UConn Mechanical Engineering Annual Report 2012

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welcome from the DEPARTMENT HEAD Dear Colleagues and Friends, We are pleased to share with you our department’s annual report summarizing the activities of the 2011-2012 academic year. Currently, the Mechanical Engineering department is home to 25 tenured and tenure track faculty, three professors in residence and one lecturer. Two new faculty will be joining our department with our faculty size reaching 27 tenured and tenure track faculty, the largest size the department faculty has attained. Additionally, three faculty searches have been launched in the area of advanced manufacturing as part of a university wide faculty hiring initiative. The department has been steadfast in expanding its research portfolio with many new external research awards and record yearly research expenditures of $7 million. Of the 134 graduate students in the department, almost half are pursuing their doctoral degrees. Twenty-three M.S. and twelve Ph.D. degrees were conferred in this academic year. Between July 2010 and June 2011 faculty received new research grants and contracts totaling $7.5 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 close to $1 million. Our distance education

activities have expanded with offerings at UConn Avery Point and Pratt & Whitney East Hartford, and transmission of courses electronically to other sites. The demand for our undergraduate program is stronger than ever with a current overall enrollment of 471 students. A record number of 131 bachelor’s degrees were conferred during this academic year. The capstone Senior Design project course featured 51 projects sponsored by 34 companies and organizations. The department continues its support for undergraduate students engaged in summer research at various research laboratories in the department with additional funding from an NSF-REU grant in Sustainable Energy Systems. Our efforts to encourage and reward our students for entrepreneurship and innovation continues with the awarding of the D.E. Crow Innovation Prize to student teams with unique commercializable ideas. These accomplishments continue to motivate us to improve our program and find ways to better serve our students and engage in research and development activities with our federal, state and industrial partners for economic development in our state and the nation. We hope you will enjoy learning about the activities of our department documented in this publication. We always welcome your feedback. With kind regards,

Baki M. Cetegen United Technologies Chair Professor and Department Head

University of Connecticut - Department of Mechanical Engineering


2011-2012 QUICK FACTS 29

faculty members

25 3 1

tenured/tenure track faculty professors-in-residence instructor

134 graduate students 471 undergraduate students 96 journal articles published 148 conference papers published 100 active research projects $7.0M in research expenditures $26.6M in active research projects $7.5M in new research awards

ME Undergraduate Enrollment

Part Time Full Time

Research Breakdown 2012 Other NIH 6% 10% DoED 4%

NSF 41%

DoE 15% DoD 8%

Ph.D. Enrollment

Industry 12%

Part Time Full Time


University of Connecticut - Department of Mechanical Engineering

M.S. Enrollment 3


Pinar Zorlutuna, Assistant Professor Dr. Pinar Zorlutuna will be joining our faculty in the Fall 2012 semester. Dr. Zorlutuna received her B.S. degree in biology from Ankara University in Turkey. She received her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in bioengineering and technology from a joint program between the Middle East Technical University and Queen Mary University of London. She held a postdoctoral appointment in the bioengineering department with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign between 2009 and 2011. Since 2011 she has been a research staff member in biomedical engineering at the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology. Dr. Zorlutuna’s expertise is in the area of tissue engineering, including stem cell culturing and growth on engineered tissue scaffolds.

David Pierce, Assistant Professor Dr. David M. Pierce will join our faculty in the Fall 2013 semester. 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. Since then Dr. Pierce has been on the faculty of the Institute of Biomechanics at Graz University, Austria. 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.

Drs. Zorlutuna and Pierce will bring significant strengths to our expanding research and education in biomechanics and bioengineering and enhance our collaborations with the UConn Health Center. Our new colleagues will bring the Department of Mechanical Engineering’s faculty group to a historical benchmark of 27 tenured and tenure track faculty. The department’s areas of research emphasis include energy systems, biological & biomechanical systems, dynamical systems & control, mechanics & materials, and design & manufacturing. University of Connecticut - Department of Mechanical Engineering


Pratt & Whitney Extends UConn Relationship Pratt & Whitney made another generous annual gift to the University of Connecticut School of Engineering and the Mechanical Engineering Department aimed at further strengthening the collaboration with its Center of Excellence at UConn for engineering students and faculty. Three of Pratt & Whitney’s top engineers – Paul Adams, senior vice president, Operations & Engineering; Al Brockett, vice president, Engineering - Module Centers; and Thomas Prete, chief engineer of Hot Section Engineering – recently presented the gift to UConn officials at the company’s worldwide headquarters in East Hartford, CT. The 2012 annual gift has enabled UConn to install new additive manufacturing equipment, donated by Pratt & Whitney for use at UConn’s Depot campus, and also supports the purchase of a stateof-the-art laser diagnostics system for combustion research and other applications. “This gift further underlines the strong commitment between UConn Engineering and Pratt & Whitney to advance the state of the art in gas turbine technology and to train a new generation of aerospace engineers who are adept at solving real-world technological challenges,” said UConn Interim Provost Mun Choi. The annual gift enhances the educational programs available to UConn engineering students and leverages the activities and resources of the Pratt & Whitney Center of Excellence at the university. Last year’s P&W gift to UConn was used to purchase a demonstration gas turbine engine that provides students with experience in jet propulsion. “Our relationship with the UConn School of Engineering signifies Pratt & Whitney’s continued commitment to a long-term, productive relationship with the educational community. We are excited by the engaged dynamic that has been created with the Universityof Connecticut, and we look forward to continuing to build on this relationship in the years ahead,” said Prete. The Pratt & Whitney Center of Excellence at UConn, which was

Pictured (l-r): Pratt & Whitney Chief Engineer of Hot Section Engineering Thomas Prete; United Technologies Chair Professor and Department Head, Mechanical Engineering, Baki M. Cetegen; Interim Provost Mun Y. Choi; Pratt & Whitney Senior Vice President of Operations and Engineering, Paul Adams; and Pratt & Whitney Vice President of Engineering-Module Centers, Alan Brockett. Photo courtesy of Pratt & Whitney

established in 2010, is focused on fundamental and applied research initiatives that support the design and development of more efficient gas turbine engines. UConn Mechancial Engineering’s primary research collaborations are in the fields of combustion, advanced sensors, diagnostics, and controls. In addition, UConn established an annual Pratt & Whitney Distinguished Lecture, delivered by a respected authority in one of the areas closely aligned with gas turbine technology. Pratt & Whitney employs many UConn engineering graduates, and faculty work side-by-side with P&W engineers on various fundamental projects. This close relationship has produced dividends for students, graduates, researchers, and the State of Connecticut.

University of Connecticut - Department of Mechanical Engineering


academy of distinguished engineers 2012 Mechanical Engineering hosted three inductees to the UConn Academy of Engineering on April 3, 2012. The inductees were Dr. J. Michael McQuade, Senior Vice President for Science & Technology at United Technologies Corporation; Prof. Ryszard Pryputniewicz, K.G. Merriam Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI); and Mr. Jackson (Jack) Morgan, Director of Propulsion Plant & Ship Systems Design & Engineering at General Dynamics Electric Boat. A colloquium and panel discussion were held prior to the induction ceremony.

Dr. J. Michael McQuade is responsible for providing strategic oversight and guidance for research, engineering and development activities throughout the UTC business units and at the United Technologies Research Center. Before joining UTC in 2006 Dr. McQuade held senior positions with 3M, as Vice President of the Medical Division; Imation Corporation; and Eastman Kodak, as President of the Health Imaging Business. Dr. McQuade serves as a member of the Energy Advisory Board of the U.S. Department of Energy. He earned his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in physics from Carnegie Mellon University. He has been instrumental in strengthening the symbiotic research partnership between UTC and the School of Engineering. Dr. McQuade was inducted into the UConn Academy of Distinguished Engineers and received the School of Engineering Distinguished Service award.

Dr. Ryszard J. Pryputniewicz (M.S.

’74, Ph.D. ’76 Mechanical Engineering) is the K.G. Merriam Professor of Mechanical Engineering at WPI. He is

the Founding Director of the Center for Holographic Studies and Laser Micromechatronics. A Fellow of the International Society for Optical Engineering, Dr. Pryputniewicz is the President of the Society for Experimental Mechanics (SEM). In recognition of his seminal contributions in holography and photonics, he has received the WPI Board of Trustees’ Award; Best Paper of the Year award from ASME Transactions; the SEM Murray Medal for his contributions in holographic metrology; the European Double Swords Award; and the Dennis Gabor International Award. He has authored or coauthored over 350 scholarly contributions of books, journal papers and conference proceedings. Dr. Pryputniewicz was elected to the UConn Academy of Distinguished Engineers as a distinguished alumnus in recognition of his long lasting contributions to mechanical engineering and science.

Jackson E. Morgan

(M.S. Mechanical Engineering ’70) has been the Director of Propulsion Plant & Ship Systems Design & Engineering at General Dynamics Electric Boat. During his 48-year career, Mr. Morgan has supported the design and construction of the Sturgeon, Narwhal, NR-1, Lipscomb, Los Angeles, Trident, Seawolf and Virginia classes of submarine. He has been central throughout his career to Electric Boat’s sustained position as a world leader in nuclear submarine design and construction. In his latest position Mr. Morgan led a 1,000 person organization responsible for propulsion plant and ship systems design and development, supporting ship design and construction programs, ship upgrades and modernization. Mr. Morgan was elected to the UConn Academy of Distinguished Engineers as a distinguished alumnus in recognition of his long lasting contributions to mechanical engineering.

University of Connecticut - Department of Mechanical Engineering


Formula SAE Team 2012 University of Connecticut’s School of Engineering has many extracurricular opportunities for students, but few offer the prestige and hands-on experience of the UConn Formula SAE club. UConn Formula SAE is a student run organization which competitively UConn Formula SAE race car, 2012. designs, manufactures, and races a Formula-style car. This year marks the third in which the team has traveled to the Michigan International Speedway to compete in the annual intercollegiate and international Formula SAE competition. It is also the team’s first year participating in Canada’s Formula North. The 2012 car (shown above) has proven to be the team’s most competitive yet. UConn Formula SAE offers a real world engineering experience that challenges student team members to learn and improve their skills. Students design and fabricate each component as well as analyzing cost and performance. UConn’s Formula SAE team receives some school funding, but most of their financial support comes from industrial sponsorships. To make the best use of their budget the teams must focus on cost effective engineering, and this helps prepare students to succeed in their future engineering careers. The 2011-2012 year was one of the most successful for UConn, and returning members are looking forward to the next set of challenges. Already putting their 2012 experience to work, the team has plans for a major design overhaul.

The 2012 Formula SAE Team. Like us on Facebook!


contributed by Shannon Tichy, UConn Formula SAE Secretary University of Connecticut - Department of Mechanical Engineering

UConn ME hosts Combustion Conference The Department of Mechanical Engineering and the School of Engineering hosted the Combustion Institute Eastern States Section Technical Meeting in Storrs, CT on October 9-12, 2011. The meeting included five invited talks and 103 paper presentations. The inaugural Irvin Glassman Young Investigator Lecture was delivered by Prof. Tianfeng Lu of our department who is an expert on the reduction of complex chemical kinetic mechanisms of combustion for use in large-scale numerical simulations. The award is named for Prof. Irvin Glassman of Princeton University, one of the most influencial reseachers in combustion. The conference program also included a tour of the Pratt & Whitney Engine Museum in East Hartford and a reception hosted by Pratt & Whitney. 7

SOME RECENT GRANTS AND CONTRACTS “Adaptive Control for Air Management Systems,” Chengyu Cao and Jiong Tang, Hamilton Sundstrand, 4/1/2012-12/31/2012, $90,000. “Prognostic and Health Management for Hamilton Systems in Boeing 787,” Chengyu Cao and Jiong Tang, Hamilton Sundstrand, 1/1/201212/31/2012, $100,000. “Performance Seeking Control for Engines,” Chengyu Cao, United Technologies-Pratt & Whitney, 1/1/2012-12/31/2012, $80,000. “Adaptive Control for Air Management Systems,” Chengyu Cao, United Technologies-Hamilton Sundstrand, 1/1/2012-12/31/2012, $90,000. “Oxidation Modeling in Bond Coatings of Single Crystal Turbine Blades,” Brice Cassenti, United Technologies-Pratt & Whitney, 4/19/201212/15/2012, $20,165.

“Graduate Assistants in Areas of National Need: Clean Energy,” Mun Choi, ED/Office of Postsecondary Education, 8/15/20118/14/2012, $175,900. “Single-Step Manufacture of Affinity Nanodiscs for Drug Delivery,” Tai-Hsi Fan, Mu-Ping Nieh, Yong Wang, National Science Foundation, 1/1/2012-12/31/2014, $387,249. “Enhanced Electrical Capacitance Tomography for Combustion Visualization,” Robert Gao, United Technologies - Pratt & Whitney, 1/1/2012-12/31/2012, $70,000. “Advanced NSMS Signal Processing,” Robert Gao, United Technologies - Pratt & Whitney, 01/01/2012-12/31/2012, $75,000. “Sensor Capabilities Matrix,” Robert Gao, United TechnologiesPratt & Whitney, 1/1/2012-12/31/2012, $50,000.

“Theoretical Modeling-Phased Field Analysis of Single Crystal Material Failure,” Brice Cassenti, United Technologies-Pratt & Whitney, 1/1/2012-12/31/2012, $31,250.

“Advanced NSMS Signal Processing,” Robert Gao, United Technologies-Pratt & Whitney, 1/1/2012-12/31/2012, $75,000.

“Computational Implementation of Phase Field Theories in Finite Element Codes,” Brice Cassenti, United Technologies-Pratt & Whitney, 1/1/2012-12/31/2012, $33,499.

“Active Tool Wave Cancellation in LWD Acoustic Tools,” Robert Gao, Schlumberger-Doll Research Center, 7/1/2011-6/30/2012, $130,716.

“Premixed Flame Blowoff Studies and Reduced Order Modeling,” Baki Cetegen and Michael Renfro, United Technologies-Pratt & Whitney, 10/5/2011-12/31/2011, $50,000.

“Nuclear Fellowship Program Applied Research in Radiation Damage and Mitigation,” Hanchen Huang, Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), 4/1/2012-5/31/2012, $43,652.

“Experimental Studies on New Main Combustor Concepts,” Baki Cetegen and Michael Renfro, United Technologies-Pratt & Whitney, 1/2/2012-12/31/2012, $75,000.

“A New Characteristic Length Scale on Surfaces,” Hanchen Huang, National Science Foundation/ENG, 8/1/2011-7/31/2012, $96,401.

“Predicting Carbonate Ion Transport in Alkaline Anion Exchange Materials,” Wilson Chiu, Department of Defense/Army, 4/1/201212/31/2012, $50,000.

“Control of New Kinetic Barriers and Design of Nanorods,” Hanchen Huang, Department of Energy, 4/1/2012-3/31/2013, $170,000.

“In-Situ Imaging and Analysis of Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Anodes during Degradation,” Wilson Chiu, NSF/ENG, 10/1/2011-9/30/2012, $95,915.

“NDE of Gas Turbine Thermal Barrier Coatings,” Eric Jordan, Department of Energy, 8/15/2011-8/14/2012, $49,896.

“Science Based Nano-Structure Design and Synthesis of Heterogeneous Functional Materials for Energy Systems,” Wilson Chiu, DOE/ Department of Energy, 9/1/2011-7/31/2012, $228,354.

“High Absorptivity Low Emissivity Coating for Solar Boiler Tubes Phase I,” Eric Jordan, Department of Energy, 2/1/20125/31/2012, $55,001.

University of Connecticut - Department of Mechanical Engineering


“Composite Materials,” Eric Jordan, United TechnologiesHamilton Sundstrand, 1/1/2012-12/31/2012, $67,000. “PWA CMAS UConn Program 2012,” Eric Jordan, United Technologies-Pratt & Whitney, 1/1/2012-12/31/2012, $65,000. “Low Thermal Conductivity, High Durability Thermal Barrier Coatings for IGCC Environments,” Eric Jordan, DOE/National Energy Technology Laboratory, 10/1/2011-9/30/2012, $174,135. “ENN & The University of Connecticut School of Engineering Graduate Education & Research in Sustainable Energy,” Kazem Kazerounian, ENN Group, 8/23/2011-8/22/2012, $295,996. “Collaborative Research: Petascale Computing, Visualization and Science Discovery of Turbulent Sooting Flames,” Tianfeng Lu, National Science Foundation/OD, 9/1/2011-8/31/2012, $90,457. “Investigation of NOx Emissions in GE Entitlement Rig,” Tianfeng Lu and Zhuyin Ren, General Electric Company, 1/1/201212/31/2012, $100,000. “Dynamic Systems and Control Conference 2013,” Nejat Olgac, American Society for Engineering Education, 11/10/20111/31/2014, $10,000. “Dynamic Simulation of Rotor Case Rub Interaction,” Nejat Olgac, United Technologies-Pratt & Whitney, 1/5/2012-12/31/2012, $82,819. “SBIR Phase I: Efficient Separation of Hydrogen from Reformate,” Ugur Pasaogullari, National Science Foundation/ENG, 7/1/2011-12/31/2011, $25,603. “Role of Multi-Scale Water Transport in Dynamic Performance of Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cells,” Ugur Pasaogullari, Nissan Motor Company, Ltd., 8/1/2011-8/1/2012, $34,808. “High Performance Heat Exchangers for Aerospace Applications,” Ugur Pasaogullari, United Technologies-Hamilton Sundstrand, 3/1/2012-12/31/2012, $65,000.

“Electrochemical Hydrogen Reclamation,” Ugur Pasaogullari, National Aeronautics & Space Administration, 7/1/20116/30/2012, $103,257. “Development of Biomechanical Models for Analyzing Percutaneous Transvenous Mitral Annuloplasty,” Wei Sun, AHA/SDG, 1/1/201212/30/2012, $ 77,000. “Patient-Specific Modeling for Analysis of Aortic Aneurysms,” Wei Sun, PHS/National Institutes of Health, 1/1/201212/31/2012, $33,515. “Role of Animal Models in Transcatheter Valve Intervention,” Wei Sun, PHS/National Institute of Health/National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, 5/1/2012-4/30/2013, $225,910. “Probabilistic Modeling of Stenotic Aortic Valve Intervention,” Wei Sun, PHS/National Institute of Health/National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, 8/20/2011-6/30/2012, $421,993. “EFRC for Combustion Science - UCONN Component,” Chih-Jen Sung, Department of Energy, 8/1/2011-7/31/2012, $60,000. “MURI: Generation of Comprehensive Surrogate Kinetic Models and Validation Database for Simulating Large Molecular Weight Hydrocarbon Fuels-UCONN Component,” Chih-Jen Sung, Department of Defense/Air Force Office of Scientific Research, 12/1/2011-6/30/2012, $197,000. “Collaborative Research: Hybrid Control of Gear System Vibration with Time-Varying Dynamics via Piezo-Composite Array,” Jiong Tang, National Science Foundation/ENG, 9/1/2011-8/31/2012, $60,458.

University of Connecticut - Department of Mechanical Engineering


UConn Mechanical Engineering FACULTY Thomas J. Barber

Professor-in-Residence Ph.D., New York University, 1968

Computational and Physical Fluid-Dynamics

Baki M. Cetegen

United Technologies Chair Professor and Department Head Ph.D., California Institute of Technology, 1982 Combustion and Fluid Mechanics

Theodore L. Bergman

Wilson K. S. Chiu

Heat Transfer and Thermal Manufacturing

Heat and Mass Transfer and Nanomanufacturing

Zbigniew M. Bzymek

Mun Y. Choi

Design and CAD Modeling

Combustion, Heat Transfer, Optical Diagnostics, Soot Processes

Chengyu Cao

Amir Faghri

Professor Ph.D., Purdue University, 1985

Associate Professor Ph.D., Warsaw University of Technology, Poland, 1967

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

Professor Ph.D., Rutgers University, 1999

Professor and Acting Provost Ph.D., Princeton University, 1992

Professor Ph.D., UC, Berkeley, 1976

Heat Transfer and Fluid Mechanics

Brice Cassenti

Tai-Hsi Fan

Applied Mechanics

Biofluidics and Biotransport

Professor-in-Residence Ph.D., Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn, 1972

Associate Professor Ph.D., Georgia Institute of Technology, 2003

www.engr.uconn.edu/me University of Connecticut - Department of Mechanical Engineering


Robert Gao

Pratt & Whitney Chair Professor Ph.D., Technical University of Berlin, Germany, 1991 Sensing, Mechatronics, Biomechanics

Eric Jordan

United Technologies Professor of Advanced Materials Processing Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, Madison, 1978

Experimental and Theoretical Mechanics

Yen-Lin Han

Kazem Kazerounian

Thermo-fluid transport phenomena in MEMS devices

Design, Kinematics and Robotics

Assistant Professor-in-Residence Ph.D., University of Southern California, 2006

Hanchen Huang

Connecticut Clean Energy Fund Professor in Sustainable Energy Ph.D., University of California at Los Angeles, 1995 Synthesis and properties of nanostructures (interfaces)

Horea Ilies

Associate Professor Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, Madison, 2000

Computational Design and CAD/ CAM/CAE

Professor and Acting Dean of Engineering Ph.D., University of Illinois at Chicago, 1984

Ikjin Lee

Assistant Professor Ph.D., University of Iowa, 2008

Analysis & Design Optimization under Uncertainty

Tianfeng Lu

Assistant Professor Ph.D., Princeton University, 2004

Combustion and Computational Fluid Mechanics

Two of our faculty have been appointed to new administrative positions. Dean Mun Y. Choi is serving as Interim Provost, and Associate Dean Kazem Kazerounian is serving as Interim Dean. University of Connecticut - Department of Mechanical Engineering


FACULTY continued George Lykotrafitis

Assistant Professor Ph.D., California Institute of Technology, 2005

Wei Sun

Assistant Professor Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh, 2003

Cellular Mechanics

Tissue Biomechanics

Kevin D. Murphy

Chih-Jen (Jackie) Sung

Associate Professor Ph.D., Duke University, 1994

Nonlinear Dynamics and Vibrations

Nejat Olgac

Professor Ph.D., Columbia University, 1976

Control Systems and Vibrations

Ugur Pasaogullari

Connecticut Clean Energy Fund Professor in Sustainable Energy Ph.D., Princeton University, 1994

Combustion, Propulsion, Laser Diagnostics, Fuel Chemistry

Jiong Tang

Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies Ph.D., The Pennsylvania State University, 2001

Associate Professor Ph.D., The Pennsylvania State University, 2005

Structural and System Dynamics and Control

Transport Phenomena in Fuel Cells

Marcelle Wood

Zhuyin Ren

Assistant Professor Ph.D., Cornell University, 2006

Computational Fluid Mechanics and Reacting Flow Simulations

Michael W. Renfro

Associate Professor and Associate Department Head Ph.D., Purdue University, 2000

Lecturer and Assistant Dean M.S., University of Connecticut, 1988

Bi Zhang

Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies Ph.D.,Tokyo Institute of Technology, 1988

Precision Design and Manufacturing

Combustion and Optical Diagnostics University of Connecticut - Department of Mechanical Engineering



Ph.D. student Bryan Weber explains how his research helps build our understanding of biofuel fundamentals

Bryan Weber received his B.S.E. in Aerospace Engineering from Case Western Reserve University in 2009. He started working for his advisor, Prof. Chih-Jen Sung, as a rising junior at Case. His first projects involved designing an experiment for hydrogen flames and analyzing the makeup of jet fuels. Bryan says “These projects showed me the need for basic engineering research to solve the world’s energy problems.” After completing his bachelor’s degree, Bryan moved with Professor Sung to UConn to pursue graduate studies, and received his M.S. in the summer of 2010.

“In my current research with Professor Sung, I study the ignition of biofuels. Ignition is an important property to study because it strongly affects how efficient those fuels will be when they are used in an engine. As we try to move our fuel system away from traditional petroleumbased fuels, the most promising replacements seem to be fuels made from crops we can grow, also known as biofuels. These new fuels have ignition properties that are different from traditional fuels, and my research aims to develop a fundamental understanding of how and why biofuels are different from traditional fuels. Scientists use ignition delay experiments to develop computer models of ignition of biofuels, which engineers will use to design new engines or optimize existing engines for new fuels.” “My support comes from the Combustion Energy Frontier Research Center (CEFRC), which is one of approximately 45 Energy Frontier Research Centers in the country funded by the Department of Energy, and the only one devoted to combustion research. Even though there is a large push to develop alternative energy sources, combustion currently provides approximately 85% of the world demand for energy and is projected to provide 75% in 30 years. It is clear that combustion research will remain important for many years to come.”

University of Connecticut - Department of Mechanical Engineering


D.E. Crow Innovation Prize In its second year the D.E. Crow Prize was awarded to four student teams for their innovative and potentially commercilazable ideas. The D.E. Crow Prize was established in 2010 by the former Senior Vice President of Engineering at Pratt & Whitney, Dr. David E. Crow, a staunch supporter of engineering and product innovation. This year’s prizes totaled $20,000. An Innovation Forum was held in May for the competing teams to present their ideas in front of a panel of judges, composed of entreprenuers, angel investors, faculty members and business incubators. Of the thirteen competing teams, four were awarded prizes ranging from $10,000 to $2,500. First place was awarded to the project titled “A Portable Water Purification System” by Saeid Zanganeh (ECE) and Navid Zanjani (ME), both of whom are Ph.D. candidates. Second Prize was awarded to the team of Nishang Gupta (ME & From L to R: Dr. D. E. (Ed) Crow, Saeid ZanBUS), Stephen Pelletier ganeh, Navid Zanjani and Dr. Baki Cetegen (Public Policy) and Dana Boyer (CEE) for their project titled “Energy Star Retrofit.” The third place prize was a tie between two teams, “Clamp and Pivot Sawstop (CAPS) Sytem” from the team of Stephen Harmon (ME) and Sam Masciulli (ME) and “Symbolhound” from Thomas Fedtmose (BUS) and From L to R: Dr. D. E. (Ed) Crow, Nishang David Crane (CSE). Gupta (ME, BUS), Stephen Pelletier (Public

Director of the Graduate Program Prof. Jiong Tang, Thuy Pham, Jamie Maciaszek, Mehdi Karzar-Jeddi, Kathryn Gosselin, Sina Shahbazmohamadi, and Department Head Prof. Baki Cetegen


to the winners of the 2012 Graduate Research Competition Awards! • 1st place: Jamie Maciaszek Advisor: Prof. George Lykotrafitis • 2nd place (tied): Kathryn Gosselin Advisor: Prof. Mike Renfro and Mehdi Karzar-Jeddi Advisor: Prof. Tai-Hsi Fan • 3rd place (tied): Thuy Pham Advisor: Prof. Wei Sun and Sina Shahbazmohamadi Advisor: Prof. Eric Jordan

Policy), and Dr. Baki Cetegen

University of Connecticut - Department of Mechanical Engineering



Prof. Michael Renfro

Dr. Michael Renfro’s research group develops and applies optical diagnostics for measurements in gas-turbine power systems. The research focuses on both measurements in combustion systems, and surface measurements on coated gasturbine engine components. Higher combustor temperatures are desired to increase the efficiency of gas turbine engines. Thermal barrier coatings are used to insulate hot internally cooled turbine blades and enable their operation at higher temperature. Being able to predict the failure of these coatings would enable more efficient replacement of parts and more reliable operation at high temperature. However, laboratory measurement techniques for coating life often fail when applied to systems used in engines due to the buildup of contamination.

breakdown spectroscopy is used during the removal to form a plasma in the removed material and measure the light emission as the plasma cools.

Working with collaborators, Prof. Renfro and his students have developed a technique to non-destructively remove contaminants from thermal barrier coatings and enable measurement of coating strength. In engine operation, materials ingested by the engine can deposit on hot components. By focusing a laser pulse onto the surface, a small region of material can be removed. Laser induced

As shown in the graph below, the emitted spectra differs significantly for contaminant material (first laser shot), consisting typically of calcium, magnesium, alumina and silicates, as compared to the coating itself (reference). The technique can determine with each laser shot if the material removed is contamination or the desired coating. Once the coating is reached (final laser shot), the removal stops. The group has shown that contamination can be removed without damaging the underlying coating as shown in the micrograph. This locally cleaned region can then be probed for the remaining life of the coating. The group has developed a portable instrument and is working with industrial partners to apply the measurement in the field. Future application could lead to more efficient replacement of expensive components in engines and the detection of early failures.

University of Connecticut - Department of Mechanical Engineering


Prof. Donald Wuebbles 2012 Pratt & Whitney lecture The department held its third annual Pratt & Whitney lecture on April 6, 2012 delivered by Prof. Donald J. Wuebbles of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The topic of his talk was the potential effects of Aviation Emissions on Climate, a subject of keen interest for aircraft engine makers. Assessment of current and future regulations on aircraft emissions depend on the studies of the effects of the emitted combustion products and pollutants on climate. Prof. Wuebbles is an expert in numerical modeling of atmospheric physics and chemistry and the Harry E. Preble Professor of Atmospheric Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has authored over 400 scientific articles, relating mostly to atmospheric chemistry and climate issues. Dr. Wuebbles and colleagues received the 2005 Stratospheric Ozone Protection Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Geophysical Union, and the American Meteorological Society. He shared in the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for his work with the international Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He was a member of a federal advisory committee that assessed and in 2009 published a report on the potential impacts of climate change on the United States. Professor Wuebbles is a Coordinating Lead Author for the next major international IPCC assessment of climate change and is a leader in the next U.S. National Climate Assessment, being a member of the Executive Committee and the Federal Advisory Committee.

Prof. B. Cassenti (L) with interns

h i g h school interns hosted The department faculty hosted six student interns from Greater Hartford Academy of Mathematics and Science (GHAMAS), a magnet school for gifted students. The academy is a regional high school located at the Learning Corridor in Hartford, CT. Prof. Brice Cassenti hosted four interns who worked on problems of deep space exploration and orbital mechanics. Prof. Robert Gao hosted two interns who worked on signal processing of vibration data using wavelet analysis tools. Both faculty members were very impressed with the performance of the student interns. The department has been involved with GHAMAS and Prof. Baki Cetegen serves on the advisory board of the Academy of Aerospace & Engineering of GHAMAS. The department looks forward to expansion of this internship program for talented students to learn about mechanical engineering and pursue career paths in engineering and sciences.

University of Connecticut - Department of Mechanical Engineering

Prof. R. Gao (R) with interns and UConn mentor


Prof. Tai-Hsi Fan


Exploring the Internal Structure of BioComplex Fluids Dr. Fan’s current research focuses on theoretical and experimental investigations of transport phenomena and physical properties of complex biological fluids. Examples of these matters are dispersions of therapeutic proteins, nanoscale lipid assemblies, and polymer mixtures, which have broad applications in pharmaceutical, food, and life sciences. Complex fluids, sometimes known as “soft matters,” have distinct physical and chemical behaviors compared with “hard” or gas phase materials. In complex fluids, the conformational and structural information is very important, the entropic effect often dominates the free energy and has critical impact on the physical properties and flow behaviors. In applications, understanding the dynamic regime of shearand frequency-dependent properties of these materials

is critical for tuning the stability and fluidicity in storage, manufacture, delivery, and chemical processing. The figure on the left demonstrates the simultaneous measurement of transient rheological properties and evaporation kinetics of a droplet of simple fluid using the quartz crystal microbalance. The spikes come from the acoustic p-wave resonating with the fluid interface. Dr. Fan’s group is using this method to explore the internal structure of complex fluids and to access the molecular level interactions between globular proteins in solutions with or without phase change. The group is also developing coarse-grained computation models that combine stochastic and deterministic methods to characterize biocolloidal interactions. The computer simulation (picture above) provides insights of the transport characteristics, energy content, fractal clustering behaviors, and their coupling with hydrodynamics. Dr. Fan’s research is primarily supported by the National Science Foundation.

University of Connecticut - Department of Mechanical Engineering


STUDENT PROFILE Thuy Pham is currently a doctoral student in the Tissue Mechanics Lab (TML) under the supervision of Prof. Wei Sun. Thuy joined TML as an undergraduate research student working on soft tissue mechanical testing, and was fascinated by her hands-on experiences in the laboratory. Inspired by the exciting research and the dedication of the research team to help elderly patients suffering from heart valve diseases, Thuy decided to continue on as a Ph.D. student focusing on cardiovascular tissue mechanics and medical device design. Addressing the growing need for a treatment option that improves on the standard high-risk and invasive surgical treatments of heart valve diseases, Thuy’s main research topic investigates the feasibility and durability of a minimally invasive mitral valve repair device. Her research integrates experimental and computational approaches to evaluate underlying mechanisms that could lead to device failure and facilitates future improvement and development of the device design. Thuy’s interest is especially peaked by experimental projects using computer simulations to determine the realistic material properties of tissues and simulate their normal and diseased responses. Thuy says, “It is fascinating to be able to apply engineering analyses to the evaluation of disease treatments and even more intriguing to be able to visualize the effects of the device treatment inside the human body on a computer.” Thuy was rewarded for her hard work in the lab in a 2009 national competition, when she was awarded the prestigious ‘Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award for Individual Predoctoral Fellows’ from the National Institute of Health. This individual pre-doctoral fellowship provides $31,000/year in support for four years, covering full tuition,

Thuy Pham stipend and an institutional allowance for Thuy’s research expenditure. Prof. Sun commented “This is a milestone in Thuy’s academic career. She was chosen by NIH as one of the best graduate students in the nation and, undoubtedly, she will have a bright future.” Thuy also works to bring her research to a wider community with her participation in an annual educational seminar series raising awareness of heart valve diseases among senior citizens. Organized by TML, the series brings researchers, cardiac surgeons and cardiologists from area hospitals to speak at local senior communities. “It’s important to let the community be aware of the latest medical technology and the choices they have in their treatments,” Thuy comments. During the summer session Thuy also participates in the annual Engineering 2000 program in which she and her labmates mentor high school juniors. The program allows faculty and staff to demonstrate some of the latest experimental and computational techniques and perform experiments with high school students. Thuy feels this program provides a great opportunity for students to develop greater awareness of current research fields and the opportunities they can find to participate in research laboratories during their upcoming college years. Outside of the research lab, Thuy enjoys outdoor activities such as hiking, camping and traveling. Thuy notes that “It’s important to stay active and be healthy, especially your heart!”

University of Connecticut - Department of Mechanical Engineering


Prof. Horea Ilies Dr. Ilies’ research group focuses on a variety of geometric problems, ranging from solid modeling, geometric skeletons, and geometric singularities, to protein mechanics and gesture recognition. In particular, the group’s research focuses on the development of new engineering models, representations, algorithms, and design semantics to enable systematic and efficient design, analysis and manufacturing of engineering artifacts across multiple length scales. One of their recent efforts is to develop a fundamentally new approach to understand and establish spatial properties of mechanical parts in terms of simple interacting constructs related to part functionality and manufacturing processes. In the context of engineering design, the novel concept of a medial zone provides an explicit representation of the correspondence between mechanical/functional characteristics and spatial properties.

RESEARCH PROFILE More precisely, medial zones provide topologically valid and parameterized initial design solutions. Due to the fact that the medial zones fuse some of the critical geometric and topological properties of both the domain itself and of its medial axis, reformulating problems in terms of medial zones affords the "best of both worlds" in a variety of applications such as shape synthesis in conceptual design, robotic and autonomous navigation, and design automation. The study of geometry in motion can be traced back to the scientists of the ancient world. Since folding of proteins is fundamentally nothing but coordinated movement of geometry (atoms) under the influence of internal constraints and external stimuli, kinematics can naturally play a key role in the understanding of how proteins fold, which, in itself, is one of the crucial problems in science today. Dr. Ilies’ research group is developing central kinematic elements necessary to model proteins and study their folding and flexibility.

Tertiary structure of Human Deoxy Haemoglobin (2HHB)

Automating shape synthesis: the medial zone provides a topologically correct initial guess whose size can be adjusted both globally and locally.

find out more at

http//cdl.engr.uconn.edu/ University of Connecticut - Department of Mechanical Engineering


ALUMNI PROFILE: Gregory Mocko Greg Mocko graduated from our department with a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering and a double major in Materials Science in 1999. He went on to receive his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Oregon State and Georgia Tech, respectively. He was a National Science Foundation IGERT Graduate Research Fellow, a Georgia Institute of Technology Presidential Fellow, and a graduate researcher at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Greg is currently a tenured Associate Professor in Mechanical Engineering at Clemson University. His research interests include knowledge representations to support design and manufacturing, elicitation and computational representations for engineering requirements, controlled languages for describing manufacturing assembly instructions, and knowledge capture for conceptual design. His research is supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation, BMW Manufacturing Corporation, BMW AG, Johnson Controls Incorporated, and US Army TACOM. He received the ASME CIE Young Investigator Award in 2012, the Georgia Tech Frederick Storey Faculty of the Future Fellow in 2006, and the ASME Computer and Information in Engineering (CIE) Robert E. Fulton EIM Best Paper Award for 2005.

NSF-funded REU Program in Energy Systems The Mechanical Engineering Department hosted nine undergraduate students for a ten-week research program as part of its NSF-funded Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program in Energy Systems Engineering. The students were competitively selected for the program from over 80 applicants and came from universities in seven different states. The students worked with faculty and graduate students in areas including solar energy, combustion, and fuel cells on individual research projects. Participating faculty included Profs. Pasaogullari, Murphy, Chiu, Renfro and Cetegen along with collaborating faculty in Chemical Engineering. This is the second year the department has hosted the program.

The UConn Mechanical Engineering Department awarded a record number of degrees in 2012: 131 B.S., 23 M.S. and 12 Ph.Ds University of Connecticut - Department of Mechanical Engineering



Prof. Tianfeng Lu Professor Tianfeng Lu’s research is focused on two major areas: development of algorithms for systematic reduction of complex flame chemistry, and computational diagnostics of flames from large-scale flame simulations. Flame chemistry is important for engine design, fuel efficiency, fire safety, and emissions control, where the interactions of chemistry and the flow determine such critical features as ignition, extinction, flame stabilization and instabilities. Accurate chemistry is therefore needed to accurately predict combustion problems. Detailed fuel chemistry can nevertheless be extremely complex and may involve a large number of chemical species and intermediate reaction steps, which poses severe challenges to combustion simulations. To overcome this difficulty, Prof. Lu and his students developed systematic approaches to substantially reduce large fuel mechanisms while retaining high accuracy. The reduced mechanisms have been widely adopted in computational fluid dynamics simulations, e.g. the stateof-the-art direct numerical simulations (DNS), large eddy simulations, and Reynolds Averaged Navier-Stokes simulations. Prof. Lu's research on computational flame diagnostics is in response to the need for systematic extraction of salient flame features from the massive datasets generated in large-scale flame simulations that may consist of hundreds of terabytes and defy currently available methods for flame data mining. One such newly developed diagnostic is chemical explosive mode analysis (CEMA), which rigorously detects ignition, extinction, premixed flame fronts and non-premixed flame kernels from massive flame simulations.

The figure to the left shows a lifted biodiesel jet flame at typical diesel engine conditions simulated at Argonne National Laboratory (collaboration with Dr. S. Som) using a skeletal mechanism derived from one of the largest mechanisms for transportation fuels. The simulation successfully captured the experimentally measured profiles. The figure to the right shows an example of flame structures visualized by CEMA and the identified controlling chemical species in different flame zones in a lifted ethylene jet flame in heated coflowing air (collaboration with Dr. J.H. Chen at Sandia).

Prof. Tianfeng Lu delivered the inaugural Irvin Glassman Young Investigator Lecture at our Combustion Conference.

Pictured L to R, Prof. Mike Renfro, local arrangement chair of the conference, Prof. C. K. Law of Princeton University and Prof. Lu’s Ph.D. advisor, Prof. Tianfeng Lu, Prof. Baki Cetegen, Chair of the Combustion Institute Eastern States Section and Dean Mun Y. Choi of UConn School of Engineering.

University of Connecticut - Department of Mechanical Engineering


Senior Design Program The UConn Senior Design Project Course is a highly successful educational program of the Department of Mechanical Engineering. 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 11 years the program has grown from 22 seniors working on 11 industrially sponsored projects to 152 students working on 51 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 a method to optimize the load wheels in an automatic sliding door for Stanley Access Technologies. The load wheels, which are responsible for the support and sliding motion of the door, are typically made of polyurethane rubber and roll along an aluminum track within the header of the door. The polyurethane material is very sensitive to changes in temperature and tends to deform due to the weight, causing the door to operate erratically. A test setup was developed to analyze the performance of the wheels, independent of the sliding door assembly. Using a load cell, the test setup was able to accurately measure the rolling resistance of various types of load wheels under a number of conditions and achieve repeatable results. These varying conditions included different loads, temperatures, speeds, directions, and track surface materials. The test setup

University of Connecticut - Department of Mechanical Engineering


http://www.engr.uconn.edu/me/cms/undergraduate/currentstudents/seniordesign was fully automated on a single computer, which controlled the test, and gathered data from the measuring equipment. Stanley Access Technologies was delivered a working test setup that can be used on new design prototypes. The design improvements and alternative materials within these prototypes will be developed according to recommendations made by the team, based on results obtained from the testing of the current polyurethane wheels. Another project for RBC Bearing involved their single fractured outer race spherical plain bearing (SPB). One of the many products they offer, RBC invented this fractured design over forty years ago and currently uses a brute force assembly method wherein the inner race is pressed into the outer race. The design team analyzed the current method and designed a fixture to improve the assembly process by opening the outer race to allow the inner to be inserted. The team applied Finite Element Analysis (FEA) software to study the current assembly process and its effect on the inner and outer races of the bearing. After developing the model, the team used the data to begin designing the improved fixture. With the help of FEA software, several different fixture designs were analyzed before it was determined

that using a set of hydraulically powered clamps was the ideal solution. A prototype device was developed using two heavy-duty clamps to grip the bearing near the fracture and is pivoted to open the bearing. The clamp contact surfaces are designed to maximize contact between the clamp and bearing. Further, the location about which the clamps pivot was determined to minimize the stress in the bearing due to opening. RBC hopes to reduce assembly time and scrapped parts and provide a better product to their customer. 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. This year’s commercial sponsors included Alstom, ASML, Boeing, Capewell, CarlyleJohnson, Covidien, Department of Homeland Security, Drexel, DRS Technology, Eemax, Glass Museum of CT, Habco, Hamilton-Sundstrand, Henkel Loctite, KHS, Legrand Wiremold, Lenze SE, Magnatech, Nufern, Otis Elevator, Persimmon, Phonon, PlasPak, Pratt & Whitney, RBC Bearings, Schick Wilkinson, Sikorsky, Stanley Access Technologies, Synectic-Gaylord Hospital, Tekrona, Trumpf, UTC Power, Westinghouse Electric, and Zachry.

2012 Senior Design Class with faculty and staff

University of Connecticut - Department of Mechanical Engineering


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