Pitt | Swanson Engineering
MEMS News

Apr

Apr
19
2019

Four Projects Receive Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation Seed Grants

Chemical & Petroleum, Civil & Environmental, Electrical & Computer, MEMS

PITTSBURGH (April 19, 2019) — The Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering has announced its 2019-2020 seed grant recipients. The grants support graduate student and post-doctoral fellows on one-year research projects that are focused on sustainability. “All of the projects we have selected this year have the potential to make a lasting, positive impact on the environment,” says Gena Kovalcik, co-director of the Mascaro Center. “The Mascaro Center is excited to support these core teams of researchers who are passionate about sustainability.” This year’s recipients are: Towards Using Microbes for Sustainable Construction Materials:  Feasibility StudySarah Haig, civil & environmental engineeringSteven Sachs, civil & environmental engineeringMax Stephens, civil & environmental engineering*Jointly funded by MCSI and IRISE Chemical Recycling of Polyethylene to EthyleneEric Beckman, chemical & petroleum engineeringIoannis Bourmpakis, chemical & petroleum engineeringRobert Enick, chemical & petroleum engineeringGoetz Veser, chemical & petroleum engineering Investigating flexible piezoelectric materials with lower water pressuresKatherine Hornbostel, mechanical engineering & materials scienceMax Stephens, civil & environmental engineering Amplifying the efficiency of Tungsten Disulfide Thermoelectric DevicesFeng Xiong, electrical and computer engineering
Maggie Pavlick
Apr
19
2019

Freakonomics Spotlight

MEMS

Katherine Hornbostel, mechanical engineering assistant professor, was invited to be a guest on the popular podcast, Freakonomics Radio Live.  The offer came after a producer of the show came across an article published on the SSOE website last December.  The article described Hornbostel’s postdoctoral work at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and her continued efforts at Pitt to find a safe, cheap and efficient method of carbon-capture. Hornbostel flew to New York City to be on the live show which was held at City Winery on March 9.  She was one of six guests on the episode called on stage to give a 15-minute interview with show creator Stephen Dubner and co-host Angela Duckworth (author of Grit, a NYT best seller). The show was recorded in front of a live audience of approximately 200 people. During her interview, which begins at 42:10, Hornbostel discusses using tiny capsules to capture carbon dioxide from the exhaust of a power plant. Hornbostel describes the method invented and studied by her team at LLNL: “…this particular combination — water and sodium carbonate — if you dissolve it in water, can react with carbon dioxide and extract it from a gas stream coming off a coal plant. And the really interesting thing that I’ve studied is that if you put these chemicals into little capsules that look like caviar, you can actually pack them into a reactor, attach it to a power plant, and selectively take out the carbon dioxide that’s being released from the exhaust.” Hornbostel and Dubner joked that the technology should be re-branded as “carbon capture caviar.” Hornbostel’s team at LLNL is currently working with small-scale partners, such as a biogas company and a microbrewery, to pilot this technology. Hornbostel’s group at Pitt is also researching how to use this “carbon capture caviar” to extract CO2 from the ocean to reverse acidification.
Meagan Lenze
Apr
17
2019

The Promise of Nuclear Engineering at Pitt

MEMS, Nuclear

The nuclear industry in the U.S. is at a crossroads, as several plants are scheduled for permanent shutdown, including three in Pennsylvania, the second-largest nuclear energy-producing state. However, in his brief tenure at Pitt, Professor Heng Ban, director of the Swanson School’s Stephen R. Tritch Nuclear Engineering Program, sees opportunity ahead for students, alumni and faculty researchers. Dr. Ban joined Pitt in 2017 from Utah State University (USU), where he served as a Professor of Mechanical Engineering and founding Director of the Center for Thermohydraulics and Material Properties. In addition to continuing to serve as principal investigator on a fuel safety research program at USU, he holds a research portfolio of nearly $1 million per year in nuclear-related research. He believes that Pittsburgh’s nuclear history – and Pitt’s distinctive program – allow the Swanson School to better compete in a global energy industry. “Nuclear energy is one of the cleanest power resources and is a vital component not only of our nation’s energy portfolio, but also the U.S. naval nuclear fleet and several countries around the world. Research is ongoing into additive manufacturing of nuclear components, smaller reactor systems as well as sensors and controls for reactor safety and machine learning for facility maintenance,” Dr. Ban says. “The Swanson School has assembled diverse faculty expertise in these areas, and so we can offer technological breakthroughs and outstanding graduates in field.” Pitt currently offers an undergraduate certificate and graduate certificate and master of science in nuclear engineering through the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science. Dr. Ban says that what sets the Swanson School program apart is the ability to draw upon adjunct faculty in the area who have direct ties to the nuclear industry. “Pittsburgh was the birthplace of the nuclear energy industry,” Dr. Ban notes. “The first peacetime nuclear reactor was built near here in Shippingport, and the first nuclear submarine engine was developed at the Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory in West Mifflin. Those current and former employees have such a combined wealth of knowledge about the industry, and are a unique feature of our curriculum. Dr. Ban adds that since many of those engineers are nearing retirement, there is a great need for a new generation of nuclear employees. “From Bettis, Westinghouse, Bechtel Marine and so many other in the supply chain, employers are telling us not only that they need engineers, but are helping us structure the curriculum so that we educate the best engineer for the field.” And the research that students engage in spans the nuclear industry. For example, Dr. Ban’s research includes a large project with participation of Westinghouse, GE, Framatome, several universities and the Department of Energy's Idaho National Laboratory on fuel safety and advanced sensor systems for a next-generation sodium-cooled test reactor in Idaho; Professors Albert To and Wei Xiong are working industry to optimize designs of 3-D printing of nuclear parts, Professor Jeffrey Vipperman is studying vibration detection while Kevin Chen is developing optical fiber sensors for reactor environments; Sangyeop Lee is focused on molecular dynamics computational studies for molten salt reactors, Daniel Cole is working with Rolls-Royce on nuclear plant operation using machine learning; and Katherine Hornbostel is developing system analysis tools. “As long as nuclear energy remains a reliable, clean, efficient and safe energy resource, we will have a greater need for the engineers who can be competitive in the global nuclear energy marketplace, as well as who can develop the next ground-breaking technologies,” Dr. Ban says. “And the Swanson School is at the nexus of this industry that is a critical part of our national safety, from power generation to defense, and a major contributor to reducing carbon emissions worldwide.” ### Associated Awards in Nuclear Engineering Predictive Solutions for Prevention and Mitigation of Corrosion in Support of Next Generation Logistics PI/Co-PI: Brian Gleeson (PI), Heng Ban (Co-PI), Qing-Ming Wang (Co-PI)Grant Source: Battelle Memorial InstituteGrant Amount: $1,145,931Grant Period: 04/20/2018 – 05/30/2018Preparatory Out-of-pile Lead Loop Experiments to Support Design of Irradiation Test Loop in VTR PI: Heng BanGrant Source: University of New Mexico/DOE Grant Amount: $150,000Grant Period: 10/01/2018 – 09/30/2019Transient Reactor (TREAT) Experiments to Validate MDM Fuel Performance Simulations PI: Heng BanGrant Source: DOEGrant Amount: $1,000,000Grant Period: 10/01/2018– 08/31/2020Preparatory Out-of-pile Lead Loop Experiments to Support Design of Irradiation Test Loop in VTR PI: Heng BanGrant Source: DOEGrant Amount: $450,000Grant Period: 10/01/2018 – 09/30/2019Integrating Dissolvable Supports, Topology Optimization, and Microstructure Design to Drastically Reduce Costs in Developing and Post-Processing Nuclear Plan Components by Laser-Based Powder Bed Additive Manufacturing PI: Albert To Grant Source: DOEGrant Amount: $1,000,000Grant Period: 10/01/2018 – 09/30/2021Advanced Manufacturing of Embedded Heat Pipe Nuclear Hybrid Reactor PI: Kevin Chen Grant Source: ARPA-E through Los Alamos national LabGrant Amount: $200,000Grant Period: 2018-2021Self-regulating, Solid Core Block “SCB” for an Inherently Safe Heat Pipe Reactor PI: Kevin Chen Grant Source: ARPA-E through Westinghouse Grant Amount: $670,000Grant Period: Oct. 2018 – Sept. 2021.Radiation Effects on Optical Fiber Sensor Fused Smart Alloy Parts with Graded Alloy Composition Manufactured by Additive Manufacturing Processes PI: Kevin Chen Grant Source: DOEGrant Amount: $1,250,000Grant Period: Oct. 2017 – Sept. 2020Nuclear Regulatory Commission Graduate Fellowship Award PI/Co-PI: Dan Cole (PI), Heng Ban (Co-PI)Grant Source: DOEGrant Amount: $450,000Grant Period: 2017-2020Nuclear Regulatory Commission Faculty Development Award PI: Dan ColeGrant Source: DOEGrant Amount: $300,000Grant Period: 2016-2019

Apr
15
2019

Happy Retirement for Two MEMS Faculty Members

MEMS

The Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science department celebrated the retirements of two full professors this year at the faculty meeting last Friday. • Anthony DeArdo: Deardo spent 43 years teaching at Pitt, plus one year as an emeritus professor. He served as director of Pitt’s Basic Metals Processing Research Institute (BAMPRI).  He has received numerous awards, included one at the Prof. A.J. DeArdo Symposium on Microalloyed Steels, International Conf. Thermec, Las Vegas, 2013. • Gerald Meier: Meier served 49 years at Pitt, plus one year as an emeritus professor.  He published two successful books, Introduction to the High-Temperature Oxidation of Metals in 2006 and Thermodynamics of Surfaces and Interfaces: Concepts in Inorganic Materials in 2014. The MEMS department would like to congratulate Tony and Jerry on successful careers!
Meagan Lenze
Apr
11
2019

New Research Adds to Work of Prandtl, Father of Modern Aerodynamics

MEMS

PITTSBURGH (April 11, 2019) ... In 1942, Ludwig Prandtl—considered the father of modern aerodynamics—published “Führer durch die Strömungslehre,” the first book of its time on fluid mechanics and translated to English from the German language in 1952 as “Essentials of Fluid Dynamics.” The book was uniquely successful such that Prandtl’s students continued to maintain and develop the book with new findings after his death. Today, the work is available under the revised title “Prandtl—Essentials of Fluid Mechanics,” as an expanded and revised version of the original book with contributions by leading researchers in the field of fluid mechanics. Over the years, the last three pages of Prandtl’s original book, focusing on mountain and valley winds, have received some attention from the meteorology research community, but the specific pages have been largely overlooked by the fluid mechanics community to the point that the content and the exact mathematical solutions have disappeared in the current expanded version of the book. But today in the age of supercomputers, Inanc Senocak, associate professor of mechanical engineering and materials science at the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering, is finding new insights in Prandtl’s original work, with important implications for nighttime weather prediction in mountainous terrain.Drs. Senocak and Cheng-Nian Xiao, a postdoctoral researcher in Dr. Senocak’s lab, recently authored a paper titled “Stability of the Prandtl Model for Katabatic Slope Flows,” published in the Journal of Fluid Mechanics (DOI: 10.1017/jfm.2019.132). The researchers used both linear stability theory and direct numerical simulations to uncover, for the first time, fluid instabilities in the Prandtl model for katabatic slope flows. Katabatic slope flows are gravity-driven winds common over large ice sheets or during nighttime on mountain slopes, where cool air flows downhill. Understanding those winds are vital for reliable weather predictions, which are important for air quality, aviation and agriculture. But the complexity of the terrain, the stratification of the atmosphere and fluid turbulence make computer modeling of winds around mountains difficult. Since Prandtl’s model does not set the conditions for when a slope flow would become turbulent, that deficiency makes it difficult, for example, to predict weather for the area around Salt Lake City in Utah, where the area’s prolonged inversions create a challenging environment for air quality.“Now that we have more powerful supercomputers, we can improve upon the complexity of the terrain with better spatial resolutions in the mathematical model,” says Dr. Senocak. “However, numerical weather prediction models still make use of simplified models that have originated during a time when computing power was insufficient.”The researchers found that while Prandtl’s model is prone to unique fluid instabilities, which emerge as a function of the slope angle and a new dimensionless number, they have named the stratification perturbation parameter as a measure of the disturbance to the background stratification of the atmosphere due to cooling at the surface. The concept of dimensionless numbers, for example the Reynolds number, plays an important role in thermal and fluid sciences in general as they capture the essence of competing processes in a problem.An important implication of their finding is that, for a given fluid such as air, dynamic stability of katabatic slope flows cannot simply be determined by a single dimensionless parameter alone, such as the Richardson number, as is practiced currently in the meteorology and fluids dynamics community. The Richardson number expresses a ratio of buoyancy to the wind shear and is commonly used in weather prediction, investigating currents in oceans, lakes and reservoirs, and measuring expected air turbulence in aviation.“An overarching concept was missing, and the Richardson number was the fallback,” says Dr. Senocak. “We’re not saying the Richardson number is irrelevant, but when a mountain or valley is shielded from larger scale weather motions, it doesn’t enter into the picture. Now we have a better way of explaining the theory of these down-slope and down-valley flows.”Not only will this discovery be important for agriculture, aviation and weather prediction, according to Dr. Senocak, but it will also be vital for climate change research and associated sea-level rise, as accurate prediction of katabatic surface wind profiles over large ice sheets and glaciers is critical in energy balance of melting ice. He notes that even in the fluids dynamics community, the discovery of this new surprising type of instability is expected to arouse a lot of research interest.Next, Dr. Senocak is advising and sponsoring a senior design team to see if researchers can actually observe these fluid instabilities in the lab at a scale much smaller than a mountain. ### The paper was published online in February and will appear in print April 25, 2019. Acknowledgements Research was sponsored by the Army Research Office and was accomplished under Grant no. W911NF-17-1-0564 with Dr J. G. Baryzk as the program manager. This research was supported in part by the University of Pittsburgh Center for Research Computing through the resources provided.
Maggie Pavlick, Senior Communications Writer
Apr
11
2019

Swanson School’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science Presents Kevin McAllister with 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award

MEMS

PITTSBURGH (April 11, 2019) … This year’s Distinguished Alumni from the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering have worked with lesson plans and strategic plans, cosmetics and the cosmos, brains and barrels and bridges. It’s a diverse group, but each honoree shares two things in common on their long lists of accomplishments: outstanding achievement in their fields, and of course, graduation from the University of Pittsburgh. This year’s recipient for the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science is Kevin McAllister, BSMEMS ‘ 86, executive vice president of The Boeing Company and president and chief executive officer of Boeing Commercial Airplanes (BCA). The six individuals representing each of the Swanson School’s departments and one overall honoree representing the entire school gathered at the 55th annual Distinguished Alumni Banquet at the University of Pittsburgh’s Alumni Hall to accept their awards. James R. Martin, US Steel Dean of Engineering, led the banquet for the first time since starting his tenure at Pitt in the fall. “An degree in MEMS from Pitt is an invitation to create and influence things that affect our everyday lives, and Kevin is a great example of that,” says Dean Martin. “The knowledge and skills he learned here at Swanson gave him a solid foundation. From his aviation work at GE and Boeing to his role as Chairman of the Board of Directors of ORBIS International, dedicated to preserving and restoring eyesight worldwide, he’s expanding he is influential both on and off the tarmac.” About Kevin McAllister Kevin McAllister is Executive Vice President of The Boeing Company and President and Chief Executive Officer of Boeing Commercial Airplanes (BCA). He is a member of Boeing’s Executive Council and serves as Boeing’s senior executive in the Pacific Northwest. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Pittsburgh in Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science. Named BCA president and CEO in November 2016, he is responsible for delivering on a record backlog and overseeing the growth of its commercial airplane programs. Before joining Boeing, McAllister was President and Chief Executive Officer of GE Aviation Services, a more than $9-billion business committed to helping operators of the more than 34,000 GE and CFM commercial engines achieve the lowest lifecycle cost of ownership via a fully customizable suite of products and offerings. Prior to leading GE Aviation Services, McAllister was Vice President and General Manager, Global Sales and Marketing, leading record growth in the GE Aviation backlog. He was appointed an officer of the General Electric Company in 2008 and was appointed as a member of GE Company's Corporate Executive Council in 2013. He was honored with the Chairman's Leadership Award in 2012 and Heroes of Growth Award in 2010. McAllister first joined GE Aviation Services in 1998 as a Master Black Belt leading Six Sigma productivity improvements across the global network of Component Repair Operations. Later that year, he was selected to lead Six Sigma program across Services, including Overhaul & Repair Operations, Materials, Engineering and Marketing & Sales. In 2000, he became General Manager of a newly formed GE Engines Services Customer Satisfaction Organization. From 2001 to 2005, McAllister was general manager of global Customer & Product Support Operations. McAllister joined GE Aviation from Howmet Corporation in 1989 and held various materials engineering leadership roles. ###

Apr
10
2019

Quality Tour, Quality Steels

MEMS

Five faculty members, three graduate students and thirteen undergraduates traveled to New Castle, PA last Saturday to visit Ellwood Quality Steels (EQS), part of the Ellwood Group.  Three of the tour guides were recent graduates from the MEMS Department, including Brendon Connolly, who helped organize the trip. Connolly is the manager of steelmaking technology at EQS and is also a member of the MEMS Department’s Visiting Committee. The tour began with a video introducing the company and facilities as well as providing safety information.  After suiting up in personal protective equipment, the group then visited the electric arc furnace (EAF) shop, the ingot pouring area, the forging area, and a new building nearing completion, which will house new electroslag remelting (ESR), vacuum arc remelting (VAR), and grinding facilities. The tour concluded with a question and answer session, where the three Pitt graduates spoke about their experiences working in the steel industry and what a typical day working at EQS entails. The tour was a very positive experience for everyone involved.  Materials science and engineering junior, Joseph Damian, describes the trip, “I really enjoyed the tour, it was interesting to see some of the processes that I learned about in my classes in person.  I was surprised by how big the furnaces, ladles, and ingots were and how much power the plant consumed.  The tour guides were also very knowledgeable about the operations of the plant and offered valuable information about the equipment and processes.  Overall, it was a great experience.”

Apr
4
2019

Good Vibrations: Pitt Undergraduates Create a Device to Help Deaf Kids Experience Music Through Tactile and Visual Feedback

Bioengineering, Electrical & Computer, MEMS, Student Profiles

PITTSBURGH (April 4, 2019) … Through the Swanson School of Engineering’s The Art of Making class, an interdisciplinary group of eleven University of Pittsburgh undergraduate students connected with the Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf (WPSD) and Attack Theatre to create a device that can help hearing-impaired children experience music and express themselves through dance. Attack Theatre holds a recurring dance workshop for three-to-six-year-olds at WPSD. The group previously tried using a Bluetooth speaker in a trash can to produce a vibratory effect that the children could touch and interact with, but this design was not kid-friendly and lacked mobility for lessons that necessitate free movement. The Pitt team saw an opportunity to take a fresh look at the problem and design a new system that addresses the needs of both the instructors and the children. However, with no hearing-impaired members, the undergraduates had to find a way to step into the shoes of their end users to better understand their needs. “This was a profoundly human-centered design problem with multiple stakeholders,” said Dr. Joseph Samosky, assistant professor of bioengineering and director of The Art of Making course. “A new technology, even if it works perfectly, is useless if it isn’t accepted by and accessible to the end user. This team of student innovators really understood and acted on that insight.” Issam Abushaban, a sophomore bioengineering and computer engineering student, said that the group learned more about their target audience from WPSD teachers. “We discovered that the rhythm of music and the visualization of colors can reflect a certain mood and affect the way that you feel,” he said. “That was something we really wanted to incorporate into our design.” To better understand the dance element of their task, the group participated in one of Attack Theatre’s workshops catered to deaf and hard-of-hearing children. “A lot of their dance moves were geared toward expressing an emotion, such as stomping to express anger or frustration or skipping to express joy,” said Farah Khan, a senior bioengineering student. “I think this demonstration gave us a different perspective and helped us view music in a new, productive way.” After completing their background research, the team decided to explore the use of both visual and tactile feedback for their design. They created several early prototypes, including a wrist strap with haptic motors and a disc “floor mat” with multi-hued illumination around the periphery. When the vibrating wrist strap was sampled by the children, the team learned the value of making early prototypes and getting feedback from their users to empirically test design concepts. “During our first round of testing, we wanted to pay attention to the reactions that the kids made, rather than focusing on the messages that the interpreter relayed,” said Abushaban. “Some of the kids seemed to be wary or afraid of the wrist strap so the lesson we learned from that meeting was that our product perhaps wasn’t kid-friendly. We then brainstormed new ideas of how to provide vibrational feedback in a more toy-like system.” The custom-designed plush toy houses sound transducers and a wireless communication system. The soft straps of the backpack/frontpack are adjustable, comfortable for the kids, and allow greater mobility for the dance workshop. Natalie Neal, a junior mechanical engineering and materials science student, was inspired to create patterns and hand sew a series of plush toy monkeys that incorporate a Bluetooth receiver, audio amplifier, vibrational transducers and battery power supply. This new iteration, dubbed Vibrance, can be worn either as a backpack or a “frontpack” - what the team calls “hug mode.” Additional testing and user feedback led to supplementing the tactile feedback with a projected visualizer that produces colorful circles based on the audio input. The Vibrance team presented their work at the Swanson School of Engineering’s fall 2018 Design Expo and swept the top three awards: first place in The Art of Making category, the People’s Choice Award, and the Best Overall Design. “Receiving those three awards really validated all of the hard work we did throughout the semester,” said Khan. The students’ innovative design has also received an enthusiastic response from kids, teachers, and parents. One parent of a child at WPSD wrote to the team, “I hope I’ll get the chance to see my son experience the vest vibration device. What an awesome idea!” Dr. Samosky was recently awarded a Provost’s Personalized Education Grant to support high-potential – and potentially high-impact – student design projects like Vibrance, enabling them to continue beyond the class in which they originate and be nurtured toward real-world impact. The Vibrance team will continue to develop and improve Vibrance under this new Classroom to Community initiative in Dr. Samosky’s lab. The goal is to create a device that meets the needs of both WPSD and Attack Theatre, but most importantly, the team wants to continue to positively affect the lives of the children using their device. As stated by Jocelyn Dunlap, a senior communication science student, “We are heading back to WPSD to continue building a project that claims a spot in all of our hearts.” ### This video of the Vibrance project, also created as part of the students’ coursework in The Art of Making, shows the system in action as it is used by instructors and kids at WPSD and with Attack Theatre. The Vibrance team includes, Issam Abushaban, a sophomore bioengineering and computer engineering student; Dani Broderick, a senior mechanical engineering student; Tom Driscoll, a junior computer engineering student; Jocelyn Dunlap, a senior communication science student; Austin Farwell, a junior mathematics student; Farah Khan, a senior bioengineering student; Stephanie Lachell, a senior mechanical engineering student; Evan Lawrence, a junior mechanical engineering student; Natalie Neal, a junior materials science and engineering student; Jesse Rosenfeld, a junior mechanical engineering student; and Caroline Westrick, a junior bioengineering student.

Apr
1
2019

The Next Generation of Nuclear Engineers

MEMS, Student Profiles, Nuclear

PITTSBURGH (April 1, 2019) ... Two outstanding MEMS students won scholarship and fellowship awards from the Department of Energy (DOE), part of an annual program sponsored by the Nuclear Energy University Program (NEUP). Both students are working with Dr. Heng Ban, director of the Nuclear Engineering program at the University of Pittsburgh's Swanson School of Engineering. The recipients:• Evan Kaseman, a mechanical engineering junior won a $7,500 scholarship designated to help cover education costs for the upcoming year. Kaseman is currently enrolled in the co-op program at Philips Respironics. His first co-op rotation at Emerson Automation Solutions this past summer sparked his interest in nuclear energy.• Brady Cameron, a first-year mechanical engineering PhD student won a $150,000 graduate fellowship for three years. The fellowship also includes $5,000 to fund an internship at a U.S. national laboratory or other approved research facility to strengthen the ties between students and DOE’s energy research programs. Since 2009, the DOE has awarded over $44 million to students pursuing nuclear energy-related degrees. This year, more than $5 million was awarded nationally to 45 undergraduates from 26 universities and 33 graduate students from 20 universities. Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Nuclear Energy, Edward McGinnis, stated, “The recipients will be the future of nuclear energy production in the United States and in the world.” ###
Meagan Lenze, Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science
Apr
1
2019

Swanson Faculty Honored with Two American Society for Engineering Education Awards

All SSoE News, Industrial, MEMS, Diversity

PITTSBURGH (March 25, 2019) — Honoring commitment to excellence and diversity in engineering education, the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) has selected professors at the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering to receive two of its annual awards. Jayant Rajgopal, PhD, professor of industrial engineering, won the John L. Imhoff Global Excellence Award for Industrial Engineering Education. Dr. Rajgopal is a Fellow of the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE), a member of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS), and the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). The John L. Imhoff Global Excellence Award for Industrial Engineering Education honors an individual “who has made outstanding contributions in the field of industrial engineering education and has demonstrated global cooperation and understanding through leadership and other initiatives,” according to the ASEE. The award was endowed from the estate of the late Professor John L. Imhoff and includes a $1,000 honorarium. Sylvanus Wosu, PhD, associate dean for diversity affairs and associate professor of mechanical engineering and materials science, won the DuPont Minorities in Engineering Award. Under Dr. Wosu’s direction, the Engineering Office of Diversity offers programs to foster diversity at the pre-college, undergraduate and graduate levels. Previously he has been recognized by NSF and AIChE for leadership and support of current and aspiring minority faculty in chemical engineering. According to ASEE the DuPont Minorities in Engineering Award recognizes the importance of student diversity by ethnicity and gender in science, engineering and technology. The recipient demonstrates outstanding achievements in increasing student diversity within engineering programs and is charged with motivating underrepresented students to enter into and continue engineering education. Endowed by DuPont, the award includes a $1,500 honorarium, a certificate and a $500 grant for travel expenses to the ASEE Annual Conference. The ASEE will honor Drs. Rajgopal and Wosu at the Annual Awards Luncheon during their Annual Conference and Exposition on Wednesday, June 19, 2019, at the Tampa Convention Center. “We at Swanson are impressed every day by our dedicated and talented faculty and their commitment to engineering education,” says U.S. Steel Dean of Engineering James Martin. “The multiple awards from ASEE this year further prove our faculty’s devotion to innovation in engineering education today and into the future.”

Mar

Mar
28
2019

Four Pitt engineering faculty capture more than $2 million in total NSF CAREER awards for 2018/2019

Chemical & Petroleum, Civil & Environmental, Electrical & Computer, MEMS, Diversity

PITTSBURGH (March 28, 2019) … Four faculty members from the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering have been named CAREER Award recipients by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Recognized as the NSF’s most competitive award for junior faculty, the grants total more than $2 million in funding both for research and community engagement. The CAREER program “recognizes faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations.” The four awards – one each in the departments of Chemical and Petroleum, Civil and Environmental, Electrical and Computer, and Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science – are the second most received by Pitt and Swanson School faculty in a single NSF CAREER funding announcement. Previously in 2017, five Swanson School faculty were recipients. “Federal funding for academic research is extremely competitive, especially for faculty just beginning their academic careers. Receiving four prestigious NSF CAREER Awards in one cycle – exceeded only by our five two years ago – is a reflection of our winners’ distinctive research and support by their respective departments and the Swanson School,” noted David Vorp, PhD, the Swanson School’s Associate Dean for Research. He added, “Since a CAREER Award is also focused on community engagement, this is an opportunity for our faculty and their graduate students to promote STEM to children in the area, especially in underserved populations, and we will be working with them to develop impactful outreach programs.”Dr. Vorp also noted that the Swanson School’s recent success with CAREER awards can be attributed to a number of factors, including the School’s Center for Faculty Excellence, directed by Prof. Anne Robertson, and the CAREER writing group developed and run by Julie Myers-Irvin, PhD, the Swanson School’s Grants Developer. “Participating faculty acknowledge that the writing group focus on early preparation, group comradery, technical feedback, and discussions of grantsmanship practices attribute to more well-rounded proposals,” Dr. Myers-Irvin says.The award recipients include:Murat Akcakaya, Assistant Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering, with Carla A. Mazefsky, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and PsychologyTitle: Toward a Biologically Informed Intervention for Emotionally Dysregulated Adolescents and Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (#1844885)Summary: Although clinical techniques are used to help patients with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) respond to stress and other factors, none are known to couple with technology that could monitor brain response in real time and provide the patient with feedback. Drs. Akcakaya and Mazefsky are developing a new intervention using electroencephalography (EEG)-guided, non-invasive brain-computer interface (BCI) technology could complement clinical treatments and improve emotion regulation in people with ASD.Dr. Akcakaya will also develop courses related to the research and outreach activities to promote STEM and ASD research to K-12 populations and the broader public. Outreach will focus especially on individuals with ASD, their families, and caretakers. Susan Fullerton, Assistant Professor of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering ($540,000)Title:Scaling Electrolytes to a Single Monolayer for Low-Power Ion-Gated Electronics with Unconventional Characteristics (#1847808)Summary: Two-dimensional (2D) materials are being explored for their exciting new physics that can impart novel functionalities in application spaces such as information storage, neuromorphic computing, and hardware security. Dr. Fullerton and her group invented a new type of ion-containing material, or electrolyte, which is only a single molecule thick. This “monolayer electrolyte” will ultimately introduce new functions that can be used by the electronic materials community to explore the fundamental properties of new semiconductor materials and to increase storage capacity, decrease power consumption, and vastly accelerate processing speed.The NSF award will support a PhD student and postdoctoral researcher, as well as an outreach program to inspire curiosity and engagement of K-12 and underrepresented students in materials for next-generation electronics. Specifically, Dr. Fullerton has developed an activity where students can watch the polymer electrolytes used in this study crystallize in real-time using an inexpensive camera attached to a smart phone or iPad. The CAREER award will allow Dr. Fullerton to provide this microscope to classrooms so that the teachers can continue exploring with their students. Tevis Jacobs, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science ($500,000)Title: Understanding Nanoparticle Adhesion to Guide the Surface Engineering of Supporting Structures (#1844739) Summary: Although far thinner than a human hair, metal nanoparticles play an important role in advanced industries and technologies from electronics and pharmaceuticals to catalysts and sensors. Nanoparticles can be as small as ten atoms in diameter, and their small size makes them especially susceptible to coarsening with continued use, which reduces functionality and degrades performance. Dr. Jacobs will utilize electron microscopy to develop new methods to measure the attachment and stability of nanoparticles on surfaces under various conditions, allowing researchers to enhance both surfaces and nanoparticles in tandem to work more effectively together.Additionally, Dr. Jacobs and his lab group will engage with the University of Pittsburgh School of Education and a local elementary school to create and nationally disseminate surface engineering-focused curricular units for sixth- to eighth-grade students and professional development training modules for teachers. Carla Ng, Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering ($500,000)Title: Harnessing biology to tackle fluorinated alkyl substances in the environment (#1845336) Summary: Per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) are man-made chemicals that are useful in a variety of industries because of their durability, but do not naturally break down in the environment or human body. Because of their useful oil- and water-repellent properties, PFAS are used in many consumer products, industrial processes, and in firefighting foams, but unfortunately, their manufacturing and widespread use has contributed to the undesired release of these chemicals into the environment. With evidence showing that PFAS may have adverse effects on human health, Dr. Ng wants to further investigate the potential impacts of these chemicals and identify ways to remove them from the environment. She plans to elevate K-12 and undergraduate education through the use of collaborative model-building in a game-like environment. Dr. Ng in particular will utilize the agent-based modeling language NetLogo, a freely available and accessible model-building tool that can be equally powerful for cutting edge research or for students exploring new STEM concepts in science and engineering. ###

Mar
27
2019

MEMS Undergraduate Trevor Kickliter Selected to Represent Pitt at the ACC Meeting of the Minds

Bioengineering, MEMS, Student Profiles

PITTSBURGH (March 27, 2019) … Trevor Kickliter, a junior mechanical engineering student in the Swanson School of Engineering, was selected as one of six undergraduate researchers to represent the University of Pittsburgh at the 2019 ACC Meeting of the Minds Conference hosted by the University of Louisville, March 29-31, 2019. Kickliter will present his research on the use of adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells (ADMSCs) as a promising alternative to traditional surgical therapy for an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA). With a mortality rate of 90 percent and no sufficient strategy for early intervention, rupture of an abdominal aortic aneurysm is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. The aorta is the largest blood vessel in the body, which runs from the heart, through the chest, and down to the abdomen. Due to its size, an AAA can lead to massive internal bleeding, which is typically fatal. According to Kickliter, due to inadequate diagnostic markers, surgical intervention for this disease often fails to treat those in need of care while subjecting others to unnecessary risks. His work in the lab of David Vorp, PhD, Associate Dean for Research and the John A. Swanson Professor of Bioengineering, addresses these shortcomings through the use of stem cell therapy. “Our lab has previously investigated the use of adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells in therapies for abdominal aortic aneurysm, but a method to effectively target ADMSCs to the aorta has yet to be developed or tested in large animals,” said Kickliter. “Since the use of ADMSCs as a therapeutic treatment seems promising, the primary goal of this study was to design and create a method for localizing ADMSCs in large animal aortas.” The group implanted a diametric magnet into a harvested aorta loaded with ADMSCs that were treated with iron nanoparticles. The internal magnet was then able to draw the ADMSCs to the aortic adventitia - the outermost layer of connective tissue in the aorta. “We looked at a cross-section of the treated aorta under fluorescent microscopy, and we found a significantly greater concentration of ADMSCs both on and around the aortic adventitia in the group where an internal magnet was used,” said Kickliter. “These results suggest that our method can be used to localize stem cell-based vascular therapies in other large animals, including humans.” Each participating institution in the ACC Meeting of the Minds conference is allowed to select a total of six students to give three oral presentations and three poster presentations. Kickliter will present his research during the poster session. “This is another outstanding recognition for Trevor, who continues to impress me with the quality of his research,” said Dr. Vorp. “This work introduces a novel way to localize delivery of stem cell therapy in large animals, and we hope that it will lead to improved treatment for abdominal aortic aneurysms.” ###

Mar
22
2019

SSOE Associate Dean for Diversity and MEMS Associate Professor Receives Award

MEMS, Diversity, Office of Development & Alumni Affairs

Sylvanus Wosu, associate dean for diversity and MEMS associate professor, was the recipient of this year’s DuPont Minorities in Engineering Award given by the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE).  The award is intended to recognize the outstanding performance of an engineering educator for their efforts in increasing student diversity within engineering and engineering technology programs. The award consists of a $1500 honorarium, a $500 grant for travel expenses to the ASEE Annual Conference and a certificate.

Mar
12
2019

University of Pittsburgh expert in fluid dynamics, combustion and aerodynamics to co-chair mini symposium at NC19

MEMS

PITTSBURGH (March 12, 2019) … Peyman Givi, developer of the Filtered Density Function (FDF) used in very high fidelity numerical simulation of chemically reactive flow fields, will co-chair a mini symposium on the subject at the 17th International Conference on Numerical Combustion (NC19) in Aachen, Germany from May 6-8, 2019. Dr. Givi is a Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering and the James T. MacLeod Professor in Swanson School of Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh.The mini symposium “Filtered Density Function Methods for Turbulent Reactive Flows” will include 60 participants and 28 presented papers. According to Dr. Givi, participants will learn the latest developments and innovations in enhancing the computational and predictive capabilities of the FDF methodology.“When I first developed and introduced FDF, many thought it was mathematically complex and too computational intensive,” Dr. Givi says. “However, I have worked with my outstanding PhD students at Pitt to develop methodologies to address the computational complexity and further refine its adoption. Today, I could not be more pleased by the number of colleagues from outstanding institutions around the world who will be joining us in Aachen to share their success stories using our method.” For more information, visit http://givi.pitt.edu/news/. About Dr. GiviPrior to his tenure at Pitt, Dr. Givi held the rank of University Distinguished Professor in Aerospace Engineering at the State University of New York at Buffalo, where he received the Professor of the Year Award by Tau Beta Pi (2002). He also worked as a Research Scientist at the Flow Industries, Inc. in Seattle. Dr. Givi has had frequent visiting appointments at the NASA Langley & Glenn (Lewis) centers, and received the NASA's Public Service Medal (2005). He is among the first 15 engineering faculty nationwide who received the White House Presidential Faculty Fellowship. He is also a recipient of the Young Investigator Award from the Office of Naval Research, and the Presidential Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation. Dr. Givi is the Deputy Editor of AIAA Journal, member of the editorial boards of Computers & Fluids, Journal of Applied Fluid Mechanics; the Open Aerospace Engineering Journal, an Associate Editor of Journal of Combustion; and a past advisory board member of Progress in Energy and Combustion Science. He received his Ph.D. from the Carnegie Mellon University (PA), and BE (Summa Cum Laude) from the Youngstown State University (OH), where he was named the 2004 Phi Kappa Phi Distinguished Alumnus, and the 2012 STEM College Outstanding Alumnus. Dr. Givi has achieved Fellow status in AAAS, AIAA, APS, and ASME; and was designated as ASME's Engineer of the Year 2007 in Pittsburgh. ###

Mar
11
2019

MEMS professor co-authors review paper in Materials Today Physics

MEMS

Sangyeop Lee, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and materials science, is co-author of a recent article, “Survey of ab initio phonon thermal transport” in Materials Today Physics (vol. 7, 2018, pp. 106-120, DOI 10.1016/j.mtphys.2018.11.008). According to the abstract: The coupling of lattice dynamics and phonon transport methodologies with density functional theory has become a powerful tool for calculating lattice thermal conductivity (k) with demonstrated quantitative accuracy and applicability to a wide range of materials. More importantly, these first-principles transport methods lack empirical tuning parameters so that reliable predictions of k behaviors in new and old materials can be formulated. Since its inception nearly a decade ago, first-principles thermal transport has vastly expanded the range of materials examined, altered our physical intuition of phonon interactions and transport behaviors, provided deeper understanding of experiments, and accelerated the design of materials for targeted thermal functionalities. Such advances are critically important for developing novel thermal management materials and strategies as heat sets challenging operating limitations on engines, microelectronics, and batteries. This article provides a comprehensive survey of first-principles Peierls-Boltzmann thermal transport as developed in the literature over the last decade, with particular focus on more recent advances. This review will demonstrate the wide variety of calculations accessible to first-principles transport methods (including dimensionality, pressure, and defects), highlight unusual properties and predictions that have been made, and discuss some challenges and behaviors that lie beyond. Dr. Lee, who joined Pitt in 2015, studies nanoscale thermal transport in solid materials, and his research is currently focused on hydrodynamic phonon transport in graphitic materials and thermal transport in fully or partially disordered phase. His group utilizes Boltzmann transport theory, Green's function method, and molecular dynamics simulation, all of which use interatomic force constants calculated from density functional theory. He earned his BS and MS in mechanical and aerospace engineering from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, and PhD in mechanical engineering from MIT. Funding for this research was provided by: Office of Science Oak Ridge National Laboratory National Science Foundation (1709307, 1150948, 1705756) Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (HR0011-15-2-0037)

Mar
4
2019

Solving a Sticky Problem

MEMS

PITTSBURGH (March 4, 2019) … Although far thinner than a human hair, metal nanoparticles play an important role in advanced industries and technologies from electronics and pharmaceuticals to catalysts and sensors. Nanoparticles can be as small as ten atoms in diameter, and their small size makes them especially susceptible to coarsening with continued use, which reduces functionality and degrades performance. To advance the understanding of micro- and nano-surfaces and to engineer more stable nanoparticles, the National Science Foundation has awarded the University of Pittsburgh’s Tevis Jacobs a $500,000 CAREER Award, which supports early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization. Dr. Jacobs, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and materials science at Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering, will utilize electron microscopy to directly study and measure adhesion properties of nanoparticles and their supporting substrates. “Research has already shown that nanoparticle coarsening is related to nanoparticle adhesion; however, those prior studies measured the aggregate behavior of billions of particles simultaneously. The large number of particles prevented systematic investigation of the key factors governing adhesion. To gain a better understanding, we need to be able to study individual nanoparticles in action, in real time,” Dr. Jacobs explains. “Our suite of tools for performing mechanical and materials testing inside of a transmission electron microscope allows for direct measurements of adhesion under different circumstances. These measurements will enable greater understanding of the atomic-scale relationships between nanoparticle adhesion and coarsening.” Dr. Jacobs noted that current processes to counter nanoparticle coarsening utilize stabilizing materials, but matching the most effective stabilizer to a nanoparticle is a time-consuming and costly trial-and-error process. The CAREER award will enable Dr. Jacobs and his lab group to develop new methods to measure the attachment and stability of nanoparticles on surfaces under various conditions, allowing researchers to enhance both surfaces and nanoparticles in tandem to work more effectively together. Additionally, the CAREER award allows Dr. Jacobs and his Surfaces and Small-Scale Structures Laboratory  to engage with the University of Pittsburgh School of Education and a local elementary school to create and nationally disseminate surface engineering-focused curricular units for sixth- to eighth-grade students and professional development training modules for teachers. “Incorporating engineering projects in early grades has the potential to inspire more students of all backgrounds to become interested in STEM, and can have particularly strong effects on groups that are underrepresented in STEM careers today,” Dr. Jacobs said. “And on the research side, the improvements in nanoparticle performance will have direct benefit in applications such as manufacturing, solar energy, and sensors for the detection of pollutants in the environment and diseases in the body.” ### Above from left: PhD students Sai Bharadwaj Vishnubhotla, Yahui Yang, and Dr. Jacobs with the FEI Titan Themis aberration-corrected transmission electron microscope in the Gertrude E. and John M. Petersen Institute of NanoScience and Engineering (PINSE) and Nanoscale Fabrication and Characterization Facility.

Mar
1
2019

Shifting Into High Gear

Industrial, MEMS, Office of Development & Alumni Affairs

David Kitch holds two degrees from the University of Pittsburgh, but his connection to the Pitt community extends far beyond that. Kitch earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering (1968) and a Master of Science in Industrial Engineering (1981). Kitch first became aware of the University of Pittsburgh at a young age, working in his father’s automobile repair shop, Kitch’s Auto Service, located in Slickville, PA, 30 miles east of Pittsburgh in Westmoreland County. It was here that he gained an interest in engineering through rebuilding engines, transmissions, carburetors and more when he was just 10 years old. Kitch would often talk about his engineering interest to the shop’s customers, which included UPMC doctors and University of Pittsburgh instructors. They all encouraged Kitch to consider Pitt when the time came to apply to college. While Kitch originally intended to apply for a scholarship to the US Naval Academy, tuition benefits and other perks for the Westmoreland County native led him to attend the University of Pittsburgh Greensburg, which offered a pre-engineering curriculum. Kitch attended Pitt Greensburg for two years and then transferred to the Oakland campus in 1966. When he got to Oakland, Kitch joined the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) as a student member. Kitch fondly remembers attending classes in Engineering Hall and eating brown bag lunches with other commuter students. Because of his interest in energy conversion and turbomachinery, he especially enjoyed his thermo-fluids classes. Kitch says his most influential instructors were Dr. Blaine Leidy who taught Thermodynamics 1 and 2 and Dr. Joel Peterson who taught Fluid Mechanics.  Kitch continued to work at his father’s repair shop throughout his undergraduate career. While the formal co-op program had not yet been created at the time, Kitch considers Kitch’s Auto Service to be one of the first co-op sponsors and he gives much credit to his work there in helping him achieve his degree.  When Kitch graduated in 1968, the job market for engineers was thriving. He recalls being frequently contacted by company recruiters. He took interviews with four companies, but his love for the Pittsburgh region ultimately influenced him to stay local and he accepted a position at Elliott Co. in Jeannette, PA. In the early ‘70s, the nuclear power field gained traction and was led by local company, Westinghouse Electric Co. Several Elliott engineers were recruited by Westinghouse, including Kitch, who was hired in 1973. Kitch spent the next 25 years working for Westinghouse in a variety of positions including; principal design engineer, marketing engineer, nuclear safety, and project engineering.  These positions afforded Kitch the opportunity to publish numerous technical papers and travel the world visiting suppliers and nuclear plants where Westinghouse equipment was installed. In the late 70s, Kitch began attending night school in pursuit of his master’s in Engineering Management. He notes, “I was most influenced by Dr. David Cleland, my project management professor who was also well known for his publications on the subject. Dr. Cleland asked me if would critique one of his books and I did.  I reviewed the many papers submitted by authors and picked the best, to which I was mentioned in his book and received three credits toward my degree.” Kitch was also named to the IE National Honor Society in 1981. In a long and prosperous engineering tenure, Kitch is able to identify many highlights. One highlight that particularly stands out to Kitch was when his position at Westinghouse was to mentor three young engineering new hires to work on the AP-1000 plant design. One of the three hires was a Pitt Mechanical Engineering graduate named Kyle Noel. “Kyle and I formed the pump design team for the AP-1000 and we traveled to Europe, California, and throughout the US for four years. When I retired from this job, Kyle assumed command and we have remained close friends today.”During Kitch’s time as a design engineer for Westinghouse, he stayed in touch with two of his Pitt classmates, Bernard "Bernie" Fedak and Wilson Farmerie. These men recruited Kitch to serve on the then Mechanical Engineering Department Visiting Committee, an important service the three of them still do today, 25 years later. In October 2016, Kitch received from Dean Holder a MEMS Department Service Award for his impactful and dedicated commitment to the Department and the Swanson School of Engineering in general.Currently, Kitch is an engineering consultant working for Vinoski and Assoc. Inc., and McNally LLC. “My work consists of expert witness testimony support, failure and root cause analyses, reliability/design audits, and project management.” Kitch never lost his passion for cars. He supports the Pitt FSAE team as a booster, spectator and fan. He serves as a judge for the National Corvette Restorer’s Society.  He has also restored several Corvettes and currently owns three, which he keeps in a garage he calls Dave’s Corvette Corner.
Author: Meagan Lenze, Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

Feb

Feb
26
2019

Pennsylvania's Climate Moment

Electrical & Computer, MEMS, Nuclear

Forty-two percent of Pennsylvania’s electricity is generated by nuclear plants, but that percentage may decline as a result of the announced closure of two of Pennsylvania’s five nuclear plants in 2019 and 2021, respectively. To explore what impact those closures will have on the Commonwealth's energy portfolio, as well as on decarbonization plans, the University of Pittsburgh's Center for Energy will host a special forum, "Pennsylvania's Climate Moment," on Friday, March 8 from 11:00am - 12:30 pm in Posvar 3911. Heng Ban, PhDR.K. Mellon Professor in Energy, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, and Director of the Stephen R. Tritch Nuclear Engineering ProgramUniversity of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering Hillary BrightDirector, State Policies Blue Green Alliance Sam RessinFormer PresidentUniversity of Pittsburgh Climate Stewardship Society Kathleen RobertsonSenior Manager of Environmental Policy and Wholesale Market DevelopmentExelon John WalliserSenior Vice-President, Legal AffairsPennsylvania Environmental Council For more information, contact the Center for Energy at 412-624-7476 or centerforenergy@engr.pitt.edu.

Feb
20
2019

MEMS Startup Diamond Kinetics Strikes Deal with SeventySix Capital and Former Philly Ryan Howard

MEMS

Read the full article by Andrew Cohen at SportTechie. Sports tech investment firm SeventySix Capital announced it has contributed to the latest round of funding for Diamond Kinetics, a company that develops swing analysis products for baseball and softball. Financial terms of the investment were not included in a press release from SeventySix Capital. Former Philadelphia Phillies All-Star Ryan Howard is a leading partner at SeventySix Capital, which was founded in 1999. With new financial support, Diamond Kinetics plans to continue to develop and refine its bat sensor technology, smart balls, and mobile apps. The company’s SwingTracker training tool includes a bat sensor that measures key swing metrics and can capture real-time analysis of a player’s swing. Though sensors can be attached to handles, through partnerships with more than a dozen bat manufacturers bats can also be purchased with SwingTracker already embedded. ... C.J. Handron and Dr. William Clark founded Diamond Kinetics in 2013. The company is based in Pittsburgh, and previous investors include Bob Nutting, principal owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates, as well as former Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu. Diamond Kinetics has partnered with several youth baseball organizations, including Perfect Game and Ripken Baseball, and also elite collegiate baseball and softball programs from schools such as Vanderbilt University and the University of Georgia. ----- More coverage is available at the Pittsburgh Business Times (subscription required): "Former Phillies slugger invests in local baseball tech company." (Julia Mericle, February 20, 2019) Original news release: "SeventySix Capital, sports tech venture capital fund led by MLB great Ryan Howard, invests in baseball technology company Diamond Kinetics." (Jessica David, Director of Marketing, SeventySix Capital)

Jan

Jan
29
2019

Pitt Engineering faculty and graduate students receive $150K in total funding from PA Manufacturing Fellow Initiative

MEMS

PITTSBURGH (January 28, 2019) … Four faculty and six graduate students from the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Advanced Manufacturing (UPCAM) and the Swanson School of Engineering will benefit from the Pennsylvania Manufacturing Innovation Program (PAMIP), a university-industry collaboration supported by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED).Funding recipients include: Markus Chmielus, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, with graduate student Katerina Kimes and undergraduate student Pierangeli Rodriguez De Vecchis, and industry partner General Carbide. Research proposal: “Enabling highly complex tungsten carbide parts via binder jet 3D printing.” Funding: $64,858. C. Isaac Garcia, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, with undergraduate Yasmin Daukoru and postdoctoral student Gregorio Solis, and industry partner US Steel Corporation. Research proposal: “A new approach to optimize the performance of X80 Nb-bearing linepipe steels using IRCR high temperature processing.” Funding: $28,812. Jorg M. Wiezorek, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science; and M. Ravi Shankar, Professor of Industrial Engineering, with graduate students Jaehyuk Jo and Zhijie Wang, and industry partner AMETEK, Inc. Research proposal: “Hydride-dehydride powder manufacturing intensification by up-cycling of machining chips.” Funding: $56,543. “The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has embraced the potential of additive manufacturing as the forfront of our next industrial revolution, and we’re excited to partner with them to advance this new research,” noted David Vorp, the Swanson School’s associate dean for research and professor of bioengineering. “Most importantly, the PAMIP program recognizes the importance of engaging the next generation of engineering researchers through funded fellowships. Our undergraduate and graduate students contribute greatly to this research, and the fellowships support their education here at Pitt.” PAMIP was established to leverage the science and engineering talent and discovery capacity of Pennsylvania’s institutions of higher education to ensure that Pennsylvania remains a national and international leader in manufacturing and achieves the full economic potential for high-paying manufacturing jobs. A main component of the PA Manufacturing Innovation Program is the Manufacturing Fellows Initiative (PMFI), a $2 million initiative to support manufacturing research collaborations between Pennsylvania colleges/universities and manufacturers. The goal of the program is to enable these institutions to seamlessly bring their capabilities to bear to support industrial innovation and position the Commonwealth at the forefront of the next wave of manufacturing. ###