Russell W. Mailen Ph.D. presents over Thermo-Mechanical Behavior of Light Stimulated Shape Memory Polymer Sheets

This past Friday, AME had the honor of observing a presentation from Auburn professor Russell W. Mailen Ph.D. Mailen is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Aerospace engineering at Auburn University. His research focuses on the time-dependent properties of polymers, polymer composites, and computational modeling of shape memory polymers.

His presentation was over Thermo-Mechanical Behavior of Light Stimulated Shape Memory Polymer Sheets. In general, he is researching self-folding systems that use heat to cause motion. His research objectives include:

  • Formulating and implementing a coupled thermo-mechanical model into a 3D nonlinear finite element framework
  • Model material recovery in response to heat. (Validate model through uniform shrinkage and Demonstrate hinged folding which is critical for self-folding origami)


  • Generalize model for different coupled thermal and mechanical loading conditions to obtain optimized origami structures (Optimize structures by control of thermos-mechanical response to external stimuli)


Thanks to Professor Yingtao Liu who reached out to Mailen to come to OU and thanks to him for an interesting and dynamic presentation!

If you are interested in more information on his research, here is his abstract:

Shape memory polymers (SMPs) represent a class of active materials that can change shape in response to external stimuli such as heat, light, and solvents. Although SMPs have many applications, we are primarily interested in using the material as environmentally responsive actuators for self-folding origami structures. Previously, we developed a method to activate SMPs using light. Ink patterned on the polymer surface absorbs thermal energy from an infrared (IR) light which results in localized heating and shrinking of the sheet. The shrinking behavior can be harnessed to produce folded and curved structures. We investigate the thermo-mechanical response of this system by developing a three-dimensional (3D), non-linear finite element model. This model accounts for external heat sources, such as the IR light, as well as internal heat generation caused by dissipation of viscous energy. The model shows how the coupled thermo-mechanical loading conditions affect folding and unfolding of SMP sheets in response to localized heating in ink patterned regions. We conduct a parametric study of sheet thickness, hinge width, degree of pre-strain, and hinge surface temperature, and we demonstrate methods for generating 3D, curved structures. Self-folding can be used to obtain 3D structures from planar sheets for an array of applications, including medical stents, antennas, and engineered, origami applications, such as space telescopes.

Dr. Chung-Hao Lee and Dr. Yingtao Liu receive $45,000 award from Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology

Dr. Chung-Hao Lee and Dr. Yingtao Liu have received an award from the Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology. It is a $45,000 award from the State of Oklahoma for the research project titled “(HR) Novel Shape Memory Polymer Devices for Optimal Endovascular Embolization of Intracranial Aneurysms.”

The collaborative team for this interdisciplinary research has been established among bioengineer Dr. Chung-Hao Lee, material scientist Dr. Yingtao Liu, and neurosurgeon Dr. Bradley Bohnstedt (OUHSC), as well as student researchers in various engineering disciplines of the Gallogly College of Engineering. This project is currently supported by the 2017 Gallogly SEED Funding for Interdisciplinary Research, Faculty Investment Program (FIP) sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Research, and the Pilot Research Program from the Oklahoma Shared Clinical and Translational Resources (OSCTR).

The project is the development of a novel medical device for surgical treatment of intracranial aneurysms. Incidental rupture of an intracranial aneurysm results in subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH), which causes about 10% of an individual’s death before reaching medical attention. The overall objective of this research project is to identify objective hemodynamic and biomechanical criteria derived from predictive computer simulations for designing embolic devices and to develop the prototypes of embolic devices using aliphatic urethane shape memory polymers (SMPs), which possess excellent shape memory property, as a novel therapeutic technique for patient-specific endovascular embolization of intracranial aneurysms. The developed SMP foam-based embolic devices are expected to achieve short preparation time, optimal complete occlusion, and a significantly reduced rate of aneurysm recurrence. The development of such innovative technologies is expected to be beneficial to the healthcare of Americans with a stroke history and will dramatically reduce the corresponding in-hospital expenditure.

Tips and Tricks for the Engineering Career Fair from David Bert

Tuesday September 11th, we had the honor of listening to David Bert give Career Fair and Resume advise for this week’s career fair. The Engineering Career Fair is Thursday September 13th from 12:30-4:30 at Lloyd Nobel Center.  David Bert is the Vice President of Drilling at Chesapeake Energy Corporation and had a lot of real world advise to give to our students.

Career Fair Advise:

  • Victim vs. Leader – Make yourself a Leader while pursuing a career. Execute your goals rather than procrastinate, concentrate rather than being distracted, and embrace change instead of resisting it.
  • Utilize OU Career services help – Use HireSooner and Handshake to apply for jobs and internships.
  • Before the career fair make sure to do your research – Know about the companies you are interested in. (Their current research, jobs available, dress code they expect)
  • Have a goal! – Know your own career interests and be confident as you talk to employers.
  • Keep in mind that you are competing with students from other universities. It takes a lot of effort so do not be discouraged and keep looking.
  • Internships are key!!! – Internships are a pipeline to a permanent job. Most companies like to hire students who they have already had as an intern.
  • Use unconventional job search engines – apply online, subscribe to industry publications, work with AME and see how they can help you.
  • Ask smart questions while showing passion and interest in their company.

Resume Advise:

  • Ultimate goal: Get an Interview! You want your employer to look at it for 8 seconds to get a good idea of what you have to bring to the table.
  • Always include an objective or position if possible
  • Include accomplishments, not just responsibilities – What differentiates you?
  • Be prepaid to explain your summer activities and what you did.
  • Maximize related skills with a combination of your GPA and classes.

AME wishes everyone luck for the Career Fair! Y’all will do great!!!!

Ph.D. candidate Lin Guo recognized for a Paper of Distinction

At the ASME’s 2018 IDETC, Design Automation Conference, Lin Guo’s paper was recognized as a Paper of Distinction. This paper is one of 20 invited papers to appear in a special issue of the ASME Journal of Mechanical Design. Thomas Neeson and Hamed Zamanisabzi from the School of Geography, also contributed to this paper.

Lin Guo studies Industrial and Systems Engineering and is a Ph.D. candidate, starting her third year. The title of her paper is “Managing Conflicting Water Resource Goals and Uncertainties in a Dam Network by Exploring the Solution Space.” ASME Design Automation Conference, Quebec City, Canada.  Paper Number:  DETC2018-86018, L. Guo, H. Zamanisabzi, T. Neeson, J. Allen and F. Mistree , 2018.

Guo began with research of dams and reservoirs and asked the question “do they meet our expectations?”. After further research learning of the damage, death, and costly hazards faulty dam and reservoir networks can cause, she worked towards a solution of how to improve the conditions.

The most difficult part of her research was using industrial-engineering knowledge to improve a social-ecological system. This required expertise in both industrial engineering and geography so that she could give added-value in both domains. Guo had to create value to multiple groups in a way that everyone understands. She said that this challenge was also her favorite part of the process. With her coauthors from the Department of Geography and Environmental Sustainability, she was provided valuable knowledge to keep her work on track. She wants to thank OU for giving her tons of opportunities searching for collaborations and the chance to find a multi-disciplinary project.

Guo is a member of SRL at OU and has used her opportunities and advisors to further her knowledge through laboratory work, academic research, and writing. She enjoys the multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural working environment, having the chance to collaborate with scholars and experts in design, manufacturing, data science in universities or industry in different countries.

If you are interested in learning more about Lin Guo’s research, here is the abstract:

“In a multi-reservoir system, ensuring adequate water availability across reservoirs while managing conflicting goals is critical to making the social-ecological system sustainable in the presence of considerable uncertainty. The priorities of multiple user-groups and availability of the water resource may vary with time, weather and other factors. Uncertainties such as variations in precipitation bring more complexity, which intensifies the discrepancies between water supply and water demand for each user-group. To reduce such discrepancies, we seek to satisfice conflicting goals, considering typical uncertainties.
We observe that models are incomplete and inaccurate, which calls into question using a single point solution and suggests the need for solutions which are robust to uncertainties. So, we explore satisficing solutions that are relatively insensitive to uncertainties, by incorporating different design preferences, identifying sensitive segments and improving the design accordingly. In this article we present an example of the exploration of the solution space to enhance sustainability in multi-disciplinary systems, when goals conflict, preferences are evolving, and uncertainties add complexity.”



University of Oklahoma launches three rockets in Kansas

This past labor day weekend, the University of Oklahoma launched three rockets at the Kansas Kloudbusters’ Airfest event. A student research team lead by Dr. Thomas Hays performed the launches.

The research role is to fly a variety of material testing payloads under real flight conditions for the customer.   The top segment of the rocket is a general purpose volume that can be easily changed to fit their devices.  In addition to our UGRA students, Dr. Hays brought along Boomer Rocket Team leadership and some AE capstone leaders to make the best use of this opportunity to spread knowledge.

Dr. Hays commented that he is “happy to say our students represented the university very well in all aspects during the weekend!  The general manager of Aerotech rocket motors came running and tripping across the field to congratulate us on the rocket structure holding together under the thrust of his M6000 motor.” OU’s research team is the first civilian group to launch successfully on that design.

The AME department would like to thank the donor who provided the REPF truck that made the event possible.

Dr. Hays’ research team will be having a meeting in the next two weeks to set out their future goals and funding!

DARPA Young Faculty Award

Assistant Professor Andrea L’Afflitto Ph.D. has received the prestigious DARPA Young Faculty Award. The objective of this program is to identify and engage research in faculty positions by providing funding, mentoring and industry contacts. Professor L’Afflitto’s main interests in research in state and output-feedback optimal control theory for aerospace and mechanical engineering. This specific research project is going to focusing on training a drone that can be used for military purposes.

DARPA takes research proposals every year to give grant awards. They focus on the candidate and their backgrounds to make sure the research will be successful. L’Affitto prepared a pre-selection one-page summary of his research plan and then submitted a full proposal. He will have collaborator from Penn State, Eric Johnson, a very distinguished professor.

Today, drones fly in a straight line from point A to Point B, but if these need to be employed in combat scenarios or situations the involved the element of an animal or an opponent they may impede the goal of the mission. The ultimate goal is to find the best trajectory. The idea of his research is to mimic the behavior of prey animals. For example, a prey animal tries to avoid direct sunlight or tries to walk as close as possible to walls so that it can conceal its presence. To some extent this is the behavior that some ground troops have when they move around, trying to walk close to walls and hide their presence as much as possible. L’Affitto will work towards teaching a drone how to behave in such a manor. The drone should be able to understand its surroundings and respond accordingly. So, if the target is not reachable and there is a constraint of completing the mission, the drone could seek shelter, land, and wait for better conditions.

This research will have many challenges for L’Affitto to face, however he has a strong team to support him. The project started in July and will last for 2 years. If the program manager is satisfied with his research, they may recommend him for the presidential award which is even more prestigious. He says this is incentive to do even better.

L’Affitto’s final comments on this project:

“I am more thrilled than excited because the project is ambitious. Defiantly, the greatest challenge is instilling some kind of reasoning within a machine, in particular to a machine that is light weight and small, low power. Drones have the same power as a laptop from 4 years ago. I want to believe it can be done with my great collaborator and very motivated students, so I have a sense to believe that we will make it.”