Dr. L’Afflitto is Guest on “Just Sow” Podcast

Wednesday, February 20, Dr. L’Afflitto was featured on an episode of OU’s “Just Sow” podcast where he spoke about drone technology.

In the podcast, Dr. L’Afflitto spoke about the future of drones at home and in the office. According to Dr. L’Afflitto, drones could be especially beneficial to those who have mobility impairments. The drones he is designing right now will help people with disorders to more easily manipulate and operate the world around them. He is currently trying to overcome the many technological challenges that go along with this project.

Dr. L’Afflitto said he believes that drones will be one of the many tools available for us in the future. He sees us using drones for picking up groceries, lifting heavy objects in warehouses, and supporting our ground troops. Teaching the drones to do these activities are just some of the things he’s working on in the lab. He also spoke about how he incorporates biology into his drone technology. However, he said that mathematical problems are at the heart of this research. Dr. L’Afflitto said it’s hard for him to imagine someone who would not be fascinated by drone technology.

Click here to visit Dr. L’Afflitto’s website.

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!

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 Tunnel Design Team Takes 2nd Place at AIAA Student Conference

AME’s student wind tunnel design team recently accepted an award in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on the weekend of April 13th at the student conference of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). Representing the team, Karen Martinez Soto traveled to the conference to accept the 2nd place award on behalf of her team for the AIAA region IV team technical paper category. In addition to Soto, her teammates include Samuel Jett, Orhan Roksa, and Marko Mestrovic, who are all undergraduate students at AME.                                         Their paper highlights the design, fabrication, and uniformity testing of a low-budget, wind tunnel. With a budget of only $5,000, their group examined characteristics of wind tunnels through computer models and they continued their study further by building a tunnel of their own to test other aerodynamic components. The focus of their design and construction for this tunnel, according to their paper, serves to provide “a robust platform for development and testing of many aerodynamics components, including UAV propellers.” Congratulations to Karen, Samuel, Orhan, and Marko for their impressive efforts to design and test a wind tunnel and their 2nd place award from the AIAA student conference.

Link to the team’s paper: design-fabrication-uniformity (1)-1ghgtt2