Dr. Song Receives 2018 ASHRAE Technical Paper Award

Dr. Song and her student Shima Shahahmadi will be presented with the 2018 ASHRAE Technical Paper Award on June 22 at the Society’s Annual Conference in Kansas City, Missouri. This award recognizes the best papers presented each year at Society meetings.

The paper is titled “Value Flowmeter Enhancement through Computing Valve Dynamic Behaviors” and AME is very proud of Dr. Song for winning this award two years in a row!


Dr. Garg Receives NSF CAREER Grant

On February 7, Assistant Professor Jivtesh Garg was awarded the CAREER grant from the National Science Foundation. He will be working on the investigation of strain and superior functionalization schemes for large enhancement of thermal conductivity in polymer-graphene nanocomposites and binary semiconductors. The NSF grant award for this project is a total of $500,000.

The NSF CAREER project targets large enhancement in thermal conductivity of polymer-graphene nanocomposites and group III-V semiconductors. Such high thermal conductivity polymers and semiconductors will significantly improve thermal management in electronics, automotive, aerospace, power generation, and energy harvesting applications. The approach involves simultaneously aligning the most thermally conductive paths in polymer and graphene particles and also covalently bonding the two to enhance thermal conductance at the polymer-graphene interface. Promising results have been achieved by our group in preliminary work. The thermal conductivity of semiconductor materials will be enhanced through phonon lifetime engineering.

The project also aims to enhance the participation of high school students through a summer camp program. To stimulate fascination with thermal transport, high school students will measure thermal response through colorful visualization of temperatures maps using infra-red imaging. Simultaneously the program will aim to enhance diversity by engaging American Indian students from various colleges in Oklahoma. The participants will develop an understanding of both atomistic simulations and perform experimental characterization of thermal transport.

Within polymers, thermal conductivity is highest along the polymer chain axis. Similarly, graphene nanoplatelets have dramatically higher in-plane compared to through-plane thermal conductivity. Simultaneous alignment of polymer chains and planar direction of nanoplatelets is achieved in this project through strain. Alignment is characterized through microscopy and imaging. As a second aspect, non-equilibrium Green’s function computations are used to achieve understanding of covalent bonding schemes enabling superior interfacial thermal conductance between polymer and graphene. Functionalized polymer composites will be prepared through such efficient schemes and thermally characterized in this work both experimentally and via atomistic simulations.

Finally, energy gap in the vibrational spectra of certain group III-V semiconductors has been shown to dramatically suppress scattering of low energy phonons, leading to large enhancement in phonon lifetimes, thus increasing overall material thermal conductivity. We have demonstrated this effect in ideal short-period superlattices and more recently in Gallium Nitride. This project will computationally explore strain engineering to further increase energy gap, resulting in higher phonon lifetimes. Strain effects will be quantified accurately through a first-principles approach based on deriving interatomic force interactions from density-functional theory and using them in an exact solution of the phonon Boltzmann transport equation.

Dr. Garg says that he is very thankful to National Science Foundation (NSF) for awarding him this grant. It will allow him to significantly enhance research, in his group, related to thermal transport at the atomistic scale for design of advanced materials for thermal management and energy conversion applications.

Congratulations Dr. Garg!

Dr. Song Receives Multiple Awards for Current Research

Dr. Li Song, an associate professor at AME, received three awards for her current research projects. Two awards are from the Department of Energy, and the third award is from Battelle – Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Song is the lead PI for the development and validation of a home comfort system for total performance deficiency/fault detection and optimal control project, which received a DOE fund of $993,149. The research team will develop and validate a smart thermostat-integrated low-cost home energy management system, including a data connection framework; a computationally efficient, self-learning home thermal model; automatic fault detection and analysis algorithms; and home energy management information and controls based on in-situ measured efficiencies of heating and cooling equipment, the air distribution system, and the building envelope.

The second DOE fund is $551,566 for the performance demonstration of an occupancy sensor-enabled integrated solution for commercial buildings project. The research team will validate the performance and savings of three HVAC control (fan, cooling coil valve, outside air) algorithms integrated with occupancy sensing data to optimize ventilation delivery.

A $50,000 award was given to Song from Battelle – Pacific Northwest National Laboratory for her Transactive-Control Based Connected Home Solution for Existing Residential Units and Communities project.

This is a summary of Song’s research proposal sent to Battelle: To obtain the overall project aims, the development of machine learning techniques to calibrate the initial physical model that estimates and predicts energy use of a house and its response to control signals is extremely important. An effective home thermal model, that can predict the indoor air temperature dynamics under different weather, HVAC output and internal gains from appliances and occupants, is essential for the development.

BEEL initiated the development of a self-learning home thermal model two years ago. The BEEL home model, currently limited for a house with an A/C and gas-furnace heater, can automatically identify the model parameters with minimum data needed and precisely predict the space temperature and home HVAC energy uses for a house. To enhance the connectivity and compatibility of the platform proposed by PNNL, BEEL is committed to expand the home thermal model for a heat pump system and test enhanced home model using two houses located in Oklahoma through the partnership with OG&E. The challenge of modeling the heat pump is that the heating output from a heat pump is no longer constant as is for a gas furnace heater. A correlation of the heating output of a heat pump and outdoor air temperature needs to be formulated and similarly, a correlation between cooling output of a heat pump and weather might be needed for cooling season as well.

Congratulations Dr. Song!



Chinedum Ezeakacha presents over Performance Verification and Material Testing of Liner Hanger Sealing Components for Oil and Gas Application

On Friday, February 8, AME hosted a seminar from Chinedum Peter Ezeakacha, a post-doctoral research associate at the Well Construction Technology center at OU. In his research, he speaks about performance verification and material testing of liner hanger sealing components for oil and gas application.

Abstract: Drilling operations, particularly in an offshore environment, require special tools and equipment. Liners and liner hangers are commonly used in offshore drilling applications instead of full string casings. When a well section is drilled, liner hanger and cement are used to engage and seal off the liner, connecting it to the previous casing. Typically, the liner hanger seal assembly is placed up-stream to the cement column. This arrangement prevents the independent evaluation of the integrity of both mechanical barriers (cement and liner hanger seal) after installation. The report from an oil and gas regulatory agency highlighted that the cause of a recent underground kick with this type of arrangement can be linked to the failure of he mechanical barriers under the operating conditions. While some of the design criteria for liner hangers are obtained from API 17D (Design and Operation of Subsea Production Systems – Subsea Wellhead and Tree Equipment), there is currently no standard that specifically addresses liner hangers or seals, nor how to test them. In this seminar, the performance of cement sheath and elastomeric seals used in liner hangers will be presented. Different downhole conditions in which these mechanical barriers can fail were simulated. The scope of the project necessitated a cross-disciplinary investigation involving the knowledges from mechanical engineering, petroleum engineering, and civil/material engineering. Thus, the barrier testing protocols were developed in consonance with the key questions raised by the agency, existing practice in 30 CFR 250.425, as well as ASTM and ASME standards. The summary of the findings in this study points towards testing the mechanical barriers for the anticipated downhole conditions before deploying them, particularly in gas-migration prone zones. In this study, the term “barrier(s)” defines the use of cement sheath and the liner hanger sealing assembly to prevent uncontrolled influx and migration of formation fluid to a shallow formation or surface facilities.

Biography: Chinedum Peter Ezeakacha is a post-doctoral research associate at the Well Construction Technology Center, The University of Oklahoma. He holds a B.Sc. in Chemical Engineering from Nnamdi Azikiwe University Nigeria (2009). After his bachelors’ program, he worked with ExxonMobil in Nigeria as a petroleum engineer from 2010 to 2011. Before enrolling in graduate school (spring 2013), he provided field support for installation, operation, and maintenance of compressed natural gas and pressure reduction stations for NG Equipment and Systems Ltd Nigeria (2011 to 2012). From 2013 to 2015, he instructed three lab sessions (well control, drilling fluids, and petrophysics), and one class (drilling engineering) at The University of Louisiana at Lafayette. In December 2014, he earned a M.Sc. in Engineering from UL Lafayette. Chinedum received his Ph.D. in Petroleum Engineering from the Mewbourne School of Petroleum and Geological Engineering at The University of Oklahoma in December 2018. During his 6-year graduate program in both colleges, Chinedum had 4 scholarships and 3 travel grants/support. He participated in 12 regional, national, and international graduate student research paper contests out of which won the 1st place award three times, 2nd place award once, and 3rd place award twice. He also participated in the SPE International Petrobowl Competition in 2014 as a player (placed 5th in Amsterdam The Netherlands), in 2015 as a coach (placed 4th in Houston Texas), and in 2016 as a coach (placed 2nd in Dubai UAE). Chinedum has presented more than 12 papers at several regional, national, and international conferences, meetings, and symposiums. He has published 9 papers in 5 journals (JERT, JPSE, JNGSE, Polymer, and JPEPT) and 14 conference papers (ASME OMAE, SPE, IADC/SPE, AADE, and ARMA). His research interests are in well integrity, downhole tool/material performance, design of experiments and data analysis, and wellbore stability.




AME Student Kaley Hassell has been Selected as a Brooke Owens Fellow

On February 5, Kaley Hassell, an undergraduate aerospace engineering student, was selected to receive the 2019 Brooke Owens Fellowship.

Hassell decided to apply for the Brooke Owens Fellowship program when she saw that it offered opportunities to work with amazing aerospace companies. As a selected fellow, Kaley Hassel will be working with the engineering department at Sierra Nevada Corporation on the Dream Chaser spacecraft. She will get the opportunity to work with astronauts and CEO’s.

Hassell says that OU’s aerospace program cemented her love for engineering. She has gotten to practice her aerospace skills through rocketry research and her involvement on the Formula SAE Sooner Racing Team. She is the chief aerodynamics engineer on the team and helps to design and build Formula style racing cars for competition. Hassell is very excited to have been selected for this program and looks forward to practicing her skills even more.

The Brooke Owens Fellowship is a very competitive program that offers only 38 women per year paid internship opportunities at top engineering companies. The selection process is extremely competitive with hundreds of applicants from top universities and only a select number of winners.

Congratulations Kaley!


Sooner Racing Team’s Thousands Strong Campaign Officially Launched

For the past seven months, Sooner Racing Team has been designing and manufacturing their car for this year’s Formula SAE competition. The team has a goal to raise $7,500 to get them on the road. The money will go towards transportation costs and supplies. The competition will provide professional experience for the team members, as they learn hands-on skills and have the opportunity to network with businesses in the automotive field, as well as, with students from 550 other universities around the world.

The Sooner Racing Team is an OU student organization that designs, builds, tests, and races an open-wheel, formula-style race car. The team wants to take their 2019 car to the Formula SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) competition in Lincoln, Nebraska, but they need your help getting there!

To learn more about the team and to contribute to their campaign, visit the Sooner Racing Team’s Thousands Strong page: https://thousandsstrong.ou.edu/project/13784

Sooner Rover Team’s Thousands Strong campaign results!

Sooner Rover Team’s Thousands Strong campaign has come to an end with amazing results. They raised $9,410 and are currently assembling their rover for competition. It will take place from May 30th to June 1st at the Mars Society’s Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) near Hanksville, Utah.

Thank you to all who supported the team by donating!

Thousands Strong campaign results are in!

Design Build Fly (DBF) and Boomer Rocket Team (BRT) successfully completed their Thousands Strong campaign! While it was a very close competition between the two teams, Boomer Rocket Team pulled ahead of Design Build Fly by a mere $185. Both teams did however surpass their goal of $4,000. Boomer Rocket Team raised a total of $7,300 and Design Build Fly raised $7,115. This money went towards supplies needed to build their rocket and plane. 

Thank you to everyone who supported out teams by donating!


Wind Powered Robots – AME Pre-Capstone Project

The Mechanical Engineering Pre-Capstone project revolves around a central semester-long, team-based project. This project is designed to provide students with the opportunity to act as junior engineers exploring solutions to a complex, multi-level, and competency-building problem. This experiential learning provides the basis on which competencies will be further developed for students entering their Capstone project.

This year’s task is to design, build and test a system capable of converting wind energy into some more useful form of energy and then store this energy in some compact, transportable module. The wind source will be represented by a household electric fan, and the energy modules must be used to propel a vehicle, carrying large payload around a track.

Students are actively at work this semester and eager to complete the task at hand!

Mechanical Engineer senior, Adam Kordsiemon, gives us an insight to his groups journey at tackling this year’s Pre-Capstone project.

Boomer Rocket Team (BRT) and Design Build Fly (DBF) go head-to-head for Thousands Strong Campaigns

Boomer Rocket Team (BRT) and the Design Build Fly Team (DBF) are going head-to-head in launching our Thousands Strong Campaigns. Thousands strong is OU’s own fundraiser program where alumnae and OU supporters can directly help OU programs. Both campaigns go live on Monday, November 19, 2018! Both teams have a goal to raise $5000 and need  support to get them to competition.  This year, to make things interesting, both teams are racing to see who can raise the most in 30 days!  Check out the Thousands Strong Pages and please consider donating or sharing either campaign with your family, friends, and colleagues! 

The Boomer Rocket Team is a student-run team at the University of Oklahoma. BRT has been an amazing avenue to teach students about rocketry and space through research, competition and in a capstone class for senior aerospace engineers.  In May 2019, the team will be heading to Kansas to compete in the Argonia Cup, previously won by OSU for two years running. This year, We are bringing our A-game to take the Cup, but we can only do this with your support! To learn more and to contribute to the BRT campaign, check out the Boomer Rocket Team campaign page: http://bit.ly/2K7wAwq

The Design Build Fly Team has been a cornerstone of the aerospace engineering program at OU for over 20 years. DBF provides opportunities for students to explore different aspects of aeronautical engineering, from their underclassmen years through to Capstone for seniors. In April 2019, the team will be heading to Tucson, AZ to compete in the AIAA international DBF Competition. With two top-ten finishes in the past three years, we are hoping to secure OU’s first podium finish. We will make sure we design a winning airplane, we need your help to get it to competition.  To learn more and to contribute to the DBF campaign, check out the Design Build Fly campaign page:  https://thousandsstrong.ou.edu/project/12284