Research in Flexible Sensors

In Spring 2020, AME granted several Undergraduate Research Opportunity Awards (UROA) to faculty and undergraduate students. Dr. Yingtao Liu and his student, Vincent Webster, received one of these awards, which Phillips 66 sponsored.  Vincent is a senior in aerospace engineering.  About his research, Vincent writes:

My research consisted of developing flexible sensors used in several applications including human motion detection, sensor arrays, soft robotics, biomechanics, structural health monitoring, and prosthetic devices. These sensors measure the force applied to them using a technique called piezoresistivity. Piezoresistivity is characterized as the change in electrical resistance of the material due to an applied deformation. Highly flexible piezoresistive sensors typically decrease their electrical resistance during an applied load. The decrease in resistance occurs due to the variation of microstructures and properties of the materials under loads. To fabricate these sensors, flexible PDMS polymer, was used as the bulk material of the sensor. Carbon nanotubes were uniformly dispersed within the polymer to form the electrical conductive network microstructures. Sugar particles were then added during the fabrication process to create a mixture of carbon nanotube, PDMS, and sugar combination. The sample is then submerged in water to ideally release all the sugar from the sample. The traditional sugar removal method using water can take days to completely remove all the sugar particles. To reduce this extraction time, we would submerge the samples in water and microwave them. This would rapidly increase the temperature of the samples within a minute and the samples would expand and allow water to saturate the sample, leading to the rapid removal of all sugar particles and forming desired open-cell microstructures.

This research built a solid foundation for the rapid manufacturing of piezoresistive polymer foams for broad sensing applications. Our preliminary results have demonstrated that the developed method is able to effectively control materials’ microstructures, enhance carbon nanotube dispersions, and optimize their sensing function. Collaborating with Dr. Liu’s graduate student, Blake Herren, has motivated me to pursue graduate study at OU. Many thanks to the generous support of AME and Phillips 66.

Great job, Vincent!

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. Lee Receives University Distinguished Teaching Award

Dr. Chung-Hao Lee was selected to receive the University Distinguished Teaching Award in this year’s Norman Campus Faculty Tribute Awards! The following passage was written by the University:

Since joining the School of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering in 2016, assistant professor Chung-Hao Lee has established an independent, multidisciplinary research program with a focus on experimental and computational biomechanics that has rapidly grown into one of the largest biomedical research groups within the Gallogly College of Engineering.

In the first three years of his tenure track, Lee has taught a wide variety of AME courses at the undergraduate level and has also developed innovative course materials by integrating his expertise in mechanics and cutting-edge research technology.

Lee has been recognized by his colleagues for his strong passion for student mentoring. Students engaged in undergraduate research projects under his guidance have demonstrated academic excellence through receipt of numerous awards, including the Grand Prize Award at Oklahoma Research Day at the Capitol and the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship.

Congratulations Dr. Lee for receiving this well-deserved award!

AME Graduate Student Award Winners Announced!

This month, AME announced the graduate students who will be receiving scholarships and fellowships for their hard work during the 2019-2020 school year. Graduate students recognized include:

Marathon Oil Scholarship:

Adam Flenniken


John E. Francis Scholarship:

Roshan Annam

Hootan Rahimi


Jim and Bee Close Scholarship:

Mohammad Abshirini

Alfredo Becerril Corral

Emmanuel Hakizimana

Anirban Mondal

Mohammad Naghashnejad

Fatema Tarannum


Frank Chuck Mechanical Engineering Scholarship:

Parisa Marashizadeh


W. Thomas Milam, Sr., Endowed Fellowship:

Tess Hartog

Blake Herren


Congratulations to these outstanding students for their achievements!

CellScale Biomaterials Testing Features Dr. Lee and His Publications

Dr. Chung-Hao Lee’s publications were featured in a recent newsletter by CellScale Biomaterials Testing for his work with the CellScale BioTester. The publications also showcase his research in cardiovascular biomechanics.

To view the webpage featuring Dr. Lee and his publications, click here. For more information about Dr. Lee’s Biomechanics and Biomaterials Design Laboratory (BBDL), click here.

Congratulations Dr. Lee!


Colton Ross Selected for the NSF GRF

Graduate Student Colton Ross was selected for the 2020 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program. Ross is a graduate student in the BBDL studying Mechanical Engineering.

During the program, Ross, “will be working under Dr. Chung-Hao Lee on the development of a multiscale computational model for one of the heart valves – the tricuspid valve.” They hope to gain, “a better understanding of the complex heart valve mechanics, which can eventually help towards patient-specific surgical planning or the refinement of current therapies.” Ross is looking forward to learning new things and sharing his ideas at research symposia or with fellow lab members.

Ross discovered his passion for research by working for course credit under his advisor, Dr. Lee. Ross said, “since then [his] passion has been fueled by the work and the people around [him] that make that work possible.”

“The AME department is full of extremely supportive people who want nothing more than for you to succeed, and they will provide any resources they can to make that possible,” Ross said.

Congratulations on this outstanding achievement, Colton!

2019-2020 Outstanding Student Award Recipients are Announced!

Outstanding student awards for the 2019-2020 school year include seniors Will Fossett and Riley Barnes, juniors Callen Koiner and Hunter Lau, and sophomores, Megan Fox and Abbey Moore.

      Outstanding Senior in Mechanical Engineering: Riley Barnes

Riley Barnes is currently the lead teaching assistant for Circuits 1 (DC Circuits), Circuits 2 (AC Circuits), and Electromechanical Systems.

After graduation, he plans to work full-time as a mechanical design engineer in the aerospace industry for L3 Harris Technologies at their Greenville, TX location.

“I initially discovered my passion for mechanical design and manufacturing during my sophomore year on the Sooner Rover team, when we designed and built a new rover. Since that time, professors and colleagues in the AME program have continued to push me to grow as an engineer and a professional.  Leveraging resources in the AME program I was able to obtain a design engineer internship with Terex Corporation and this experience reinforced my desire to work as a design engineer.  The technical knowledge and lessons I’ve learned in AME are truly invaluable and will remain with me throughout my career.

         Outstanding Senior in Aerospace Engineering: Will Fossett

 Will Fossett is part of Sigma Gamma Tau, the national aerospace engineering honor society. He is also a team member of OU’s DBF, where he worked on static stability analysis, structural analysis, and construction of the fuselage and spar for the team’s aircraft. Fossett is also the teaching assistant for AME 3333 Flight Mechanics.

After graduation, he will be working in the Electronics and Payloads division at Northrop Grumman in Oklahoma City.

“OU’s AME program has introduced us to each of the primary fields of aerospace, such as propulsion, structures, aerodynamics, and flight controls. These classes allowed us to experience the basics of these fields so that we can understand what fields we are interested in and have aptitudes for. By introducing us to many different aspects of aerospace, the OU AME program has allowed me to find the aspects of aerospace that truly interest me.”

     Outstanding Junior in Aerospace Engineering: Callen Koiner

After graduation, Callen Koiner plans on furthering his education by pursuing a Master’s degree so that he can better understand how to design components for the next generation of air and space vehicles to help push humanity further than ever before.

“Ever since I was a kid, I have always been interested in the science of flight. I chose Aerospace Engineering because it allowed me to develop an understanding of all the different mechanisms of flight through the help of many different professors and faculty during my time at OU.”

   Outstanding Junior in Mechanical Engineering: Hunter Lau

After graduation, Hunter Lau hopes to enroll in the University of Oklahoma Medical school to pursue an MD.

“I am studying mechanical engineering in order to have the broadest and representative understanding of the Engineering field! I enjoy learning the variety of topics Mechanical Engineering has to offer including circuits, solid/fluid mechanics, heat transfer, biomechanics, and computational analysis.”

Outstanding Sophomore in Aerospace Engineering: Megan Fox

In the future, Megan Fox hopes to work on military aircraft and bring innovative ideas to an ever-evolving field.

“My natural curiosity and instinctive need to explore the universe have led me to know that aerospace engineering has always been my calling. Choosing my major may have been a simple decision, but I fell in love with it in a way I never expected. I came to love my major because of the way that it requires creativity. When it comes to exploring the universe, there will always be more questions than answers, and I’ve learned that sometimes the best solutions come from the most unexpected ideas. Building gliders and rockets has shown me that there is never an exact solution, but applying ideas and principles in an innovative way is how progress is made. Every time I see my ideas in action, I am reassured that I am in the right major.”

Outstanding Sophomore in Mechanical Engineering: Abbey Moore

After graduation, Abbey Moore plans to continue working at NASA’s Johnson Space Center where she can work on the next generation of spacesuits and support NASA’s return to the Moon.

“I’m studying mechanical engineering because I love the range of tools– from fluids and solids to design and analysis– that it gives me to address complex and dynamic problems.”

Dr. SeungYeon Kang Gives Seminar over Advanced Laser-Materials-Processing Techniques for Nanofabrication of Functional Materials and Energy Harvesting Devices

SeungYeon Kang, Ph.D. presented a seminar Friday, March 6, over, “Advanced Laser-Materials-Processing Techniques for Nanofabrication of Functional Materials and Energy Harvesting Devices.” Dr. Kang is a Program Manager for NSF’s SHAP3D additive manufacturing center at the University of Connecticut.

Abstract: Increasing number of novel materials, structures and device are being designed every day to revolutionize our future. Accordingly, new fabrication methods to complement the designs must be developed for actual realization of the devices. In this talk I’ll start by discussing the use of ultrafast lasers for advanced materials processing techniques and the significance of developing new nanofabrication methods for cost-effective manufacturing and rapid prototyping with high accuracy. The focus of my talk will be on a novel direct laser writing technique that enables fabrication of 3D metal-dielectric nanocomposite structures of tunable dimensions ranging from hundreds of nanometers to micrometers. This true 3D patterning technique utilizes nonlinear optical interactions between chemical precursors and femtosecond pulses to go beyond the limitations of conventional fabrication techniques that require multiple postprocessing steps and/or are restricted to fabrication in two dimensions. The first part of the talk will end with a further discussion on possible applications including metamaterials, graphene-based devices and etc. In the shorter second part of the talk, I’ll introduce a relatively new material of research interest called piezoelectrochemical materials and another advanced laser-materials-processing technique that utilizes laser induced forward transfer (LIFT). I’ll end with a discussion on how one can use these two research areas to develop energy harvesting devices that convert ambient mechanical energy into electrochemical energy.

Biography: Dr. SeungYeon Kang is currently the program manager for NSF’s SHAP3D additive manufacturing center at University of Connecticut. Her research interests are focused on advanced laser materials processing techniques, fundamental principles and application of light-matter interaction, nanofabrication and energy technology. She obtained her B.A. degree from Cornell University in chemical engineering and received her Ph.D. degree in applied physics from Harvard University, where she focused on ultrafast laser processing of materials and developed a novel 3D nanofabrication technique. After her graduate studies, she worked at Samsung SDI as a senior research engineer on lithium ion batteries and at Princeton University as a postdoctoral research associate. Her various research resulted in several patents and she is the recipient of Samsung SDI Scholarship, Harvard University Center for the Environment (HUCE) research Fellowship and Princeton Postdoctoral Fellowship in scientific writing.

Dr. Guru Dinda Gives Seminar over Accelerated Discovery of New Ni-based Superalloys Via Additive Manufacturing for Advanced Turbine Engines

On Monday, March 2, Dr. Guru Dinda gave a seminar over, “Accelerated Discovery of New Ni-based Superalloys Via Additive Manufacturing for Advanced Turbine Engines.” Dr. Dinda is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Wayne State University.

Abstract: Due to the ever-increasing demands for energy efficiency in gas turbines for power plants and aircraft engines, new Ni-based superalloys remain under development. Our current level of theoretical and empirical understanding does not usually permit one to predict the structures and resulting properties of these multicomponent materials. Consequently, the discovery and optimization of many materials comprise trial-and-error experiments. Given the vast universe of potential alloys that can be created by combining various elements from the periodic table, the conventional method of synthesizing and testing samples one at a time is too slow for exploring the broad range of novel materials. Here I disclose a high-throughput alloy development procedure based on the direct laser metal deposition principle coupled with CALPHAD-based solidification modeling that will expedite the alloy discovery process by 100 to 1000 times compared to the current one at a time alloy development practice. In the current alloy development research, the testing of the mechanical properties of the new alloys comes at the later part of the alloy development process. Tensile testing of thousands of conventional test specimen requires a long time and adequate resources. This limits the exploration of a very large set of alloy library. Here I propose a sample fabrication and testing methodology of thousands of miniaturized tensile test samples in a few days at the early stage of the alloy development. It is expected that the proposed high-throughput alloy development technique will be used extensively to explore various alloy libraries to discover many new high-performance materials for structural and functional applications.

Biography: Dr. Guru Dinda is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Wayne State University (WSU). Dr. Dinda’s research interest is directed toward fundamental understanding of the additive manufacturing processes to reduce lead-time for concept-to-product manufacturing for government and industries. Dr. Dinda has developed a laser additive manufacturing (LAM) facility at WSU that combines laser cladding with rapid prototyping into a solid freeform fabrication process. Dr. Dinda led the development of various LAM processes for manufacturing and remanufacturing of a variety of high-value components made of 4340 steel, Al 4047, Al 7050, Al 7075, Cu-30Ni, Cu-38Ni, Inconel 625, Inconel 718, Inconel 738, Rene 108, Haynes 282, Ti-6Al-4V, GRCop 84, Bi2Se3 and Bi2Te3
using LAM technology. He earned a Ph.D. in materials science and engineering from the University of Saarland, Saarbrucken, Germany in 2006. Dr. Dinda has published 37 journal articles that have been cited more than 1600 times. He also serves as an associate editor for Advances in Materials Science and Engineering Journal, and International Journal of Material Science and Research.

Dr. Sergey Averkin Gives Seminar Over Kinetic Simulations of Non-equilibrium Phenomena in Partially Ionized Plasmas

Sergey Averkin, Ph.D., a Research Scientist from Tech-X Corporation, gave a seminar Friday, February 28. He spoke about, “Kinetic Simulations of Non-equilibrium Phenomena in Partially Ionized Plasmas.”

Abstract: Partially ionized plasmas have many applications in science and engineering. The examples of applications include space propulsion, material processing including production of nanomaterials, ion sources, display panels, medicine. Modeling and simulation of non-equilibrium chemically reacting plasmas is a challenging problem owing to the presence of complicated plasma chemistry and coupling between volume, surface, and transport non-equilibrium processes. Simulation approaches span from volume averaged global models that incorporate thousands of chemical reactions and include simplified assumptions regarding transport to computationally expensive kinetic simulation methods that allow to calculate detailed information of plasma transport and usually employ simplified chemical models to speedup simulations.

The first part of the talk presents a Global Enhanced Vibrational Kinetic (GEVKM) model and its application to the simulation of an RF discharge chamber of a new High Current Negative Hydrogen Ion Source developed by Busek Co. Inc. and WPI. The GEVKM is supplemented by a comprehensive set of surface and volumetric chemical processes (22 species and more than 1000 chemical reactions) governing vibrational and ionization kinetics of hydrogen plasmas. The model is computationally efficient. It was used in parametric studies with thousands of points in parameter space.

The second part of the talk outlines new developments in the Particle-in-Cell and Direct Simulation Monte Carlo methods (PIC/DSMC) that are used to model partially ionized plasmas and rarefied gases that are described by kinetic equations coupled with the Poisson equation. The PIC/DSMC method can provide detailed information of the distribution functions of plasma components in complicated geometries. The applications of the PIC/DSMC method to simulations of flows inside nanonozzles and around CubeSat are presented. In addition, novel simulations of plasma assisted growth of nanoparticles using PIC/DSMC method are discussed.

Biography: Dr. Sergey N. Averkin received the B.S. and M.S. degrees in applied mathematics and physics from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, Moscow, Russia, in 2007 and 2009, respectively, and the Ph.D. degree in aerospace engineering from the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), Worcester, MA,  in 2015. From 2015 to 2016, he was a Post-Doctoral Fellow and an Adjunct Teaching Professor at WPI. In 2018 Dr. Averkin was a Research Associate at the University of Colorado Boulder. Currently he is a Research Scientist at the Tech-X Corporation, Boulder, CO, USA. His current research interests include advanced numerical simulations of nonequilibrium phenomena in chemically reacting rarefied gases and plasmas. Applications of such simulations include space propulsion, mass and heat transport at micro and nano scales, ion sources, plasma processing. Dr. Averkin is a member of the American Physical Society (APS) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).