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CONTENTS Welcome from Department Head.............. 3 2012-2013 Quick Facts ............................. 4 ALUMNI NEWS: Thomas Prete..................... 5

Alumni and Friends Day Event ................. 5 New Faculty Members................................ 6 New Members of the Advisory Board......... 7 Academic Gifts........................................... 8 Academy of Distinguished Engineers ......... 9 RESEARCH PROFILE: Pinar Zorlutuna ........ 10 RESEARCH PROFILE: Chengyu Cao............ 11

Senior Design Program ............................ 12 A Tribute to Tom Barber.......................... 13 STUDENT PROFILE: Monica Smith............. 14

Pratt & Whitney Lecture ......................... 14 STUDENT PROFILE: Stephen Stagon ........... 15

Faculty..................................................... 16 2013 Crow Innovation Prize.................... 18 RESEARCH PROFILE: Robert Gao ............... 19

Formula SAE Team Speeds Ahead............ 20 Some Recent Grants & Contracts ........... 21 Graduate Research Competition............... 22 Teaching Awards...................................... 22 Ph.D. Graduates....................................... 23

CREDITS EDITING Baki Cetegen Nan Cooper Emily Jerome GRAPHIC DESIGN Christopher LaRosa PHOTOGRAPHY Igor Parsadanov

welcome from the


DEAR COLLEAGUES AND FRIENDS, We are pleased to share with you our department’s annual report summarizing the activities of the 2012-2013 academic year. During this academic year, the Mechanical Engineering department had 25 tenured and tenure track faculty, three professors in residence and one lecturer. Three new tenured and tenure track faculty have joined our department along with four non-tenure track faculty members in fall 2013. The department has maintained its strong research portfolio with yearly research expenditures of $6.3 million. Of the 168 graduate students in the department, 69 are pursuing their Ph.D. degrees while the rest are M.S. degree candidates. Twenty-one M.S. and eight Ph.D. degrees were conferred in this academic year. Between July 2012 and June 2013 faculty received new research grants and contracts totaling $5.4 million. In the same period the Mechanical Engineering faculty published 96 journal articles and contributed 148 conference publications or presentations. Our faculty members continue to serve on the editorial boards of major technical journals and conference organizing committees. Our research partnership with industry has grown under the Pratt & Whitney – UConn Center of Excellence, with yearly research funding reaching over $1 million. Our distance education activities continue to grow: we now offer graduate courses at UConn Avery Point and Pratt & Whitney in East Hartford, and transmit courses electronically to other sites.

The demand for our undergraduate program is stronger than ever, with a current overall enrollment of 521 students. In May 2013, 114 bachelor’s degrees were conferred. This year, the incoming freshman class will be 60% to 70% larger than last year’s, resulting in various challenges for the department. The capstone Senior Design project course featured 46 projects sponsored by 30 different companies and organizations. The department continues its support for undergraduate research in various laboratories in the department, including the NSF-sponsored Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) in Sustainable Energy Systems. Our efforts to encourage and reward our students for entrepreneurship and innovation continued through the D.E. Crow Innovation Prize competition, which awarded cash prizes to student teams with sound commercializable ideas. The department also received two major gifts from industry and alumni. Our accomplishments and progress continue to motivate us to improve our program and better serve our students, and to engage in research and development activities for the benefit of our state and the nation. We hope you continue to enjoy learning about the activities of our department documented in this publication. We always welcome your feedback. With kind regards,


United Technologies Chair Professor and Department Head 3

Quick Facts 2012-2013 NASA 4% NSF 41%


DoD 8% DoE 15%


DoED 4% NIH 10%









28 tenured/tenure track faculty 25 professors-in-residence 3


faculty members

graduate students 168

521 journal articles published 96 conference papers published 148 active research projects 118 research expenditures $6.3M active research projects $25.0M new research awards $5.4M undergraduate students











alumni news


Mechanical Engineering Alumnus Assumes Position of Vice President of Engineering at Pratt & Whitney Thomas W. Prete, who received his bachelor of science degree in Mechanical Engineering from UConn in 1985, has assumed the position of Vice President of Engineering at Pratt & Whitney, a world leader in the design, manufacture and service of aircraft engines. Tom is responsible for leading P&W’s Global Engineering organization with a focus on customer requirements, advancing market-differentiating technologies, leading continuous improvement and standard work and developing technical leadership. Since joining Pratt & Whitney in 1988 as a Senior Thermodynamic Performance Engineer, Tom has progressed through roles of increasing leadership and responsibility in management, engineering and operations. Tom previously served as the

Chief Engineer of Hot Section Engineering, as well as Program Chief Engineer, Military Engines. In his previous assignments Tom was responsible for the safety, airworthiness, life management, product improvements and technology insertion of engines powering front-line military aircrafts such as the F-16, F-15, EA6B, B-52, C-17 and F-22 Raptor. Tom has received numerous awards, including the Pratt & Whitney William G. Chamberlain Military Customer Service Award for Outstanding Customer Support (’03), the Pratt & Whitney/ ASME Outstanding Engineer of the Year Award (’00), the Pratt & Whitney Special Award for Significant Contributions (’98, ’02 and ’03) and the U.S. Navy NAVAIR Commanders Award (’02).

Tom also holds a master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Rensselaer at Hartford and an MBA from the University of Connecticut. He served on the External Advisory Board of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at UConn from 2008 to 2013 and was inducted into the UConn Academy of Distinguished Engineers in 2008, a distinction reserved for alumni who have consistently demonstrated consummate professional achievement and success through their careers and have advanced the reputation of the School of Engineering. Tom continues to provide guidance to our department and the School of Engineering.

MECHANICAL ENGINEERING ALUMNI AND FRIENDS DAY A gathering of alumni and friends of Mechanical Engineering took place on October 27, 2012. Approximately 60 alumni, friends of the department, and emeriti faculty were hosted by the department faculty and staff. Events included presentations on the department and the university by department head Baki Cetegen and Provost Mun Choi. A barbecue luncheon was served followed by lab tours and demonstrations on virtual reality, cardiovascular mechanics, gas turbine engines as well as mini lectures on sustainable energy and novel sensors in mechanical engineering. In parallel to these sessions, family members had a chance to take a campus tour, visit the animal barns and have ice cream at the dairy bar. The day’s events concluded with dinner. Our alumni were thrilled to attend this event and some of those who could not attend sent messages. One alumnus commented: “What a great idea. Please keep me on your mailing list for future Alumni Days.” This is the first time the department hosted its alumni and friends and everyone looks forward to the future events.



NEW FACULTY DAVID J. GIBLIN Assistant Professor in Residence

Dr. David J. Giblin joined the Mechanical Engineering Department in fall 2013 as Assistant Professor in Residence. As a lifetime resident of Connecticut, David completed his B.S. and Ph.D. at UConn in 2002 and 2007, respectively. His research interests center on manipulation theory and control of mechanical systems. He will be teaching undergraduate courses in kinematics, dynamics, and programming as well as teaching courses in a number of other engineering disciplines at the Avery Point campus.

KENNETH GORDON Associate Professor in Residence

Dr. Kenneth Gordon joined us half-time as of fall 2013. He received his B.S. degree with honors in Engineering Science from the University of Toronto followed by his M.S. in Aeronautics from Caltech and Ph.D. in Aeronautics and Astronautics from MIT. He has worked at UTC Pratt & Whitney in a number of engineering positions including Manager of Operability and Advanced Engine Programs. Ken will be teaching mechanical engineering courses and providing our students with perspectives on advanced propulsion systems. KAMAL KUMAR

Associate Professor in Residence

Dr. Kamal Kumar joined our department in spring 2013. Dr. Kumar received his Ph.D. in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Case Western Reserve University working with Prof. Jackie Sung, and he has been part of his research group ever since. He will continue to maintain a part-time research affiliation with Prof. Sung’s research group. Dr. Kumar will teach courses in the thermo-fluids stem of the department.

LEILA LADANI Associate Professor

Dr. Leila Ladani joined our department in fall 2013 as our first hire under the manufacturing faculty recruitment initiative. She received her B.S. and M.S. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Isfahan University of Technology in Iran and her Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of 6 4

Maryland. Her expertise is in the areas of fatigue and fracture mechanics as well as additive manufacturing. Prior to her academic position at the University of Alabama, she was a faculty member at Utah State University. Dr. Ladani’s involvement in the Pratt & Whitney Center of Excellence activities in the area of additive manufacturing will be instrumental to elevate our department’s research profile in this important area. MICHAEL T. PETTES

Assistant Professor

Dr. Michael T. Pettes joined the University of Connecticut in 2013. He earned his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Duke University in 2001, and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin in 2007 and 2011, respectively. Prior to graduate work, he served as an infantry officer with the 1st Marine Division of the United States Marine Corps (2/1). He received a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship in 2005 and the Donald D. and Sybil B. Harrington Doctoral Fellowship at the University of Texas at Austin in 2006. His research focuses on the engineering of materials at the nanoscale and development of fundamental knowledge of transport phenomena in materials with applications for the management, conversion, and storage of thermal energy.

DAVID M. PIERCE Assistant Professor

Dr. David Pierce was hired during the last academic year and joined our faculty this summer. He received his B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities followed by his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in mathematics from Stanford University. After receiving his doctoral degree he joined the Institute of Biomechanics at Graz University of Technology in Austria, where he was engaged in research and teaching until his arrival at UConn. His research interests include computational mechanics, finite element methods, solid mechanics, applied mathematics, continuum (damage) mechanics, fatigue analysis, development of analysis/design tools and related computer programming software. His current research projects are in the area of cartilage biomechanics and mechanical modeling of complex structures and tissues.

new members

ADVISORY BOARD STEPHEN STAGON Assistant Professor in Residence

Dr. Stephen Stagon joined the Mechanical Engineering Department in fall 2013 as Assistant Professor in Residence. A native of Connecticut, Steve completed his B.S. and Ph.D. degrees at UConn in 2009 and 2013, respectively. His research interests are in the areas of synthesis and processing of nanostructures and their industrial applications. His current research projects emphasize the science-based investigation of the growth of nanostructures and thin films from physical vapor deposition with direction toward determination of the governing physical mechanisms. He will teach undergraduate courses in the systems and mechanics areas. VITO MORENO

Professor in Residence

Dr. Moreno joined the Mechanical Engineering Department in 2013. He received his B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Rhode Island (1969) and M.S., and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Connecticut (1973, 1985). He has over 40 years of experience at Pratt & Whitney in a wide variety of positions and responsibility within the Engineering organization. He was actively involved in the development and systems validation of the fan drive gear system for the Next Generation Product Family Geared Turbo Fan Engines and he served as Chief Engineer on several engine applications. Most recently, he was the Executive Technical Assistant to the Vice President of Engineering. He has been a strong advocate for UConn as a Center of Excellence University for Pratt & Whitney, directing recruiting activity and sponsoring multiple research projects. Vito will be in charge of the department’s senior capstone design program and also teach courses in the systems mechanics areas. Our colleague Mun Y. Choi has been named the Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at UConn.


JENNIFER DUKE Director, Aerodynamics, Pratt & Whitney, East Hartford, CT

Jennifer Duke received her B.S degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Michigan in 1992 and her M.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Connecticut in 2000. She was named the Director of Aerodynamics within Pratt & Whitney Engineering in 2013. In this role, she provides both strategic and technical leadership for the Aerodynamics organization, which includes turbines, compressors, combustors, acoustics, inlets, nacelles, nozzles and aero-thermal methods. Ms. Duke has been with Pratt & Whitney since 1992 and has held roles of increasing responsibility in the Performance Systems Analysis, Turbine Aerodynamics, and the Turbine Module Center organizations. She was the performance chief for the Operational Commercial Engines group and most recently Executive Assistant to Pratt & Whitney’s Chief Operating Officer.

RICHARD WHIPPLE Manager, Engineering Services Operations, Westinghouse Electric Company, Windsor, CT

Richard Whipple received his B.S. degree in Mathematics from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in 1973 followed by his M.S. in Nuclear Engineering from Purdue University in 1975. He has over 35 years of experience in the nuclear industry through his employment with Combustion Engineering/ABB/Westinghouse. He has held numerous management positions spanning the areas of nuclear safety analysis, probabilistic risk analysis, and nuclear reactor system structural design and analysis. He has worked in the development, growth and marketing of engineering products and services to increase sales to key customers. Recent projects include the qualification of design and procurement of replacement control rod guide tubes for the Électricité de France nuclear plants and the engineering aspects of the St. Lucie 1&2 Alloy 600 Mitigation project. Additionally, Mr. Whipple has worked on several initiatives regarding the development of human capital, including programs to improve project management, new hires and train future business leaders.




The department was fortunate to receive two large gifts during the academic year. The Pratt & Whitney Center of Excellence in Aerospace Systems, hosted by the Mechanical Engineering Department, received another generous donation from Pratt & Whitney (P&W) this year. Tom Prete, Vice President of Engineering, and Alan Brockett, Vice President of Engineering Module Centers, presented the gift to UConn Provost Mun Y. Choi and department head Baki Cetegen. The gift will be used to upgrade the educational and research facilities and equipment that support activities at the P&W Center of Excellence, which is one of just seven academic centers across the nation established by the global aerospace leader.


Alumnus Michael McKeon (B.S. ME ’90) presented the department a cash gift of $100,000. Michael is a Principal in the Washington, DC, office of the intellectual property law firm of Fish & Richardson and a member of the firm’s Management Committee. Michael started his intellectual property career as a Patent Examiner with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and continued to work full-time while attending law school in the evenings at the George Washington University Law School. He served as a Judicial Clerk to the Honorable William C. Bryson of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals. Michael has been with Fish & Richardson since completing his clerkship. He has been instrumental in the firm’s growth from 120 lawyers in a few offices to over 400 lawyers in 11 offices nationwide. He is also an Adjunct Professor at the George Washington University Law School and serves on its Intellectual Property Advisory Board. Reminiscing about his UConn years, Michael comments, “My engineering education at UConn prepared me well, and law school was a breeze after that.” He particularly remembers the Thermodynamics class taught by ME department head and professor Baki Cetegen; the class average on the first exam, he recalls, was approximately 30 (of a possible 100). He thought that class was going to be some ride and he says that it is amazing what happens when you push the mind as hard as that class did. Michael wants his gift to help educate a new generation of bright minds, so he asked that it be applied toward improving the undergraduate laboratory experience. As enrollments continue to explode, the gift will make a real difference to mechanical engineering students. The department is deeply appreciative of Michael’s generosity.

2013 academy of

DISTINGUISHED ENGINEERS Mechanical Engineering hosted three inductees to the UConn Academy of Distinguished Engineers on May 2, 2013. The inductees were Paul Adams, Chief Operating Officer of Pratt & Whitney; Timothy Tylaska, Founder and CEO of Tylaska Marine Hardware; and Sally A. Wallace, Vice President of the Operations, Power, Environment & Sustainment Systems Group at DRS Technologies, Inc. A reception and dinner were held in their honor.

PAUL ADAMS, Chief Operating Officer of Pratt & Whitney, was presented the Distinguished Engineering Leadership Award for his outstanding contributions in helping to nurture the partnership between UConn Engineering and Pratt & Whitney. Through his efforts, the UConn – Pratt & Whitney Center of Excellence in Aerospace Systems and the recently announced Pratt & Whitney Additive Manufacturing Innovation Center at UConn were established. It was recently announced that Paul Adams will become the next President of Pratt & Whitney as of January 2014.

Timothy T. Tylaska

TIMOTHY T. TYLASKA, (B.S. ’86; M.S. ’89; Ph.D. ’93) – Founder and CEO of Tylaska Marine Hardware, Mystic, CT. His patented, novel release mechanism and other products are used on every America’s Cup sailing yacht. He also constructed a multi-million dollar industrial park, Mystic Business Park, LLC to serve as an incubator for small start-up manufacturing businesses. SALLY A. WALLACE, (M.S. ’91) – Vice President of the Operations, Power, Environment & Sustainment Systems Group at DRS Technologies, Inc., Bethesda, MD, where she is responsible for business operations and execution across the strategic business unit. Earlier in her career, as VP and General Manager of the Power & Control Technologies unit, she grew the business, improved profitability and enhanced the competitiveness of the operation.


research profile

PINAR ZORLUTUNA Dr. Pinar Zorlutuna’s lab explores designing biomimetic environments for understanding and controlling cell behavior, and cell-cell and cellenvironment interactions using tissue engineering, genetic engineering and micro- and nanofabrication approaches, mostly focused on applications toward cardiovascular research. Microengineering technologies have ushered in a new, precise way of conducting experiments. Microfabrication and micropatterning allow the researcher to design and control the spatial arrangement of multiple cell types toward engineering biomimetic tissue substitutes, while microfluidics allows for fine control of multiple inputs and outputs to the system. Dr. Zorlutuna and her students are developing a microfluidic device capable of controlling the disease microenvironment and accommodating physiologically relevant multiple cell types in a 3D ECM-like material as a promising alternative to animal studies for studying myocardial infarction. Toward this end, hydrogelbased tissue engineering approaches are combined with microfabrication and microfluidics techniques to design and fabricate an on-chip myocardial tissue composed of human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived endothelial cells and cardiomyocytes, and a photocrosslinkable hydrogel material which can impose control over the tissue organization.


research profile


Quad-copter for the test of adaptive cooperative control.

Dr. Chengyu Cao’s research is primarily in the area of control theory, unmanned vehicles and control applications with an emphasis on aerospace systems. Unmanned vehicles are highly desirable for use in environments too harsh or dangerous for humans; possible applications for these machines include space missions, deep sea exploration and rescue missions, as well as both combat and non-combat based roles in the battlefield. However, various theoretical and practical challenges still limit the robustness and efficiency of unmanned vehicle networks. One concern stems from the uncertainties that unmanned vehicles

encounter in practical situations. Current unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) still cannot compete with experienced pilots, especially in off-nominal situations and unexpected circumstances. Similar challenges exist in a wide range of industrial systems. How does one maintain performance and efficiency in the presence of unexpected component failure as well as normal deterioration? How does one design a control system that can be applied to a broad spectrum of products and environments? All the above mentioned challenges motivate the need for a control theory which can adapt and handle various time-varying uncertainties. To overcome this difficulty, Dr. Cao and his students have developed an advanced adaptive control theory to handle large time-varying uncertainties. The theory has already been successfully tested in various real world applications. Dr. Cao and his students have worked jointly with University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign researchers on a NASA project to design an adaptive flight controller capable of coping with off nominal situations, as well as unexpected component failure. In April of 2010, the NASA AirSTAR team conducted an experimental flight using the latest version of the adaptive controller at Fort Pickett, VA. The 14th flight for the aircraft lasted approximately 16 minutes, with the advanced adaptive controller closing the inner-loop for about 14 minutes and finishing all scheduled flight scenarios successfully. In addition, Dr. Cao’s group has been working on autonomous navigation and control systems for unmanned vehicles, mainly

UAVs and autonomous underwater vehicles. They have also worked on turbo-fan engine control systems and aircraft air management systems. In addition, Dr. Cao’s group has worked on the cooperative control of multi-agent systems and unmanned vehicle networks. They have introduced the advanced adaptation mechanism to decentralized controller designs to handle uncertainties, not only from the local vehicle and the environment, but also control strategies of other vehicles. The proposed method has been applied to various scenarios including swarming, consensus and formation control, which have been verified by simulations. Its application to unmanned vehicle networks, e.g., UAVs, autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV) and satellite constellations, is currently being considered. Find out more at NASA AirSTAR

Autonomous underwater vehicle developed in Dr. Cao’s lab


real-life engineering SENIOR DESIGN PROGRAM The project based senior design course is a highly successful educational program. In this two-semester course, senior students are mentored by department faculty and industry engineers as they work to solve real-life engineering problems for company sponsors. Students learn about the principles of design, how ethics affect engineering decisions, how professionals communicate ideas and the day-to-day implications of intellectual property. In the course of a year the student teams design, optimize and manufacture a prototype model or perform product simulations, and in the process learn about data analysis, judgment, technical skills, creativity and innovation. Over the past 12 years the program has grown from 22 seniors working on 11 industrially sponsored projects to 120 students working on 46 sponsored projects. Many

seniors have been offered jobs by their company sponsor before graduation, and four patents are pending from Senior Design projects completed in the last five years. The culminating experience of the senior design program is the annual Demonstration Day event at the close of the academic year. When the program was small, this event was held in the hallways of the engineering buildings. Now it has grown to include all of the graduating engineering seniors, who are united under Gampel Pavilion before a large and attentive audience of students, sponsors, university officials, state policy makers, families and faculty. This year visitors and students explored over 150 senior design team projects from engineering students from every discipline. Among the projects displayed was one involving modifications to a Sensor Switch occupancy sensor to control the lighting in a Class II, Division 2 location. Class II locations are defined as areas where combustible dust exists (grain elevators, flour mills, etc.). Division 2 locations are those where the hazard is not normally present, but may accidentally exist. The sensor was designed to be easy to install and relatively This year’s commercial sponsors included Alstom, inexpensive to manufacture. ASML, Bausch, Belcan, Capewell Components, The cost to purchase and Covidien, CT Corsair, DRS, Eemax, GE, Henkel Loctite, install the sensor had to be less Nufern, Otis Elevator, Parker Hannifin Fluid Control than the savings a customer Division, Pfizer, Pratt & Whitney, RBC Bearings, would realize due to the energy Sensor Switch, ShelterLogic, Sikorsky, Stanley savings of the occupancy sensor Access Technologies, Trumpf, UTC Aerospace being installed for three years Systems, Westinghouse Electric, Windham Dental, or less. To prevent sparking Wiremold Legrand, Zachry, National Science from happening, a dust tight Foundation, Department of Energy, and Department of Homeland Security. enclosure surrounding the relay


was designed. This design was created to be certified by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL) which required various mechanical tests along with a dust exclusion test to be performed. ANSYS was used to simulate these mechanical tests, while a dust circulation chamber was created to perform the dust exclusion test. These were used to ensure the enclosure would pass certification. A second challenge was the circuitry in the sensor in the presence of explosive and/or conductive dust. The circuit was simulated to find all potential hazards per specifications. Some components were modified and protection circuitry was added to the power and control lines of the sensor. The circuit was tested for correct operation and components were tested under fault conditions to ensure accurate results and that no sparks or excessive heat was generated. A project for the Parker Hannifin Corporation challenged the team to improve the performance of one of their solenoid valves. A solenoid converts electrical energy into mechanical energy which is used to open and close a valve. The magnetic properties of an existing valve were simulated and the valve was optimized in order to achieve a low power requirement and potentially an increased pressure rating and reduced cost of manufacturing. The current valve’s magnetic flux concentration was analyzed using MagNet finite element software. A pull-force test was performed on the existing valve in order to validate results from the software. The discrepancy of these results helped to identify a manufacturing issue of the continued next page

a tribute

Tom Barber (at right) joined us 13 years ago to try something different after an illustrious career in research and development at Pratt &Whitney and United Technologies Research Center. Equipped with many years of experience, Tom took over our then small senior design program and made it what it is today: the envy of many academic institutions across our nation. The modest initial size of the program, 11 industrysponsored projects, has grown to 46 projects in this academic year. One of the reasons that Tom has been so successful is his innate ability to work with diverse people, from students to faculty to professionals from small and big companies, learning about engineering problems and bringing teams together to solve them. In the process he has provided students with advice and career counseling that help them successfully transition to engineering careers. Many post-graduate employment opportunities have come to our students through our senior design program. It is truly a win-win arrangement for our students and senior design sponsoring companies. Well, Tom has decided to taste retirement despite our encouragement to keep working. But he is not totally retiring. Although he will no longer be leading our senior design activities (Prof. Vito Moreno has taken on that responsibility) he will still be with us on a part-time basis teaching some courses as he has been doing all these years. We will rely on his wisdom and advice in the years to come. On behalf of our faculty, students and alumni I take this opportunity to publicly thank and express our gratitude to him for all he has done for our program. We wish Tom and his wife Lorraine the very best in partial (!) retirement and look forward to Tom’s future involvement with our activities. BAKI M. CETEGEN

United Technologies Chair Professor and Department Head

continued from page 12

valve coil. Once the existing valve was benchmarked using the FEA analysis, changes in design and completely new design features were added and removed to observe the impact on magnetic strength. These optimizations included identifying key geometrical parameters in the valve design such as wall heights and thicknesses, plunger diameters, and stop geometries. Additional modifications were identified which could improve performance of the valve.

From this analysis, an optimized valve and coil design has been proposed to achieve a reduced power consumption of 0.5 Watts and an improved pressure rating. All of the projects began with a problem challenge provided by an industrial or private sponsor. Sponsors provide students with an exceptional opportunity to apply classroom skills toward genuine design problems. 13

student profile


I am an undergraduate student in the Mechanical Engineering department and am also earning a degree in German Studies through the Eurotech program. Through an internship last summer in the Additive Manufacturing group at Pratt & Whitney I found my passion in engineering. I am inspired by the development of 3D printing technologies and the ways in which they are making an impact. I’ve continued to work with this group doing research in the state-of-the-art Pratt

& Whitney Additive Manufacturing Innovation Center here at UConn. The technology that I am working with in the lab is changing the way we look at problems and providing solutions that we never thought possible. I enjoy most the hands-on problem-solving experience that I am getting in the lab. I’m looking forward to continuing to do research in additive manufacturing with Professor Ladani in the fall. Outside of my studies, I am a founding member and president emeritus of UConn Engineering Ambassadors. My involvement with Ambassadors has really defined my experience at UConn. It has

provided me with invaluable opportunities to grow and has inspired me to be a leader in my field. As a senior, I am starting to put a lot of thought toward what I want to do when I graduate. My Mechanical Engineering degree provides me with endless opportunities. Although I’m not yet sure where I will end up, UConn has prepared me for an exciting career. When I’m not in the lab, library, or Engineering Diversity Programs office, I practice Bikram Yoga and enjoy spending time with my family.

distiguished lecture


L-R: Tom Barber, Parviz Moin and Baki Cetegen.


This year’s Pratt & Whitney Distinguished lecture was delivered by Prof. Parviz Moin of Stanford University. Prof. Moin is the Franklin and Caroline Johnson Professor and the founding director of the Center of Turbulence Research (CTR) at Stanford University. He is a world-renowned authority in the simulation of complex turbulent reacting and non-reacting flows. CTR has been an international focal point for turbulence research, attracting diverse groups of researchers from engineering, mathematics, physics and computer science around the globe. He is a member of all three academies: National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering and American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Prof. Moin’s two-day visit

included a department visit, during which he delivered a lecture entitled “On the Congruity of Transitional and Fully Developed Turbulent Boundary Layers,” and tours of Pratt & Whitney and United Technologies Research Center, where he presented the Fellows lecture titled “Explicitly Filtered Large-eddy Simulation: with Application to Grid Adaptation and Wall Modeling.” The Pratt & Whitney Distinguished Lecture in Mechanical Engineering was established from a gift received from UTC Pratt & Whitney. Each year, a well-known authority in one of the technological areas related to gas turbine engines is invited to present a lecture at UConn during a two day visit. This marked the fourth year of this annual event.

student profile

STEPHEN STAGON Through electron beam physical vapor deposition, Steve and his advisor, Prof. Hanchen Huang, were able to fabricate the smallest metallic nanorods ever realized from physical processing, with diameters of only a few nanometers (nm). Taking the science one step further, Steve and Prof. Huang were able to realize room temperature air-tight sealing with the small metallic nanorods, which is useful for applications like organic solar cells, flexible electronics and integrated circuitry. In Steve’s words, “Engineering is about the next new discovery for me, or showing something for the first time. It’s incredible that through electron microscopy we can see these things that are only a few nanometers wide, like the nanorods we

grow, and even more incredible that as materials get smaller and smaller their properties change so dramatically. Our work in room temperature bonding has really changed my perspective on engineering science. As we drop the diameter of metallic nanorods to about 10 nm, metal starts acting almost like ‘soft’ material! There is so much more science out there to uncover. Perhaps the most important thing I’ve learned from my mentor, Prof. Huang, through my graduate education is that you should strive to understand everything from the ground up.” Steve is a graduate of the University of Connecticut, receiving his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering in 2009. He was motivated to stay and pursue

a doctorate through his undergraduate research experiences in 2008 and 2009. Working under the guidance of Prof. Huang, Steve was supported under a Department of Education GAANN fellowship from 2010 to 2013. Outside of the lab Steve is passionate about the outdoors and staying active. If he’s not performing experiments on a deposition chamber or analyzing samples on the electron microscope, Steve can be found either fishing or running with his friends, family and dogs. Steve completed his doctoral degree in August 2013, and plans to continue working on cutting-edge engineering science and technology, and to educate the next generation of engineers and scientists as a university faculty member.

Ph.D. student Steve Stagon uses a unique blend of classical engineering technology and basic engineering science to make discoveries in nanotechnology with his advisor, Prof. Hanchen Huang.


mechanical engineering FACULTY





Ph.D., New York University, 1968 Computational and Physical Fluid-Dynamics

Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, 1976 Heat Transfer and Fluid Mechanics





Ph.D., Warsaw University of Technology, 1967 Design and CAD Modeling

Ph.D., Georgia Institute of Technology, 2003 Biofluidics and Biotransport





Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2004 Dynamics and Control

Ph.D., Technical University of Berlin, 1991 Sensing, Mechatronics, Biomechanics HANCHEN HUANG



Ph.D., Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn, 1972 Applied Mechanics

Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles, 1995 Synthesis and Properties of Nanostructures (Interfaces)





Ph.D., California Institute of Technology, 1982 Combustion and Fluid Mechanics

Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, Madison, 2000 Computational Design and CAD/CAM/CAE ERIC JORDAN





Ph.D., Rutgers University, 1999 Heat and Mass Transfer and Nanomanufacturing

Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, Madison, 1978 Experimental and Theoretical Mechanics





Ph.D., Princeton University, 1992 Combustion, Heat Transfer, Optical Diagnostics, Soot Processes

Ph.D., University of Illinois at Chicago, 1984 Design, Kinematics and Robotics





Ph.D., University of Iowa, 2008 Analysis & Design Optimization under Uncertainty

Ph.D., Purdue University, 2000 Combustion and Optical Diagnostics WEI SUN




Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh, 2003 Tissue Biomechanics

Ph.D., Princeton University, 2004 Combustion and Computational Fluid Mechanics


Ph.D., California Institute of Technology, 2005 Cellular Mechanics


Ph.D., Princeton University, 1994 Combustion, Propulsion, Laser Diagnostics, Fuel Chemistry



Ph.D., Duke University, 1994 Nonlinear Dynamics and Vibrations

Ph.D., The Pennsylvania State University, 2001 Structural and System Dynamics and Control






Ph.D., Columbia University, 1976 Control Systems and Vibrations

M.S., University of Connecticut, 1988 BI ZHANG




Ph.D., Tokyo Institute of Technology, 1988 Precision Design and Manufacturing

Ph.D., The Pennsylvania State University, 2005 Transport Phenomena in Fuel Cells




Ph.D., Middle East Technical University, 2009 Tissue Engineering and Stem Cell Research

Ph.D., Cornell University, 2006 Computational Fluid Mechanics and Reacting Flow Simulations


D.E. CROW INNOVATION PRIZE AWARDED IN ITS THIRD YEAR The fourth annual D.E. Crow Innovation Prize Competition took place this year with the participation of 13 teams of undergraduate and graduate students competing for the $20,000 prize money. A team of judges composed of entrepreneurs, angel investors, business incubators and faculty evaluated the projects proposed by the teams. Two teams were awarded prizes. A team led by doctoral


candidate Alicia Echevarria from Civil and Environmental Engineering received $10,000 for their project on Advanced Structural Reinforcement System. A second team comprising Matthew Eschbach and Martin Huber also received $10,000 for their innovation of Minimally Activated Robotic Knee Brace. The D.E. Crow Prize was established by Dr. David (Ed) Crow, former senior

vice president of engineering at Pratt & Whitney and an emeritus faculty member in our department. Dr. Crow established this prize in 2010 with the hopes of stimulating innovation and entrepreneurship in our department and the School of Engineering. He continues to teach a course in this area and is a staunch supporter of our department and the School.

research profile


Dr. Robert Gao’s research group conducts fundamental and applied research on physics-based sensing methods and data aggregation/analysis algorithms to improve the observation and control of manufacturing processes, such as metal forming (e.g., rolling and stamping) and plastic molding. The objective of his research is two-fold: 1) to introduce “intelligence” into manufacturing through in-situ, real-time measurements of physical parameters (such as pressure and temperature) that are indicative of the process being monitored, and 2) to advance the science base for sensing itself by characterizing sensing modalities and sensor performance under multi-physical effects, strong noise, and interference. Data fusion and uncertainty analysis are conducted to quantify the effectiveness and robustness of sensing for potential translation to industry. One of the manufacturing processes that Prof. Gao’s group has been investigating through an NSF-funded

Collaborative/GOALI project (with Northwestern University and DerringerNey as the collaborators), is microrolling of metallic sheets of several hundred micrometers thick. Microrolling is a mass production technique for surface texturing, which has many utilities including enlarged surface area, reduced friction, and improved tribological properties and load-carrying capacity. The figure below on the left shows a metal sheet with surface texturing for making micro heat exchangers. To control the dimensional accuracy of textured features, an embedded capacitive sensing method has been developed that monitors the pressure distribution across the roller, at the roller-sheet interface. This sensing method is based on the microscopic deformation of the roller surface during microrolling, which is captured by an array of spatially distributed capacitance sensors embedded beneath the roller surface along the axial direction. The sensors convert pressure-induced deformation of the roller into proportional capacitance changes that are measured online by a custom-designed circuitry. To guide the parametric design and structural integration of the sensors, a Finite Element model was developed that calculates the pressure distribution and models the deformation, as the figure on the right illustrates.

Working closely with the collaborators, Dr. Gao and his students have conducted experimental studies on evaluating both the output characteristic of the rolling tool-embedded capacitive sensor and the behavior of the thin sheet metals when subjected to mechanical and high-density electrical loading during the microrolling process. Results have shown that measurements by the embedded pressure sensors are consistent with both the outcome of the numerical model and the off-line reference measurements using a white light interferometer, with the correlation better than 96%. Besides new process models, sensing methods, and instrument designs that improve rolling process toward higher precision and energy efficiency, the project is applicable to a wide range of deformation-oriented processes and inspires innovations and talent development critically needed by the U.S. manufacturing industry to remain competitive in today’s global economy.


UCONN FORMULA SAE TEAM SPEEDS AHEAD UConn Formula Society of Automotive Engineers (FSAE) is a popular student run organization intended to challenge students to apply engineering, business, and group management principles in the design, fabrication, testing and presentation of a formula-style race car. Each year the student team fabricates an entirely new vehicle to compete in an intercollegiate, international Formula SAE race car competition. Nearly every component of the car is designed by members, who must take into account performance and financial limitations. UConn Formula SAE is open to all students, all majors and all experience levels. With 24 major sponsors and growing support, the team has made 20

great strides since its foundation just a few years ago. Mastercam, a CAD/CAM software company based in Massachusetts, which has been a longtime supporter of the University of Connecticut and UConn FSAE, was named the Title Sponsor this year, aiding heavily in the team’s progress over the past few seasons. Providing both financial aid and machining expertise, Mastercam has reduced limitations on engineering design and manufacturability of parts. One such example included machining a complex hub/spindle combination designed by students on the team. The operation was performed on a 5-axis lathe as part of a debugging process for developing their newest CNC software.

The highlight of this year was the successful completion of the 22km endurance event during the Michigan competition. This is the first time UConn Formula SAE was able to accomplish this feat, a success that eludes more than two thirds of the 120 teams at the competition. This endurance event was conquered once more in Canada during the second of two competitions, marking the first competition season in which all static and dynamic events were completed. The final results placed UConn Formula SAE 42nd out of 120 entries in Michigan and 17 out of 30 in Canada.

department activity

SOME RECENT GRANTS & CONTRACTS “Adaptation in Multi-Satellite Constellation Cooperation,” Chengyu Cao, DOD/Air Force, 4/26/2013 - 4/17/2014, $30,000. “Optimal Control of Multiple Systems,” Chengyu Cao, Hebei Automation Technology Development, 4/1/2013 - 4/1/2016, $38,000. “Application of Adaptive and Model Based Controls in New Generation Power Plants,” Chengyu Cao, Alstom Power Corporation, 8/27/2012 - 5/31/2013, $46,117. “Performance Seeking Control of Turbofan Engines,” Chengyu Cao, United TechnologiesPratt & Whitney, 1/1/2013 - 12/31/2013, $68,000. “Prevention of Loss of Control through Adaptive Reconfiguration,” Chengyu Cao, NASA & University of Illinois, 11/1/2012 10/31/2015, $359,712. “Cooperative Underwater Robotic Networks for Discovery & Rescue,” Chengyu Cao with Kazem Kazernounian and Jun-Hong Cui, NSF/ CISE, 9/1/2012 - 8/31/2016, $1,200,000. “Phase Field Modeling of Single Crystal Materials Failure: Theory,” Brice Cassenti, United Technologies-Pratt & Whitney, 1/1/2013 - 12/31/2013, $35,000.

“Enhanced Electrical Capacitance Tomography for Combustion Visualization,” Robert Gao, United Technologies-Pratt & Whitney, 1/1/2013 - 12/31/2013, $75,000. “Complex Housing Optimization,” Robert Gao, United Technologies Aerospace Systems, 4/1/2013 - 12/31/2013, $76,639. “Advanced Sensing and Signal Processing for Diagnosis and Prognosis of Drilling Equipment,” Robert Gao, Canrig Drilling Technologies, 4/1/2013 - 3/31/2014, $109,342. “Collaborative Research: A Cyber-Physical Infrastructure for the ‘Smart City’,” Robert Gao, NSF/ENG, 10/1/2012 - 9/30/2015, $150,000. “Collaborative Research/GOALI: Improved Spare Parts Inventory Management in Aircraft Engines through Hybrid Sensing,” Robert Gao, NSF/ENG, 6/1/2013 - 5/31/2016, $150,000. “From Nanofabrication to Commercial Production of Solar Cells,” Hanchen Huang, NSF/OD, 10/1/2012 - 3/31/2013, $50,000. “Life Predictions for EB-PVD TBCs,” Eric Jordan, United Technologies-Pratt & Whitney, 1/1/2013 - 12/31/2013, $65,000.

“Dish Stirling High Performance Thermal Storage,” Amir Faghri, DOE/Sandia National Laboratories, 10/16/2012 - 9/30/2014, $300,000.

“CMAS Effects on TBCs,” Eric Jordan, United Technologies-Pratt & Whitney, 1/1/2013 12/31/2013, $70,000.

“Cavitation Modeling,” Tai-Hsi Fan, United Technologies-Aerospace Systems, 3/1/2013 12/31/2013, $65,409.

“Composite Technologies,” Eric Jordan, United Technologies-Aerospace Systems, 1/1/2013 - 12/31/2013, $72,500.

“Experimental Study of Reacting Jets in Cross Flow,” Michael Renfro and Baki Cetegen, United Technologies-Pratt & Whitney, 06/2013 - 12/2013, $64,280.

“Local Limit Phenomena for Flow Compression and Fuel Cracking Effects in High-Speed Turbulent Flames,” Tianfeng Lu, DOD/Air Force Office of Scientific Research, 3/1/2013 - 2/28/2014, $117,434.

“Development and Validation of Predictive Models for Turblent Sooting Flames,” Tianfeng Lu, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), 10/1/2012 9/30/2015, $300,000. “Computational Flame Diagnostics for Direct Numerical Simulations with Detailed Chemistry of Transportation Fuels,” Tianfeng Lu, DOE/Department of Energy, 9/1/2012 - 8/31/2014, $450,000. “Identification of Adhesion Receptors Expressed on Red Blood Cells from Patients with Sickle Cell Disease,” George Lykotrafitis, American Heart Association, 7/1/2012 6/30/2013, $308,000. “Micromechanics of Red Blood Cells in Sickle Cell Disease,” George Lykotrafitis, NSF/MPS, 9/1/2012 - 8/31/2015, $420,497. “Impact of Material Properties on Water Management in PEFCs,” Ugur Pasaogullari, Nissan Motor Company Ltd., 4/1/2013 2/28/2014, $20,009. “High Performance Heat Exchangers,” Ugur Pasaogullari, United TechnologiesAerospace Systems, 3/13/2013 - 12/31/2013, $65,000. “Coating Removal Using Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy,” Michael Renfro, Rolls Royce Inc., 5/23/2013 - 12/31/2013, $65,000. “Analysis of Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement for Bicuspid Aortic Valve Patients,” Wei Sun, American Heart Association, 1/1/2013 - 12/31/2014, $44,000. “Structural Analysis of Transcatheter Aortic Valve Device,” Wei Sun, PHS/NIH/National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, 2/1/2013 - 1/31/2015, $417,427. 21

CONGRATULATIONS 2013 GRADUATE RESEARCH COMPETITION WINNERS 1ST PLACE: Bryan Weber (Ph.D. Candidate in the field of Combustion) Advisor: Prof. C-J. Sung 2ND PLACE: Stephen Stagon (Ph.D. Candidate in the field of Nano Materials Synthesis) Advisor: Prof. Hanchen Huang 3RD PLACES (TIED): He Li (Ph.D. Candidate in the field of Cellular Mechanics) Advisor: Prof. George Lykotrafitis and Jinjiang Wang (Ph.D. Candidate in the fields of Sensors and Micromechanical Systems) Advisor: Prof. Robert Gao

teaching & research excellence

MECHANICAL ENGINEERING FACULTY AWARDS The Mechanical Engineering department has a history of recognizing excellence in research and teaching by its faculty. This academic year Profs. Chih-Jen (Jackie) Sung and Michael W. Renfro were recognized as the recipients of the research and teaching excellence awards, respectively. The awards are made based on nominations evaluated by a faculty committee from other departments. Jackie and Mike were recognized at a departmental faculty-staff reception and they were presented with plaques and $2000 each for their professional development activities. We congratulate Jackie and Mike for their excellent contributions to our educational mission.


PHD GRADUATES 2013 COMMENCEMENT Graduate Advisor Hafez Bahramibalajadeh Amir Faghri Richard Fu Ugur Pasaogullari Xianglin Li Amir Faghri Shaoping Liu Robert Gao Jeffrey Lombardo Wilson Chiu Shihua Wu Kazem Kazerounian Zhenyu Zhang Nejat Olgac Ji Zhao Jiong Tang


UConn Mechanical Engineering Annual Report 2012-2013