Momentum Volume 1 | UCF MAE | 2016-17

Page 1

LETTER FROM THE CHAIR Dear Friends of the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE) Department,

Yoav Peles, Ph. D. Professor and Chair

MOMENTUM Magazine | Fall 2017

MAE MOMENTUM is published by the UCF Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department 12760 Pegasus Drive Orlando, FL 32816 Contact Editor and Design Paul M Kelly Like us on Facebook

1 | MOMENTUM Fall 2017

I am excited to open this new edition of the MAE magazine and I hope you will enjoy reading about some of the many success stories from our faculty, students, and alumni. For this first issue of MAE MOMENTUM, we decided to emphasize stories from recent faculty hires, although we have many achievements to celebrate from our accomplished faculty members. It has been a long journey since I started here at UCF towards the end of 2014. Much has changed during the last two and a half years. For starters, we hired 20 new faculty members, bringing our total to 41 — including 13 tenure track assistant professors, one senior tenured faculty member, four lecturers, one instructor, and one professor who is the Director of Engineering. Dr. Alain Kassab is leading a new master degree program in biomedical engineering. The program began in Fall 2016 and is already becoming very popular. Dr. Kassab and the biomedical faculty cohort are planning a new Ph.D. program in Biomedical Engineering. Concurrently, Dr. Seetha Raghavan and Dr. Jeff Kauffman are working tirelessly to secure a Ph.D. program in Aerospace Engineering. We hope that these efforts will come to fruition in the next couple of years. Thanks to the efforts of Dr. Jihua Gou, the number of Ph.D. students has almost doubled to nearly 130 and the number of graduate applicants has more than doubled, allowing the Department

to be extremely selective and recruit top notch Ph.D. students. The number of students graduating with a Ph.D. degree is rapidly increasing and is expected to be in the 30s in a couple of years. We have been able to secure about 30 Ph.D. fellowships a year for incoming Ph.D. students (i.e., most new Ph.D. students receive at least a one-year fellowship). Faculty members are supporting about 60 additional graduate students from external research contracts and awards. In addition, the Department has about 40 graduate teaching assistants (GTA). While the undergraduate student population has risen at the same time, the rate of increase has slowed down considerably. Under the leadership of Dr. Hyoung Jin Cho, we have successfully received another six-year accreditation from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) for both the Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering programs. Consolidation of service courses and recalibration of current course offering have helped mitigate teaching load. The undergraduate program is going through major upgrades. The foundation courses are now transitioning into mixed teaching mode. Several large courses are moving into the Evaluation and Proficiency Center (EPC), which focuses on selfpaced and instructor-assisted exam review and skills development. The faculty members are introducing problem and project based learning (PBL) modules into the classroom. Perhaps the most significant change to the undergraduate

CONTENTS program is the complete overhaul of the Senior Design (SD) experience. Under the guidance of Dr. Mark Steiner, the Director of Engineering Design, and Kurt Stresau, the Senior Design Coordinator, upper class undergraduate students are now engaged in real world sponsored industry projects that provide a truly meaningful design experience to better prepare them to take on strategic engineering jobs. By tripling the number of machinists, the machine shop is also undergoing major upgrades. The planned major procurement of a new advanced CNC machine, together with the new manufacturing course offering, will enhance students’ preparedness to pursue advanced manufacturing jobs upon graduation. The Center for Advanced Turbomachinery and Energy Research (CATER), led by Professor Jay Kapat, took off impressively and secured a number of very competitive, multi-million-dollar grants. CATER’s partnerships with Siemens, General Electric, Alstom, Aerojet Rocketdyne, and Embraer have reached new heights and has cemented UCF’s position as a hub for university-industry joint research ventures. Eight new staff members joined the department — two in the Student Advising Office (Amanda and Bonnie), three in the main office (Noreen, Paul and Rodrigo), one in the accounting department (Tami), and two in the machine shop (Freddy and Clarence). While several members left, the department gained a net of three staff members (two in the machine shop and in the main office). To help support the growth of the graduate program, Ms. Amanda Barratt’s position was reclassified as Coordinator. I would like to conclude with a special thank you to Mr. Paul M Kelly, our Senior Information Specialist, who is not only the de facto editor-in-chief, but also designed the magazine. Please enjoy the fall issue of MAE MOMENTUM.


Letter from the Chair


Building Momentum


How Did I Get Here?


Exploring Brain Dynamics: Step by Step


Ask MAE Alumni Anything - How Did You Land Your Dream Job?


Engineering Students Earn Prestigious Fellowships


Winter is Coming - Regain Your Thrones

ENROLLMENT 2016-2017

UNDERGRADUATE Aerospace Engineering Students 875 Mechanical Engineering Students 2,042 GRADUATE Aerospace Master’s Students 40 Mechanical Master’s Students 83 Mechanical Doctoral Students 110

University of Central Florida College of Engineering and Computer Science ranked #75 Sincerely in the U.S. News 2018 rankings for Best Grad Schools for Engineering Yoav Peles, MAE Department Chair

Mechanical Engineering ranked #69

UCF Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department | 2



The University of Central Florida landed two grants worth more than $1.25 million, which will help the Department of Energy accelerate the introduction of affordable, scalable and sustainable high-performance alternative fuels for use in high-efficiency, lowemission vehicle engines. UCF and seven other teams won a total of eight grants.

MAE Professor Joins Scientific Reports Editorial Board Dr. Ranganathan Kumar was asked to join the Editorial Board of Scientific Reports, an online, open access journal from the publishers of Nature.

Photo by Barbara Abney

UCF Engineering Researchers Land Two of Eight U.S. Dept of Energy Grants to Accelerate Biofuel Research


UCF Technology May Give Patients with Heart Disease Options


UCF Engineer Earns NSF CAREER Award

The National Science Foundation selected Dr. Shawn Putnam for a Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award for his work that is projected to revolutionize the way electronic devices use and dissipate heat. Dr. Jayanta Kapat was featured in a Power Engineering article, “Industry, UCF team to fuel Florida’s ‘Turbine Turnpike.’”

Dr. Alain Kassab earned the American Heart Association Grant in Aid entitled “Hemodynamics of Novel Hybrid Approach to Comprehensive Stage II Operation for Single Ventricle.” 3 | MOMENTUM Fall 2017

Dr. Hansen Mansy is working with local hospitals and a medical startup company on a credit-card sized device that will provide an early warning system for people who have been diagnosed with heart failure. The project is possible thanks to a $1.3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy (FE) selected projects under nine topic areas to receive $5.4 million in federal funding to support university-based fundamental turbine research. Topic Area 1—Low-NOx Combustion Technology Development for “Air-Breathing” Advanced Turbines Improving NOx Entitlement with Axial Staging— Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University (Daytona, Fla.) along with University of Central Florida (Orlando, FL.) will evaluate axial-staged combustor designs using fuel-flexible, low-emission turbine combustion. Axial staging is an important technology capable


Two Engineering Professors Receive UCF’s Highest Faculty Honor

MAE Assistant Professor Wins Early Career Engineer Award

Drs. Jayanta Kapat and Alain Kassab received

Pegasus Professor awards, the highest academic honor an educator can receive at UCF. Honorees must have worked at the university at least five years and have conducted research or developed programs that have made national and international impact.

The ASME International Gas Turbine Institute selected Dr. Subith Vasu as the 2017 Dilip R. Ballal Early Career Engineer Award winner. The Early Career Award honors an individual’s outstanding accomplishments during the first seven years of his career.

of improving engine efficiency without increasing emissions. The results of this work will guide strategies to improve efficiency, reduce emissions, and improve performance of power generation combustion systems. DOE Funding: $600,000; Non-DOE Funding: $203,247; Total Funding: $803,247 (University of Central Florida share is $653,247) Topic Area 5—Advanced Instrumentation In-situ Optical Monitoring of Operating Gas Turbine Blade Coatings Under Extreme Environments—The University of Central Florida (Orlando, FL.) will research and develop advanced monitoring techniques to ensure the integrity and durability of thermal barrier coatings used on turbine components. The team will use key properties of optical radiation to gain diagnostic information on high-temperature performance. The monitoring technique will be demonstrated at laboratory scale with the goal of future implementation for gas-turbine-ready conditions. DOE Funding: $600,000; Non-DOE Funding: $279,488; Total Funding: $879,488

Photo courtesy of OPCW

Photo by Courtney Shapiro

Dr. Jeffrey Kauffman earned a 3-year grant for $510,000 from the Office of Naval Research for “Integrated Smart Turbomachinery Blades for Cooperative Vibration Reduction”.


UCF Honors Luminary Leaders for Changing the World Drs. Jayanta Kapat and Subith Vasu were honored during UCF’s inaugural Luminary Award presentations for making an impact on the world. The event honored academic leaders in their field whose contributions to the world are making a significant impact.

Dr. Faissal Moslehy was promoted to Emeritus status at the end of 2016 after 36 years with the University of Central Florida.

L to R: Dr. Shawn Putnam, Dr. Hansen Mansy, Dr. John C. Hitt, Dr. Alain Kassab, Dr. Subith Vasu

UCF Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department | 4



never enjoyed school. Even as a child, I could never grasp my peers’ excitement at the prospect of a new school year. That endof-summer-mourning continued through my post-secondary studies until, mercifully, it was time for my Ph.D. hooding. With salutation fresh in hand, I was ready to leave academia behind and begin my career. The only thing I knew for certain was that I was done with school. I vowed never to return. So, ironically, I now find myself amongst the professorial ranks on a tenure track.

How did I get here? 5 | MOMENTUM Fall 2017

By Andrew Dickerson, Ph.D.

“My name is David Hu and I study how insects walk on water, how snakes move, and how grain blows in the wind.” Dr. Hu, my fluids professor at Georgia Tech, redefined the world of engineering and shifted how I viewed science. I had also found my science guide. Over the next four years, I studied how mammals efficiently dry themselves by shaking water from their bodies, discovered that insects survive raindrop collisions by virtue of their low mass, and how thin insect wings are susceptible to folding by the capillary forces imposed by dewfall. Dr. Hu was an unusual scientist that relished in pushing against the status quo. As a result, I enjoyed a fair amount of media attention from my work; speaking to numerous media outlets, appearing on television, in documentaries, and traveling to the UK for a BBC shoot of Monsoon. Our work sparked the interest of general audiences and lent itself to outreach and articles in Popular Mechanics. After graduation, I joined an aerospace engineering company. The job allowed me to move to a different location every 9 months. Each location had its own product line, culture, and a new area to explore. Those twenty or so months were a time of professional enlightenment, reflection, and, ultimately, boredom. I worked in wildly different fields of composites, polymers, electronics, and heat exchangers. Nevertheless, I felt constrained, underutilized, and

stifled by company culture. My professional outlook did not excite me. I was left to reflect on what I valued most in a career: challenge, flexibility, and self-direction. I missed the creative thought and technical nature of my time at Georgia Tech. Today, I sit in my office on the campus of the University of Central Florida with a renewed perspective. I am fortunate to be here, engaging in science and influencing young minds. I relish the freedom of thought and the storytelling that goes along with scientific publishing. My research interests remain inspired by nature and heavily influenced by my unique advisor, whom I strive to emulate in many ways. In the Dickerson Lab, we are investigating the mechanics behind the microscale jets that citrus fruits produce in response to externally applied bending forces. Bending of the peel compresses the soft material surrounding the glands, increasing fluid pressure. Ultimately, the fluid pressure exceeds the failure strength of the outermost membrane and the ensuing high-velocity discharge of oil and exhaustive emptying of oil glands creates a novel method for jetting small quantities of fluid. The jetting oil undergoes an initial acceleration surpassing 5,000 gravities, reaching velocities in excess of 10 m/s. We hope this work will aid the creation of new medicine delivery devices, such as single-use

inhalers, and open new avenues of fluid dispersal. In another work, we are attempting to understand mosquito interactions with human hosts. We seek to find the critical size and shape of the opening in a bed net fabric through which a mosquito cannot enter, thereby assessing the risk that holes in bed nets pose to humans sleeping beneath. Along the way, we will discover how mosquitoes search for, detect, and enter small holes. We hope these results will not only save lives, but enhance the deployment of insect-sized robots. Once a mosquito has landed on a surface - human or otherwise - it must eventually takeoff. We

push is similar to how humans use their legs to jump. On very smooth surfaces, a traditional push-start is not so effective as feet slip; similar to a human trying to jump from ice. Instead, mosquitoes prefer to raise their hind legs high into the air and slap them quickly against the ground. The resulting reaction gives its body the boost it needs to begin stable flight. These projects provide a glimpse of the work ongoing in the Dickerson Lab, which spans biology, fluid mechanics, dynamics, and insect control. If you had told me when I was the boy who couldn’t wait to leave school that I’d one day be

STINK TANK Dickerson Lab studies the mechanics of mosquitoes, but before landing on the ideal insect, Dr. Dickerson experimented with other subjects. One such subject, the fly, turned out to be less-than-ideal for studying flight mechanics. When flies are placed in a confined area, they suddenly choose to walk or crawl around the tank, rather than fly. Also, a tank full of flies produces a very unwelcoming odor. discovered that takeoff strategies and performance are dependent on the texture of a surface and that female mosquitoes take to the air with greater velocity. On roughened surfaces, such as those mimicking skin, mosquitoes push with their legs to generate upward velocity prior to the onset of flapping. This

engaged in such topics, I wouldn’t have believed you. So, how did I get here? I said ‘yes’ to the opportunities presented before me. I embraced challenges and allowed my fascination with nature and love of freedom fuel my pursuits. To learn more about Dickerson Lab, visit

UCF Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department | 6

Exploring Brain Dynamics: Step by Step


By Helen Huang, Ph.D. ngineers have been able to build spaceships that have put humans into space and allowed humans to walk on the moon, yet we still don’t understand how humans walk. Engineers have also been able to build robots that look like humans, but we have yet to build a humanoid robot that can move and adapt as smoothly and gracefully as humans. In fact, there is still much to discover about how humans move and why humans move in a particular manner. The role of brain in the control of walking, balance, and the process of re-learning how to walk is a scientific frontier that researchers have only recently begun to explore. In the Biomechanics, Rehabilitation, and Interdisciplinary Neuroscience (BRaIN) Laboratory at UCF, lab director Dr. Helen J. Huang, (Assistant Professor in the Biomedical Engineering Program in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department) and her team members work to develop a comprehensive understanding of how humans move and adapt their movements when navigating about in a dynamic world. Let’s consider a seemingly simple task such as retrieving the mail from a mailbox located by the curb on the street in front of the house. After walking out of your house, there are several paths you could choose to take. A straight-line path may require transitioning from the hard surface of the sidewalk to the squishiness of grass to the unevenness of mulch. It may also require walking 7 | MOMENTUM FALL 2017

along a slope. Rather than taking a straight-line path, you could just follow the walkway, which likely involves a few turns as well as changes in slope. If you live in a neighborhood with kids or animals, you may also be on the lookout for footballs, soccer balls, kids riding scooters, roaming cats, squirrels, among many other unexpected objects that could suddenly appear in your path. While the weather is often nice in Florida, it also rains frequently, which can make a simple walk to the mailbox much more challenging when the ground is wet. These days, it is quite common for people to walk while texting or checking email on our smartphones, which just seem to be so difficult to disconnect from and put away. How does the brain coordinate the 600+ muscles in the human body to accomplish this seemingly simple task of retrieving the mail from the mailbox amidst all of these dynamic variables? The BRaIN Lab’s research focuses on neuromechanics, which is the interaction of neuroscience and biomechanics. In particular, the BRaIN Lab focuses on studying brain dynamics involved in human locomotion and balance. Some of the big picture questions that the BRaIN Lab is trying to answer are “what are the brain processes involved during walking and balance control,” “what brain processes are critical for being able to adapt movement patterns,” and “how do these brain processes change as people grow older?”

Using a high-density electroencephalography (EEG) system, the BRaIN Lab is able to record signals from the brain as people actually walk and exercise. EEG measures electrical activity on the scalp that can be processed to reveal signals originating from specific brain areas. Of all of the brain imaging techniques, only EEG can reveal what is going from step to step because it is mobile, which means you can record EEG as people are actually walking and based on electrical signals, which has a millisecond resolution. Few groups in the world are using EEG during walking because EEG signals are highly susceptibility to being contaminated by movement artifact, muscle, and ocular signals. Dr. Huang helped to develop an innovative method to isolate and measure the electrical signals generated by body movements, or movement artifact. This expertise enables the UCF BRaIN Lab to better separate brain signals from artifact signals during walking. The BRaIN Lab also measures muscle activity using electromyography (EMG) and body kinematics using motion capture, which is a system with multiple cameras that tracks reflective markers placed on the body that define a skeletal model from which joint angles and limb angles can be calculated. By synchronizing the EEG, EMG, and body kinematics, the team can link specific brain processes with specific phases of the walking cycle such as pushing off the ground to take the next step. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the associated costs of falling among older adults will be $100 billion by 2030, and falls among older adults are currently considered a major public health problem. Most falls, >99.9%, are unintentional and typically occur when walking or turning on level ground. Better understanding of how the brain and body respond to dynamic and disrupting walking

conditions could lead to strategies for improved balance control, reduced, fall risk, and fewer fall-related injuries. To see how people respond to dynamic and disrupting walking conditions, the BRaIN Lab uses perturbations, which briefly impede or disrupt movements, to see how people respond. They can create mechanical perturbations using a dual belt instrumented treadmill to suddenly change the belt speed for one leg, change the incline/decline of the treadmill, or translate the treadmill side-to-side. These perturbations create a small loss of balance. The BRaIN Lab is looking to determine how people adapt to these perturbations. Do people learn to anticipate the perturbation and adjust their stepping patterns in anticipation of the perturbation? Or do people simply react to the perturbations? Preliminary results so far suggest that people do both and that there are differences in the timing of brain activity in the anterior cingulate, a brain area associated with error detection monitoring, between young and older adults. In August 2017, Dr. Huang and her co-investigator, Dr. Carolynn Patten from the University of Florida, were awarded a National Institutes of Health (NIH) R01 grant titled “Adaptation of Brain and Body Responses to Perturbations During Gait in Young and Older Adults,� funded by the National Institute on Aging. This is a 5 year grant totaling ~$1.46 Million. If you are interested in learning more about how you walk and how much of your brain you use when you walk, please contact for information on how to get involved. With your help, the UCF BRaIN Lab can help advance the understanding of brain function during walking, step by step. To learn more about the BRaIN Lab, visit

Top Dr. Helen Huang | Bottom Alejandro Hurtado

UCF Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department | 8


HOW DID YOU LAND YOUR DREAM JOB? Jonell Gregor (ME ‘15) always dreamed about working for Walt Disney World, but making her dream come true required slightly more than a wish upon a star. WERE YOU ALWAYS INTERESTED IN ENGINEERING? No, but I always liked math. For a long time, I thought I wanted to be a math teacher. Even though my dad was an engineer, I wasn’t thinking about engineering as a career. Growing up, I would always take things apart to try to figure out how they worked, but I didn’t consider engineering as my career path. WHAT CHANGED YOUR MIND? That FIRST® Robotics Competition changed everything for me. I attended an off-season competition that my high school ran each fall. That first weekend, I saw what all these people my age were building and thought, “I really love math. I love learning how things work. Maybe this is something I would be interested in.” WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU KNOW NOW THAT YOU WISH YOU KNEW WHEN YOU WERE STILL IN SCHOOL? The biggest thing that I learned was to be as involved as possible, because my involvement with both my engineering extracurriculars and my non-engineering extracurriculars helped me learn a lot of things that I didn’t learn in the classroom. It also helped accelerate some of that learning, so when I would be in the classroom, I was able to draw from outside experience. It helped develop my knowledge and develop the person I am a lot quicker than if I only went to classes. 9 | MOMENTUM Fall 2017

Jonell Gregor posing by the Partners Statue in front of Cinderella Castle inside Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom

IS IT INTIMIDATING TO WORK WITH THE MACHINERY IN THE MACHINE LAB? Some of it is just the fear of the unknown. It can be very scary, especially if you don’t have any experience with machining or more hands-on work. It probably is very nerve-wracking to some students - to sign up and walk in there, not knowing what you are doing. It’s important to get over the hurdle of ‘I don’t know what I’m doing’, because you’re doing better than you think! You’re actually walking into this shop and signing up for this class or signing up to learn. WHAT DO YOU DO FOR DISNEY? I work in project management for Walt Disney World, supporting a variety of transportation-related refurbishment and construction projects – from the steam train at Magic Kingdom to Disney buses and the parking lot trams. HOW DID YOU GET YOUR JOB? My Professional Internship at Disney helped tremendously in my transition to my current job. I was hired as an intern right after graduation, and the experience was very beneficial in preparing me for

an eventual full-time role with the company. It was a great way to get my foot in the door and learn the insand-outs of this kind of work.



If it’s your dream, just keep making it your dream and never get discouraged, even if you don’t get that internship or job on your first try. Stay involved. Continue to do things to highlight on your resume and continue to build up your knowledge and build up your experience. Any experience is good.

I absolutely love it. It’s my dream job! Some days, I will be in the Magic Kingdom and watch the steam train come by one of the stations. There will be a kid smiling from the train and it just makes my day to know that my work helped to create that magical moment.

In addition to her work as a Disney Cast Member, Jonell is the co-chair of Orlando Regional FIRST® Robotics. She also performs the role of master of ceremonies during championship competition and is the sideline reporter for the Einstein Fields. The 2017 Orlando Regional emanated from the CFE Arena this past March. Next year will mark the 20th anniversary of the Orlando Regional. For more information on Orlando Regional FIRST® Robotics, visit

Zachary Loparo

Engineering Students Earn Prestigious Fellowships


By Paul M Kelly UCF Mechanical Engineering graduate student is one of only 10 awardees of the prestigious University Turbine System Research (UTSR) Gas Turbine Industrial Fellowship by Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) funded by the Department of Energy (DoE). Zachary Loparo traveled across Florida State Road 434 to conduct research on advanced turbine technology with neighboring Siemens Energy for 12 weeks this past summer. The UTSR Gas Turbine Industrial Fellowship Program is performing cutting edge research for the next generation of industrial gas turbines to enhance U.S. energy security and provide a cleaner environment. The Fellowship provides undergraduate and graduate-level science and engineering 11 | MOMENTUM Fall 2017

Sumayya Abukhalil

students with the opportunity to conduct research, engineering, and design projects at leading gas turbine industry sponsors. In addition to Siemens Energy, industry sponsors for 2017 included General Electric, FlexEnergy, Gas Technology Institute, Florida Turbine Technologies Inc., Solar Turbines, Inc., and Southwest Research Institute. The fellowship includes $13,500 to cover living expenses and costs associated with working at the host company As a sophomore, Zach joined MAE Assistant Professor Dr. Subith Vasu’s research group and has already made tremendous contributions. “His research is currently interdisciplinary and we are working on the next big thing – simultaneous, time-resolved, multi-species combustion and emission diagnostics,” Dr. Vasu explains. “Zach is one of the best engineering graduate students at UCF and probably the entire United States. This is highlighted in the number of prestigious internships and fellowships he has received. Loparo previously received the National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship and interned with Sandia National Laboratories. Zach earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering at

Mateo Gomez

UCF in 2015 with a 4.0 GPA and is currently pursuing his master’s degree. After graduation, he hopes to join industry to work on optical diagnostic systems for combustion. When it comes to space, Sumayya Abukhalil prefers to keep her feet firmly planted on the ground. “I want to send robots up there, not myself,” she jokes. As a recipient of the inaugural Brooke Owens Fellowship, Sumayya will have the opportunity to debate her extraterrestrial aspirations with mentors from the space industry. “What the fellowship does for each of these girls is allow them to pair up with a company and work for them over the summer as an intern,” Sumayya explains. “They get assigned two mentors – one from the company that they are working for and another one – external to the company – somebody inside the space industry. I was placed at Orbital ATK. My external mentor, I just found out last week – I’m so excited; I was fangirling when I found out – is Ellen Stofan, former Chief Scientist at NASA.” The Brooke Owens Fellowship Program was founded in 2016 to honor the memory of beloved space industry pioneer and accomplished pilot D. Brooke Owens. Brooke passed away in June of last year after a hard-fought battle with cancer. The program was

Sumayya joined MAE Assistant Professor Dr. Tarek A. Elgohary’s research group this past spring. She is part of a competition team addressing the mission and spacecraft design to map asteroid (469219) 2016 HO3. The team will submit their proposal to the 2017 Astrodynamics Specialist Conference. “Sumayya shows great enthusiasm and aptitude for research and I am confident she will have a very promising career as an engineer,” Dr. Elgohary attests. Mateo Gomez hopes to never stop learning. “The one thing that I know that I will be doing forever is learning,” he says. “Along the way, you always have to be learning. If you stop learning, you will fall behind.” Mateo has excelled as an engineering student, largely, thanks to his learning philosophy. His dedication to education has

critical temperatures. Upon reaching these critical temperatures, these heated portions cause heat-producing exothermic reactions,” he writes. Mateo believes his selection by the GRFP signifies more than a successful proposal. “It’s not only that they see the merit of the project, but they see the merit in me as a student,” he says. Mateo graduated from UCF in December 2016 with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. He is currently pursuing his Ph.D. from Purdue University. While at UCF, Mateo also worked with MAE Assistant Professor Dr. Shawn Putnam in the Interfacial Transport Lab and assisted Dr. Tian Tian as a teaching assistant. “Mateo is an incredibly motivated and talented up-and-coming engineer that has worked in my lab for a

co-founded by Lori Garver, the former Deputy Administrator of NASA and now General Manager at the Air Line Pilots Association; Cassie Lee, the Director of Aerospace Applications at Vulcan, Inc.; and William Pomerantz, the Vice President of Special Projects at Virgin Galactic. The Fellowship program was created to develop a cohort of young women interested in aviation and space who have the knowledge and relationships to enter the workforce and advance a positive future. The fellowship program is operated as a non-profit initiative under the Future Space Leaders Forum. Through the fellowship program, Sumayya, a UCF Aerospace Engineering Senior, spent the summer in Dulles, Virginia with Orbital ATK, a global leader

I was placed at Orbital ATK. My external mentor, I just found out last week – I’m so excited; I was fangirling when I found out – is Ellen Stofan, former Chief Scientist at NASA. ”

in aerospace and defense technologies. Sumayya speaks passionately about Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS), citing her many friendships forged from the organization. One of the fellowship program’s co-founders, William Pomerantz, is also the Chairman of the Board of Advisors of SEDS-USA and was instrumental in promoting the fellowship within SEDS. In addition to her work as the Director of External Affairs for the SEDS-UCF chapter, Sumayya also serves on the board of SEDS-USA and will act as Chair of Space Vision when UCF hosts SEDS-USA’s national conference in November. SEDS board members hail from universities all over the country, including Yale and Virginia Tech. “Space is all over the place,” she adds.

SUMAYYA ABUKHALIL been rewarded by the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP). The GRFP helps ensure the vitality and diversity of the scientific and engineering workforce of the United States. The program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students who are pursuing research-based Master’s and Doctoral degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) or in STEM education. The GRFP provides three years of support for the graduate education of individuals who have demonstrated their potential for significant research achievements in STEM or STEM education. For his GRFP application, Mateo submitted a proposal related to understanding and solving the timely issue of laptop and smartphone batteries exploding. “Thermal runaway is triggered by local regions of the battery reaching

little more than a year,” says Dr. Putnam. “He is working on his own project for cooling microelectronics using flowing fluids in micro-channel heat sinks. In a couple weeks he will be traveling to Oak Ridge National Laboratory (via his recently awarded Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences (CNMS) user-facility application) to fabricate micro- and nanostructured surfaces based on pillar-array geometries using their unique nano-scribe instrumentation.” Mateo has a number of lofty goals that he hopes to accomplish, but his overall mission is to improve the lives of everyone. “I’m scientifically driven, but goal-minded,” he says. “With the end goal of advancing human knowledge, but in the short term, I want to be able to actually characterize something we don’t fully understand.”

UCF Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department | 12



By Paul M Kelly

he weather outside is frightful, but Florida winters can be so delightful. For those who prefer sun and sandals to snow and shovels, the Sunshine State provides a welcome alternative to the chilling sting in the north. After spending the rest of the year in Massachusetts, Ohio, or even Canada, thousands of “snowbirds” will ascend upon Florida, returning to their southern homes for the first time in months. For many, this will be their first opportunity to discover dwelling damage from wind, rain, and faulty fixtures. Doug Guidish (AE ’11) and his brother Joe (Finance BSBA, Economics BSBA, ’13) understand how a minor defect can result in an expensive problem. A flooded living room prompted the brothers to design a passive fluid regulation system intended to prevent water from flowing until initiated by a switch or motion sensor. The two take care of their grandfather’s home in Florida while their granddad spends the warmer months of the year in Illinois. Several years ago, the brothers found the house ravaged by water. Doug traced the source of the flooding to a cracked seal on a toilet connector. At that moment, he had an epiphany, “Why do we have water flowing to amenities when no one is home? We don’t keep the lights on all night.” Doug hypothesized that they may not be the only ones suffering from excessive water loss. The pair decided to form a company, Guard Dog Valves, and design a passive water management system that takes the human error out of the equation. The team was seeking a third party to validate their products when they turned to their alma mater and UCF’s Business Incubation Program. After working with the Incubator for a few months, they recognized an opportunity to collaborate with the UCF College of Engineering and Computer Science. Dr. Mark Steiner, Director of the Engineering Design program, welcomed Guard Dog Valves as the first company

to engage with the new Engineering Design initiative. The UCF College of Engineering and Computer Science’s Engineering Design Program (colloquially known as Senior Design) is a culminating real world, project-based learning experience that prepares seniorlevel undergraduate engineering students for professional practice as they develop knowledge and skills required on the job. Students work in carefully assembled collaborative teams to design a system, component or process to meet a client’s desired needs within realistic constraints. Originally, Guard Dog Valves partnered with 18 UCF students on 3 different projects, focusing on quantifying water savings. One group discovered that despite the product’s noble intentions, low-flow toilets actually leak more than their traditional counterparts do. The lower water volume in the tank corresponds to lower pressure on the flapper, resulting in additional water loss. As their company grows, Doug and Joe must devote more of their focus to the business side of running Guard Dog Valves. The Engineering Design program offers new product perspectives. As Doug explains, “One of the things you worry about is if you’re going to stop innovating and lose that ability to keep moving the design forward. The Senior Design program does a great job of giving us a handful of bright-minded students to continue cultivating and chewing on concepts of water conservation and water savings.” Although Doug and Joe’s grandfather may not have been delighted to find his living room under water, his dank predicament did inspire his grandsons to conceive Guard Dog Valves; turning a soggy scenario into a positive by helping others preserve water and prevent damage to their homes. The only question now is what will the next obstacle inspire?

Porcelain Throne design by Russell Byron-Kelly

13 | MOMENTUM Fall 2017

To learn more about Guard Dog Valves, visit guarddogvalves.

Thank you to Todd Harston for designing and 3D-printing our MOMENTUM logo in the UCF Machine Lab under the supervision of Tim Lindner. Thank you to all the students, faculty, and staff who helped build MOMENTUM.

UCF Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department | 14

12760 Pegasus Drive Orlando, FL 32816

Dazhong Wu, Ph.D. Assistant Professor, UCF MAE