News

Dec
22
2020

IE's Youngjae Chun Receives Second-Year Funding From Children's Heart Foundation For Congenital Heart Defect Research

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NORTHBROOK, Ill. (December 22, 2020/PRNewswire) ... Youngjae Chun, associate professor of industrial engineering and bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering, will receive second-year research funding as part of more than $735,000 from the The Children's Heart Foundation, the nation's leading organization dedicated to funding congenital heart defect (CHD) research. Chun is one of three researchers receiving second-year funding for research that, according to the Foundation, has made significant progress this year: Kristopher B. Deatrick, MD [University of Maryland] for continued work on Stem Cell Therapy for Post- Cardiopulmonary Bypass Low Cardiac Output Syndrome. Youngjae Chun, PhD [University of Pittsburgh] for research on A Self-Growing Percutaneous Heart Valve Frame to Treat Congenital Heart Disease. Allen Everett, MD [Johns Hopkins University] for ongoing study of the Role of Cyclohexanone Toxicity in Mediating Congenital Cardiac Surgical Outcomes. These research efforts will help experts learn more about the life-long care needs of individuals living with CHDs and how to continue to improve their overall quality of life. Announced in March 2020, Chun's research focuses on developing a new type of metallic frame for pediatric heart valves that could not only be placed by a minimally invasive catheter-based procedure but would also grow with the child, eliminating the need for follow-up surgeries. The Foundation will fund over in CHD research and scientific collaborations this year across four key initiatives: 1. independent research funded by the Foundation, 2. collaborative research with the American Heart Association through joint Congenital Heart Defect Research Awards, 3. funding the American Academy of Pediatrics' Pediatric Cardiology Research Fellowship Award, and 4. funding Cardiac Networks United (CNU), a national pediatric and congenital cardiovascular research network. The Children's Heart Foundation provides funding to Cardiac Networks United to improve outcomes for children with CHDs. One of CNU's current research efforts—the Chest Tube Project—is now being implemented at nearly 20 U.S. hospitals as researchers consider the optimal time for chest tube removal in young CHD patients. In addition, the Foundation funded the American Academy of Pediatrics' 2020 Pediatric Cardiology Research Fellowship Award given to David Staudt, MD, PhD, pediatric cardiology fellow at Stanford University. His research—Unraveling Molecular Modifiers of Hypertrophic and Restrictive Cardiomyopathy—is important because it begins to identify genetic mutations and underlying causes of hypertrophic and restrictive cardiomyopathies, which could lead to therapies that counteract or prevent CHDs. "Amidst uncertainty in 2020, our dedication to funding the most promising research has remained unchanged," said Barbara Newhouse, President & CEO of The Children's Heart Foundation. "The research we're funding is truly moving the needle." Every 15 minutes, a baby is born with a congenital heart defect, making CHDs America's most common birth defect. The Children's Heart Foundation's mission is to advance the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of CHDs by funding the most promising research. Since 1996, the Foundation has been a proven leader, funding nearly $14 million of CHD research and scientific collaborations. About The Children's Heart FoundationThe Children's Heart Foundation will mark its 25th anniversary in 2021. Its mission is to advance the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of congenital heart defects by funding the most promising research. For more information, visit www.childrensheartfoundation.org and follow us on Facebook, Instagram,  Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube.
Author: The Children's Heart Foundation (via PR Newswire)
Dec
14
2020

First Virtual Design Expo Showcases Swanson Undergrads’ Ingenuity

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PITTSBURGH (Dec. 14, 2020) — Every semester, University of Pittsburgh engineering students make their way to Soldiers and Sailor Memorial Hall to put forth their best designs at the Design Expo. However, like so many events in 2020, this year’s event had to go virtual. The first ever Virtual Design Expo at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering took place on Nov. 23 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Using the conference platform Accelevents, students presented their work from the School’s Capstone Design courses or highlighted concepts and prototypes from the Product Realization and Art of Making courses. The students prepared to present their projects in their individual online “booths,” and judges, who are industry professionals from around the world, visited the online spaces in turn to talk with students and view their work. “We’re proud and impressed by our students’ ability to adapt to this virtual event and bring their best, most innovative work to the table,” said Mary Besterfield-Sacre, Nickolas A. Dececco Professor, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, and Director of the Engineering Education Research Center. “This year may have changed the format of this important event, but what hasn’t changed is our students’ talent, skill and perseverance.” This year’s winners are: Best Overall Project MEMS-5: Enhancement of Metal 3D-Printed Respiratory Filter DesignNathan Knueppel, Frederick Wohlers, Jared Melnik, Andrew Harmon, and Zach OstranderAdvisors: Marchus Chmielus and David Schmidt People’s Choice Award BioE-9: Trauma-Informed Speculum RedesignNeharika Chodapaneedi, Hannah Geisler, Justin Amritha, Katherine Miller, Oreoluwa Odeniyi, Joseph Sukinik, Joanna Siegel, Sydney Rinderknecht, and Susanne KushernickAdvisor: Mark Gartner DEPARTMENT AWARDS Bioengineering 1st Place: BioE-5, System to Improve Glove DonningKlaire Dickey, Emily Hilerick, Rachel Lau, Seth Queen, Simon Shenk, Michael Shulock, Christopher Snodgrass, Katherine Stevenson, and Leo JulianAdvisor: Mark Gartner 2nd Place: BioE-11, Expressive Aphasia Patient Communication in a Hospital Setting Following StrokeRosh Bharti, Audrey Case, Harris Chishti, Mitchell Dubaniewicz, Jessica Weber and Benjamin WongAdvisor: Mark Gartner 3rd Place: BioE-4, Addressing Self-Harm in Patients with ASDDavid Chan, Mateus Pinho, Yannis Rigas, Gloriani Sanchez, Sean Tighe, and Shivani TuliAdvisor: Mark Gartner Civil and Environmental Engineering 1st Place: CEE-9, Fly Ranch Water Treatment FacilityDana Vidic, Claire Sattler, Maria Stopenski, and Trent GreenerAdvisor: John Sebastian 2nd Place: CEE-7, Landslide Slope StabilizationDustin Chickis, Perry Hoover Jr., Col McLaughlin, and Jack DeckerAdvisor: John Sebastian 3rd Place: CEE-1, SBTRA Small Bridge and Spillway ReplacementKatherine Paraskiewicz, Patrick Schorr, Anthony Bove, and Ivan MenzAdvisor: John Sebastian Electrical and Computer Engineering 1st Place: ECE-5, Bidirectional Foot Traffic Monitor for Single Entry SpacesAlyssa Jordan, Richard Kuerzi, Daniel Mingey, and Calvin YuAdvisors: Mohamed Bayoumy and Steve Jacobs 2nd Place: ECE-1, Two-Channel Oscilloscope/Spectrum AnalyzerErin Welling, Justin Long, Dillon Garrett, and Jacob HeilmanAdvisors: Mohamed Bayoumy and Steve Jacobs Industrial Engineering 1st Place: IE-1, Supply Chain Risk ManagementAlexandra Lee, Elizabeth Lee, Michael Urzillo, and Mara WrzesniewAdvisors: MECCO, Catalyst Connection, and Michael Sherwin 2nd Place: IE-8, Flu Season ModelingClaude Corbett, Venice Pascual, Nathan Sugrue and Sofia VidicAdvisors: Hyo Kyung Lee, Caroline Kolman, Michael Sherwin, and Insightin Health Mechanical Engineering and Material Science 1st Place: MEMS-5, Enhancement of Metal 3D-Printed Respiratory Filter DesignNathan Knueppel, Frederick Wohlers, Jared Melnik, Andrew Harman, and Zach OstranderAdvisors: Marcus Chmielus and David Schmidt 2nd Place: MEMS-15, Integrating Sports into STEM Education for 6th-12th Grade Black Students: Basketball SleeveDan Quiroga, Gaby Moore and Terrell GallowayAdvisor: David Schmidt 3rd Place: MEMS-11, Development of a Robotic Work Cell for Automated Handling of Small PartsBenjamin Koo, Andrea Davis, Samuel Taylor and Gabriel DetterAdvisors: Aerotech, Stephen Ludwick, and David Schmidt Product Realization 1st Place: PR-5, Kensington Medallion RefinementAdam Grachen, Emily Hearty, Ben Somerville, and William ZhengAdvisors: Rick Winter and Marc Weber Tobias 2nd Place: PR-6, Level-Lock Reverse EngineeringRobert Brown, Jonathan Perlman, Cynthia Rosensteel, and Michael LinAdvisors: Rick Winter and Marc Weber Tobias Art of Making 1st Place: AOM-2 Link Pad: Connecting Your Loved Ones with YouDavid Herr, Spencer Zacher, Benjamin Somerville, and Elizabeth SidelnikovAdvisor: Joseph Samosky 2nd Place: AOM-1 Slide Guide: A Manual Wheelchair Seat Transfer DeviceCelia Davis, Noah Ziemba, Katelyn Spadavecchia, Michael Kugler and Ashley ZagariAdvisor: Joseph Samosky
Maggie Pavlick
Dec
9
2020

MEMS Research Makes Cover of MRS Bulletin

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MEMS Professor Jorg Wiezorek and his group’s work is featured on the front cover of the November issue of the MRS Bulletin. The issue covers the developments in the field of processing metallic materials and includes Wiezorek’s article highlighting the in-situ TEM work Pitt does in collaboration with the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). The feature article is titled Imaging Transient Solidification Behavior and Wiezorek co-authored the work with Dr. Joseph McKeown, lead of the Metallurgy and Advanced Microscopy Group at LLNL, and Dr. Amy Clarke who is an associate professor in the George S. Ansell Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering at the Colorado School of Mines. Wiezorek’s research involves state-of-the-art in-situ experiments that are performed with fast electrons, which allow the study of the dynamic processes of crystal growth and microstructure evolution under extreme conditions driven far from equilibrium. The research produces quantitative measurements and mechanistic insights that are uniquely suitable for comparison with and validation of computational modeling and advance the science and theory of the liquid-to-solid phase transformations in metallic materials.

Dec
8
2020

Eric Beckman elected newest National Academy of Inventors Fellow from University of Pittsburgh

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PITTSBURGH (December 8, 2020) ... Eric Beckman, Distinguished Service Professor of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering in the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering, was elected a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors 2020 cohort. Beckman is the eighth Pitt faculty member to be named an NAI Fellow, and the second with a primary appointment in the Swanson School. He has nearly 200 peer-reviewed journal articles, 26 book chapters, and receipt of 40 U.S. patents with more pending. “Eric truly is a holistic engineer who understands and exemplifies the connections between academics, research, student engagement, and lifelong learning,” noted James R. Martin II, U.S. Steel Dean of Engineering. “His dedication to imbuing sustainability throughout engineering has not only impacted our Swanson School community, but also the entire university and our many colleagues across the country. He is most deserving of this honor which represents creating new knowledge that benefits the human condition.”Beckman’s research focuses on molecular design, biomedical polymers, green product engineering, and sustainability. In 2003, shortly after he became interim chair of chemical and petroleum engineering, he co-founded the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation (MCSI) through a gift from alumnus John C. “Jack” Mascaro (BSCE ’66, MSCE ’80), with the mission of catalyzing sustainability innovation and education across the University and in the region. MCSI is also co-host, with Carnegie Mellon University, of the biennial Engineering Sustainability Conference. Dr. Beckman’s research group examines the use of molecular design to solve problems in green product formulation and in the design of materials for use in tissue engineering. In 2005, he co-founded Cohera Medical Inc. to commercialize surgical adhesive technology developed at the University. Dr. Beckman took an entrepreneurial leave of absence from the University in 2007-2009 to help move the products to market. Beckman is currently leading a grant from the MacArthur Foundation and NineSigma, in collaboration with Think Beyond Plastic, to develop innovations to reduce the amount of plastics that end up being burned or buried in landfills, or make their way into the world’s waterways and oceans. Part of the foundation’s Circular Materials Challenge, the research focus has generated additional funding from the National Science Foundation for other faculty at the Swanson School engaging in circular economy issues, particularly global waste. His dedication to student learning and engagement earned funding from the Heinz Endowments to create a “Sustainable Entrepreneurship” course, followed by a three-course innovation sequence: Introduction to Business Principles; Product Design for Chemical Engineers; and Chemical Product Prototyping. Some students from these courses have successfully competed in the University’s Randall Family Big Idea Competition and launched their own startup companies. “Eric is one of the leading tissue engineering researchers in the country and his inventions in this field were groundbreaking,” added Steven R. Little, the William Kepler Whiteford Professor and Chair of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering at Pitt. “However, a true inventor is also a mentor, advisor, and colleague who shares his expertise with others and guides them toward their own creative success. For this he is truly deserving of joining the NAI.”Other NAI fellows at Pitt include: Stephen F. Badylak, DVM, PhD, MD, Professor of Surgery, Deputy Director of the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine (MIRM), and Director of the Center for Pre-Clinical Tissue Engineering at MIRM (secondary appointment in Bioengineering) Rory A. Cooper, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research for STEM-Health Sciences Collaborations, and founding director and VA senior research career scientist of the Human Engineering Research Laboratories (secondary appointment in Bioengineering) William Federspiel, Distinguished Professor of Bioengineering, and founder of ALung Technologies (secondary appointment in Chemical and Petroleum Engineering) Mir Imran, adjunct faculty in Bioengineering, Coulter Translational Research Partners II Program, and CEO of InCube Labs Rob Rutenbar, Senior Vice Chancellor for Research (joint appointments in Electrical and Computer Engineering and Computer Science) Rocky S. Tuan, Vice-Chancellor and President of The Chinese University of Hong Kong; at Pitt the former Director of the Center for Cellular and Molecular Engineering; the Arthur J. Rooney Sr. Professor and Executive Vice Chair, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery; Associate Director, McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine; and Director, Center for Military Medicine Research (secondary appointments in Bioengineering and Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science) William R. Wagner, Director of the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine and Distinguished Professor of Surgery (secondary appointments in Bioengineering and Chemical and Petroleum Engineering) ###
Amerigo Allegretto and Paul Kovach
Nov
23
2020

MEMS Student Wins NASA Award

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Seth Strayer, a second year mechanical engineering PhD student, received a prestigious NASA Space Technology Graduate Research Opportunities (NSTGRO) award. According to the NASA website, the goal of the award is to sponsor U.S. citizen and permanent resident graduate students who show significant potential to contribute to NASA’s goal of creating innovative new space technologies for our Nation’s science, exploration and economic future. The award will be made in the form of a grant to the University of Pittsburgh on behalf of Strayer, with his faculty advisor, Professor Albert To, serving as the principal investigator. Additionally, Strayer will be matched with a technically relevant and community-engaged NASA Subject Matter Expert, who will serve as the conduit into the larger technical community corresponding to Strayer’s space technology research area. He will also have the opportunity to perform his research at a NASA center, giving him the chance to work collaboratively with leading engineers and scientists in his field of study. The proposal that won Strayer the award is titled “Development of an Integrated Part-Scale Process-Structure-Fatigue Simulation Framework for Certification of Laser Powder Bed Additive Manufactured Components.”

Nov
19
2020

University of Pittsburgh Joins New DOE Cybersecurity Manufacturing Innovation Institute

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SAN ANTONIO, TX (November 19, 2020) ... The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) today formally launched the Cybersecurity Manufacturing Innovation Institute (CyManII), a $111 million public-private partnership. Led by UTSA, the university will enter into a five-year cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to lead a consortium of 59 proposed member institutions in introducing a cybersecure energy-ROI that drives American manufacturers and supply chains to further adopt secure, energy-efficient approaches, ultimately securing and sustaining the nation’s leadership in global manufacturing competitiveness.U.S. manufacturers are one of the top targets for cyber criminals and nation-state adversaries, impacting the production of energy technologies such as electric vehicles, solar panels and wind turbines. Integration across the supply chain network and an increased use of automation applied in manufacturing processes can make industrial infrastructures vulnerable to cyber-attacks. To protect American manufacturing jobs and workers, CyManII will transform U.S. advanced manufacturing and make manufacturers more energy efficient, resilient and globally competitive against our nation’s adversaries.“The University of Pittsburgh is proud to be among the inaugural member institutions of this national effort to develop cyber security and energy research to benefit U.S. manufacturing expertise,” noted Rob A. Rutenbar,Senior Vice Chancellor for Research at Pitt. “Both our Swanson School of Engineering and School of Computing and Information at the forefront of innovations in advanced manufacturing, cyber infrastructure and security, sustainable energy, materials science and supply chain management. Our faculty are looking forward to participating in this groundbreaking institute.”“The exploitation of advanced materials and computing can provide us with a more holistic approach to secure the nation’s manufacturing infrastructure, from communication networks and assembly lines to intricate computer code and distribution systems,” added Daniel Cole, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science and co-director of the Swanson School’s Hacking for Defense program. “Just as our personal computers and cell phones are vulnerable to cyber-attacks, so too is our complex manufacturing industry. But thanks to this national effort through CyManII, we will not only be able to develop defenses but also create more sustainable and energy efficient technologies for industry.”“I am excited for the potential collaborations between our faculty and the innovations they will develop,” said David Vorp, Associate Dean for Research at the Swanson School. “We already have a healthy collaboration with faculty in the School of Computing and Information, and sustainability informs our research, academics, and operations. CyManII presents a new opportunity for us to engage in transformative, trans-disciplinary research.”As part of its national strategy, CyManII will focus on three high priority areas where collaborative research and development can help U.S. manufacturers: securing automation, securing the supply chain network, and building a national program for education and workforce development. “As U.S. manufacturers increasingly deploy automation tools in their daily work, those technologies must be embedded with powerful cybersecurity protections,” said Howard Grimes, CyManII Chief Executive Officer and UTSA Associate Vice President and Associate Vice Provost for Institutional Initiatives. “UTSA has assembled a team of best-in-class national laboratories, industry, nonprofit and academic organizations to cybersecure the U.S. manufacturing enterprise. Together, we will share the mission to protect the nation’s supply chain, preserve its critical infrastructure and boost its economy.”CyManII’s research objectives will focus on understanding the evolving cybersecurity threats to greater energy efficiency in manufacturing industries, developing new cybersecurity technologies and methods, and sharing information and knowledge with the broader community of U.S. manufacturers.CyManII aims to revolutionize cybersecurity in manufacturing by designing and building a secure manufacturing architecture that is pervasive, unobtrusive and enables energy efficiency. Grimes says this industry-driven approach is essential, allowing manufacturers of all sizes to invest in cybersecurity and achieve an energy ROI rather than continually spending money on cyber patches.These efforts will result in a suite of methods, standards and tools rooted in the concept that everything in the manufacturing supply chain has a unique authentic identity. These solutions will address the comprehensive landscape of complex vulnerabilities and be economically implemented in a wide array of machines and environments.“CyManII leverages the unique research capabilities of the Idaho, Oak Ridge and Sandia National Laboratories as well as critical expertise across our partner cyber manufacturing ecosystem,” said UTSA President Taylor Eighmy. “UTSA is proud and honored to partner with the DOE to advance cybersecurity in energy-efficient manufacturing for the nation.”CyManII has 59 proposed members including three Department of Energy National Laboratories (Idaho National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Sandia National Laboratories), four Manufacturing Innovation Institutes, 24 powerhouse universities, 18 industry leaders, and 10 nonprofits. This national network of members will drive impact across the nation and solve the biggest challenges facing cybersecurity in the U.S manufacturing industry.CyManII is funded by the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO) and co-managed with the Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response (CESER). ------ Learn more about the Cybersecurity Manufacturing Innovation Institute.
Author: EmilyGuajardo, CyManII Communications Manager
Nov
18
2020

Wei Xiong Faculty Fellow Award

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Wei Xiong, assistant professor of materials science, is one of two recipients of the 2021 Early Career Faculty Fellow Award given by The Minerals, Metals, & Materials Society (TMS). This award recognizes assistant professors for their accomplishments that have advanced the academic institution where employed, and for abilities to broaden the technological profile of TMS. Xiong will receive free travel and registration to two TMS annual meetings and will be given technical support and guidance in developing new programming for TMS symposiums. Department Chair, Professor Brian Gleeson notes, “Dr. Xiong is a tireless and dedicated educator and researcher. Moreover, he is remarkably good at the essential skills required for academic success. His considerable professional service is equally impressive. His outstanding communication skills coupled with his sound understanding of the fundamental aspects of his research make him a standout in any academic or research arena. He is truly exceptional.” Since joining the MEMS Department in 2016, Xiong became Director of the Physical Metallurgy and Materials Design Laboratory. His current research focuses on advancing the fundamental aspects of alloy design using both computational and experimental approaches. In collaboration with fellow MEMS professor Albert To, he established the MOST-AM (Modeling and Optimization Simulation Tools for Additive Manufacturing) consortium which has seen much success since its inception with 25 industry members and 7 government agency members. He has received funding from several prestigious sources such as NASA, ONR, NSF and DOE. Xiong says of the award, “TMS provides a phenomenal platform for junior metallurgists to collaborate with and learn from other researchers and engineers in our community. I am immensely honored to receive this prestigious award and will continue to support various activities organized by the TMS.”
Meagan Lenze
Nov
9
2020

Swanson School Stent Technologies Clinch Wells Competition Awards

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PITTSBURGH (Nov. 9, 2020) … Two Swanson School of Engineering projects received awards at the University of Pittsburgh Innovation Institute’s Wells Healthcare Competition, which provides funding for students who are developing innovations related to the health care field. Moataz Elsisy, a PhD student in the Department of Industrial Engineering, received an award for the Organ Perfusion Stent (OPS), an innovative endovascular device that seeks to increase the availability of healthy donor organs for transplant surgery. Elsisy works in the Medical Device Manufacturing Laboratory led by Youngjae Chun, associate professor of Industrial Engineering at Pitt. The lab’s unique device targets patients who die from heart failure. “These donors may still have healthy organs in the torso, such as the liver, kidney or pancreas,” Elsisy explained, “but the effects of heart disease may affect blood flow and damage these potentially life-saving organs.” The OPS aims to minimize cardiac burden by separating aortic blood flow into two different chambers -- one for cardiac flow and another for oxygenated blood flow from an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) system. The device would significantly increase the number of available organs from the cardiac death donors, eliminating any potential organ blood shortage complications. “Our device increases the number of available healthy organs to those who are in desperate need for transplantation,” said Elsisy. “The device will save health care costs up to $1.2 million per donor. A single donor can take two patients off dialysis, one patient off insulin, and one patient out of the hospital for liver failure.” He adds that the device can also enhance the quality of life for transplant receivers, as they will not require daily insulin injections or dialysis several times a week. The second award went to Sneha Jeevan, a bioengineering senior, who works in the Soft Tissue Biomechanics Laboratory led by Jonathan Vande Geest, professor of bioengineering at Pitt. Their device hopes to address complications related to the treatment of peripheral artery disease. “Peripheral artery disease is a common circulatory problem in which narrowed arteries reduce blood flow to your limbs,” explained Jeevan. “It has become an increasingly serious public health issue, with 236 million people ages 40 and older world-wide being affected. It also has a large monetary cost, with insurance companies and private payers paying $21 billion annually to cover costs, including medication, physical therapy, and device reintervention.” While stents can be used to treat the disease, these devices are not compatible with small arteries and often renarrow, particularly across joints, after they are implanted. The winning project, Biocarpet, is a flexible, drug-eluting, and biodegradable endovascular device that they hope will provide a solution to the current limitations in stent technology. The Biocarpet combines a blend of biocompatible polymers and special thermoforming techniques that allow it to conform to any complex vascular anatomy. This advantage will reduce device kinking and restenosis, both of which occur frequently when treating PAD with current stent technologies. “The Biocarpet’s biopolymer conformability and improved delivery method act as key differentiating factors, which will allow for reduced reintervention rates and improved patient outcomes for PAD,” Jeevan added. “Once the device is established as an effective treatment for PAD, it can potentially be used in other cardiovascular diseases, changing the way that hospitals treat arterial disease and giving patients the best possible treatment while minimizing costs.” # # #

Oct
13
2020

Pitt Joins Southwestern PA Defense Manufacturing Community Consortium

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PITTSBURGH (Oct. 13, 2020) — The U.S. Department of Defense recently designated a consortium of southwestern Pennsylvanian defense industry organizations as a Defense Manufacturing Community, awarding the group $5 million toward the Artificial Intelligence in Manufacturing (AIM) Defense Industry Consortium. Two representatives from the University of Pittsburgh will join the Consortium, which is led by Catalyst Connection. Robert Stein, Associate Vice Chancellor for Innovation and Entrepreneurship & Executive Director at Pitt’s Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence (IEE), and Liza Allison, program administrator for the University of Pittsburgh Center for Advanced Manufacturing (UPCAM), will serve among the 30 consortium members in the region. The goal of the AIM defense industry ecosystem is to focus on the integration of DoD modernization priorities in artificial intelligence, additive manufacturing and robotics, together with the DoD critical needs for advanced metals and materials. "Pitt is excited to collaborate with Catalyst Connection on this exciting Department of Defense grant to strengthen the defense supply chain,” said Stein. “Pitt's efforts include a cohort for product commercialization and an industry liaison between Pitt and the defense industrial base.” According to Catalyst Connection, the AIM Consortium’s strategy for its three-year project includes “establishing anchor sites for defense manufacturing collaboration and assistance, conducting a research and innovation alliance, filling gaps and boosting connections in the defense industries supply chain, enhancing and integrating workforce training and education, providing technical assistance and support to small defense industry manufacturers, and building the defense manufacturing ecosystem with convenings and communications.” “Pitt is honored to be a part of this regional endeavor. Our innovations in the conventional metals industry and research into new and novel manufacturing technologies will continue to advance and can be enhanced by the vital government-industrial-academic relationship such as envisioned in the DMCP,” said Allison. “I look forward to the many opportunities this consortium will bring to our region and to our University.”
Maggie Pavlick
Sep
28
2020

Monitoring Coronary Artery Disease in Real-time

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PITTSBURGH (Sept. 28, 2020) … Coronary artery disease – a leading cause of death in the US – narrows or blocks arteries that carry a vital supply of blood, oxygen, and nutrients to the heart. A stent can be inserted to widen the artery, but these devices must be closely monitored to ensure that they do not re-narrow, a common complication called restenosis. Youngjae Chun, PhD, associate professor of industrial engineering and bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering, will lead a study to develop an electronic stent that can be implanted in a minimally invasive procedure and measure significant physiological changes with the development of restenosis. The device will provide real-time monitoring to help prevent subsequent heart attack or stroke. The project, funded by the National Institutes of Health, is in collaboration with W. Hong Yeo, PhD, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Georgia Tech and John Pacella, MD, cardiologist at UPMC, who also holds a secondary appointment in bioengineering. This work is a continuation of the group’s 2019 Innovative Project Award from the American Heart Association. “Though similar devices already exist, they are typically bulkier and do not work as effectively with the growth of artery tissue,” said Chun. This new device has an ultra-low profile sensor, which allows it to work without a battery and wirelessly monitor the restenosis progress. They believe that this device can easily integrate with commercially available stents without disturbing its functionality. With this design, users will be able to see real-time data on a smart device, rather than scheduling endless follow-up visits to the doctor. The group will use computational modeling and calculation to carefully design the device, and then it will then be fabricated using a novel nanoscale printing technique. Once it is developed, they will evaluate the design in vitro to determine its functionality with a stent. Previous sensors are only able to monitor stents for a few days or weeks after the implant procedure, but their design will be able to continuously monitor, providing a unique, long-term solution. Chun said, “This kind of translational research is a strength of the University of Pittsburgh, and we hope that this technology can eventually be expanded to other endovascular devices where specific physiological changes in our vascular system are a factor in the remodeling process.” # # #

Sep
24
2020

Catalyzing an Improved Arterial Bypass Graft

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PITTSBURGH (Sept. 24, 2020) … Just as a climbing plant needs the right trellis to thrive, a small-diameter tissue-engineered vascular graft (TEVG) needs the right scaffold to transform seeded cells into a native-like artery that can save a life. A team led by the University of Pittsburgh’s David A. Vorp received a $1.1M award from the National Institutes of Health to optimize this emerging technology for cardiovascular disease. They will examine the best combination(s) of active “payload” and scaffold to develop a feasible alternative to the decades-old practice of using vessels harvested from a patient’s own chest or leg. Coronary heart disease – a worldwide leading cause of death – damages arteries that carry a vital supply of blood, oxygen, and nutrients to the heart. Surgeons typically replace damaged vessels with healthy autologous ones that are harvested from a different part of the patient’s body, but according to Vorp, they are not an ideal substitution. “Autologous vessels are not ideal in that they are limited in number and/or are not naturally designed to function as an artery,” he said. “They have been the gold standard in bypass grafts, but in recent years, companies have begun clinical testing on TEVGs developed in research labs like ours.” Vorp’s team has developed a TEVG based on the well-known regenerative power of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), which both prevent blood from clotting on the implanted TEVG and recruit host immune cells that participate in the regeneration process. MSCs are adult stem cells most often derived from a patient’s bone marrow. A successful TEVG will grow and remodel into a native-like artery. It consists of a scaffold that provides a framework for seeded cells, which when given environmental cues, will promote tissue regeneration. In this project, Vorp and his collaborators will examine a variety of successful “payloads” and scaffolds to determine which combinations work best. For the payload, the group will study a cell-based and cell-free approach using both MSCs and – for the cell-free approach – certain immunoregulatory factors that the MSCs secrete. “We believe that the regulatory pathway for a cell-free configuration would be faster if it is shown to be as effective as a cell-based approach,” Vorp said. They will assess each feasible combination of payload and biodegradable scaffold, which will be made from materials in the polyurethane and silk families. “Our previous work has focused on the ability of some of our payload and scaffold combinations to remodel into a successful TEVG when implanted as an aortic replacement graft in rats,” said Vorp, the John A. Swanson Professor of Bioengineering at Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering and member of the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine. “This NIH Catalyze grant will now allow us to more rigorously optimize the grafts in the small animal model to narrow down the number of combinations to be tested in a large animal model.” Finding the best combination(s) of payload and scaffold is only the first step of this project. It is part of a two-phase Catalyze grant from the NIH’s National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, which includes a one-year R61 grant in which the team must achieve the necessary milestones to be eligible to transition to the two-year R33 award. In the second part of the project, the group will use the R33 award to address the manufacturability and other clinical translational aspects of a TEVG, including large animal testing of the best configuration(s). “We will work with ‘accelerator partners,’ including RoosterBio, Inc. and Pitt’s Clinical & Translational Sciences Institute, as well as regulatory consultants to begin addressing manufacturability for clinical translation,” Vorp said. Though there are many advantages to TEVGs, the technology also has its challenges. The researchers hope that finding an optimal configuration will decrease the chance of stenosis, a common complication where the vessel narrows and limits blood flow. The goal of this award is to find a design that can advance to the clinical phase of development and eventually reach the market as a better-quality graft for bypass surgery. # # #

Jul
9
2020

Pitt’s Center for Medical Innovation awards three novel biomedical projects with $60,000 in Round 1 2020 Pilot Funding

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PITTSBURGH (July 1, 2020) … The University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Medical Innovation (CMI) awarded grants totaling $60,000 to three research groups through its 2020 Round-1 Pilot Funding Program for Early Stage Medical Technology Research and Development. The latest funding proposals include a virus-resistant wear-resistant textile, a system for removal of cell-free plasma hemoglobin in extracorporeal therapies, and a biocontainment unit for reducing viral transmission to healthcare workers and patients CMI, a University Center housed in Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering (SSOE), supports applied technology projects in the early stages of development with “kickstart” funding toward the goal of transitioning the research to clinical adoption. Proposals are evaluated on the basis of scientific merit, technical and clinical relevance, potential health care impact and significance, experience of the investigators, and potential in obtaining further financial investment to translate the particular solution to healthcare. “This is our eighth year of pilot funding, and our leadership team could not be more excited with the breadth and depth of this round’s awardees,” said Alan D. Hirschman, PhD, CMI Executive Director. “This early-stage interdisciplinary research helps to develop highly specific biomedical technologies through a proven strategy of linking UPMC’s clinicians and surgeons with the Swanson School’s engineering faculty.” AWARD 1: “Wash-Stable and Mechanically Durable Anti-Virofouling Medical Textiles”For the development of a nanoparticle-based reusable textile for use in healthcare settings. Paul W. Leu, PhD;  Associate Professor of Industrial Engineering, Swanson School of EngineeringRobert Shanks , PhD  Associate Professor of Ophthalmology, UPMC                                                 Eric Romanowski, MS,  Research Director, Charles T. Campbell Laboratory of Ophthalmic Microbiolog AWARD 2: “Targeted removal of cell-free plasma hemoglobin in extracorporeal therapies” For an extracorporeal hemoperfusion device that removes plasma hemoglobin from a blood column using treated porous beads. Nahmah Kim-Campbell, MD, MS, Assistant Professor of Critical Care Medicine and PediatricsWilliam Federspiel, PhD; Professor of Bioengineering, Swanson School of EngineeringRyan Orizondo, PhD  Researcher in Bioenengineering, Swanson School of Engineerin AWARD 3: “Individual Biocontainment Unit for Reducing Viral Transmission to healthcare Workers and Patients”For the expedited development, approval and manufacture of a novel device for use with ICU patients to reduce contamination by aerosolized particles. David M. Turer, MD, MS Department of Plastic Surgery, UPMCHeng Ban, PhD; Professor Mechanical Engineering and Material Science, Swanson School of EngineeringJ.Peter Rubin, MD;  Chairman, Dept of Plastic Surgery, UPMC # # # About the University of Pittsburgh Center for Medical Innovation The Center for Medical Innovation is a collaboration among the Swanson School of Engineering, the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI), the Innovation Institute, and the Coulter Translational Research Partnership II (CTRP). CMI was established in 2012 to promote the application and development of innovative biomedical technologies to clinical problems; to educate the next generation of innovators in cooperation with the schools of Engineering, Health Sciences, Business, and Law; and to facilitate the translation of innovative biomedical technologies into marketable products and services. Over 70 early-stage projects have been supported by CMI with a total investment of over $1.4 million since inception.

Jul
7
2020

Two Pitt Researchers Receive Manufacturing Innovation Challenge Funding for COVID-19 Response

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PITTSBURGH (July 7, 2020) — COVID-19 has spurred research partnerships across sectors and industries. Two University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering faculty members, who are partnering with Pennsylvania companies, have recently each received $25,000 in funding from Pennsylvania’s Manufacturing PA Innovation Program COVID-19 Challenge to continue addressing the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As the pandemic spread, the N95 masks—which include respirator filters that block out contaminants like the virus that causes COVID-19—were increasingly difficult to find. Xiayun Zhao and Markus Chmielus, assistant professors of mechanical engineering and materials science (MEMS) at Pitt, both received funding for their projects developing alternative, reusable filters for N95 masks. “The response by the MEMS Department in aiding to address needs during this COVID-19 pandemic has been impressive, and I particularly applaud the efforts of Professors Zhao and Chmielus who are applying their expertise in advanced manufacturing in this response," said Brian Gleeson, Harry S. Tack Chair Professor of MEMS. Zhao is partnering with Du-Co Ceramics Company on a project entitled “Rapid Manufacturing of Polymer-Derived Ceramic Films for Respirators.” This partnership will use polymer-derived ceramics (PDCs) to create ceramic filter films for N95 masks. The project will take advantage of photopolymerization-based additive manufacturing to rapidly create reusable and sterilizable ceramic filters. Chmielus is working with the ExOne Company on a reusable N95 filters that uses metal binder-jet 3D printing. ExOne’s binder jetting technology is a high-speed form of 3D printing that can produce metal parts with specific porosity levels that can effectively filter out contaminants while allowing airflow. The reusable copper and stainless-steel filters are being designed to fit into a respirator cartridge for sustainable, long-term protection. Zhao and Chmielus are part of the University of Pittsburgh Center for Advanced Manufacturing (UPCAM) Materials Engineering and Processing group, which “supports fundamental research addressing the interrelationship of materials processing, structure, properties and/or life-cycle performance for targeted applications,” according to the website.
Maggie Pavlick
Jul
2
2020

The Department of Energy Awards $1.9M to Swanson School Faculty and Students for Nuclear Energy Research

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PITTSBURGH (July 2, 2020) … Humankind is consuming more energy than ever before, and with this growth in consumption, researchers must develop new power technologies that will address these needs. Nuclear power remains a fast-growing and reliable sector of clean, carbon-free energy, and four researchers at the University of Pittsburgh received awards to further their work in this area. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) invested more than $65 million to advance nuclear technology, announced June 16, 2020. Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering received a total of $1,868,500 in faculty and student awards from the DOE’s Nuclear Energy University Program (NEUP). According to the DOE, “NEUP seeks to maintain U.S. leadership in nuclear research across the country by providing top science and engineering faculty and their students with opportunities to develop innovative technologies and solutions for civil nuclear capabilities.” “Historically, our region has been a leader in the nuclear energy industry, and we are trying to keep that tradition alive at the Swanson School by being at the forefront of this field,” said Heng Ban, Richard K. Mellon Professor of Mechanical Engineering and director of the Swanson School’s Stephen R. Tritch Nuclear Engineering Program. “I’m thrilled that the Department of Energy has recognized the innovative work from our faculty, and I look forward to seeing the advancements that arise from this research.” The DOE supported three projects from the Swanson School. High Temperature Thermophysical Property of Nuclear Fuels and MaterialsPI: Heng Ban, Richard K. Mellon Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Director of Stephen R. Tritch Nuclear Engineering Program$300,000 Ban, a leading expert in nuclear material thermal properties and reactor instrumentation and measurements, will use this award to enhance research at Pitt by filling an infrastructure gap.  He will purchase key equipment to strengthen core nuclear capability in the strategic thrust area of instrumentation and measurements. A laser flash analyzer and a thermal mechanical analyzer (thermal expansion) will be purchased as a tool suite for complete thermophysical property information. Fiber Sensor Fused Additive Manufacturing for Smart Component Fabrication for Nuclear Energy PI: Kevin Chen, Paul E. Lego Professor of Electrical and Computer EngineeringCo-PI: Albert To, William Kepler Whiteford Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science$1,000,000 The Pitt research team will utilize unique technical capabilities developed in the SSoE to lead efforts in sensor-fused additive manufacturing for future nuclear energy systems. Through integrated research efforts in radiation-harden distributed fiber sensor fabrication, design and optimization algorithm developments, and additive manufacturing innovation, the team will deliver smart components to nuclear energy systems to harness high spatial resolution data. This will enable artificial intelligence based data analytics for operation optimization and condition-based maintenance for nuclear power systems. Multicomponent Thermochemistry of Complex Chloride Salts for Sustainable Fuel Cycle TechnologiesPI: Wei Xiong, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and materials scienceCo-PIs: Prof. Elizabeth Sooby Wood (University of Texas at San Antonio), Dr. Toni Karlsson (Idaho National Laboratory), and Dr. Guy Fredrickson (Idaho National Laboratory)$400,000 Nuclear reactors help bring clean water and reliable energy to communities across the world. Next-generation reactor design, especially small modular reactors, will be smaller, cheaper, and more powerful, but they will require high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU) as fuel. As the demand for HALEU is expected to grow significantly, Xiong’s project seeks to improve the process of recovering uranium from spent nuclear fuels to produce HALEU ingots. Part of the process involves pyrochemical reprocessing based on molten salt electrolysis. Hence, developing a thermodynamic database using the CALPHAD (Calculation of Phase Diagrams) approach to estimate the solubilities of fission product chloride salts into the molten electrolyte is essential for improving the process efficiency. The results will help in estimating the properties that are essential for improving the HALEU production and further support the development of chloride molten salt reactors. Two Swanson School students also received awards from NEUP. Jerry Potts, a senior mechanical engineering student, received a $7,500 nuclear energy scholarship, one of 42 students in the nation. Iza Lantgios (BS ME ‘20), a matriculating mechanical engineering graduate student, was one of 34 students nationwide to be awarded a $161,000 fellowship. Swanson School students have secured 20 NEUP scholarships and fellowships since 2009. # # #

Jun
23
2020

Five Pitt Researchers Receive PA Department of Community and Economic Development Grants

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PITTSBURGH (June 23, 2020) — Five researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering have received grants from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) through the Manufacturing PA initiative. The DCED has approved more than $2.8 million in grants to 43 projects that will “spur new technologies and processes in the manufacturing sector,” according to their press release. “As engineers, we are applied scientists, and our singular goal in performing research is to produce public impact,” said David Vorp, associate dean for research and John A. Swanson Professor of bioengineering. “I am proud that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania saw the potential of these projects by our Swanson School faculty and their industrial partners to have benefit to their citizens.” The five researchers to receive funding at the Swanson School are: Kevin Chen, Paul E. Lego Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering$67,991—Femtosecond Laser Manufacturing of 3D Photonics Components in Nonlinear Optical Substrates for Electro-Optic Applications Markus Chmielus, associate professor of mechanical engineering and materials science$70,000—Improving 3D Binder Jet Printed Tungsten-Carbide Parts via Strategies to Increase Green Density and Strength Jung-Kun Lee, professor of mechanical engineering and materials science$70,000—Smart Crucible: Monitoring Damage of Crucibles by Embedded Electric Resistance Sensor Albert To, associate professor of mechanical engineering and materials science$69,450—A Computational Tool for Simulating the Sintering Behavior in Binder Jet Additive Manufacturing Xiayun Zhao, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and materials science$70,000—Pushing the Boundaries of Ceramic Additive Manufacturing (CAM) with Visible light initiated Polymerization (ViP)
Maggie Pavlick
Jun
17
2020

New bacteria-repelling textile coating could make PPE last longer

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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
Jun
15
2020

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

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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.

May
13
2020

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

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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
May
13
2020

Industrial Engineering Professor Wins Outstanding Young Investigator Award in Manufacturing and Design

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PITTSBURGH (May 13, 2020) — The Manufacturing & Design (M&D) Division  at the Institute of Industrial & Systems Engineers (IISE) has selected Mostafa Bedewy, PhD, as winner of the 2020 M&D Outstanding Young Investigator Award. Bedewy is assistant professor of industrial engineering at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering. The award recognizes outstanding early-career M&D Division members, who have made “high impact scientific contributions to the manufacturing and design field as evidenced by their research endeavors including publications, intellectual property and other funding and dissemination activities.” “Mostafa is an outstanding researcher and teacher and has contributed to a range of modern manufacturing methods,” said Jayant Rajgopal, PhD, professor of industrial engineering at Pitt and IISE Fellow, who nominated Bedewy for this award. “As the junior most member of our department’s outstanding manufacturing group, he is well on his way to becoming a star in his own right. He is already recognized around the country by his peers, and this award is a validation of this recognition.” Bedewy leads the NanoProduct Lab at Pitt, which focuses on fundamental research at the intersection of nanoscience, biotechnology and manufacturing engineering.  The lab’s research aims to bridge the gap that currently exists between promising proof-of-concept functional nanostructures/biomaterials (in lab-scale environment) and mass-produced products (in industry). “The societal impact of nano-/biosciences sometimes hinges on our ability to develop novel manufacturing methods that transform discoveries into viable technological solutions, especially those impacting energy, healthcare, and the environment,” said Bedewy. “Hence, our work is highly interdisciplinary, and that’s why it has been published in scientific journals specialized in physical chemistry, as well as in manufacturing and process engineering.” Bedewy's research interests include nano- and micro-manufacturing; biology-assisted manufacturing; cybermanufacturing and data analytics; chemical vapor deposition (CVD); patterning/processing of biomolecules and biointerfaces; surface engineering and coating technology; bottom-up synthesis and self-assembly of nanoparticles and nanofilaments; and in situ materials characterization and metrology. He joined the Swanson School of Engineering in Fall 2016 after a postdoctoral associate position in bionanofabrication at MIT. He completed his doctorate at the University of Michigan in 2013. His work has been previously recognized by the Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineer Award from the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) in 2018; the Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award from the Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) in 2017; and the Robert A. Meyer Award from the American Carbon Society in 2016.
Maggie Pavlick
Apr
27
2020

ExOne and Pitt Collaborate to Produce Promising Reusable Respirators with 3D Printed Metal Filters

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News release originally published by ExOne. Reposted with permission. PITTSBURGH (April 27, 2020) ... The ExOne Company and the University of Pittsburgh have partnered to develop reusable metal filters that fit into a specially designed respirator cartridge for sustainable, long-term protection against contaminants, such as COVID-19. ExOne’s binder jetting technology is a high-speed form of 3D printing that can produce metal parts with specific porosity levels that can effectively filter out contaminants while allowing airflow. ExOne has 3D printed respirator filters in two metals — copper and 316L stainless steel — and a range of porosity levels for use inside a unique cartridge designed by the Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science department in Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering. Initial testing for airflow and filtration efficiency is currently underway, and the filters are being optimized with the goal of adhering to an N95 respirator standard. “Our team has been working urgently to expedite this promising and reusable solution for medical personnel on the frontlines of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic,” said John Hartner, ExOne CEO. “Our customers routinely print porous metal filters for a variety of purposes, and we are confident that we’ll have a solution soon that can enable medical personnel to sterilize metal filters for repeated reuse, eliminating waste. Once approved, we can print these filters in a variety of sizes for respirators, ventilators, anesthesia masks or other equipment.” “The advantage of binder jet 3D printing over other additive manufacturing methods for this filter application is the ability to utilize the porosity of the printed part and then fine tune it during the high temperature densification or sintering process to achieve optimum filtering and airflow performance,” said Markus Chmielus, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at the Swanson School. 3D Printed Metal Filter Project Details ExOne’s binder jetting technology uses an industrial printhead to selectively deposit a liquid binder onto a thin layer of powdered material, layer by layer, until a final object is formed. After 3D printing powdered metals, the object is then sintered in a furnace to dial in a specific level of porosity. While binder jetted metal is typically sintered to full density, some applications require a specific level of porosity, such as filters. To test filters in different metals and porosities, Dr. Chmielus’ research group is using CT scanners to analyze the microstructure and porosity of the filters. Ansys, the global leader in engineering simulation, also based near Pittsburgh, is providing additional computer simulation support to analyze and optimize the performance of the filters. While copper and stainless steel filters are currently being tested, copper has been known to have antibacterial properties since ancient times. The first recorded use of copper to kill germs was in the Edwin Smith Papyrus, the oldest known medical document in history, according to the Smithsonian. Many studies have proven copper’s disinfectant powers. One landmark 2015 study, funded by the Department of Defense, revealed that copper alloys contributed to a 58% reduction in infections. COVID-19 research also suggests the virus dies faster on copper than on other surfaces. ###
Author: Sarah Webster, ExOne Global Marketing Director
Apr
15
2020

Pitt’s Manufacturing Assistance Center Partners with PPE Connect PGH to Manufacture Face Shields

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PITTSBURGH (April 15, 2020) ­— The shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) has launched makerspaces onto the front lines for PPE production. Makerspaces across the country are stepping up with 3D-printed or laser-cut face shields to help fill the gaps in the supply of PPE as hospitals and clinics fight the coronavirus. The University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering’s Manufacturing Assistance Center (MAC) Makerspace in Homewood is no exception. The Makerspace is partnering with PPE Connect PGH, a local initiative that seeks to connect donated or locally manufactured PPE with the healthcare providers who need it, to produce as many as a few hundred 3D-printed face shields each day. “The opportunity to use our privilege to support our community, healthcare system, and planet through manufacturing aligns exactly with the MAC’s mission. Makerspaces, especially those that are part of educational institutions, foster communities of creative problem solvers who are continuously seeking new ideas to solve our world’s biggest problems,” said Caleb Ashcraft, supervisor at the MAC Makerspace. “So, when something as devastating and universal as this situation arose, there’s no surprise that the Maker community was one of the first responders.” The MAC Makerspace is among several partners in Pittsburgh working with PPE Connect PGH to produce face shields. PPE Connect PGH was founded by Alejandro Sklar and Pitt alumnus Davit Davitian to help address the PPE shortage in Pittsburgh. Sklar has been active in the start-up manufacturing community in Pittsburgh and realized the role he could play in addressing the PPE shortage. “I was part of a lot of conversations with others in the start-up community about how we can help connect the already-produced PPE that people wanted to donate with the facilities that could use them. I believe if you’re in a position to help, you help,” explains Sklar. “We started taking donations and requests on our website, and the initiative grew from there.” The company’s website accepts donations of items like N95 masks, surgical masks, goggles, isolation gowns, and nitrile gloves. (Learn more about donations here.) It also allows medical facilities to submit requests for needed items. PPE Connect PGH found that many medical practitioners were eager to receive face shields as well as the hard-to-acquire masks. Because facilities are told they need to start reusing respirator masks rather than getting a new one before each patient is seen, face shields are a second line of defense that can help stop airborne particles from reaching the mask, protecting the wearer and prolonging the life of the respirators. The company began partnering with makerspaces and small manufacturers in the city to create and produce the shields, which are quicker and easier to produce than respirator masks. Pitt’s MAC Makerspace is one of several partners in the area working to ramp up production and meet the initial demand for face shields. At the MAC Makerspace, the team is using an 80W laser cutter to create the shields, but other partners are also 3D-printing shield parts. “The entire global makerspace community has contributed to the design and execution of these shields, as we share a lot of the same style of equipment,” explained Ashcraft. “If there are issues, or best practice improvements, the news spreads fast across Pittsburgh.” The collaboration is but one example the Swanson School’s efforts to help with the PPE shortage. The Pitt Makerspace, part of the undergraduate program, created an open-source face shield that is available for anyone to download and create with a die- or laser-cutter and a single sheet of clear plastic material; they, too, are working with local partners to produce as many shields as they can. Götz Veser, PhD, professor of chemical and petroleum engineering, and graduate student researcher Nasser al Azri, have produced over 100 gallons of hand sanitizer in their lab from donated materials. Researchers from every department at the Swanson School were able to donate a combined five pallets of PPE and sanitizing equipment from their labs; the University of Pittsburgh has implemented a university-wide process to handle the growing number of donations coming from across the Pitt community. “Who we are as a university and a city is a special player in all of this. Within the technology boom rapidly growing, there is the seed of creativity and grit that has defined Pittsburgh. This opportunity to partner with other public organizations, makerspaces, and universities on behalf of the Swanson School is a demonstration of what can be accomplished when we leverage our resources and work together,” said Ashcraft. “There has never been a situation such as this, and we are figuring this out as we go, but when it’s all said and done, there will remain a blueprint for how universities and the public can work together to solves our world’s most consequential problems.”
Maggie Pavlick
Apr
6
2020

Two Swanson School Projects Win University of Pittsburgh Scaling Grants

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PITTSBURGH (April 6, 2020) — Two projects from the Swanson School of Engineering have received University of Pittsburgh Scaling Grants.The first, tackling the global problem of plastic waste, is headed by Eric Beckman, PhD, Bevier Professor of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering and co-director of the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation. The second project, which will support the push for artificial intelligence innovation in medical imaging, was also awarded a Scaling Grant and is led by Shandong Wu, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Radiology. The Scaling Grants provide $400,000 over two years to support detailed project planning, gathering proof-of-concept results, and reduction of technical risk for teams pursuing an identified large extramural funding opportunity. The Scaling Grants are part of the University’s Pitt Momentum Funds, which offer funding across multiple stages of large, ambitious projects. Addressing the Global Waste Challenge The problem of plastic waste is growing on a global scale, with an annual global production rate of more than 500 million tons per year and predicted to triple by 2036. The project, “Attacking the Global Plastics Waste Problem,” seeks to create a convergent academic center welcoming expertise from across the University that will focus on the circular economy as a solution. “For most new technologies, one group creates the technology in the lab as a pilot, then at full scale. The group launches it, and only later decides if there are environmental and/or policy and/or legal issues,” says Beckman. “We're proposing to do these analyses in parallel, so that each section of the work informs the others. Further, the technology we are proposing to develop is a mixture of chemical engineering, chemistry, and materials science.” The interdisciplinary team will take advantage of its deep expertise in both the science of plast ics recycling and the legal and governance frameworks that will help governments implement a circular economy for plastics. In addition to Beckman, the team consists of Melissa Bilec, PhD, Roberta A. Luxbacher Faculty Fellow, associate professor in civil and environmental engineering (CEE), and deputy director of MCSI; Vikas Khanna, PhD, Wellington C. Carl Faculty Fellow and associate professor in CEE and Chemical and Petroleum Engineering; Gotz Veser, PhD, professor in chemical and petroleum engineering; Peng Liu, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Chemistry; Amy Wildermuth, professor and dean of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law; and Joshua Galperin, visiting associate professor in the School of Law. “Recycling can only do so much. A circular economy framework is a promising solution to the complex, urgent problem that plastic pollution presents,” says Bilec, who is part of a five-university team that received a two-year National Science Foundation grant for $1.3 million to pursue convergence research on the circular economy as a plastic waste solution. “Our proposed center will integrate the science and engineering of plastics recycling, using a novel approach on both the recycling and manufacturing sides, into frameworks tracking its environmental and economic impact.” Applying Artificial Intelligence to Medical Research The second project to receive a Scaling Grant is the “Pittsburgh Center for Artificial Intelligence Innovation in Medical Imaging,” a collaboration between the Departments of Radiology, Bioengineering, Biomedical Informatics, and Computer Science. This work, led by Wu, aims to use artificial intelligence (AI) to reshape medical imaging in radiology and pathology. Through the Pittsburgh Health and Data Alliance, the region is already at work using machine learning to translate “big data” generated in health care to treatments and services that could benefit human health. "The advancement in AI, especially in deep learning, provides a powerful approach for machine learning on big healthcare data,” said Wu. “Deep learning enables large-scale data mining with substantially increased accuracy and efficiency in data analysis." The multidisciplinary research team will work to develop AI imaging methodology and translational applications with the ultimate goal of creating tools that are clinically useful, accurate, explainable and safe. “AI can substantially improve quantitative analysis to medical imaging data and computational modeling of clinical tasks using medical images for disease diagnosis and outcome prediction," explained Wu. David A. Vorp, associate dean for research and John. A. Swanson Professor of Bioengineering, will help facilitate this collaboration in engineering. “Artificial intelligence nicely complements bioengineering and medical research,” said Vorp. “My lab uses AI with CT scans to help predict the prognosis and improve treatment of aortic aneurysm, and that is just one example of how this cutting-edge technology can be applied to medical images. Rather than relying on the naked eye, we can use AI to analyze these images and have a more sensitive detector to identify disease, improve health and save lives.” The group’s long-term vision is to combine the computational expertise and clinical resources across Pitt, UPMC and Carnegie Mellon University to build a center for innovative AI in clinical translational medical imaging. ###
Maggie Pavlick and Leah Russell
Mar
23
2020

Swanson School Industrial Engineering Administrator Liza Allison Honored with MCSI 2020 Sustainability Award

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PITTSBURGH (March 23, 2020) — The Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation (MCSI) has announced that Elizabeth (Liza) Allison, program administrator for the University of Pittsburgh Center for Advanced Manufacturing (UPCAM) and the Center for Industry Studies (CIS) in the Swanson School of Engineering, has been selected for the 2020 Sustainability Award Program in the Staff category. The Awards recognize members of the Pitt community who are making an extraordinary impact on Pitt’s sustainability. The individuals or groups selected have had an impact in one of the three categories of the Pitt Sustainability Plan—Stewardship, Exploration, and/or Community and Culture—and contribute to a thriving culture of sustainability at Pitt. Allison’s contributions include making the Department of Industrial Engineering an early adopter of composting in the lunchroom and purchasing compostable and eco-friendly office supplies for the Department. She was among the first to take a zero-waste approach to events, even going the extra mile to make sure off-campus events were sustainable and educated the department on the ways they can reduce their carbon footprint. “Liza has made many positive changes in the Department of Industrial Engineering that contribute to their increased sustainability,” says Gena Kovalcik, co-director of MCSI. “Her proactive approach is a great example of what all of us can be doing to decrease our footprint and improve sustainability in our professional and personal lives.” The full list of 2020 Pitt Sustainability Award Winners is Faculty Dr. Danielle Andrews-Brown, Geology and Environmental Scienc Dr. Shanti Gamper-Rabindran, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs Staff Liza Allison, Department of Industrial Engineering Tiara Arnold, Pitt Housing, Housekeeping Student Ellie Cadden, undergraduate, environmental studies Sarah Hart, undergraduate, environmental studies Staff (Group) Pitt Business Staff Leadership Collaborationled by Chris Driscoll (IT); Greg (FM) Guzewicz; Karri Rogers (Dean’s Office) Student (Group) Zero Waste Period Initiativeled by Pitt Planned Parenthood and SOOS
Maggie Pavlick
Mar
10
2020

Developing A Valve for Developing Hearts

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PITTSBURGH (March 10, 2020) — Approximately one in every 125 babies in the U.S. is born with a congenital heart defect (CHD), making it the country’s most common birth defect. Heart valves developed for adults have been used on infants to treat CHDs, but the large devices sometimes require open heart surgery, presenting a severe risk to infants and young children. Additionally, infants and children grow quickly, but the artificial valve does not, resulting in repeated surgeries that increase risks. To address this issue, Youngjae Chun, PhD, an associate professor of industrial engineering and bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh, is developing a new type of metallic frame for pediatric heart valves that could not only be placed by a minimally invasive catheter-based procedure but would also grow with the child, eliminating the need for follow-up surgeries. The project recently received an award of $120,000 from the Children’s Heart Foundation’s Liam Ward Fund. “Using a heart valve developed for an adult on an infant or young child is considered an emerging technology, but they’re bulky and typically require open heart surgery. Often, these patients are already too weak or ill to undergo such major surgery,” explains Chun. “Our goal is to develop a novel metallic valve frame that would eliminate the need for multiple heart surgeries and their associated hospital stays, and one that would actually grow with the patient.” The proposed new valve will use two types of novel metallic biomaterials: superelastic nitinol and biodegradeable metals like magnesium and iron. Nitinol, an alloy of nickel and titanium, is known for its ability to flex and return to its original shape. This flexibility allows the valve to be compressed and placed by a small catheter inserted into a vein, rather than through open heart surgery, presenting much less risk to the patient. Magnesium and iron, on the other hand, would degrade over time, giving the valve the ability to change and expand with the surrounding heart tissue as the patient grows. “No one wants to see their child go through multiple surgeries before they’re even able to walk, but that’s the reality for thousands of families every year,” says Chun. “With improved devices for these young patients, we can give them a better quality of life and give their parents greater peace of mind.” If the project proves to be successful, Chun will be collaborating with William Wagner, PhD, director of Pitt’s McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, and Antonio D’Amore, PhD, research assistant professor in the departments of Surgery and Bioengineering, to develop it further. The grant began on Jan. 1, 2020, and will last two years.
Maggie Pavlick
Feb
19
2020

Solar Glass Project Selected in Top 20 for Department of Energy American-Made Solar Prize

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PITTSBURGH (Feb. 19, 2020) — A project developed at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering has been selected for the American-Made Solar Prize, a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) competition designed to incentivize entrepreneurs toward U.S. solar energy innovation and manufacturing. The project, “Durable Antireflective and Self-Cleaning Glass,” is led by Paul W. Leu, PhD, professor of industrial engineering, and Sajad Haghanifar, doctoral candidate in Leu’s lab. Sooraj Sharma, a senior studying materials science and engineering, has also worked on this project through the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation (MCSI) Undergraduate Summer Research Program. The team is evaluating new methods to improve the top glass sheet in solar panels. The top glass on a solar panel is partially reflective, losing valuable rays that could be converted to energy as they bounce off the glass. Conventional anti-reflective coatings aren’t effective against a broad range of wavelengths, and the team is instead using sub-wavelength nanostructures that may reduce broadband reflection over a wide range of incidence angles to as low as 0 percent. Haghanifar’s recent research into glasswing-butterfly inspired glass, highlighted on the cover of Materials Horizons, has demonstrated proof of concept for the solar glass project. “Glasswing butterflies have small random structures that enable it to be antireflecting across many wavelengths as well many different directions,” says Haghanifar. “This is important because sunlight consists of a broad range of light and most solar panels are fixed while the sun moves through the sky during the day.” Solar panels may also be installed in desert and urban environments, where particulates and pollutants may dirty the glass, blocking sunlight from being converted to electricity. The team is evaluating methods to use naturally forming dew droplets to remove dirt. “Solar panels are one of the most promising forms of renewable energy, and our research addresses some of the problems hindering its wide use,” says Sharma. “We’re excited to see the wide range of innovations proposed in this round of the competition. This prize will enable us to advance our project to the next level and take substantial steps toward clean, renewable energy.” The project is one of 20 that has made it to this round out of the 120 submissions, chosen for the novelty of the solution and how impactful it would be against the problems facing the solar industry. The project is being pursued in collaboration with the National Energy Technology Laboratory and Corning.  Each team will receive a $50,000 cash prize and is eligible for the next round of the competition, which rewards a cash prize of $100,000 and up to $75,000 in vouchers. The following, final phase of the competition, will select two final projects to win a $500,000 prize in September 2020.
Maggie Pavlick
Feb
4
2020

Pitt’s Center for Medical Innovation awards three novel biomedical projects with $47,500 in Round 2 2019 Pilot Funding

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PITTSBURGH (January 31, 2020) … The University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Medical Innovation (CMI) awarded grants totaling $47,500 to three research groups through its 2019 Round-2 Pilot Funding Program for Early Stage Medical Technology Research and Development. The latest funding proposals include a system for preservation of explanted hearts used in transplantation surgery, a new vascular stent with anti-thrombogenic capability, and a rugged, infection resistant material for orthopedic implants. CMI, a University Center housed in Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering (SSOE), supports applied technology projects in the early stages of development with “kickstart” funding toward the goal of transitioning the research to clinical adoption. Proposals are evaluated on the basis of scientific merit, technical and clinical relevance, potential health care impact and significance, experience of the investigators, and potential in obtaining further financial investment to translate the particular solution to healthcare. “This is our eighth year of pilot funding, and our leadership team could not be more excited with the breadth and depth of this round’s awardees,” said Alan D. Hirschman, PhD, CMI Executive Director. “This early-stage interdisciplinary research helps to develop highly specific biomedical technologies through a proven strategy of linking UPMC’s clinicians and surgeons with the Swanson School’s engineering faculty.” AWARD 1: “A Structurally and Mechanically Tunable Biocarpet for Peripheral Arterial Disease” For the development of a material and method of deployment of specialized materials that coat the inner lumen of synthetic vascular grafts. The coating will greatly improve the viability and anti-thrombogenic properties of long stent grafts which overlap flexible joints. Jonathan P. Vande Geest, PhD, Professor of Bioengineering, Swanson School of Engineering William R. Wagner, PhD, Professor of Surgery and Bioengineering, Surgery, McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine Dr. John J. Pacella, MD, Assistant Professor in the School of Medicine, UPMC AWARD 2: “Ex-Vivo Heart Perfusion System for Human Heart Support, Resuscitation, and Physiologic Testing” For the development of a system for preservation of explanted donor hearts suitable for transplantation. Includes means to verify the heart’s mechanical and biological viability to improve recipient response. Christopher Sciortino, MD, PhD; Dept of Cardiothoracic Surgery; UPMC Harvey S. Borovetz, PhD; Dept of Bioengineering; Swanson School of Engineering Rick Shaub, PhD; UPMC Artificial Heart Program; UPMC Garrett Coyan, MD, Dept of Cardiothoracic Surgery; UPMC AWARD 3: “In Vivo Efficacy of an Antibacterial and Biocompatible Polymeric Nanofilm on Titanium Implants” For the development of biocompatible, anti-biofilm coatings for orthopedic use, especially in children. Houssam Bouloussa, MD, MS,  Pediatric Orthopedic Surgery, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Michael McClincy, MD, Assistant Professor, Department of Orthopedic Surgery, UPMC Prashant Kumta, PhD, Professor of Bioengineering, Swanson School of Engineering ### About the University of Pittsburgh Center for Medical Innovation The Center for Medical Innovation is a collaboration among the Swanson School of Engineering, the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI), the Innovation Institute, and the Coulter Translational Research Partnership II (CTRP). CMI was established in 2012 to promote the application and development of innovative biomedical technologies to clinical problems; to educate the next generation of innovators in cooperation with the schools of Engineering, Health Sciences, Business, and Law; and to facilitate the translation of innovative biomedical technologies into marketable products and services. Over 70 early-stage projects have been supported by CMI with a total investment of over $1.4 million since inception.
Alan Hirschman, PhD, Executive Director, CMI
Jan
16
2020

The Difference the Right Tools Can Make

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PITTSBURGH (Jan. 16, 2019) —  Sometimes, in order to understand the big picture, you need to start by assessing the smallest of details. It’s a truth that engineers know well — selecting the right materials can mean the success or failure of a given application. As technology advances, researchers have assessed engineering materials at the microscopic level for applications ranging from nanomachines to semiconductors, specialized coatings to robotics. For researchers at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering, looking closely enough to engineer materials for cutting-edge applications would not have been possible without the generous $1 million gift that Thomas F. Dudash provided in 2018. Mr. Dudash, an alumnus of the University of Pittsburgh who received his bachelor’s degree in metallurgical engineering in 1960, never imagined that he’d have a million dollars to donate for advanced research. After a lifelong career with Allegheny Ludlum, he wanted to share his success with the next generation of materials engineers. The gift was designated for the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science (MEMS), the successor to the metallurgical engineering program. The gift enabled the Department to purchase nano-manipulators, specialized sample holders that allow researchers to make in situ observations of materials behavior at the nano-scale using transmission electron microscopy. In-situ atomistic observation of a gold nano-crystal from Mao's research. Those observations have led to foundational discoveries that are crucial for materials development. Scott X. Mao, MEMS professor, uses a specially designed sample holder to study how metals elongate and deform at the atomic level. Microelectronic mechanical systems rely on components made from microscopic structures of these metals, but metals behave differently at such a reduced length scale. Understanding the mechanical behavior of nanostructured metallic materials will enable the further development of strong and reliable components for advanced nanomechanical devices. Without such holder, it’s impossible to carry out an atomic scaled mechanical and electrical experiments under the most advanced high resolution electron microscope to achieve the understanding. Electron microscopy is used to observe and test individual nanoparticles on flat surface in Jacobs' research. Tevis Jacobs, assistant professor in MEMS, was able to acquire a specialized holder, which enables research advancing the understanding of micro- and nano-surfaces and engineering more stable nanoparticles. Nanoparticles play an important role in advanced industries and technologies, from electronics and pharmaceuticals to catalysts and sensors. Because they can be as small as 10 atoms in diameter, they are susceptible to coarsening with continued use, reducing their functionality and degrading performance. Jacobs received a $500,000 National Science Foundation CAREER Award for this work that will utilize the specialized holder to directly study and measure adhesion properties of nanoparticles and their supporting substrates. Thanks to Mr. Dudash’s gift, Jacobs and his team were able to procure the only commercially-available tool that can manipulate the materials as precisely as is necessary to perform their impactful research. Polymer with embedded copper molecules. The gift also enabled Assistant Professor Markus Chmielus’s research analyzing 3D-printed denture frames. His group has used a SkyScan 1272 micro-computed tomography (microCT) scanner – purchased and maintained using gift funds - to export an accurate model of an existing denture, then used binder jet 3D-printing to reproduce the model. The scanner can analyze samples prior to 3D-printing as well to look for porosity and how that porosity changes when heat treatment is added, helping researchers develop a processing step to eliminate porosity. So far, the group has used the microCT to evaluate densities of green and sintered binder jet 3D-printed metals, including nickel-based superalloys , functional magnetic materials, and a commonly used titanium alloy, Ti-6Al-4V. Image from Roberts' paper in ATVB, "Calcification in Human Intracranial Aneurysms Is Highly Prevalent and Displays Both Atherosclerotic and Nonatherosclerotic Types." Anne Robertson, MEMS and BioE professor, and her team use the micro-CT in their NIH-supported work studying the causes for rupture of intracranial aneurysms (IAs). Robertson and her team used the specialized micro-CT equipment to analyze aneurysm tissue from patients and found that calcification is substantially more prevalent than previously thought. The micro-CT was able to identify microcalcifications as small as 3 micrometers. The team discovered differences in the types of calcification in ruptured versus unruptured aneurysms, made possible using the micro-CT system. The work was published in the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology (ATVB (doi:10.1161/ATVBAHA.119.312922). This improved understanding could lead to new therapeutic targets and, ultimately, improved outcomes for patients with aneurysms. Great innovations require the right tools. Thanks to Mr. Dudash’s gift, the MEMS Department has the tools to innovate, discover and create—tools that have produced an important base of knowledge that manufacturers will be building on for years to come. “It is generous gifts from donors like Mr. Dudash that enable advanced research and, ultimately, discovery,” said Brian Gleeson, Tack Chaired Professor and MEMS Department Chairman. “Moreover, the funds provided by Mr. Dudash are being used strategically to create specialized capabilities that greatly help to procure further funding from agencies and, hence, further bolster research activities.”
Maggie Pavlick
Oct
11
2019

Teaching heroes: School of Engineering’s Jacobs inspires students to care more

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Originally posted in in the University Times: https://www.utimes.pitt.edu/news/teaching-heroes-school In his classroom, engineering faculty member Tevis Jacobs is one animated presenter. He speaks rapidly and enthusiastically while adding diagrams to clear overlays on two screens of slides projected onto the white board.  The course is “Mechanical Behavior of Materials,” which examines how things bend and break, down to their atomic structures. Today’s class encompasses the concepts of “work hardening,” “twinning,” and nickel-based super alloys (“You guys know that is my favorite topic,” Jacobs says). He adds a bunch of equations to the board to illustrate a concept. “I would never expect you to memorize that on a test,” he says. “I would absolutely expect you to understand where it came from.” Jacobs pauses to point his students toward the Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s crystal display, with its illustration of growth twins — one crystal structure at one orientation, attached to another at a different orientation. “You’ve got to go,” he says. As students in Jacobs’ department (mechanical engineering and materials science), “you will enjoy it way more than normal people,” he says. He sets pairs of students loose on a question about “dislocation interactions,” and patrols the room as their debates begin. “I heard some good discussions. Who has an idea?” he says. “Don’t be afraid to be wrong. And there are multiple answers.” He hovers over one pair, listening. “I agree with you,” he says finally. “What would be the ramifications of that?” The pair give their answer. “Maybe. Maybe. But why?” he asks. Jacobs joined the faculty of the Swanson School of Engineering in fall 2015, teaching this undergraduate class and another on experimental techniques, and offering one on tribology — the study of friction, wear and lubrication of sliding surfaces — to graduate students. “I’ve always wanted to understand how the world works,” Jacobs says. “Mechanical engineering and materials science: what I like about them is that they are all around us. We are constantly interacting with objects, seeing how they perform. I like the idea of making them better in the future … but the current goal is (studying) ‘Why did this thing happen in this way?’ “What I love,” he adds, “especially in the classes I’m teaching now: we can answer that.” But answers don’t always come easily to students. “We learn through struggle,” Jacobs says. “When I think about my own learning, that has been true.” In high school and college, he learned calculus and how to solve differential equations —absorbing the content “without really internalizing the ‘why’ and the ‘how,’ ” he says. Then in grad school, faced with real-world problems, “all of a sudden I was not able to link it to the coursework I had taken. I almost had to re-teach myself the calculus. I thought I understood it before that. When I went through this — then I got it: Oh, that is what they were trying to teach me.” To make “struggle” educational, a classroom lesson “has to be hard, but (students) have to care,” Jacobs explains. “It’s easy to make this hard; you want to make it hard with purpose. I’m still constantly refining that.” What works, he says, is “being honest with the students … acting like you’re all on the same side: Here is the best way for your group to take in information, and here is the best way for all of us as a team to do that.” One way to may sure students care about engineering lessons is to give them real-world problems, such as how to design a bridge, or how to tell when a mountain-climbing rope or a solar cell will fail? “In the classroom … there is an impact on the world. If you inspire that student to be excited about a topic or to be inspired about learning in the future, that has an impact.” He also tries to instill a passion for the communication of science, since these students will likely be using scientific writing in the future. “The doing of science is either useless or far less useful if it is not effectively communicated,” both inside the scientific community and to the world at large, he says. “No matter where our students go, they will need to effectively communicate technical information. I see that as one of the most important skills I want them to get out of their undergraduate experience.” Jacobs recalls a moment from the spring 2019 semester that showed his ideas were working. He had given students the last 20 minutes of class to work on a real-world problem. When it was time to go, class members asked if they could stay and keep working — “even though this is ungraded,” Jacobs marveled. Most of the class stayed and were kicked out only when another group of students arrived for a class in the same room. “That felt like I was doing something right,” Jacobs says. “It was both hard, and they cared.”

Oct
9
2019

Pitt engineer Prashant N. Kumta will use microgravity to improve magnesium alloy functionality on Earth

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Original article by Swanson Engineering: https://www.engineering.pitt.edu/News/2019/Kumta-Microgravity/ Magnesium and magnesium alloys have the potential to become a revolutionary material for a variety of industries because of their lightweight structure and ability to quickly biodegrade in water or inside the human body. Researchers, however, are still struggling to process this very reactive metal to eliminate defects that accelerate corrosion. Prashant N. Kumta, the Edward R. Weidlein Chair Professor of Bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh, believes that a microgravity environment may positively affect the solidification mechanisms of these alloys. He received grant funding from theInternational Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory to examine microgravity’s influence on his lab’s novel patented magnesium alloys. The team is partnering with Techschot, Inc., the commercial hardware facility partner that operates the high-temperature SUBSA furnace aboard the ISS National Lab. Once in the microgravity environment of the space station, the alloy composition will be melted in the SUBSA furnace, and then solidified for further analysis. This is the first selected project in the new Biomedical Research Alliance - a multi-year collaboration between the ISS U.S. National Laboratory and the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine to push the limits of biomedical research and development aboard the orbiting laboratory. “The alloy’s improved mechanical properties, ability to store charge, and lightweight structure will make it an attractive material for aerospace, energy storage, and automotive applications,” said Kumta. He believes that this research will play a major role in the economical manufacturing of magnesium alloys, particularly in additive manufacturing and customized 3D printing of magnesium structures. “Magnesium and magnesium alloys are extremely light, with a density similar to natural bone,” explained Kumta. “They are two-fold lighter than titanium alloys and five-fold lighter than stainless steel and cobalt-chrome alloys – all of which are materials typically used in today’s implants and frameworks. Thus, the development of these materials could open new International Space Station applications as a lightweight structural framework material.” Because of their weight and earth abundance, the alloys may also prove to be beneficial for climate change and energy storage. “Fixtures or accessories in the aerospace industry - such as seats and lighting - that are made from magnesium alloys will be lighter which will consequently reduce fuel consumption,” said Kumta. “These benefits will help reduce costs and decrease greenhouse gas emissions – an advantage that can be applied to the automotive industry which accounts for a large amount of emissions in the United States. The material could also be used as a rechargeable battery similar to lithium-ion batteries.” The magnesium alloys developed by Kumta’s team may also serve as a cheaper and improved bioresorbable material for implanted medical devices. This type of material, which can be broken down and absorbed by the body, has a variety of applications in regenerative medicine and tissue engineering, such as implanted scaffolds that help guide the growth of new tissue. “Despite expensive post-processing steps to minimize defects, magnesium alloys processed on earth react in a physiological fluid environment and form large amounts of hydrogen gas, resulting in gas pockets that must be aspirated by a syringe,” said Kumta. “We believe that processing the material in microgravity will considerably minimize or perhaps even eliminate melting and casting defects. As a result, the alloys will likely exhibit improved corrosion resistance, resulting in soluble hydrogen and salt products with better bioresorption response when implanted as scaffolds. Further, expensive post-processing will likely be eliminated, thereby reducing costs by almost 50 percent.” Kumta, who holds secondary appointments in chemical and petroleum engineering, mechanical engineering and materials science, the McGowan Institute of Regenerative Medicine, and oral biology, will work with a team of researchers from his laboratory in the Swanson School of Engineering, including Bioengineering Research Assistant Professors Abhijit Roy, Moni Kanchan Datta, and Oleg Velikokhatnyi. The research team hopes that this work will lead to the processing of better quality magnesium alloys, which will be free of many of the defects that form in terrestrially processed alloys, ultimately enabling improved functionality on Earth with significantly reduced processing steps and costs. “This work offers a tremendous opportunity for advancing the science and technology of microgravity metal casting, widening the translational potential of the versatile magnesium-based systems for biomedical, energy, and aerospace applications,” said Kumta. “Magnesium has not yet been studied in space so this project gives us the chance to explore a new frontier in scalable manufacturing of high quality magnesium and magnesium alloys in space.”

Sep
19
2019

Manipulating the Meta-Atom

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Reposted from Swanson School of Engineering - https://www.engineering.pitt.edu/News/2019/Ravi-Shankar-NSF-Metamaterials/ Metamaterials are a unique class of intricate composites engineered to interact with electromagnetic radiation – such as light – in ways that go beyond conventional materials. By designing their structure at the nanometer scale, such materials can steer, scatter and rotate the polarization of the light in unusual ways. Realizing their full potential in sectors like consumer electronics, bioimaging or defense, requires the ability to manipulate their intricate structure. This presents a daunting challenge – how to manipulate the nanoscale meta-atoms making up metamaterials to then manipulate light? Thanks to a combined $1.7 million from the National Science Foundation, a research group led by faculty at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering hope to utilize “meta-atoms” to fine-tune metamaterials with light and in turn, control how they interact with the light itself. The projects are funded through the NSF’s Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer our Future (DMREF) program. “Consider something like photochromatic lenses, which have a simple reaction of darkening when exposed to ultraviolet light, and then lighten when you return indoors,” explained M. Ravi Shankar, principal investigator and professor of industrial engineering at the Swanson School. “Instead, if we harness the light to physically manipulate arrays of nano-scale structures we call meta-atoms, we can program much more complex responses.”Because of the complexity of the problem, Dr. Shankar assembled a multi-disciplinary team from three other universities: Mark Brongersma, professor of materials science and engineering at Stanford University;  Robert P. Lipton, the Nicholson Professor of Mathematics at Louisiana State University; Hae Young Noh, assistant professor and Kaushik Dayal, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. The team hopes to discover new classes of dynamically programmable metamaterials using theories of plasmonic structures, which are aided by machine-learning algorithms. These will feed into experimental efforts to fabricate these structures. Ultimately, the team envisions demonstrating a range of optical components, including beam steering devices, wave-front shaping systems and polarization converters, which are organized and controlled at the nanometer-scale. This would make them orders-of-magnitude more compact than conventional optical systems. Furthermore, these devices will be powered directly using light itself, without relying on electronics or on-board power sources. This opens a pathway for integrating these compact optical elements in applications ranging from autonomous vehicles, biomedicine and communication devices.

Sep
13
2019

Pitt Nuclear Energy Research Awarded Over $2 Million in Department of Energy Grants

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Originally posted in in the Swanson School of Engineering: https://www.engineering.pitt.edu/News/2019/NEUP-Grants-2019/ The Stephen R. Tritch Nuclear Engineering program at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering has received three substantial grants from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Nuclear Energy University Program (NEUP) totaling $2.3 million. The awards are three of the 40 grants in 23 states issued by the DOE, which awarded more than $28.5 million to research programs through the NEUP this year to maintain the U.S.’s leadership in nuclear research. “Nuclear energy research is a vital and growing source of clean energy in the U.S., and we are at the forefront of this exciting field,” says Heng Ban, PhD, R.K. Mellon Professor in Energy and director of the Stephen R. Tritch Nuclear Engineering Program at the Swanson School of Engineering. “These grants will enable us to collaborate with leading international experts, conducting research that will help shape future of nuclear energy.” One project, titled “Advanced Online Monitoring and Diagnostic Technologies for Nuclear Plant Management, Operation, and Maintenance,” received $1 million and is led by Daniel Cole, PhD, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at Pitt.  Taking advantage of advanced instrumentation and big data analytics, the work will develop and test advanced online monitoring to better operate and manage nuclear power plants.  By combining condition monitoring, financial analysis, and supply chain models, nuclear utilities will be better able to streamline operation and maintenance efforts, minimize financial risk, and ensure safety. The project “Development of Versatile Liquid Metal Testing Facility for Lead-cooled Fast Reactor Technology” received $800,000 and is led by Jung-Kun Lee, PhD, professor of mechanical engineering and materials science at Pitt. His work will benefit lead-cooled fast reactor (LFR) technology. Liquid lead is beneficial for this cooling process because it is non-reactive with water and air, has a high boiling point, poor neutron absorption and excellent heat transfer properties. Despite these benefits, though, lead’s corrosive nature is a critical challenge of LFR. This research would develop a versatile, high-temperature liquid lead testing facility that would help researchers understand this corrosive behavior to find a solution. Dr. Lee will collaborate with Dr. Ban at Pitt, as well as researchers from Westinghouse Electric Company, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory, the ENEA in Italy, and the University of Manchester in the UK. The project “Thermal Conductivity Measurement of Irradiated Metallic Fuel Using TREAT” received $500,000 and is led by Dr. Ban in collaboration with Assel Aitkaliyeva from the University of Florida. The project will help to measure thermal conductivity and diffusivity data in uranium-plutonium-zirconium (U-Pu-Zr) fuels using an innovative thermal wave technique in the Transient Reactor Test Facility (TREAT). The project will not only provide thermophysical properties of irradiated U-Pu-Zr fuels, but also create a new approach for measuring irradiated, intact fuel rodlets. Additionally, Kevin Chen, PhD, professor of electrical and computer engineering at Pitt, will collaborate on a project that received $800,000 from the DOE, titled “Mixing of Helium with Air in Reactor Cavities Following a Pipe Break in HTGRs” and led by Masahiro Kawaji, PhD, professor at the City College of New York and assistant director of CUNY Energy Institute.

Aug
21
2019

Youngjae Chun Receives American Heart Association’s 2020 Innovative Project Award

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Copied from Swanson School of Engineering: https://www.engineering.pitt.edu/News/2019/Youngjae-Chun-Receives-AHA-Award/ Coronary artery disease is a leading cause of death in the U.S., with about 370,000 Americans dying from the disease each year. Stents are a life-saving procedure used to prop open narrowing blood vessels; however, over time, tissue can regrow into the mesh stent and cause the artery to narrow again, putting the patient at risk. Knowing that regrowth is happening as soon as possible is crucial in saving the patient’s life, but monitoring is a challenge. Youngjae Chun, PhD, associate professor of industrial engineering and bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering, has received a funding award from the American Heart Association for his project creating a stent that will use sensors to monitor for signs of restenosis and alert the patient’s doctor without the need for endless follow-up visits. Dr. Chun’s project has been selected by the American Heart Association for its 2019 Innovative Project Award, which supports highly innovative, high-impact research that could lead to major advancements and discoveries that accelerate cardiovascular and cerebrovascular research. The award includes a total of $200,000 over two years and began on July 1, 2019. “Stenting to treat coronary artery disease is a well-established and widely used interventional procedure. This new stent will minimize the follow-up imaging procedures that can be inconvenient, expensive, and sometimes invasive for the patient,” says Dr. Chun. “Our device would continuously monitor restenosis providing valuable information to the patients.” This project will be conducted through a multidisciplinary collaboration with W. Hong Yeo, PhD, assistant professor of Department of Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech and John Pacella, MD, cardiologist at UPMC. “Real-time surveillance would be critical for the patient whose stented blood vessels are re-narrowing, putting them at risk for heart attack or stroke,” says Dr. Chun. “The device would provide critical information directly to patients and their doctors and could potentially save many lives.”

Jul
11
2019

New Superomniphobic Glass Soars High on Butterfly Wings Using Machine Learning

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Originally posted in Swanson Engineering: https://www.engineering.pitt.edu/News/2019/Glasswing-Butterfly-Glass/ Glass for technologies like displays, tablets, laptops,  smartphones, and solar cells need to pass light through, but could benefit from a surface that repels water, dirt, oil, and other liquids. Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering have created a nanostructure glass that takes inspiration from the wings of the glasswing butterfly to create a new type of glass that is not only very clear across a wide variety of wavelengths and angles, but is also antifogging. The team recently published a paper detailing their findings: “Creating Glasswing-Butterfly Inspired Durable Antifogging Omniphobic Supertransmissive, Superclear Nanostructured Glass Through Bayesian Learning and Optimization” in Materials Horizons (doi:10.1039/C9MH00589G). They recently presented this work at the ICML conference in the “Climate Change: How Can AI Help?” workshop. The nanostructured glass has random nanostructures, like the glasswing butterfly wing, that are smaller than the wavelengths of visible light. This allows the glass to have a very high transparency of 99.5% when the random nanostructures are on both sides of the glass. This high transparency can reduce the brightness and power demands on displays that could, for example, extend battery life. The glass is antireflective across higher angles, improving viewing angles. The glass also has low haze, less than 0.1%, which results in very clear images and text. “The glass is superomniphobic, meaning it repels a wide variety of liquids such as orange juice, coffee, water, blood, and milk,” explains Sajad Haghanifar, lead author of the paper and doctoral candidate in industrial engineering at Pitt. “The glass is also anti-fogging, as water condensation tends to easily roll off the surface, and the view through the glass remains unobstructed. Finally, the nanostructured glass is durable from abrasion due to its self-healing properties—abrading the surface with a rough sponge damages the coating, but heating it restores it to its original function.” Natural surfaces like lotus leaves, moth eyes and butterfly wings display omniphobic properties that make them self-cleaning, bacterial-resistant and water-repellant—adaptations for survival that evolved over millions of years. Researchers have long sought inspiration from nature to replicate these properties in a synthetic material, and even to improve upon them. While the team could not rely on evolution to achieve these results, they instead utilized machine learning. “Something significant about the nanostructured glass research, in particular, is that we partnered with SigOpt to use machine learning to reach our final product,” says Paul Leu, PhD, associate professor of industrial engineering, whose lab conducted the research. Dr. Leu holds secondary appointments in mechanical engineering and materials science and chemical engineering. “When you create something like this, you don’t start with a lot of data, and each trial takes a great deal of time. We used machine learning to suggest variables to change, and it took us fewer tries to create this material as a result.” “Bayesian optimization and active search are the ideal tools to explore the balance between transparency and omniphobicity efficiently, that is, without needing thousands of fabrications, requiring hundreds of days.” said Michael McCourt, PhD, research engineer at SigOpt. Bolong Cheng, PhD, fellow research engineer at SigOpt, added, “Machine learning and AI strategies are only relevant when they solve real problems; we are excited to be able to collaborate with the University of Pittsburgh to bring the power of Bayesian active learning to a new application.” “Creating Glasswing-Butterfly Inspired Durable Antifogging Omniphobic Supertransmissive, Superclear Nanostructured Glass Through Bayesian Learning and Optimization” was coauthored by Sajad Haghanifar, and Paul Leu, from Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering; Michael McCourt and Bolong Cheng from SigOpt; and Paul Ohodnicki and Jeffrey Wuenschell from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Laboratory. The project was supported in part by a National Science Foundation CAREER Award.

Jul
11
2019

Pitt Engineers Receive $1 Million to Develop Better Quality Control for 3D Printing Turbine Components

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Originally printed in Swanson Engineering: https://www.engineering.pitt.edu/News/2019/DOE-Grant-for-3D-Printed-Turbine-Components/ The U.S. Department of Energy, through its University Turbine Systems Research program, has awarded researchers at the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering $802,400 to find an effective quality assurance method for additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, of new-generation gas turbine components. The three-year project has received additional support from the University of Pittsburgh ($200,600), resulting in a total grant of $1,003,000. Xiayun (Sharon) Zhao, PhD, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and materials science at Pitt, will lead the research, working with Albert To, associate professor of mechanical engineering and materials science at Pitt, and Richard W. Neu, professor in the Georgia Institute of Technology’s School of Mechanical Engineering. The team will use machine learning to develop a cost-effective method for rapidly evaluating, either in-process or offline, the hot gas path turbine components (HGPTCs) that are created with laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) additive manufacturing (AM) technology. “LPBF AM is capable of making complex metal components with reduced cost of material and time. There is a desire to employ the appealing AM technology to fabricate sophisticated HGPTCs that can withstand higher working temperature for next-generation turbines. However, because there’s a possibility that the components will have porous defects and be prone to detrimental thermomechanical fatigue, it’s critical to have a good quality assurance method before putting them to use,” explains Dr. Zhao. “The quality assurance framework we are developing will immensely reduce the cost of testing and quality control and enhance confidence in adopting the LPBF process to fabricate demanding HGPTCs.” ANSYS will serve as an industrial partner in this project.

Jun
4
2019

Prototype PGH expands partnership with Pitt's MAC

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Prototype PGH expands partnership with Pitt's MAC Pittsburgh-based feminist makerspace Prototype PGH will expand its partnership with the University of Pittsburgh’s Manufacturing Assistance Center, according to a news release. Prototype PGH offers technology and entrepreneurship workshops with a focus on gender and racial equity and access to makerspace equipment. The two organizations paired up in 2018 to host the “Lasers and Ladies” workshop series at the MAC makerspace. Read More: https://www.bizjournals.com/pittsburgh/news/2019/05/21/prototype-pgh-expands-partnership-with-pitts-mac.html
Julia Mericle – Technology Reporter, Pittsburgh Business Times
Jun
1
2019

New Partnership Expands Research into Rechargeable Battery Systems

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Energy storage influences every part of modern life, from the cell phone in your pocket to the electric car on the highway. However, seeing the chemistry of what is happening inside a battery while it is in use is indeed tricky, but it could have remarkable opportunities for identifying new materials as well as improving the battery itself. Now, the Next-Generation Energy Conversion and Storage Technologies Lab (NECSTL) at the University of Pittsburgh’s Energy Innovation Center has announced a new energy research partnership with Malvern Panalytical that will enable the lab to do exactly that. The NECSTL, headed by Prashant N. Kumta, PhD, focuses on energy conversion and storage, including rechargeable battery systems. Malvern Panalytical’s Empyrean X-ray Platform, a multipurpose diffractometer, will be used in the lab to identify solid-state materials by determining their internal structure, composition and phase while they are in use. Read more here.
Maggie Pavlick
May
1
2019

Next Generation of Nuclear Engineers

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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.” Read More: https://www.engineering.pitt.edu/News/2019/2019-DOE-NEUP-Pitt-Awards/
Meagan Lenze, Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science
Apr
17
2019

The Promise of Nuclear Engineering at Pitt

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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. Read More: https://www.engineering.pitt.edu/News/2019/Heng-Ban-Nuclear-Engineering-Feature/
Paul Kovach
Apr
11
2019

A New Approach to Optimize Performance of Linepipe Steels Using Novel High Temp Processing

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"A New Approach to Optimize Performance of Linepipe Steels Using Novel High Temp Processing" an @PittUPCAM and @USSteelCorp  funded project presented at the #ManufacturingPAInnovation Expo in Harrisburg! @PittEngineering Read More: https://www.engineering.pitt.edu/News/2019/PAMIP-Awards/

Apr
11
2019

Intensification of Hydride-Dehydride Powder Production by Upcycling Machining Chips

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"Intensification of Hydride-Dehydride Powder Production by Upcycling Machining Chips" presented by @PittMEMS and @Pitt_IE team at the #ManufacturingPAInnovation Expo @PittEngineering@PittUPCAM Read More: https://www.engineering.pitt.edu/News/2019/PAMIP-Awards/

Apr
11
2019

Enabling Highly Complex Tungsten Carbide Parts via Binder Jet 3D Printing

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"Enabling Highly Complex Tungsten Carbide Parts via Binder Jet 3D Printing" A funded project presented by AM3 Lab with General Carbide at the #ManufacturingPAInnovation Expo @PittMEMS@PittEngineering Read More:  https://www.engineering.pitt.edu/News/2019/PAMIP-Awards/

Apr
4
2019

Tevis Jacobs Receives NSF CAREER Award

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Tevis Jacobs received the National Science Foundation’s $500,000 CAREER Award this year to improve nanoparticle performance. Jacobs plans to work with his Surfaces and Small-Scale Structures Laboratory to advance the understanding of micro- and nano-surfaces and their changing properties in order to engineer more stable nanoparticles. The NSF describes the CAREER Award as a prestigious grant that is “in support of 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 of organization.” Jacobs said his previous work prepared him for the grant for the CAREER Award. “In my grant,” Professor Jacobs explained, “I mentioned what I was going to do in the five years and then the 10 years or 15 years total. Forces you more than a typical award to do that planning. Helps you to think bigger.” Read More: https://pittnews.com/article/146854/news/engineering-professor-receives-nsf-career-award/
Lauren Rude, For The Pitt News
Mar
26
2019

Solution for Residual Stress Accumulation Induced Build Failure

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Headache with the build failure in DMLS process? Check out this recent paper about the solution for residual stress accumulation induced build failure. @Albert_C_To@PittEngineering#AMRL#AdditiveManufacturing Metal additive manufacturing (AM) as an emerging manufacturing technique has been gradually accepted to manufacture end-use components. However, one of the most critical issues preventing its broad applications is build failure resulting from residual stress accumulation in manufacturing process. The goal of this work is to investigate the feasibility of using topology optimization to design support structure to mitigate residual stress induced build failure. To make topology optimization computationally tractable, the inherent strain method is employed to perform fast prediction of residual stress in an AM build. Graded lattice structure optimization is utilized to design the support structure due to the open-celled and self-supporting nature of periodic lattice structure. The objective for the optimization is to minimize the mass of sacrificial support structure under stress constraint. By limiting the maximum stress under the yield strength, cracking resulting from residual stress can be prevented. To show the feasibility of the proposed method, the support structure of a double-cantilever beam and a hip implant is designed, respectively. The support structure after optimization can achieve a weight reduction of approximately 60%. The components with optimized support structures no longer suffer from stress-induced cracking after the designs are realized by AM, which proves the effectiveness of the proposed method. Read More: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214860418309035

Mar
12
2019

Manufacturing Assistance Center receives 2019 Carnegie Science Award

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2019 Carnegie Science Awards include six honorees from the Swanson School of Engineering including the MAC (Manufacturing Assistance Center) Leadership in Career and Technical Education: University of Pittsburgh Manufacturing Assistance Center Since 1994, the University of Pittsburgh Manufacturing Assistance Center (MAC) has connected thousands of people with meaningful careers in manufacturing. The programs at MAC are accelerated and often available at no cost to the students, so unemployed and underemployed individuals can be connected to a job and a living wage in as little as six weeks. In addition, MAC has strengthened career pathways for high school students across Southwestern Pennsylvania by offering certification opportunities to partnering high schools and career and technical centers. With the opening of the MAC Makerspace in 2018, MAC has provided a place for future manufacturers to engage with technological tools and resources that would otherwise be inaccessible to them. Read More:  https://www.engineering.pitt.edu/News/2019/2019-Carnegie-Science-Awards/
Kaitlyn Zurcher, Carnegie Science Center Senior Manager of Marketing
Jan
29
2019

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

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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. Read More: https://www.engineering.pitt.edu/News/2019/PAMIP-Awards/
Paul Kovach
Jan
10
2019

Paper Published on the Growth of Carbon Nanotube Forests

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Check out the recent paper from the Bedewy Research Group on the mechanochemical modulation of Carbon Nanotube Growth by Chemical Vapor Deposition!  https://pubs.acs.org/doi/pdf/10.1021/acs.chemmater.8b03627

Jan
4
2019

UPCAM - Industry Residency Grant

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UPCAM Industry Residency Grant Program in Manufacturing Application Deadline: February 28, 2019Funding Timeframe: Summer 2019Maximum Number of Grants Awarded: Up to 3 The goal of the University of Pittsburgh Center for Advanced Manufacturing (UPCAM) initiative is to represent the efforts of diverse faculty and students within the Swanson School of Engineering (SSoE) in the field of advanced manufacturing. The UPCAM Industry Residency Grant Program (IRG) provides funding to Swanson School of Engineering (SSoE) Faculty, Post-Doc and PhD Students to build relationships with outside industry or national labs through intensive summer residency experiences. University-Industry interactions are important for bridging the knowledge gap between University research and industry practices. They can also be an integral part of successful government research proposal submissions. Through this award program, we aim to enhance Pitt’s national recognition in manufacturing, to increase visibility of SSoE manufacturing research, and to create lasting collaborative interactions with industry in leading-edge areas of applied manufacturing research. Eligibility Requirements: A member of an Industry or a US National Lab must be a Co-PI on the proposal along with the associated faculty member, post-doc or PhD student, and the proposed residency opportunity must be within the field of advanced manufacturing. A specific point-of-contact from the organization must be designated as the resident’s primary collaborator for the program. Budget: Grant funding will provide 50% match of up to 4 months of residency.  This would equate to a maximum of two months of funding from this grant for the faculty member or student’s base summer income while they work with the industry partner. Matching Support: At least 50% matching support is required by the industrial partner or lab.  The cost-matching commitment must be detailed in a formal letter of support. Preparation and Submission of Application: Proposals should include the following sections: Residency Plan (no more than 2 pages; include background statement, research aims and expected outcomes) Budget and Justification Brief Biosketches/Resume of both co-PI’s Description of industry partner (e.g., size of company, nature of their business, specific division or area where residency will take place, etc.; 1-page maximum) All documents should be emailed in PDF format to upcam@pitt.edu with the subject “Company Name – UPCAM IRG Proposal.” Proposal Evaluation:  Proposals will be reviewed by a committee designated by the UPCAM Executive Committee. Reviewers will rate the proposals on the following specific guidelines: Impact: Scientific merit of the proposed activity. What is its significance to the field of advanced manufacturing? What is the strength of its contribution toward the advancement of knowledge or future development in the field? Future Collaboration: Will working with this resident (faculty or student) provide for future opportunities for collaboration on grant proposals or sponsored research?  Will this residency provide for future collaboration with more than just the current, proposed resident? For Additional Information or to Make Connections with Pitt Faculty, Contact:Liza Allison - UPCAM Program Administrator Swanson School of Engineeringupcam@pitt.edu

Jan
2
2019

University of Pittsburgh and General Carbide Corporation Receive Grant to Research 3D Printed Tungsten Carbide

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Tungsten carbide is one of the most versatile metal compounds and is renowned for its durability and strength, making it perfect for cutting tools, boring machines, and surgical instruments. Although its use in additive manufacturing (AM), or 3D printing, would seem ideal, tungsten carbide is susceptible to fractures and breakage when exposed to the extreme laser melting process used in printing metals. However, a recent award to the University of Pittsburgh and General Carbide Corporation in Greensburg, Pa. will enable research into better base powders and 3D printing methods for more effective and economical use of tungsten carbide in additive manufacturing. The project was financed in part by a $57,529 grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) and the first round of the PA Manufacturing Innovation Program (PAMIP). Cost share from Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering and General Carbide will provide a total funding of $145,000. Principal investigator is Markus Chmielus, assistant professor and the student fellows are from the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science. The award will also fund two women materials science and engineering students Katerina Kimes (graduate) and Pierangeli Rodriguez De Vecchis (undergraduate) as fellows in fundamental and applied research. “Additive manufacturing is increasingly adopted by industry to build highly complex metal parts, but the rapid local heating and cooling during energy beam-based 3D metal printing produces large thermal gradients which causes tungsten carbide to crack,” Dr. Chmielus explained. “Binder jet 3D printing is more effective because it selectively joins powder particles with a binder, one microscopic layer on top of another and without any temperature fluctuations during printing.”Still key to utilizing tungsten carbide, however, is that after a part is printed, it needs to withstand a process called “sintering” and potentially “hipping” that will densify and harden it for use. To achieve that goal, Dr. Chmielus and General Carbide will investigate various tungsten carbide base powders that can be utilized in a binder jet 3D printer, as well as optimize the printing process and subsequent sintering and hipping. “This research will enable General Carbide to expand our portfolio with more complex and versatile parts at a lower cost by partnering with the Swanson School and leveraging its expertise in binder jet 3D printing and additive manufacturing process optimization,” noted Drew Elhassid, Chief Metallurgist and Manager of Lab, Pressing and Powder Production at General Carbide. “Additive manufacturing is especially useful when needed to create the most demanding but low-count parts that we wouldn’t necessarily build on a consistent basis.”“With the Manufacturing Innovation Program, the Wolf Administration aims to connect our best and brightest students with manufacturers to drive new technology and innovation in the manufacturing sector,” said Sheri Collins, deputy secretary for technology and innovation at the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. “As manufacturing processes become more and more complex, these projects will keep Pennsylvania at the forefront of manufacturing innovation.” ### Writer: Paul Kovach

Dec
30
2018

A Record Turn Out at the December 11th MOST-AM Consortium Meeting

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The MOST-AM Consortium is a public-private partnership aimed at developing the most advanced modeling and simulation tools for additive manufacturing (AM). To achieve its goals, the consortium leverages a generous gift from one of its elite members (ANSYS) along with membership fees, the talent of Pitt’s faculty and Consortium members, and research projects at Pitt funded by government agencies such as America Makes, NSF, NASA, Army, and others. The December 11, 2019 meeting hosted at the ANSYS Training Center in Canonsburg, PA boasted 70 attendees and presentations from experts in Additive Manufacturing. Presentations to Included:AM Simulation – Dave Conover (ANSYS)Fast Metal AM – Byron Kennedy (Spee3D)Dissolvable Supports – Owen Hildreth (Colorado School of Mines)De-powdering Machine Design – Pitt Senior Design TeamAM Modeling – Devlin Hayduke (Materials Science Corp)Geometric Modeling – Bradley Rothenberg (nTopology)Wire-feed AM – Tobias Rohrich (GEFERTECH)AM Metal Fatigue - Joy Gockel (Wright State University)Real-Time Manufacturing – Xiayun Zhao (University of Pittsburgh)

Dec
5
2018

Solar energy shines in the City of Pittsburgh

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The future of the state’s solar energy pursuits is bright — and Pitt plans to contribute, projecting that 50 percent of its energy will come from solar and other renewable sources by 2030. @ThePittNews interviews Paul Leu from @Pitt_IE@PittEngineering ----------------- Renewable energy in Pennsylvania has a cloudy past. But the future of the state’s solar energy pursuits is bright — and Pitt plans to contribute, projecting that 50 percent of its energy will come from solar and other renewable sources by 2030. But Pennsylvania will undertake its solar project first. As a result of a two-year award of $550,000 from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Sunshot Program, the Commonwealth plans to reduce solar energy costs by 50 percent from 2020 to 2030 in a project called “Finding Pennsylvania’s Solar Future.” Read More: https://pittnews.com/article/138524/top-stories/solar-energy-shines-in-city/

Dec
2
2018

Pitt Researchers Discover Surface of “Ultra-smooth” Nanomaterial Steeper than Austrian Alps

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People can usually tell if something is rough or smooth by running their fingers along its surface. But what about things that are too small or too big to run a finger over? The earth looks smooth from space, but someone standing at the foot of the Himalayas would disagree. Scientists measure surfaces at different scales to account for different sizes, but these scales don’t always agree.New research from the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering measured an ultrananocrystalline diamond coating, prized for its hard yet smooth properties, and showed that it is far rougher than previously believed. Their findings could help researchers better predict how surface topography affects surface properties for materials used in diverse environments from microsurgery and engines to satellite housings or spacecraft.“One important measure of the ‘roughness’ of a surface is its average slope, that is, how steep it is,” says Tevis Jacobs, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and materials science at Pitt. “We found that the surface of this nano-diamond film looks wildly different depending on the scale you’re using.” Dr. Jacobs and his team’s research appeared in the American Chemical Society (ACS) journal ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces (DOI: 10.1021/acsami.8b09899). They took more than 100 measurements of the diamond film, combining conventional techniques with a novel approach based on transmission electron microscopy. The results spanned size scales from one centimeter down to the atomic scale. Dr. Jacobs explains, “The nanodiamond surface is smooth enough that you can see your reflection in it. Yet by combining all our measurements, including down to the smallest scales, we showed that this “smooth" material has an average slope of 50 degrees. This is steeper than the Austrian Alps when measured on the scale of a human footstep (39 degrees).”“By using electron microscopy, we were able to get the smallest end of the measurement range; we can’t even define topography below the atomic scale,” says Dr. Jacobs. “Then, by combining all the scales together, we were able to get rid of the problem of having roughness deviate between scales. We can calculate ‘true’ scale-invariant roughness parameters.”“We’ve known for one hundred years that surface roughness controls surface properties. The missing link is that we haven’t been able to quantify its effect. For example, in biomedical applications, different investigations have arrived at opposite conclusions about whether roughness promotes or degrades cell adhesion. We believe this new understanding of roughness across scales will open the door to finally solving this age-old puzzle in surface analysis.”The ultimate goal is to have predictive models of how roughness determines surface attributes such as adhesion, friction or the conduction of heat or electricity. Dr. Jacobs’ breakthrough is the first step in an uphill, and very steep, battle to create and validate these models.“We are currently making properties measurements of this nanodiamond material and many other surfaces to apply mechanics models to link topography and properties,” he says. “By finding the scales or the combination of scales that matter most for a given application, we can establish which surface finishing techniques will achieve the best results, reducing the need for a costly and time-consuming trial-and-error approach.” ### Matt Cichowicz, Communications Writer, 11/29/2018

Nov
1
2018

Making a Transparent Flexible Material of Silk and Nanotubes

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Article Author: Paul Kovach - University of Pittsburghhttps://www.engineering.pitt.edu/News/2018/Bedewy-ACS-Silk-Fibroin-Research/ The silk fibers produced by Bombyx mori, the domestic silkworm, has been prized for millennia as a strong yet lightweight and luxurious material. Although synthetic polymers like nylon and polyester are less costly, they do not compare to silk’s natural qualities and mechanical properties. And according to research from the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering, silk combined with carbon nanotubes may lead to a new generation of biomedical devices and so-called transient, biodegradable electronics.The study, “Promoting Helix-Rich Structure in Silk Fibroin Films through Molecular Interactions with Carbon Nanotubes and Selective Heating for Transparent Biodegradable Devices” (DOI: 10.1021/acsanm.8b00784), was featured on the Oct. 26 cover of the American Chemistry Society journal Applied Nano Materials. “Silk is a very interesting material. It is made of natural fibers that humans have been using for thousands of years to make high quality textiles, but we as engineers have recently started to appreciate silk’s potential for many emerging applications such as flexible bioelectronics due to its unique biocompatibility, biodegradability and mechanical flexibility,” noted Mostafa Bedewy, assistant professor of industrial engineering at the Swanson School and lead author of the paper. “The issue is that if we want to use silk for such applications, we don’t want it to be in the form of fibers. Rather, we want to regenerate silk proteins, called fibroins, in the form of films that exhibit desired optical, mechanical and chemical properties.” As explained by the authors in the video below, these regenerated silk fibroins (RSFs) however typically are chemically unstable in water and suffer from inferior mechanical properties, owing to the difficulty in precisely controlling the molecular structure of the fibroin proteins in RSF films.  Bedewy and his NanoProduct Lab group, which also work extensively on carbon nanotubes (CNTs), thought that perhaps the molecular interactions between nanotubes and fibroins could enable “tuning” the structure of RSF proteins. “One of the interesting aspects of CNTs is that, when they are dispersed in a polymer matrix and exposed to microwave radiation, they locally heat up,” Dr. Bedewy explained. “So we wondered whether we could leverage this unique phenomenon to create desired transformations in the fibroin structure around the CNTs in an “RSF-CNT” composite.”According to Dr. Bedewy, the microwave irradiation, coupled with a solvent vapor treatment, provided a unique control mechanism for the protein structure and resulted in a flexible and transparent film comparable to synthetic polymers but one that could be both more sustainable and degradable. These RSF-CNT films have potential for use in flexible electronics, biomedical devices and transient electronics such as sensors that would be used for a desired period inside the body ranging from hours to weeks, and then naturally dissolve. “We are excited about advancing this work further in the future, as we are looking forward to developing the science and technology aspects of these unique functional materials,” Dr. Bedewy said. “ From a scientific perspective, there is still a lot more to understand about the molecular interactions between the functionalization on nanotube surfaces and protein molecules. From an engineering perspective, we want to develop scalable manufacturing processes for taking cocoons of natural silk and transforming them into functional thin films for next generation wearable and implantable electronic devices.” About the NanoProduct LabThe NanoProduct Lab (nanoproductlab.org), also known as the Bedewy Research Group, focuses on fundamental experimental research at the interface between nanoscience, biotechnology, and manufacturing engineering. The group explores basic scientific discoveries and applied technological developments in the broad area of advanced manufacturing at multiple length scales, creating solutions that impact major societal challenges in energy, healthcare, and the environment. This work was supported by the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation (MCSI) at the University of Pittsburgh. M.B. is grateful for the Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award from Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU). Fabrication and characterization were performed, in part, at the Nanoscale Fabrication and Characterization Facility, a laboratory of the Gertrude E. and John M. Petersen Institute of NanoScience and Engineering, housed at the University of Pittsburgh. The work was also supported in part by the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education (NRF-2018R1A4A1025169). Image below, left: ACS Applied Nano Materials cover. Image below, right: Schematic diagram illustrating the structural changes of RSF-CNT composite film exhibited during microwave- and vapor-treatment.

Oct
31
2018

Accelerated Insertion of Materials for Additive Manufacturing

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Article Author: Paul Kovach - University of Pittsburghhttps://www.engineering.pitt.edu/News/2018/QuesTek-Xiong-To-NASA-Award/ Additive manufacturing (AM), or 3D printing, presents a game-changing opportunity for the space industry to produce complex components with greater efficiency at a lower cost. However, the trial-and-error method currently used to create such parts with limited materials is not suited for components that would need to survive the harsh environment of space. Thanks to a $750,000 award from NASA, researchers from QuesTek Innovations and the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering will utilize new computer modeling and optimization techniques, combined with a nickel-iron super-alloy, to enable faster adoption of additive manufacturing in various NASA missions.The principal investigator of the project, “Integrated Computational Material Engineering Technologies for Additive Manufacturing,” is Jiadong Gong, PhD, technical fellow at QuesTek in Evanston, Ill. Collaborators from the Swanson School’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science are Assistant Professor Wei Xiong, PhD and Associate Professor Albert To, PhD. The project is one of 20 research and technology proposals funded through Phase II of NASA’s competitive Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program, which supports NASA's future missions into deep space and benefits the U.S. economy. Selected proposals will support the development of technologies in the areas of aeronautics, science, human exploration and operations, and space technology. “For as promising as AM is to modern manufacturing, its acceptance by major commercial or government industries like NASA comes down to a lack of confidence in the quality of the part,” Dr. Gong said. “The majority of systems are based largely on hand-tuned parameters determined by trial-and-error for a limited set of materials, which is ineffective, costly and can contribute to mission failure.” To offset these problems, QuesTek and Pitt will work together to develop an Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME) framework for Inconel 718, a commonly used super-alloy preferred for high-temperature environments in aerospace applications. Processing of Inconel will be further designed, and thus better suited for additive manufacturing versus traditional industrial manufacturing techniques, with reduced costs and greater structural integrity than traditional metals. Drs. Xiong and To will contribute Pitt’s expertise in integrated computational mechanical and materials design, supported by AM resources in the Swanson School’s ANSYS Additive Manufacturing Research Laboratory and Nanoscale Fabrication & Characterization Facility. To advance NASA’s goal to make these new technologies available commercially, the Pitt/QuesTek team will develop a software tool that can be used by OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) to reduce costs and improve AM techniques for other industries such as automotive, biomedical and energy. “Research partnerships between industry and universities such as Pitt can truly help to advance new technologies, thanks to programs such as those funded by NASA,” Dr. Xiong said. “At Pitt, we have focused on process-structure-property optimization and improved computer modeling with advanced alloys to mitigate these issues and improve quality control. Combined with QuesTek’s expertise in Materials by Design®, we can accelerate the insertion of materials not only for NASA but for commercial industries as well.” ### Dr. To (left) and Dr. Xiong with an image of a microstructure produced by additive manufacturing.

Sep
12
2018

The Metallurgy of Advanced High Strength for Zinc-Coated Applications and Beyond - A short course with Dr Anthony DeArdo (November 14, 2018)

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Register Here The Metallurgy of Advanced High Strength for Zinc-Coated Applications and Beyond A short course with Dr Anthony Deardo  November 14, 2018 | 09:00 AM - 04:15 PM | Benedum Hall 102 Professor: Anthony J. DeArdo University of Pittsburgh Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science Purpose and Goals: This one-day course is intended to introduce interested stakeholders to the physical metallurgy, processing, microstructure and mechanical properties of Advanced High Strength Steel substrates that are used for galvanized, galvannealed and bare products and applications. Who Should Attend: The course is aimed at professionals working in, or associated with high strength steels, including zinc or aluminum coatings companies, the fabrication industries such as sheet metal forming and welding, equipment and material suppliers, and professionals interested in galvanizing and formability. Typical delegates would include senior production operators, engineers, technical and quality control personnel. Learning Outcomes: Theoretical and practical understanding of the metallurgy of the new AHSS, especially high strength dual-phase steels processed on continuous galvanizing (CG) lines. Understanding of the processes, product and properties of AHSS steels, especially dual-phase steels that are used to make body-in-white and other coated components for the automotive and construction industries. It is critical to note that the processes used to apply the protective coatings are, themselves, heat treatments that can importantly alter the microstructure and properties of both the steel substrate and the coating.  This course will teach the attendees how to optimize the beneficial effects while minimizing the detrimental effects of the processing. Pre-requisites: None Cost: $1,500 (includes handout, coffee breaks and lunch provided) Course Outline (9:00-11:30 a.m.) Lecture 1: Introduction What is steel and what is the differentiation among common steel (AKDQ), high strength steel (HSLA) and advanced high strength steel.?  Why are the AHSS so special?  Difference between galvanizing AKDQ vs. AHSS. Overview of families of AHSS (DP, TRIP, Martensitic, Hot Stamped and TWIP) The critical mechanical properties of sheet steel?  Brief review of processing- microstructure-property relations as they apply to CG line processing. (11:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.) Lunch (12:00-2:00 p.m.) Lecture 2: Case Study - Processing Zinc-Coated DP steels on a Continuous Galvanizing (CG) Lines What is the Dual-Phase (DP) microstructure and how is it formed from the cold rolled state during the CG line processing?  What are the critical features of the microstructure and control points of the process? Typical compositions & starting conditions: cold rolled ferrite-pearlite hot band Intercritical annealing (1382-1562F / 750-850C) and associated metallurgical events: (i) Annealing cold rolled ferrite, (ii) Forming austenite, (iii) Transformations upon cooling from annealing T to zinc pot (860F/460C), (iv) Transformations from zinc pot to room temperature, (v) microstructure-property relationships, (vi) achieving Generation III properties. Supercritical annealing above the AC3 temperature Subcritical annealing below the AC1 temperature (2:00-2:15 p.m.) Break (2:15-3:15 p.m.) Lecture 3: Variables affecting the CG line annealing response. Influences of:  Composition, Hot band coiling temperature, % Cold reduction, Microalloying and Annealing path (new approaches) (3:15-4:15 p.m) Guided tour of research facilities on in Swanson School of Engineering (4:15 p.m.)  Adjourn

Sep
10
2018

Additive Manufacturing Researcher Xiayun Zhao Joins UPCAM

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Xiayun Sharon Zhao, Assistant ProfessorDr. Zhao received a B.S. in precision engineering from Tsinghua University, and M.S. and Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Georgia Tech. She worked as an instrumentation and control system engineer in Houston for a couple of years before pursuing her Ph.D. Her dissertation with advisor Dr. David Rosen was “Real-time Process Measurement and Control for Photopolymer Additive Manufacturing.” She received award of “Excellence in Graduate Polymer Research” from the American Chemical Society (ACS). She has published in journals including Measurement Science and Technology, Rapid Prototyping, and Additive Manufacturing. She has given over ten invited talks in academia and a dozen of presentations at conferences across disciplines of manufacturing, control and chemical. Her research focuses on real-time process monitoring, measurement science and control technology for additive manufacturing, as well as on advanced manufacturing (e.g., 3D/4D/Bio/Hybrid Printing) for multi-scale, multi-material and multi-functional structures and systems in novel applications. Read More about her work in Additive Manufacturing: http://additivemanufacturing.com/2018/09/07/additive-manufacturing-researcher-xiayun-zhao-joins-pitts-swanson-school-of-engineering/

Aug
28
2018

Oberg Industries and Swanson School of Engineering Extend Additive Manufacturing Research Partnership

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Article by Paul Kovach (August 28, 2018) … After a successful two-year inaugural collaboration, representatives from Oberg Industries and the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering have agreed to extend their research partnership. Established in 2016, the agreement capitalizes on the Swanson School’s faculty expertise in computational modeling and design optimization with Oberg expertise in complex tooling and precision machined or stamped metal components. With the renewed association, Oberg will continue to provide full-time employees in the Swanson School’s ANSYS Additive Manufacturing Research Laboratory (AMRL) to provide technical expertise to faculty and students while also engaging in corporate outreach for testing, design and prototyping. Oberg will promote the partnership to its customer partners to broaden corporate activity at Pitt while maintaining priority industrial access for its education, training, prototyping, testing, design and production uses.“Oberg was one of our first corporate partners in additive manufacturing and we are excited to continue this relationship,” said David Vorp, associate dean for research. “Our collaboration has enabled our faculty and students not only take full advantage of the AMRL capabilities but also have helped us attract outside funding.” Albert To, associate professor of mechanical engineering and materials science and one of Pitt’s AM researchers, added that Oberg was instrumental in helping to found the Swanson School’s Modeling & Optimization Simulation Tools for Additive Manufacturing (MOST-AM) Consortium. “MOST-AM has greatly helped us expand our reach to industry leaders in additive manufacturing, creating a win-win for our research and company growth,” Dr. To said. “My colleagues and I are grateful to Oberg Industries for being an inaugural partner and allowing us to better explore the potential for additive manufacturing.” “Our partnership with the University and the AMRL continues to drive innovation and value creation for our customer partners,” said David L. Bonvenuto, CEO of Oberg. “Teams from the University and Oberg are working together to help our customers design products that leverage the latest additive technology with the ability to do prototype builds, production and post-processing at the AMRL and Oberg.”Since 2014, additive manufacturing researchers at the Swanson School have attracted more than $10 million in grants from America Makes, National Energy Technology Laboratory, National Science Foundation, and Research for Advanced Manufacturing in Pennsylvania. ### About Oberg IndustriesHeadquartered just north of Pittsburgh, Pa., Oberg Industries is a diversified manufacturer with over 900 employees worldwide specializing in the production of advanced, precision machined or stamped metal components and precision tooling. With $150 million in sales, Oberg’s global manufacturing footprint includes operations in Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Costa Rica. Each manufacturing facility is ISO certified and operates under one or more of the following standards: ISO 9001:2015, ISO 13485:2003, and AS 9100:2009 Rev. D. Oberg is a strategic contract manufacturing partner for companies in the Aerospace, Automotive, Consumer/Industrial Products, Defense, Energy, Construction and Housing, Medical Device, Metal Packaging and Munitions markets. The company’s website is www.Oberg.com. 8/28/2018 Contact: Paul Kovach

Aug
21
2018

Department of Energy awards $750,000 to Pitt collaborating with UTRC for development of alloy components in fossil fuel power plants

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A research collaboration led by the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering is one of 15 national projects to receive nearly $8.8 million in Department of Energy (DOE) funding for cost-shared research and development initiatives to develop innovative technologies that enhance fossil energy power systems.The proposal, “Integrated Computational Materials and Mechanical Modeling for Additive Manufacturing of Alloys with Graded Structure Used in Fossil Fuel Power Plants,” was awarded to Wei Xiong, PhD (PI), assistant professor, and Albert To, PhD (Co-PI), associate professor in the Swanson School’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science. Their collaborator is Michael Klecka, PhD at the United Technologies Research Center (UTRC), headquartered in East Hartford, Connecticut. The team received $750,000 in DOE funding with $187,500 as the cost share. DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) in Pittsburgh will manage the selected projects.The team will focus on utilizing additive manufacturing (AM), or 3D printing, to construct graded alloys use for Advanced Ultra-Super Critical (AUSC) power plants at a shorter lead time and at lower costs. Utilizing the expertise in integrated computational materials engineering (ICME), the team at Pitt will develop a new modeling framework for wire-arc additive manufacturing at UTRC that integrates both materials modeling and mechanical simulation to design and manufacture superior alloy components for these power plants. “Wire-arc AM is a promising technique to build complex parts for fossil fuel plants. However, the operational environment of these plants requires resistance to very high stress, temperatures, and oxidation, and so we need to develop a new paradigm in computational design,” Dr. Xiong explained. Dr. To also noted, “Optimizing materials composition and processing strategy, combined with ICME modeling to improve the part design and reduce failure, will be a game-changer for the industry.”AM has significantly expanded the development of complex parts thanks to the joining of dissimilar alloys, enabling the creation of stronger, lighter, and more affordable components compared to traditional manufacturing. In particular, the ability to control the manufacture of a part’s micro- and macro-structure is what makes these components superior, but this requires greater computational control over the manufacturing. For these computational systems, Pitt and UTRC will utilize physics-based, process-structure-property models to simulate thermal history, melt pool geometry, phase stability, grain morphology/texture, and thus predict and control high-temperature oxidation, mechanical strength, and interface properties. “Thanks to additive manufacturing, in the future, industrial plants of various types will have the capability to repair or replace components on-site,” Dr. Klecka at UTRC said. “This will enable utilities to improve operations and invest resources more effectively.”Dr. Xiong’s research and the other projects fall under DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy’sCrosscutting Technology Research Program, which advances technologies that have a broad range of fossil energy applications. The program fosters innovative R&D in sensors and controls, modeling and simulation, high-performance materials, and water management.
Paul Kovach
Aug
21
2018

Gleeson leads in the field of high temperature corrosion

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Any industry that operates in a high- temperature environment needs structural and functional materials that can withstand heat and associated surface reactions. To help these materials resist corrosion at high temperatures, scientists have developed alloys and coatings that can naturally form a protective scale layer. While some think that research in this field is complete, Brian Gleeson, the Harry S. Tack Professor and Chair of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at the University of Pittsburgh, published an article in Nature Materials explaining that there is still much room for advancement and discovery. Gleeson leads the High Temperature Corrosion Lab in Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering where his group focuses on testing and assessing the high-temperature corrosion behavior of metallic alloys and coatings. “From a practical standpoint, any component that is exposed to a high temperature in a reactive environment is potentially at risk of excessive surface degradation,” said Gleeson. “This includes the aerospace, power generation, metal processing, automotive, waste incineration, and chemical processing industries. For these industries, high-temperature corrosion testing and assessment is often needed to aid in material selections or to generate essential design or life-prediction data.” Research by Gleeson and colleagues combines experiment with theory and advanced characterization to understand the complex interplay between the chemical and kinetic factors affecting protective-scale formation in single- and multi-oxidant environments. To provide extended protection, the scale that forms is typically an oxide (e.g., Al2O3, Cr2O3 or SiO2) that is both stable and adherent to the high-temperature component. The initial stage of corrosion reaction is an area where Gleeson believes there is considerable room for discovery. It is an important part of a given oxidation process where an alloy or coating composition forms a continuous thermally grown oxide (TGO) scale. “The TGO layer is critical because it makes the material more resilient to degradation in harsh environments,” said Gleeson. “The lifetime of a particular alloy or coating is determined by the tenacity of this layer and its ability to heal or reform in the event of damage.” Gleeson thinks that more can be done to gain a better understanding of this important step in the overall reaction. He said, “Commonly recognized oxidation theory lacks the ability to accurately predict whether a given alloy or coating composition will be able to form a continuous protective scale layer.” Researchers in the HTC Lab are probing the nature of scale formation under harsh environment conditions that mimic actual service. Beyond understanding the formation of the TGO layer, Gleeson believes that more needs to be understood about the complex oxidizing environments during the development of these scales. The type of gas surrounding the material or the level of humidity can play a major role in the lifetime of a material. “Water vapor, which is commonly found in these environments, is known to have a detrimental effect on the scale-forming process.” As detailed in his Nature Materials article, different scales develop on alloys oxidized in dry air than alloys oxidized in wet air containing 30 percent water vapor. “The oxidizing environment is becoming increasingly more complex and goes beyond just exposure to air. Moving forward, researchers will need to understand the role of oxidizing species, such as O2, H2O, and CO2, in affecting protective scales.” To gain a better overall understanding of the oxidation process, including the underlying kinetic and thermodynamic factors, Gleeson encourages researchers to improve experimental and computational methods to observe and model oxidation. He said, “Researchers need to develop a multiscale predictive understanding of this initial stage and focus on the interactions and effects of alloy constituents and gaseous oxidants.” According to Gleeson, “What largely stands in the way of advancing understanding on the kinetic and thermodynamic factors, which influence protective TGO-scale formation and maintenance in harsh service environments, is the misguided notion that high-temperature corrosion is a passé field with little room for discovery.”
Leah Russell
Aug
7
2018

Integrated Sensor Could Monitor Brain Aneurysm Treatment

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Implantation of a stent-like flow diverter can offer one option for less invasive treatment of brain aneurysms – bulges in blood vessels – but the procedure requires frequent monitoring while the vessels heal. Now, a multi-university research team has demonstrated proof-of-concept for a highly flexible and stretchable sensor that could be integrated with the flow diverter to monitor hemodynamics in a blood vessel without costly diagnostic procedures.The sensor, which uses capacitance changes to measure blood flow, could reduce the need for testing to monitor the flow through the diverter. Researchers, led by Georgia Tech, have shown that the sensor accurately measures fluid flow in animal blood vessels in vitro, and are working on the next challenge: wireless operation that could allow in vivo testing. The research was reported July 18 in the journal ACS Nano and was supported by multiple grants from Georgia Tech’s Institute for Electronics and Nanotechnology, the University of Pittsburgh and the Korea Institute of Materials Science. “The nanostructured sensor system could provide advantages for patients, including a less invasive aneurysm treatment and an active monitoring capability,” said Woon-Hong Yeo, an assistant professor in Georgia Tech’s George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering and Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University. “The integrated system could provide active monitoring of hemodynamics after surgery, allowing the doctor to follow up with quantitative measurement of how well the flow diverter is working in the treatment.” Read the Full Story Here: http://www.rh.gatech.edu/news/609264/integrated-sensor-could-monitor-brain-aneurysm-treatment
John Toon, Director of Research News, Georgia Tech
Aug
3
2018

Ravi Shankar and collaborators make a breakthrough in 4D printing

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Four-dimensional (4D) printed objects are 3D structures capable of changing shape in time. This transformation is achieved by using stimuli-responsive materials. University of Pittsburgh Professor Ravi Shankar and collaborators at the University of Texas at Dallas have now demonstrated a platform that may help improve the way researchers morph these structures. The collaboration was led by Taylor Ware, assistant professor of bioengineering at UT Dallas, and Cedric Ambulo, a graduate student researcher in Ware’s lab. The study, “Four-dimensional Printing of Liquid Crystal Elastomers” (DOI: 10.1021/acsami.7b11851), was published in ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces in October 2017. Since its release, it has achieved recognition as being “first of its kind” and was awarded best poster at the 2017 International Liquid Crystal Elastomer Conference. “Previous strategies for stimuli-responsive materials require mechanical programming, which involves physically manipulating the material by stretching or bending it to help program the actuation,” said Shankar, professor of industrial engineering at Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering. “In this work, we demonstrate a platform for programming the molecular-level order in macroscopic 3D structures so that the actuation can be triggered without external loading or training.” Their platform works by orienting molecules within a printable ‘ink’. On exposure to light, the ink cross-links into a rubbery material while maintaining molecular orientation. By controlling how the material is deposited, they can build 3D structures with encoded molecular orientation which allows for the control of the structure’s shape change when it is heated. The research team used liquid crystal elastomers (LCE), a polymer that can change shape in response to a variety of stimuli, including heat and light. “In order to undergo reversible shape change, LCEs should be cross-linked in an aligned state,” explained Shankar. “To do this, we controlled the print path used during 3D printing, whereby 3D structures with locally controlled and reversible stimulus response can be fabricated into geometries not achievable with current processing methods.” The resulting 4D models are capable of twisting, bending, and curving on demand. The structure will stay in one state until it is prompted by a stimulus to change shape. By printing objects with controlled geometry and stimulus response, the research team can create magnified shape transformations using snap-through instabilities. “Snap-through instabilities can be seen in nature when observing a venus flytrap catching their prey. The snapping action is used to magnify the power density and speed of actuation,” said Shankar. “Our group mimicked this action by creating curved geometries encoded with molecular-level programming that when exposed to a thermal stimulus, evolve and snap between discrete shapes.” Scientists are just scratching the surface for the future of this technology. According to Shankar, “There is a lot of potential for innovation with these unique materials. There are numerous applications for 4D printing including advancements in soft robotics, implantable medical devices, and consumer products.” This material is based upon work supported by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research under award number FA9550-17-1-0328. Any opinions, finding, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United States Air Force.
Leah Russell
Jul
26
2018

Manufacturing Engineer Mostafa Bedewy Lands $330K NSF Grant to Study “Nanotube Forests”

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Manufacturers use carbon nanotubes in a variety of commercial products from baseball bats and bicycle frames to aerospace structures. Attributes such as a tensile strength 20 times higher than steel and an electrical conductivity 10 times that of copper have caused the global carbon nanotube market to soar to $3.43 billion in 2016, and it is projected to double by 2022.To better understand and control the internal structure of nanotube-based materials for emerging applications, the National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded $330,000 to Mostafa Bedewy, assistant professor of industrial engineering at Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering. In this new NSF project titled “Functionally Graded Carbon Nanotubes by Dynamic Control of Morphology during Chemical Vapor Deposition,” Dr. Bedewy will employ a combination of experimental and modeling techniques to reveal the kinetics of activation and deactivation in large populations of carbon nanotubes known as “nanotube forests.”“In the community of carbon nanotube researchers, structures made of billions of vertically-aligned nanotubes are sometimes referred to as forests, turfs, arrays, or films, but I think the term “forest” best describes their complex intertwined and tortuous morphology,” says Dr. Bedewy. “Research efforts abound on how the size and atomic structure dictate the properties of individual nanotubes, but in my lab we are more interested in looking at these nanotube forests collectively to gain a fundamental understanding of how they behave together as a population.”Carbon nanotubes are hollow, cylindrical nanostructures consisting of single-sheets of carbon atoms. Their sizes are typically smaller than one ten-thousandth the width of a human hair. Random assortments of individual nanotubes appear in many technologies because of their desirable electrical, physical, and thermal properties; however, leveraging the exceptional collective mechanical, thermal and electrical properties of nanotube forests is very promising for applications that require directional energy and mass transport.Dr. Bedewy explains, “Our previous work has shown that when we grow nanotube forests by chemical vapor deposition, we end up with a significant variation of density, alignment, and size distribution across the height of each forest. These spatial variations directly impact their collective properties such as their behavior under mechanical loading.”Chemical vapor deposition (CVD) is a process that enables the synthesis of carbon nanotubes from catalyst nanoparticles by the decomposition and dissociation of hydrocarbon gases. CVD is the process of choice for industrial applications of nanotubes owing to its scalability and versatility, as well as the high quality of CVD-grown nanotubes. “I am very excited about this NSF grant, because it will enable us to create nanotube "forests" with tailored morphology, leveraging the unique capabilities of our custom-designed rapid-thermal chemical vapor deposition (RT-CVD) reactor, which will enable unprecedented control of nanotube density profiles,” says Dr. Bedewy.Emerging applications such as thermal interfaces for high power density devices, electrical interconnects for 3D electronics, and structural materials for mechanical energy absorption require greater control of the nanotube forest structures, and therefore, a better understanding is needed for how the forest morphology develops during the production process, i.e. during their collective growth by CVD.“Our work will shed light on the stochastic nature of how individual nanotubes "pop" into existence in a population of billions of neighboring nanotubes, whose growth is seeded from catalytically active nanoparticles. Revealing the interplay between the kinetics of this "birth" and "death" of nanotubes is key to understand their population behavior during growth, which dictates their overall hierarchical structure and collective properties,” says Dr. Bedewy. About the NanoProduct LabThe NanoProduct Lab (nanoproductlab.org), also known as the Bedewy Research Group, focuses on fundamental experimental research at the interface between nanoscience, biotechnology, and manufacturing engineering. The group explores basic scientific discoveries and applied technological developments in the broad area of advanced manufacturing at multiple length scales, creating solutions that impact major societal challenges in energy, healthcare, and the environment.
Matt Cichowicz, Communications Writer
Jul
9
2018

Pitt-led engineering team receives $1 million DOE award to improve 3D printing technology for nuclear industry

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PITTSBURGH (July 6, 2018) … Additive manufacturing (AM), or 3D printing, is an advanced manufacturing process capable of fabricating complex components by sintering layers of powders together. This process requires support structures to maintain the component’s structural integrity during printing. Unfortunately, removing these supports is not only expensive, but can also be difficult-to-impossible if the supports are located in the interior of the component.  This limits the adoption of AM by industries such as nuclear energy, which rely on cost-effective manufacturing of complex components.To find an effective solution to these complex processes, the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering will be the lead investigator on a $1 million award to advance design and manufacture of nuclear plant components via AM. The award is part of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)Office of Nuclear Energy’sNuclear Energy Enabling Technologies (NEET) program. The novel research will be directed by Albert To, associate professor of mechanical engineering and materials science (MEMS) at the Swanson School. Co-investigators include Wei Xiong, assistant professor of MEMS at Pitt, and Owen Hildreth, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at the Colorado School of Mines. Corporate collaborators in Pittsburgh include Curtiss-Wright Corporation and Jason Goldsmith at Kennametal Inc. Read More Here....

Jun
8
2018

Four dimensional printed structures may enable new generations of soft robotics, implantable medical devices and consumer products.

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UT-Dallas and Pitt Collaborate on 4D Printing Breakthrough Four-dimensional (4D) printing is a term that describes additive manufacturing of stimuli-responsive materials. This process results in three-dimensional structures capable of morphing between predetermined shapes after printing.  Previous material strategies require mechanical programming to achieve shape change or required that the material operate in water, however in this new publication, “Four-dimensional Printing of Liquid Crystal Elastomers” University of Pittsburgh Professor Ravi Shankar worked in partnership with UT Dallas faculty (Taylor H. Ware) and students (Cedric P. Ambulo, Julia J. Burroughs, Jennifer M. Boothby, Hyun Kim) demonstrate a platform for programming the molecular-level order in macroscopic 3D structures. Their idea centers on aligning liquid crystal elastomers by controlling the print path during printing, whereby 3D structures with locally controlled and reversible stimulus response can be fabricated into geometries not achievable with current processing methods.  Having been published in October 2017, this publication has achieved recognition from numerous research peers as being “first of its kind”, has been awarded the best poster award by the International Liquid Crystal Elastomer Conference 2017, and currently has a patent application pending. LCEs are a class of stimuli-responsive polymers that undergo large, reversible, anisotropic shape change in response to a variety of stimuli, including heat and light. Unlike many materials that undergo reversible shape change, these materials require neither external loads nor aqueous environments. The UT-Dallas/Pitt team also exploited this platform to create structures, which can snap between discrete geometries by exploiting snap-through instabilities. Snap-through instabilities have been observed in nature (e.g. Venus flytrap, Hummingbird’s beak..) to magnify the power density and speed of actuation. Utilizing similar ideas, this team showed how 3D printed, molecularly-ordered structures can snap between shapes and generate large actuation power-densities in response to an ambient stimulus (e.g. heat, light, solvent, etc.). Such actuators make ideal candidates for applications, including soft robotics, biomedical implants, adaptive optical structures etc.This material is based upon work partially supported by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research under award numbers FA9550-17-1-0328 and FA9550-14-1-0229." "Any opinions, finding, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United States Air Force."
Elizabeth Allison
Jun
4
2018

David Vorp named Fellow of the American Heart Association

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PITTSBURGH (June 4, 2018) ... David A. Vorp, Associate Dean for Research and John A. Swanson Professor of Bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering, was named a Fellow of the American Heart Association (FAHA) in recognition of his innovative and sustained contributions in scholarship, education, and volunteer service to the organization. Vorp’s election was conferred by the Council on Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology (ATVB) recognizing his work in those fields. Vorp’s lab applies its strengths in computational and experimental biomechanics, image analysis, cellular and molecular biology, and tissue engineering to understand and seek solutions to pathologies of tubular tissue and organs. His current research aims to develop regenerative treatments for vascular diseases such as aortic aneurysm and coronary heart disease. Read the Entire Article from SSoE News Here: http://www.engineering.pitt.edu/News/2018/Vorp-FAHA/

May
9
2018

NCDMM Honors Howard A. Kuhn as the Recipient of the 2018 Lawrence J. Rhoades Award

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Reposted from the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM). View the article here. Prestigious Award Recognizes Achievement in Dedication to Advancement of Manufacturing Technology Presented at NCDMM’s Annual SUMMIT Event Blairsville, Pa. — May 9, 2018. The National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM) proudly announces that today at its annual SUMMIT event, it awarded its highest honor, the Lawrence J. Rhoades Award, to Howard A. Kuhn, Ph.D., P.E. Each year, the NCDMM awards the Lawrence J. Rhoades Award to an individual who shares Mr. Rhoades’ tireless commitment, futuristic vision, and unwavering dedication to the defense manufacturing industry. “On behalf of all of us at the NCDMM, I am most honored to present the Lawrence J. Rhoades Award to our long-time friend and esteemed colleague, Dr. Howard Kuhn,” said NCDMM President and Executive Director Ralph Resnick. “Throughout his illustrious 50-year career, Howard has been a force within both the manufacturing industry and academic institutions, serving as an esteemed, innovative thought-leader and mentor. Howard also shares many of the same extraordinary qualities as Larry Rhoades and namesake of this award. You could say they are cut from the same cloth. Like Larry, Howard is also a visionary, as well as a collaborator in the truest sense of the word, possessing an almost effortless ability to bring and inspire mutual efforts together to advance manufacturing technology for the betterment of our industry. He has set a standard that many aspire to meet. “Therefore, in recognition of his tireless commitment, steady leadership, dedication, and actions on behalf of the national manufacturing community and the mission of NCDMM, we congratulate Dr. Howard Kuhn as the 2018 NCDMM Lawrence J. Rhoades Awardee,” continued Mr. Resnick. NCDMM established the Lawrence J. Rhoades Award to honor the memory of Mr. Rhoades whose entrepreneurial spirit and dedication to the advancement of manufacturing processes was known industry-wide. Mr. Rhoades was one of the founding fathers of the NCDMM, and an inaugural member of the Board of Directors where he served until his untimely death in 2007. At the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering, Dr. Kuhn is an adjunct Professor in industrial engineering, instructing courses in manufacturing, product realization, entrepreneurship, and additive manufacturing. He also conducts research on additive manufacturing of biomedical devices for tissue engineering at the University. Dr. Kuhn also serves as a consultant at local industry-leading organizations, including America Makes, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, which is managed by the NCDMM, and The Ex One Company. At America Makes, he is a Technical Advisor, teaching a course, titled “Fundamentals of Additive Manufacturing Materials and Processes.” Upon its founding in August 2012, Dr. Kuhn also served as the Acting Deputy Director of Advanced Manufacturing Enterprise. At Ex One, he is currently a Research Consultant, but also previously served as the Director of Prometal Technology for Ex One. Previously, Dr. Kuhn, as the co-founder of Concurrent Technologies Corporation (CTC), served as the company’s Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for 12 years. He also co-founded Deformation Control Technology, a consulting firm serving the metalworking industry. Prior to this, Dr. Kuhn held joint appointments in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Department of Material Science at Drexel University and the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Kuhn is a Fellow of the American Society for Materials International and SME. In 2008 and 2011, respectively, he received the ASM Gold Medal and the SME Eli Whitney Productivity Award. In 2014, America Makes awarded Dr. Kuhn with its Distinguished Collaborator Award for his exceptional commitment and dedication to advancing additive manufacturing technology, practices, and innovation in the manufacturing industry through collaborative partnerships and contributing to the overall mission of America Makes. Dr. Kuhn is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University and pursued all of his undergraduate, graduate, and doctorial degrees in mechanical engineering at the university. He is a registered professional engineer in Pennsylvania. ### About NCDMM NCDMM delivers optimized manufacturing solutions that enhance the quality, affordability, maintainability, and rapid deployment of existing and yet-to-be developed defense systems. This is accomplished through collaboration with government, industry, and academic organizations to promote the implementation of best practices to key stakeholders through the development and delivery of disciplined training, advanced technologies, and methodologies. NCDMM also manages the national accelerator for additive manufacturing (AM) and 3DP printing (3DP), America Makes—the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute. For additional information, visit NCDMM at ncdmm.org. NCDMM, 5/9/2018

Apr
30
2018

Mostafa Bedewy named a 2018 recipient of the Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineers Award

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Dr. Bedewy has been selected to receive the 2018 Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineer Award from the Society of Manufacturing Engineering (SME).  This award is given to exceptional young manufacturing engineers (35 years old or younger) from academia and industry for their contributions in manufacturing. At the University of Pittsburgh, Bedewy leads its NanoProduct Lab. Previously, he was a postdoctoral associate at MIT in bionanofabrication. In 2013, Bedewy completed his doctorate at the University of Michigan, after receiving both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical design and production engineering from Cairo University. He recently received the Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award from the Oak Ridge Associated Universities in 2017; the Robert A. Meyer Award from the American Carbon Society in 2016; the Richard and Eleanor Towner Prize for Distinguished Academic Achievement from the University of Michigan in 2014; and the Silver Award from the Materials Research Society in 2013. Bedewy’s research interests include nanomanufacturing, materials characterization and metrology; synthesis and self-organization of low-dimensional materials; self-assembly of nanoparticles, block copolymers and proteins; and design of medical devices. “In our interdisciplinary research group, we leveraging precision engineering, biomimetic/bio-inspired designs, and quantitative tools to tackle fundamental research questions at the interface between nanoscience, biotechnology, and manufacturing engineering,” said Dr. Bedewy. “This is an incredibly competitive award, and we are proud that Mostafa has been recognized by his peers for his advances in nonmanufacturing and nanoscience,” noted Bopaya Bidanda, the Ernst Roth Professor and Chair of the Department of Industrial Engineering. “His interdisciplinary research has been a great addition to our department and this award truly validates his impact in the field.” Link: News article on the website of the Swanson School of EngineeringLink: List of winners of the winners of the 2018 SME Outstanding Young Manufacturing EngineersLink: ORAU award recipients

Mar
20
2018

Makerspace at Pitt MAC Creates Opportunity For Community Involvement

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Last week, the University of Pittsburgh celebrated the launch of a new makerspace at its Manufacturing Assistance Center in Homewood with a small ceremony. The facility will feature tools including a 3D printer and woodworking equipment and host a series of instructional workshops on different “making” techniques. "The makerspace helps entrepreneurs design products, develop products, prototype products and begin to manufacture them in small batches," said Bopaya Bidanda, chair of the industrial engineering department at Pitt and the center’s director. Listen to Dr. Bidanda's interview here: http://wesa.fm/post/makerspace-homewood-facility-creates-opportunity-community-involvement#stream/0

Mar
8
2018

Change for Rust Belt Chemical Manufacturers

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Despite other economic sectors like higher education and healthcare embracing new technology in the region, manufacturers often tighten their rusty belts rather than invest in innovation. The reluctance to change has dulled their competitive edge for decades; however, Dr. Veser’s two new research collaborations between academia and industry, backed by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and totaling nearly $10 million, look to give American manufacturing a long overdue overhaul. Dr. Veser leads a team of researchers from Pitt and Ohio-based chemical manufacturer Lubrizol in a collaboration totaling $8 million over four years. Funding for the research comes from Lubrizol and the DOE’s Rapid Advancement in Process Intensification Deployment (RAPID) Manufacturing Institute—a five-year, $70 million commitment to improving energy efficiency and lowering investment requirements for American manufacturers looking for upgrades. Read More: https://stage.engineering.pitt.edu/News/2018/G%C3%B6tz-Veser-Process-Intensification/

Mar
1
2018

Project Aims to Recycle the Unrecyclable

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Distinguished Service Professor and co-director of the University of Pittsburgh Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation Eric Beckman, along with Assistant Professor Susan Fullerton and Associate Professor Sachin Velankar, is looking to create a recyclable material that can replace types of plastic packaging that can't be recycled due to their use of various layers of materials that can't be separated. Read More: https://www.pittwire.pitt.edu/news/project-aims-recycle-unrecyclable

Jan
31
2018

Pitt “Inventor Labs” Look to Inspire the Next Generation of Green Engineers

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A new grant awarded to the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering will encourage collaboration between university engineering students and K-12 students across the region. The funding will support the creation of Inventor Labs that strengthen community ties by providing hands-on learning spaces in underserved schools and communities in the region. Read More: http://www.engineering.pitt.edu/News/2018/Sanchez-Energy-to-Educate-Award/

Jan
23
2018

Vascular Bypass Grafting: A Biomimetic Engineering Approach

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Pitt bioengineer Jonathan Vande Geest and his research team receive a $673K NIH grant to construct a biomimetic, small-diameter vascular graft. Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh are developing synthetic grafts that mimic the body’s own blood vessels to mitigate many of the complications of bypass surgery. Read More: http://www.engineering.pitt.edu/News/2018/Vande-Geest-Vascular-Graft/

Jan
16
2018

Using Novel Stent, Pitt Researchers Aim to Double Number of Successful Organ Donations

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Each year, the United States experiences an extreme shortage of organ donations, and many transplantable organs stop receiving vital blood flow after a donor’s heart fails. The Department of Surgery is collaborating with the Swanson School of Engineering for the study, which will develop a stent made of smart material to direct selective blood flow during transplant surgeries to target organs, keeping them fresh and usable for patients in need. Read More: https://www.pittwire.pitt.edu/news/using-novel-stent-pitt-researchers-aim-double-number-successful-organ-donations

Jan
5
2018

Congratulations to our recent class of Pitt MAC CNC Programming/Operations graduates

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Congratulations in particular to Marj Thomas. Marj will be starting her new job at Penn United on Monday. We could not be more thrilled for her and wish all of our graduates the best of luck. #h2p #PittMAC #womeninmanufacturing Read More: https://www.facebook.com/upittmac/

Dec
24
2017

Microscopic Glass Structures Could Help Improve Solar Panel Performance

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Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh are working to improve the next generation of solar panels. They’re using something called fused silica glass. Imagine tiny blades of grass, almost 1,000 times thinner than a human hair, tightly packed together. Dr. Leu and Sajad's work on nanograss glass was featured in Pittsburgh NPR Tech Report, EurekAlert!, R&D Magazine, Electronics 360, pvbuzz, and pv magazine.
Liza Allison
Dec
18
2017

The holidays came a little early with the Rabbit Laser installation at the #MACMakerspace.

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The MAC Makerspace will be available for the community and offer educational programming, small business development and classes. Stay tuned for details regarding our grand opening!  Read More: https://www.facebook.com/upittmac/
Liza Allison
Dec
8
2017

Dr. Bedewy wins the Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award

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Dr. Bedewy has been selected to receive the 2017 Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award from Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) for his proposed research on developing methods for controlling the growth of vertically aligned carbon nanotubes in order to tailor their properties for specific energy applications. Read More: http://nanoproductlab.org/dr-bedewy-wins-the-ralph-e-powe-junior-faculty-enhancement-award/

Nov
28
2017

Pitt and UPMC Researchers Collaborate to Save More Organs for Transplants

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Each year, the United States suffers an extreme shortage of organ donations, with only a quarter of patients in need receiving a transplant. Many transplantable organs are lost when a donor’s heart fails, and the organs stop receiving vital blood flow. Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh can potentially double the amount of successful organ donations by developing a novel stent to maintain blood flow to organs, even during the donor’s final heart beats. Read More: http://www.engineering.pitt.edu/News/2017/Chun-Organ-Transplant-Stent/

Oct
19
2017

Evan Poska presents a poster on the self-folding shape memory polymer

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On Thursday 10/19/2017, Evan Poska (undergraduate researcher in the NanoProduct Lab) presented a poster at the Science 2017 Undergraduate Research Poster Reception, held in Alumni Hall (J. W. Connolly Ballroom) at the University of Pittsburgh. Read More: http://nanoproductlab.org/evan-poska-presents-a-poster-on-the-self-folding-shape-memory-polymer/
Liza Allison
Oct
12
2017

MS&T17 in Pittsburgh!

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The Materials Science and Technology Conference for 2017 was held in Pittsburgh during October 8-12. From the Chmielus group, we had: Dr. Markus Chmielus gave an invited talk in the Additive Manufacturing of Functional Materials symposium, and also co-chaired the same symposium. Jakub Toman gave a talk on epitaxial growth of Ni-Mn-Ga. Amir Mostafaei gave a talk on the effect of surface roughness on additive manufactured alloy 625 samples, and presented a poster on the additive manufacturing of denture frames. Erica Stevens presented a poster on the additive manufacturing of magnetocaloric materials. Colleen Hilla (UG) gave a talk on the characterization of atomized powders using microCT. Katerina Kimes (UG) gave a talk on the additive manufacturing of magnetocaloric materials. Read More: http://chmieluslab.org/mst17-in-pittsburgh/

Sep
18
2017

PITT WINS UNIVERSITY DIVISION GREEN WORKPLACE CHALLENGE

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Sustainable Pittsburgh revealed the top scorers of the 2016-2017 Pittsburgh Green Workplace Challenge (GWC) during an evening celebration at the Senator John Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh’s Strip District.  A yearlong, friendly competition, the GWC enables businesses, nonprofits, municipalities, and universities to track and measure improvements in energy, water, waste, and transportation.  More than 90 employers from throughout southwestern Pennsylvania completed the competition, twice the number from the previous GWC. Congratulations to the Top Scorers! Read More: http://sustainablepittsburgh.org/announcing-the-top-sustainable-employers-in-southwestern-pa-winners-of-the-green-workplace-challenge/

Aug
24
2017

DINING SERVICES EXPANDS SUSTAINABLE PRACTICES AND FOOD OPTIONS

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The student Grub Club has spoken: This fall, Pitt’s dining halls feature new recipes from around the globe and an expanded variety of plant-based dishes, as well as locally sourced organic chicken. And there’s an emphasis on sustainability — even in the to-go containers and bags at Pitt’s grocery spots. Read More: https://www.pittwire.pitt.edu/news/dining-services-expands

Aug
7
2017

Pitt Engineering Students Find Sustainable Solutions through Summer Research

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At the 14th Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium (URP) hosted by the Swanson School’s Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation, students presented the results of their multidisciplinary approaches to sustainable engineering. Research for the 17 student projects took place during the 12-week URP summer program. The students worked independently on their projects but received guidance from University of Pittsburgh faculty mentors. Read More: http://www.engineering.pitt.edu/News/2017/URP-Symposium-MCSI/

Aug
1
2017

PMMD Lab will develop computational tools for additive manufacturing with the QuesTek Innovations LLC supported by a NASA STTR grant

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PMMD lab together with Dr. Albert To's group in mechanical engineering will collaborate with the QuesTek Innovations LLC developing an ICME modeling tool for the additive manufacturing. This project is a STTR phase I project to proof the concept proposed by QuesTek and Pitt on ICME modeling of additive manufacturing. The project will work on process-structure-property modeling for advanced alloys. Expect Victory!

Aug
1
2017

RapidReadyTech.com and AdditiveManufacturing.com interview Prof. Wei Xiong

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As the cost of 3D printers comes down, more and more industries have begun to explore the potential of the technology, hoping to expand its application from prototyping to actual production roles. In the process, demand for more metal options has increased. Unfortunately, the number of metals and alloys that can be printed remains fairly limited. Read the Article: http://www.rapidreadytech.com/2017/08/tooling-up-for-3d-printable-steel/ Read the Article: http://additivemanufacturing.com/2017/08/14/pittsburghs-swanson-school-of-engineering-on-board-with-new-metallic-alloy-compositions-for-additive-manufacturing-am/

Jul
18
2017

Chmielus Group Presents at ICOMAT 2017

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We're back from ICOMAT 2017 in Chicago! ICOMAT - International Conference on Martensitic Transformations Below are some of the highlights of our trip!   Monday: Erica gave a talk describing recent progress with laser-deposited magnetocaloric Ni-Mn-Co-Sn. Amir and Katerina presented posters on binder jet printing of magnetocaloric and magnetic shape… Read More: http://chmieluslab.org/icomat-2017/

Jun
12
2017

Dr. Wei Xiong received $449,000 funding support from ONR to design additive manufacturing steels

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Thanks to a three year, $449,000 award from the Office of Naval Research (ONR), the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering will explore next-generation metals, especially steel, for use in additive manufacturing. Read More: https://wxiong.weebly.com/news/dr-wei-xiong-received-funding-support-from-onr-to-design-additive-manufacturing-steels

Jun
1
2017

Dr. Leu's research was featured in the Swanson School of Engineering Annual Report.

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https://issuu.com/pittswanson/docs/2016_swanson_school_of_engineering_/24?e=8116214/2406130