waste. This project advances his goals of finding new and sustainable ways to build and having accurate energy modeling tools to simulate sustainable buildings.
C. Cissé, M. Asle Zaeem, “A phase-field model for non-isothermal phase transformation and plasticity in polycrystalline yttria-stabilized tetragonal zirconia,” Acta Materialia, vol. 191, pp. 111–123, Apr. 2020.
E. P. Reznicek, R. J. Braun, “Reversible solid oxide cell systems for integration with natural gas pipeline and carbon capture infrastructure for grid energy management,” Applied Energy, vol. 259, pp. 114118, Feb. 2020.
G. Stan, C. V. Ciobanu, S. R. J. Likith, A. Rani, S. Zhang, C. A. Hacker, S. Krylyuk, A. V. Davydov, “Doping of MoTe2 via surface charge-transfer in air,” ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, vol. 12, no. 15, pp. 18182–18193, Mar. 2020.
C. R. Randall, S. C. DeCaluwe, “Physically based modeling of PEMFC cathode catalyst layers: Effective microstructure and ionomer structure-property relationship impacts,” Journal of Electrochemical Energy Conversion and Storage, vol. 17, no. 4, pp. 041104–041113, Mar. 2020.
A. Paradiso, I. Mendoza, A. Bellafato, L. Lamberson, “Failure behavior of woven fiberglass composites under combined compressive and environmental loading,” Journal of Composite Materials, vol. 54, no. 4, pp. 519–533, Feb. 2020.
W. T. Hamilton, M. A. Husted, A. M. Newman, R. J. Braun, M. J. Wagner, “Dispatch optimization of concentrating solar power with utility-scale photovoltaics,” Optimization and Engineering, vol. 21, pp. 335–369, Mar. 2020.
M. Rezakhah, A. Newman, “Open pit mine planning with degradation due to stockpiling,” Computers & Operations Research, vol. 115, pp. 104589, Mar. 2020.
J. Dorville, A. G. Osborne, “Neutron escape probabilities in 3-D reentrant geometries computed using ray tracing,” Annals of Nuclear Energy, vol. 142, pp. 107425, July 2020.
T. L. Bruns, K. E. Riojas, D. S. Ropella, M. S. Cavilla, A. J. Petruska, M. H. Freeman, R. F. Labadie, J. J. Abbott, R. J. Webster, “Magnetically steered robotic insertion of cochlear-implant electrode arrays: System integration and first-in-cadaver results,” IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, vol. 5, no. 2, pp. 2240–2247, Apr. 2020.
A. Phillips, M. Ulsh, J. Mackay, T. Harris, N. Shrivastava, A. Chatterjee, J. Porter, G. Bender, “The effect of membrane casting irregularities on initial fuel cell performance,” Fuel Cells, vol. 20, no. 1, pp. 60–69, Feb. 2020.
L. A. Sepp, B. S. Baum, E. Nelson-Wong, A. K. Silverman, “Joint work and ground reaction forces during running with daily-use and running-specific prostheses,” Journal of Biomechanics, vol. 101, pp. 109629, Mar. 2020.
D. R. Diercks, A. Singh, R. Jha, C. V. Ciobanu, A. P. Stebner, “A method of nanoscale analysis of the initial stages of crystallization as applied to a FINEMET metallic glass,” Materials Characterization, vol. 159, pp. 110026, Jan. 2020.
S. Wijesuriya, P. C. Tabares-Velasco, B. Biswas, D. Heim, “Empirical validation and comparison of PCM modeling algorithms commonly used in building energy and hygrothermal software,” Building and Environment, vol. 173, no. 15, pp. 106750, Apr. 2020.
M. L. S. Zappulla, S.-M. Cho, S. Koric, H.-J. Lee, S.-H. Kim, B. G. Thomas, “Multiphysics modeling of continuous casting of stainless steel,” Journal of Materials Processing Technology, vol. 278, pp. 116469, Apr. 2020.
A. Gupta, X. Zhou, G. B. Thompson, G. J. Tucker, “Role of grain boundary character and its evolution on interfacial solute segregation behavior in nanocrystalline Ni-P,” Acta Materialia, vol. 190, pp. 113–123, May 2020.
S. S. Rajaram, A. Gupta, G. B. Thompson, J. Gruber, A. Jablokow, G. J. Tucker, “Grain-size-dependent grain boundary deformation during yielding in nanocrystalline materials using atomistic simulations,” The Journal of The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society, vol. 72, pp. 1745–1754, Feb. 2020.
S. Li, M. Bowman, H. Nobarani, X. Zhang, “Inference of manipulation intent in teleoperation for robotic assistance,” Journal of Intelligent & Robotic Systems, DOI https://doi.org/10.1007/s10846-019-01125-8, Feb. 2020.
The Colorado Fuel Cell Center (CFCC) has been awarded $1.1 million in additional funding to advance its work on electrochemical energy storage technology.
Through support from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), the researchers in the CFCC, together with faculty in the Colorado Center for Advanced Ceramics (CCAC), are integrating advanced proton-conducting ceramics with novel ammonia-synthesis catalysts to store intermittent renewable electricity in the form of chemical
energy – specifically, ammonia.
The reversible electrochemical conversion of solar and wind energy into ammonia, a carbon-free, easily transportable chemical, addresses the challenge of matching intermittent renewable energy generation with demand. One challenging aspect of synthesizing electrofuels is the need for high-pressure, high-temperature electrochemical operation. CFCC researchers have developed this technical capability and are using their pressurized test stand assembly to advance reversible proton-conducting electrochemical cells.
This research project is part of the ARPA-E REFUEL program to store solar and wind power in the form of a carbon-free, liquid fuel. The principal investigator on the program is Mechanical Engineering Associate Professor Neal Sullivan. The CFCC and CCAC are working with industrial partner FuelCell Energy of Danbury, Connecticut.
This follow-on award brings the total program funding level to nearly $5 million, with Mines receiving over $2 million in federal support over the 3.5-year effort. Visit cfcc.mines.edu to learn more about this program.
The Burwell Center, under construction at the University of Denver, is one of the CLT buildings that will be studied in the USFS project. Photo credit: Jeremy Vera, DU
ARPA-E funding for electrochemical energy storage research
CLAIRE THOMAS WINS AEROSPACE FELLOWSHIP
Claire Thomas, one of 40 members of the Brooke Owens Fellowship Class of 2020, will spend 10 weeks working and receiving mentoring at Made in Space, a company developing manufacturing technology for space. It’s a great fit for Thomas, whose interests include in situ resource utilization, the establishment of a lunar economy and long-term human space flight. Thomas says, “I’m interested in the mechanics of materials and how they work in microgravity.” Thomas also plans to pursue a master’s degree in space resources at Mines.
Read more about these stories and other student news in the Mines Newsroom: minesnewsroom.com
TARYN TUCKER RECEIVES MLK JR. AWARD
Taryn Tucker, a junior in ME, received the 2020 Martin Luther King Jr. Award for her work to develop Girls on the Rise, a new program designed to enhance diversity, equity and access to STEM. Tucker is vice president of outreach for the Mines section of the Society of Women Engineers and will serve as president next academic year. She also serves as a board member for the Mines student chapter of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and is working to start a new student group called Women of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
An all-mechanical engineering team from Mines was the fourth Mines team in four years to qualify for the one-of-a-kind Moon to Mars Ice and Prospecting Challenge sponsored by NASA Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts – Academic Linkage (RASC-AL). RASC-AL is a series of university-level engineering design competitions sponsored by NASA and managed by the National Institute of Aerospace to engage students and faculty in real-world aerospace work. Ten university teams were selected to compete to determine who can extract the most water from a simulated slice of the Martian or lunar surface.
Team DREAMR – short for Drilling Rig for the Exploration and Acquisition of Martian Resources – included seniors Tyler Baack, Sean Cummins, Joel Gomez, Alison Kakos, Matthew Krist, Joseph Kusbel and Sahro Seong. Their advisors were Angel Abbud-Madrid, ME professor of practice and director of the Space Resources graduate program, Deep Joshi, a PhD candidate in Petroleum Engineering with a minor in Space Resources, and Mark Florida, a faculty advisor from the Capstone Design program.
The competition was originally scheduled for early June at NASA’s Langley Research Center but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. All seven DREAMR team members graduated this past spring and have moved on to jobs and other pursuits and are therefore unable to participate in the delayed event.
Team takes first place at SB Hacks with autonomous AED-delivering robot
A team of ME and computer science students from Mines took first place at the 36-hour SB Hacks VI, an annual hackathon hosted at University of California, Santa Barbara. The winning team included (from left in the image) ME seniors Van Wagner, Parker Steen and Peter Wilson, and CS senior Josh Rands. They designed an autonomous AED emergency response system that uses neural network machine learning to detect an individual in cardiac arrest and an AED-delivering robot capable of navigating a known floor plan and identifying the individual in need. The same team took home the Originals award for their brain-controlled wheelchair design at the 2019 MakeHarvard hackathon.
MINES TEAM TAKES SECOND AT INTERNATIONAL MINE RESCUE COMPETITION
An interdisciplinary team from Mines, including three ME students, placed second in the inaugural Canadian International Student Mine Rescue Competition, hosted by the University of British Columbia. The team placed second in the first aid and underground divisions and secured second place in the cumulative final rankings. “Long hours of training both on campus and in the Edgar Experimental Mine paid off for our team,” said CJ Kaufman. From left: Jared Mullins (ME), Jaume Martinez Calvo, CJ Kaufman (ME), Martina Gilbert, Sarah Vanhook, Zach Ogden and AV Schilt (ME).
Undergraduate student accomplishments
All-ME team qualifies for NASA challenge
BACHELOR OF SCIENCE, MECHANICAL ENGINEERING
Luke La Rocque
Raquel Lucero Schnell
James McNamara, II
Dinie Syahiran Bin Muhamad
Walter Pennington, IV
Brandon Porath, II
Cindy Sanchez Chavez
Neil Schoenwetter, III
Robert Scott, Jr.
Dane Van Tol
William Williams, IV
Congratulations to our newest alumni!
Wills Booth, IV
Alcides Cordero, III
James Hare, II
Luke La Rocque
Raquel Lucero Schnell
James McNamara, II
Dinie Syahiran Bin Muhamad
Walter Pennington, IV
Brandon Porath, II
Cindy Sanchez Chavez
Neil Schoenwetter, III
Robert Scott, Jr.
Dane Van Tol
William Williams, IV
MASTER OF SCIENCE, SPACE RESOURCES
Where are they now? Catching up with
Mines Mechanical Engineering alumni
MASTER OF SCIENCE, ADVANCED MANUFACTURING
Principal Investigator I
Doctor of Philosophy, Mechanical Engineering
Advisors: Jason Porter, Neal Sullivan
“Heat Transfer Mechanisms in Highly Porous Fibrous Insulation from Vacuum to High Pressures – Experiment and Modeling”
Advisor: Aaron Stebner
“In Situ Diffraction Investigations of Mechanisms that Lead to Path Dependent Mechanical Behaviours of Nickel-Titanium Shape Memory Alloys”
Jose Eduardo Lozano Sanchez
Advisor: Gregory Jackson
“Reactive Burn Modeling of Non-Ideal Explosives”
Sri Ranga Jai Likith
Advisor: Cristian Ciobanu
“Chalcogenide-Based Van Der Waals-Layered Materials for Enhanced Electronic and Electromechanical Properties”
Wijesuriya Arach Induka Wijesuriya
Advisor: Paulo Cesar Tabares-Velasco
“Experimental Analysis and Validation of a Numerical PCM Model for Building Energy Programs”
Advisor: Brian Thomas
“Mechanisms of Longitudinal Depression Formation in Steel Continuous Casting”
DEVIN SAMMON ’11
Devin Sammon graduated from Mines in 2011 with a BS Engineering degree with a Mechanical specialty. During his senior year at Mines, Devin interned with Transportation Technology Center Inc. (TTCI), and he accepted a full-time position with TTCI after graduation.
Devin still works for TTCI as the manager of the Software Services Department. He is a researcher and a self-described “big kid playing with life-sized trains.” He worked on research projects in several areas, including track and substructure projects, railroad castings, air brakes and vehicle dynamics modeling. These projects took him all over North America and even as far as Perth, WA, Australia, in 2015. Devin served as the manager of an industry committee from 2017 to 2018 before starting his current role in 2019. He encourages people to create their own paths by trusting their instincts and stepping out of their comfort zones to learn new things.
Devin still talks weekly to several friends from Mines. All these alumni were present when Devin and his wonderful wife Leanne were married in 2018. Devin still lives in Colorado and enjoys golf, hiking and applying his engineering knowledge to all sorts of projects and problems in everyday life.
Advisors: Alexandra Newman, Tulay Flamand
“Optimization-Based Procedures for Underground Mine Planning”
Doctor of Philosophy,
OPERATIONS RESEARCH WITH Engineering
Master of SCIENCE | Master of ENGINEERING
Earl Benson earned a BS Engineering degree with a Mechanical Engineering specialty at Mines in 2005. While at Mines he was fortunate to meet his future wife, Rachel (ChemE ’05).
Following graduation, Earl began working for ATK Thiokol, which has since become part of Northrop Grumman Space Systems. His focus over the course of his career has been on solid rocket boosters. In his current role as senior manager of materials and process design engineering, he leads a team that has technical responsibility for all energetic and inert materials used in the building of solid rocket boosters.
Earl is also deeply involved in continuous improvement, with interests in how multidisciplinary teams collaborate to ensure low-cost, feasible manufacturing design solutions. He is on the board of directors for the United Way of Northern Utah and has twice been honored as a Modern Day Technology Leader by the Black Engineer of the Year Awards.
MASTER OF ENGINEERING, NUCLEAR SCIENCE
MASTER OF SCIENCE, MATERIALS SCIENCE
EARL BENSON ’05
MASTER OF SCIENCE, MECHANICAL ENGINEERING
Materials and Processes
Northrop Grumman Space Systems
Despite a shortened time together on campus this past spring, Mines ME was still able to host five Mechanical Mondays for undergraduate students. This hour-long lunchtime series brings ME undergrads together with faculty, alumni, industry and academia every other Monday to connect on topics of interest, engage with panelists and have some fun. The Spring 2020 series featured:
Alumni Spotlight: Geordie Campbell, Jabil
Graduate Student Panel
Industry Perspective: Earl Benson, Northrop Grumman
Industry Perspective: Mike Karty, TMMI
Alumni Spotlight: Devin Sammon, Transportation Technology Center Inc.
prof. russell cummings
Professor, Aeronautics, U.S. Air Force Academy
Managing Director, DoD HPCMP Hypersonic Vehicle Simulation Institute
“The DoD High Performance Computing Modernization Program’s Hypersonic Vehicle Simulation Institute: Objectives and Progress”
prof. aaron stebner
Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Colorado School of Mines
“The Fusion of Mechanics, Manufacturing and Machine Learning at Mines”
Spring 2020 Mechanical Mondays
Mechanical Engineering continues
Distinguished Seminar Series
prof. harry millwater jr.
Samuel G. Dawson Endowed Professor of Mechanical Engineering, University of Texas at San Antonio
“High-Order Sensitivity and Uncertainty Analysis Using the Hypercomplex Finite Element Method with Applications to Additive Manufacturing”
Dr. Nuno rEbelo
Nuno Rebelo Associates, LLC
“Transforming Lives Through Virtual Reality”
Earl Benson (’05) gives an overview of his work at Northrup Grumman Space Systems at a Mechanical Mondays seminar.
The Mechanical Engineering Department is grateful to the distinguished seminar speakers who were able to speak on campus this spring. The seminar series featured speakers from industry and academia.
prof. michael calvisi
Associate Professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs
“Dynamics and Control of Encapsulated Ultrasound Microbubbles for Biomedicine”
A gift to the Department of Mechanical Engineering is an investment in the future.
Gifts can support scholarships, fellowships, professorships, academic programs, faculty research and other initiatives that are not typically supported through state appropriations. Private philanthropy empowers the department to achieve greater excellence in research and education.
To learn more about supporting the department, contact the Mines Foundation at weare.mines.edu/supportme or call 303.273.3275.
DEPARTMENT OF MECHANICAL ENGINEERING
1500 ILLINOIS ST.
GOLDEN, CO 80401-1887