Pitt | Swanson Engineering

Join With Us In Celebrating Our 2020 Graduating Class! 

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Industrial engineering (IE) is about choices - it is the engineering discipline that offers the most wide-ranging array of opportunities in terms of employment, and it is distinguished by its flexibility. While other engineering disciplines tend to apply skills to very specific areas, Industrial Engineers may be found working everywhere: from traditional manufacturing companies to airlines, from distribution companies to financial institutions, from major medical establishments to consulting companies, from high-tech corporations to companies in the food industry. The BS in industrial engineering program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET (http://www.abet.org). To learn more about Industrial Engineering’s Undergraduate Program ABET Accreditation, click here.  Our department is the proud home of Pitt's Center for Industry Studies, which supports multidisciplinary research that links scholars to some of the most important and challenging problems faced by modern industry.

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Making a Sustainable Impact Throughout Pitt and Our Communities

All SSoE News, Bioengineering, Chemical & Petroleum, Civil & Environmental, Electrical & Computer, Industrial, MEMS, Student Profiles, Office of Development & Alumni Affairs

"MCSI remains committed to addressing global sustainability issues, connecting our domestic and international pursuits to create synergies locally, nationally, and internationally. We hope you enjoy this summary of the past year’s impacts, and we'd be happy to answer any questions you might have about the report's contents and MCSI's programs."


New bacteria-repelling textile coating could make PPE last longer


Listen to the broadcast at WESA-FM. New bacteria-repelling textile coating could make PPE last longer(8:48 — 13:20) The need for masks, gowns, and other personal protective equipment for health care workers and those on the front lines of the coronavirus outbreak has soared over the last few months, leading to shortages across the country. When the masks and gowns are reused, the textiles used to make them can absorb and carry viruses and bacteria resulting in the spread of the very diseases the wearer was trying to contain. Paul Leu, an associate professor in Industrial Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh, and Anthony Galante, a 4th year Ph.D. student in the same department are working on a textile coating that could help solve some of these problems that have been magnified by the coronavirus pandemic. Leu says the coating repels liquids like blood and saliva, along with some viruses. “Even though we haven’t tested it directly on SARS-CoV-2, we do think that it is likely to be able to repel this because SARS-CoV-2 is transmitted through respiratory droplets and the coating can repel droplets from saliva,” says Leu. Despite the technology’s potential promise, he says it’s difficult to predict when this technology might become available. “We need to be very careful about accelerating development of materials for actual application,” Leu tells The Confluence. “There’s an urgency to all of this right now, and that’s why we want to try to get this out quickly, but we also want to make sure, you know, that this is something that will really be useful.”
Kevin Gavin, 90.5 WESA-FM

Department of Industrial Engineering Welcomes Nordenberg Scholar to Class of 2024

Industrial, Student Profiles

PITTSBURGH (June 15, 2020) — The Nordenberg Scholars Program, named for the University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Emeritus Mark A. Nordenberg, selects five incoming first-year students from across Pennsylvania each year who demonstrate leadership skills, innovative thinking, intellectual curiosity and community involvement. This year, one of the five students, Pedro Schmitt, will pursue industrial engineering in the Swanson School of Engineering. Pedro Schmitt, from Gibsonia, Pa., graduated from Aquinas Academy. In his time there, he participated in extensive community service work and in various entrepreneurial academic programs, and he completed an exchange program in Buenos Aires, Argentina. A native of Brazil, Schmitt moved to the U.S. in 2014. “We are thrilled to welcome Pedro to the Department of Industrial Engineering,” said Bopaya Bidanda, Ernest E. Roth Professor and Chair of Industrial Engineering. “I look forward to the contributions that he will make to our Department and community, both in and out of the classroom.” The Nordenberg Scholarship is a competitive, full-tuition scholarship that also covers a full-time Pitt study abroad experience and assistance securing internships. This year, nearly 900 high school seniors applied for the program, which requires an extensive application and interview process. The full list of 2020 Nordenberg Scholars is: Pedro Schmitt (Gibsonia Pa.), Industrial Engineering Kim Le (West Chester, Pa.), Microbiology Thomas Barnes (Havertown, Pa.), Pre-Social Work Samurah Curry (Clarion, Pa.), Economics Camryn Rogers (Pottstown, Pa.), Nursing
Maggie Pavlick

Pitt Engineer Maintains a Laser Focus to Grow Nanocarbons on Flexible Devices


PITTSBURGH (June 15, 2020) … Fabrication of flexible and wearable electronics often requires integrating various types of advanced carbon nanomaterials - such as graphene, nanotubes, and nanoporous carbon - because of their remarkable electrical, thermal, and chemical properties. However, the extreme environments needed to chemically synthesize these nanomaterials means they can only be fabricated on rigid surfaces that can withstand high temperatures. Printing already-made nanocarbons onto flexible polymeric materials is generally the only option, but limits the potential customization. To overcome this limitation, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering are investigating a new scalable manufacturing method for creating customizable types of nanocarbons on-demand - directly where they are needed - on flexible materials. The research is led by Mostafa Bedewy, assistant professor of industrial engineering at Pitt, who received a $244,748 EAGER award from the National Science Foundation in support of this effort. The project, “Transforming Flexible Device Manufacturing by Bottom-up Growth of Nanocarbons Directly on Polymers,” will enable patterning functional nanocarbons needed for a number of emerging flexible-device applications in healthcare, energy, and consumer electronics. Bedewy’s group is already working on another NSF-funded project that utilizes a custom-designed reactor to grow “nanotube forests” through a process called chemical vapor deposition (CVD). This enables the synthesis of carbon nanotubes from catalyst nanoparticles by the decomposition of carbon-containing gases. The process, however, is not suitable for growing nanocarbons directly onto commercial polymers. “When we grow nanocarbons by CVD on silicon, it requires temperatures exceeding 700 degrees Celsius, in the presence of hydrocarbon gases and hydrogen,” explained Bedewy, who leads the NanoProduct Lab in the Swanson School's Department of Industrial Engineering. “While silicon can tolerate those conditions, polymers can’t, so CVD is out of the question.” Instead, Bedewy’s group will utilize a laser in a similar way that common laser engraving machines function. When manufacturing flexible devices, current methods of printing carbon on polymers are limited in scalability and patterning resolution. This new laser-based method addresses these limitations. Rather than printing graphene from graphene ink, nanotubes from nanotube ink, and so on, the polymer material itself will act as the carbon source in the new process, and different types of nanocarbons can then grow from the polymer, like grass in a lawn - but instead of using sunlight, through a controlled laser. “This approach allows us to control the carbon atomic structure, nanoscale morphology, and properties precisely in a scalable way,” said Bedewy. “Our research provides a tremendous opportunity to rapidly customize the type of nanocarbon needed for different devices on the same substrate without the need for multiple inks and successive printing steps.” Producing functional nanocarbons in this manner will also enable high-rate roll-to-roll processing, which can potentially make manufacturing flexible electronics as fast and as inexpensive as printing newspapers. “The multi-billion dollar global market for flexible electronics is still in its infancy, and is expected to grow exponentially because of accelerating demand in many applications,” Bedewy said “Exploring potentially transformative carbon nanomanufacturing processes is critical for realizing cutting-edge technologies.” # # # According to the NSF, the EAGER funding mechanism may be used to support exploratory work in its early stages on untested, but potentially transformative, research ideas or approaches. This work may be considered especially "high risk-high payoff" in the sense that it, for example, involves radically different approaches, applies new expertise, or engages novel disciplinary or interdisciplinary perspectives.


Pitt Researchers Create Durable, Washable Textile Coating That Can Repel Viruses

Covid-19, Industrial

PITTSBURGH (May 13, 2020) — Masks, gowns, and other personal protective equipment (PPE) are essential for protecting healthcare workers. However, the textiles and materials used in such items can absorb and carry viruses and bacteria, inadvertently spreading the disease the wearer sought to contain. When the coronavirus spread amongst healthcare professionals and left PPE in short supply, finding a way to provide better protection while allowing for the safe reuse of these items became paramount. Research from the LAMP Lab at the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering may have a solution. The lab has created a textile coating that can not only repel liquids like blood and saliva but can also prevent viruses from adhering to the surface. The work was recently published in the journal ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces. “Recently there’s been focus on blood-repellent surfaces, and we were interested in achieving this with mechanical durability,” said Anthony Galante, PhD student in industrial engineering at Pitt and lead author of the paper. “We want to push the boundary on what is possible with these types of surfaces, and especially given the current pandemic, we knew it’d be important to test against viruses.” What makes the coating unique is its ability to withstand ultrasonic washing, scrubbing and scraping. With other similar coatings currently in use, washing or rubbing the surface of the textile will reduce or eliminate its repellent abilities. “The durability is very important because there are other surface treatments out there, but they’re limited to disposable textiles. You can only use a gown or mask once before disposing of it,” said Paul Leu, co-author and associate professor of industrial engineering, who leads the LAMP Lab. “Given the PPE shortage, there is a need for coatings that can be applied to reusable medical textiles that can be properly washed and sanitized.” Galante put the new coating to the test, running it through tens of ultrasonic washes, applying thousands of rotations with a scrubbing pad (not unlike what might be used to scour pots and pans), and even scraping it with a sharp razor blade. After each test, the coating remained just as effective. The researchers worked with the Charles T. Campbell Microbiology Laboratory’s Research Director Eric Romanowski and Director of Basic Research Robert Shanks, in the Department of Ophthalmology at Pitt, to test the coating against a strain of adenovirus. “As this fabric was already shown to repel blood, protein and bacteria, the logical next step was to determine whether it repels viruses. We chose human adenovirus types 4 and 7, as these are causes of acute respiratory disease as well as conjunctivitis (pink eye),” said Romanowski. “It was hoped that the fabric would repel these viruses similar to how it repels proteins, which these viruses essentially are: proteins with nucleic acid inside. As it turned out, the adenoviruses were repelled in a similar way as proteins.” The coating may have broad applications in healthcare: everything from hospital gowns to waiting room chairs could benefit from the ability to repel viruses, particularly ones as easily spread as adenoviruses. “Adenovirus can be inadvertently picked up in hospital waiting rooms and from contaminated surfaces in general. It is rapidly spread in schools and homes and has an enormous impact on quality of life—keeping kids out of school and parents out of work,” said Shanks. “This coating on waiting room furniture, for example, could be a major step towards reducing this problem.” The next step for the researchers will be to test the effectiveness against betacoronaviruses, like the one that causes COVID-19. “If the treated fabric would repel betacornonaviruses, and in particular SARS-CoV-2, this could have a huge impact for healthcare workers and even the general public if PPE, scrubs, or even clothing could be made from protein, blood-, bacteria-, and virus-repelling fabrics,” said Romanowski. At the moment, the coating is applied using drop casting, a method that saturates the material with a solution from a syringe and applies a heat treatment to increase stability. But the researchers believe the process can use a spraying or dipping method to accommodate larger pieces of material, like gowns, and can eventually be scaled up for production. The paper, “Superhemophobic and Antivirofouling Coating for Mechanically Durable and Wash-Stable Medical Textiles” (DOI: 10.1021/acsami.9b23058), was co-authored by Anthony Galante, Sajad Haghanifar, Eric Romanowski, Robert Shanks and Paul Leu.
Maggie Pavlick

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