Research in Ultra-High Thermal Conductivity

Dr. Jivtesh Garg and his graduate students are exploring a new class of ultra-hard boron-carbide materials such as BC2N and BC5 for ultra-high thermal conductivity values. Their goal is to achieve thermal conductivity values higher than diamond and graphene (> 5000 W/mK).

They are using quantum-mechanical calculations based on density-functional theory to predict thermal transport properties. Simultaneously the group is using laser-based frequency-domain thermoreflectance measurements (FDTR) to experimentally measure these high thermal conductivity values. Ph.D. students Rajmohan Muthaiah, Avinash Nayal, and Roshan Annam are conducting this research.

The group has also developed advanced functionalization schemes to more efficiently couple graphene with polymers for thermal transport applications. Graphene is a wonder material with extraordinary thermal, mechanical, and electrical properties. By efficiently coupling graphene with polymer, a large enhancement in properties can be achieved. Initial experimental results suggest dramatic improvement in the thermal conductivity of polymers such as polyetherimide. Developed functionalization schemes are being applied to a wide range of polymers. Ph.D. students Fatema Tarannum and Swapneel Danayat are involved in this research.

They are further exploring non-equilibrium phonon effects for the design of high-efficiency hot carrier solar cells and thermoelectric materials. Electrons in solar cells thermalize through interactions with lattice vibrations (phonons). By engineering non-equilibrium phonon effects to generate hot phonons, the thermalization of electrons can be inhibited, thereby enhancing solar cell efficiency. Non-equilibrium phonon effects also enhance the efficiency of thermoelectrics by mitigating heat loss through lattice vibrations.  Fundamental first-principles techniques coupled with Monte-Carlo simulations are being used to study non-equilibrium phonon effects.

Through advanced simulations and state-of-the-art experimental measurements, the group aims to develop the next generation of advanced composite materials for thermal management and energy conversion applications and is a world leader in thermal management technologies.

 

Using EEG to Understand Engineering Creativity

Tess Hartog, Md Tanvir Ahad, and Amin Alhashim are working together to explore the uses of electroencephalogram (EEG) to understand neuro-responses as they pertain to creativity in engineering. They are working under Dr. Zahed Siddique; Tess Hartog is an ME MS student with a background in math and psychology, Tanvir is an ME Ph.D. student with a background in EE, and Amin is an ISE Ph.D. student. Megan Marshall was a former fellow who graduated with her MS in AE in the summer of 2020.

The main objective of the research is to study creativity in engineering by gaining a deep understanding of how creative thoughts form and how the brain responds to different levels of creative products.  The students are currently utilizing EEG to capture the neurological behaviors and responses when conducting research.

Graduate Students

Amin’s work focuses on three areas: creativity definitions, creativity models, and the effect of cues on creativity.  Through text analysis techniques, Amin is analyzing a corpus of creativity definitions extracted from literature to understand how creativity is being perceived by engineers and non-engineers.  There are many models for creativity and Amin is working on a classification scheme based on their similarity.  Such classification is important for the advancement of creativity research as evident in the history of sciences. Amin’s last area of focus is on the effect of cues on creative behavior and its relationship with how the brain behaves through the use of EEG.

 

Tess’s work focuses on a subset of EEG recording called event-related potentials (ERPs), which are time-locked neural responses to stimuli. Specifically, she investigates the ERPs (the N400response) of engineers to creative stimuli. Tess is also working on analyzing the EEG recordings of engineers during engineering design-related problems and examining whether exposure to creative stimuli will improve designs. Below are some of her preliminary ERP findings. As indicated in the pictures, she looks for differences in negative wave amplitudes for three types of stimuli around 400 milliseconds post-stimulus presentation (i.e. the N400).

 

Defining creativity is hard but the measurement of creativity is even harder. To capture the multifaceted nature of creativity; more than a hundred measurement techniques have been developed and applied including neurocognitive approaches. The brain’s neural dynamics related to creativity should be accounted to quantify the relationship between the brain regions. During divergent thinking, EEG studies aid temporal dynamics of the neuronal activations underlying cognitive insight. In order to solve real-world problems, creativity is a must for engineers. Engineers’ involvement with creative tasks; activate brain regions corresponding to the task’s demand. Identifying the significant brain temporal regions engaged with the creative tasks for engineers is a crucial question. Brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) which are based on event-related potentials (ERPs) have the potential ability to estimate a user’s task involvement. Therefore, the question comes: Is the creativity (neural activity) of engineers detected by ERP-Based Brain-Computer Interfaces task-specific? Tanvir’s research work focuses on addressing these questions in the Neurocognitive creativity research domain.

Dr. Song collaborates with OG&E to bring you smarter HVAC systems

The following article was released by OG&E in a recent newsletter. Are you smarter than your HVAC? In the near future, it may be a toss-up

If University of Oklahoma College of Engineering professor Li Song and OG&E Supervisor of Customer Support Jessica King have their way, your HVAC system soon will be smarter than you are – at least when it comes to energy management.

Song, an associate professor in the School of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, and her colleague Choon Yik Tang, with the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, have been working for the last five years to create a “smart” heating and cooling system that helps customers be more informed about their energy consumption and ultimately their energy bill.

Much of the success they’ve had so far is due to the partnership between OU and OG&E – and the relationship the two women have formed during the project.

Song’s original intention was to design for large, commercial buildings and reached out to Pat Saxton, Expert Account Manager for OG&E, who was working with Tinker Air Force Base. Song discovered the model for commercial buildings was “too cumbersome” to test outside of the lab and decided to use it for homeowners instead.

“Pat introduced me to Jessica, who gave me a perspective on what OG&E was doing with its SmartHours program and the company’s interest in helping make customers smarter energy consumers,” Song said.

Song is also working with Ecobee to put the smart HVAC technology in their thermostats. OG&E also is working with Ecobee to pilot their thermostats in 700 test homes, using the existing thermostat technology.

The new technology goes beyond the typical SmartTemp thermostats currently used in the SmartHours program in that it learns factors, such as humidity and air flow, within the home, customer energy consumption preferences and the performance of the HVAC system. It also takes into account outside factors such as temperature, wind speed, sunlight, weather forecasting and the cost of electricity during certain times of the day.

The technology also provides ahead-of-time forecasting so that customers know what their costs will be if they adjust their thermostat up or down.

Customers can control and monitor their thermostats using a smart phone app.

“We envision that customers in the future will receive personalized information about their home, their energy costs and their own energy consumption and will know it ahead of time or in real time,” King said. “In other words, they won’t be left in the dark about what their end bill will be.”

King assisted Song by writing letters in support of the project that were included in the application to get funding from the Department of Energy.

“After the success of SmartHours, we were asking ourselves ‘what’s next?’” King said. “And here was this great opportunity to support our local university and further our vision of being a trusted energy advisor for our customers.”

Song and her research team are now undertaking a two-year program to test the technology in an unoccupied home on the OU campus.

“We want complete control in these initial tests but will simulate the moisture, heat and other factors created by residents.”

In the third year, OG&E will recruit about 10 customers to participate as occupied test homes and, following this pilot, will expand the program to more homes.

Both women’s eyes light up when they talk about the technology and what it can do for OG&E customers.

“We envision expanding the technology to eventually all smart thermostats to give people more knowledge about how they use energy, what it costs and how small changes can impact their end bill,” Song said. “As well as helping predict the bill, the system will improve HVAC operations, detect AC problems earlier and possibly have an environmental impact as well.”

“The possibilities are endless,” King added. “We could work with home builders to create a true Positive Energy Home, and we’ve already formed a partnership with Ideal Homes to explore this possibility. Plus the data we get from the thermostats could help us target customers for energy efficiency programs, helping us provide energy assistance to those who need it most.”

Alumni Opportunity: Capstone Projects

AME alumni:

We need your help! The Mechanical Engineering Capstone program has grown in size tremendously in recent years, and we are in need of additional industry-sponsored projects to support our large student cohort for Spring 2020.

casptone-projects-needed-ame

 
For many years, our capstone program has collaborated with industry sponsors, like you, to provide “real-life” industry projects for our seniors to complete during their final semester in school. These projects allow our students to successfully demonstrate a variety of skills that future employers prize: analysis, design, teamwork and communication skills to name a few. Ideally, the project will feature some elements of a design process and be suited for a team of 3-5 members for a period of 15 weeks. We are also interested in interdisciplinary projects that may involve industrial or electrical engineers as well.
 
If you believe your company may be able to assist us, please contact Dr. Chris Dalton at cdalton@ou.edu. The deadline for project submission requests is November 1, 2019

Dr. Imraan Faruque Presents Seminar over Current Research

Imraan Faruque, Ph.D., gave a presentation on Monday, March 25, 2019 on how biologically-driven flight control strategies can inform unmanned aerial vehicle swarms. Dr. Faruque is an assistant professor for the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at OSU.

Abstract: This seminar introduces a framework for deriving feedback design principles that can enable insect-based flight control approaches on unmanned aerial systems (UAS) and engineered extensions to groups of UAS. The seminar begins by establishing flight dynamics models of dipteran flapping wing insects, combining automated high-speed videography measurements of freely flying insects, experimental aerodynamics results, rigid body dynamics, and system identification techniques to distill high fidelity flight dynamics models into computationally-tractable models applicable to flight control analysis.  Methods to extract models of the closed loop controllers implemented on insects from free flight trajectories are discussed.  Linear matrix inequalities are applied to interpret the controllers into design principles that can translate the extracted controllers into those appropriate for engineered vehicles, and improvements in experimental techniques to quantify multi-agent aerial insect behaviors.  Control-theoretic definitions of reachability are applied to the aerodynamic mechanisms involved in insect-scale flight control and gust response, leading to a theoretic framework for the gust response properties of closed-loop flight control and the engineered design of gust-aware flight controllers.

Biography: Imraan Faruque’s research interests include reduced-order models of complex systems, biologically inspired locomotion and control systems, unmanned aerial systems, and flight dynamics and control.  Dr. Faruque’s specialization is in dynamic models of flying insect feedback, and in reduced order flight dynamics models that can concisely capture the dynamic properties of insect flight control, where his work has led to over 40 publications, including numerous best paper awards and patents. Dr. Faruque is currently an Assistant Professor at Oklahoma State University’s Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, with an appointment as Assistant Research Professor in the University of Maryland’s Department of Aerospace Engineering.  He is an honors alumnus of Virginia Tech, and received his MS (2010) and Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering in 2011 from the University of Maryland. He previously held research positions at the Army Research Lab, the Air Force Research Lab, and at General Electric Aircraft Engines.

Aerospace Engineering Student Featured in OU Crimson Spotlight

Sarah Ciccaglione, an aerospace engineering student, was featured in the “Crimson Spotlight” segment of the Inside OU newsletter on March 13, 2019. In the video, she speaks about her involvement at OU and how the School of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering has made her feel at home.

Ciccaglione is a member of the Sooner Racing Team. She enjoys the mechanical systems behind the cars and competing with her team. Ciccaglione is interested in the technical side of aerospace engineering and she enjoys the math and science involved in her major. Furthering her career in the engineering field, she also got the opportunity to intern with Tesla in Palo Alto, California.

Ciccaglione is very involved on campus. She is a member of the rowing team and double majors in aerospace and vocal performance. Ciccaglione loves all of the opportunities that OU provides for its students and the support system she has gained.

Click here to watch the Crimson Spotlight video featuring Sarah Ciccaglione.

AME Staff featured on TECAID

AME was one of the selected schools to be featured on the TECAID website with WEPAN. This website focuses on transforming engineering culture to advance inclusion and diversity. TECAID is an active program in which engineers can learn about the environment they are in while learning about their skills and knowledge. They focus on how to create the best personalized experience for their engineers.

https://www.wepan.org/mpage/TECAID

We are now highlighted in multiple Webinars (2 and 3) along with a photo of the OU team. An interview was done with our director, Dr. Zahed Saddique. The interview can be found at this link: https://www.wepan.org/mpage/TECAID_MechEngDepts

We would like to thank Phil Dineen who served as TECAID’s web designer and ASME who provided funds to make these final updates possible.

Giving Day 2018

For 24 hours on Tuesday, the University of Oklahoma hosted Giving Day, a campus wide fundraiser to help our students and programs! Overall the University raised $477,764 through 2,123 gifts.

The engineering department raised $96,100 with 459 gifts and AME’s own ambassador, Rebeka Morales yielded the most gifts university-wide. AME had an encouraging message from Dr. Siddique to get the donations started and a donation center in the Hitachi Conference room where students could donate between classes.

AME would like to thank everyone who donated to support our amazing student teams! They have big goals and with your support that are even closer to reaching them.

Thank you to our challenge from Michelle Coppedge who matched $1000 after we raised $1000 and another $1000 after we obtained 30 total gifts.

Alumni Opportunity: Capstone Projects Needed!

casptone-projects-needed-ame

AME alumni:
Your school needs your help! The Mechanical Engineering Capstone program has grown in size tremendously in recent years, and we are in need of additional industry sponsored projects to support our large student cohort for Spring 2018.
 
For many years, our capstone program has collaborated with industry sponsors, like you, to provide “real-life” industry projects for our seniors to complete during their final semester in school. These projects allow our students to successfully demonstrate a variety of skills that future employers prize: analysis, design, teamwork and communication skills to name a few. Ideally, the project will feature some elements of a design process and be suited for a team of 3-5 members for a period of 15 weeks. We are also interested in interdisciplinary projects that may involve industrial or electrical engineers as well.
 
If you believe your company may be able to assist us, please contact Dr. Chris Dalton at cdalton@ou.edu.

2017 Student Research and Creativity Day Awards

Six AME graduate students participated in the 2017 Student Research and Creativity Day. There was a total of 65 entries in the event.  Join us in thanking the participants:

Jackson Autrey                             Siddique and Mistree

Shangyuan Jiang                          Gan

Anand Balu Nellippallil              Allen and Mistree

Mortaza Saeidijavash                  Garg

Xiwen Shang                                 Allen and Mistree

Ru Wang                                        Allen and Mistree

 

Congratulations to Mortaza Saeidijavash for placing second in the engineering category.

mortaza-saeidijavash-graduate-poster