October 2000 FACULTY NEWSLETTER
Welcome our new faculty! David Schmidt
grew up in North Carolina and attended North Carolina State University
as an undergraduate. He received a Masters of Mechanical Engineering
at Stanford University. In 1997, he earned his Ph.D. in Mechanical
Engineering at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Most recently,
David was a Visiting Scientist at MIT. David's research is in
the fluid mechanics of two-phase flow. For his Ph.D., he studied
cavitation in diesel fuel injector nozzles. Since then, he has
focused more on sprays in combustion applications. His research
will help diesel and aircraft engines operate efficiently while
producing less pollution. David now lives in Amherst with his
wife, Tracy. His hobbies are cycling and ice hockey.
Congratulations are due to our new department
head, Steve Malkin, and thanks to Dean Poli and
Larry Murch for their extended service to the department.
The University has received a large multimillion-dollar
grant from the National Science Foundation to increase the number
of minorities receiving their Ph.D.'s and entering the professorate.
Money is available to support graduate students during their first
year and during the writing of their dissertation. One of the
first students to receive an NSF Fellowship last year is in our
department and has just been offered a position as an assistant
professor! Interested faculty should see Don Fisher if they would
like support to bring minorities to campus for a visit this fall,
if they have a minority graduate student that they would like
to support, or if they would like to participate in graduate student
recruitment activities on other campuses. One of the partner institutions
is the University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez -- a wonderful place
to visit year round (and especially when it is snowing up here)."
WHAT IS THE MIE FACULTY UP TO?
Ian Grosse, Sundar Krishnamurty, Larry Murch,
Dean Poli and Don Fisher together with faculty in Psychology (Sandy
Pollatsek and Keith Rayner) and Computer Science (Bev Woolf) just
completed the first year of a three-year research project funded
with monies from the National Science Foundation and the General
Electric Fund. Undergraduates in science, mathematics and engineering
have trouble visualizing the rotation, translation and more general
transformation of three-dimensional objects (e.g., the operations
performed in the stamping process on what is initially a flat
sheet of metal). The faculty are developing intelligent, multimedia
tutors designed to reduce the difficulties students have understanding
fundamental concepts that depend on basic visualization skills.
They met weekly over the course of the year, hosted a Visualization
Symposium in May that included speakers from around the country,
and helped supervise during the summer undergraduates from surrounding
colleges and universities doing research on the tutors. All told,
over 10 faculty, 15 graduate students, two undergraduates and
one post doctoral student were involved last year in the research.
Interested faculty can see examples of the research on the web
Robert Gao, John Ritter, Don Fisher, Sundar
Krishnamurty, and Janis Terpenny have been awarded a five-year
grant of $125,000 from NSF, for developing "Senior Design
Projects to Aid the Disabled". In addition, they received
a $15,000 Public Service Endowment Grant from the University of
Massachusetts. These two grants will support their effort in developing
curriculum and research in the area of Assistive Technologies
(AT). The five faculty started this effort back in Fall 1999,
and have been closely collaborating with the Lemelson Assistive
Technology Development Center (LATDC) at the Hampshire College
and the Adaptive Design Services (ADS) in Northampton, which is
administered by the Massachusetts Department of Mental Retardation.
In addition to the five faculty, a dozen of undergraduate and
graduate students have participated in AT-related design projects
(see website at http://mielsvr2.ecs.umass.edu/at/home.htm).
Over the past year, their efforts have received increasing publicity
and media attention including interviews with radio and television
stations and printed news at the national and local levels.
Robert Gao and David Kazmer have received a
three-year, $300,000 grant from NSF on "Self-Energized Micro
Sensors for Process Monitoring of Injection Molding''. This grant
is aimed at developing a new generation of remote sensors that
are self-energized by extracting energy from the intensification
and decay of polymer melt pressure, for injection molding process
monitoring and control. The project is co-sponsored by the industrial
partner Dynisco Instruments.
Kourosh Danai and Robert Gao have been awarded
a 2.5-year, $206,000 grant by the NASA Glenn Research Center on
"Embedded Sensors for Helicopter Gearbox Condition Monitoring''.
The project will explore the utility of custom-designed, miniaturized
sensors to achieve high signal-to-noise ratio measurement for
the on-line condition monitoring and fault diagnosis of gearboxes
used in helicopters.
Abhi Deshmukh (PI) and Ana Muriel together with
Victor Lesser (ECS) and Judith Whipple (Econ, Michigan State)
have been awarded a 1-year $100,000 grant from the Exploratory
Research on Scalable Enterprise Systems program at NSF. Their
research addresses fundamental issues in the coordination and
evolution of complex supply networks. After this first exploratory
year, a second, more detailed proposal will be submitted in April
for a subsequent Phase II competition. At that point, the awards
would be for $500,000-$800,000 and three years duration.
Robert Gao, Karl Jakus, David McLaughlin, and
Calvin Swift submitted a proposal to an NSF Polar Research Initiative
to develop a remote science station for the arctic environment.
The proposed instrument is powered by wind and solar energy, collects
data on wind, temperature, and cloud cover conditions, takes video
images of the terrain, and transmits the collected data via satellite
to the research laboratory. The station will have its own web
address so that it can be remotely controlled. The instrumentation,
aerodynamics, and power system will be handled by the mechanical
engineering members of the team. The proposal is currently under
consideration by NSF."
Karl Jakus and Tom Blake have undertaken a project
to study the mechanical performance of submarine periscope seals.
These seals keep the ocean water out of the submarine. The design
and operation of these seals represent a challenging materials
ands lubrication problem that UMass is helping Kollmorgen Corp.
to understand. The project is supported in part by an NSF GOALI
grant and in part by Kollmorgen. The research involves the design
and construction of a test apparatus and the measurement of the
performance of several seal designs with respect to an array of
Shanti Nair and Jim Donovan are finalising a
joint proposal to NSF on "Synergism between Deformation and
Transport of Moisture in Polymer Nanocomposites". They visited
GE Schenectady to explore joint research on Polymer nanocomposites
on Sept. 22.
Shanti Nair and Byung Kim are developing a proposal
on "Fracture Behavior of
Oriented Crystalline Polymer Nanocomposites" and putting
together a Nanoscale Exploratory Research Proposal to NSF.
Shanti Nair is putting together a Nanoscale
Interdisciplinary Research Team (NIRT) proposal to NSF as a lead
institution by teaming with Univ. of Akron, SUNY Stony Brook and
Jefferson Labs, VA. Co-PI at UMass, Joe Goldstein.
The driving simulator in the Human Performance
Laboratory recently received a $250,000 facelift. Images of the
virtual world are now projected on three screens, one in front
and two on the sides of the driver. Up to eight channels can be
displayed at once, making it possible to add scenes of the roadway
that are presented in the rear and side view mirrors. Additionally,
a new truck-driving simulator was donated by Liberty Mutual and
has a renovated home over in the basement of Marston. The lab
has ongoing signage projects with Logan International Airport,
the Big Dig, the
Massachusetts Highway Department, Federal Highway, and the New
England University Transportation Center.
The Theoretical and Computational Fluid Dynamics
Laboratory is in the process of constructing a parallel supercomputer
in order to perform large-scale simulations of fluid turbulence.
The computer will initially consist of 60 Intel Pentium III 800
MHz processors, 7.5 Gigabytes of memory and 450 Gigabytes of hard
drive space. The machine is being built very inexpensively from
commodity personal computer parts with an ultimate cost that is
an order of magnitude less than an equivalent commercial supercomputer.
The computer will allow rapid evaluation and modification of turbulence
models, bringing simulation times down from roughly a week to
2-3 hours. The Laboratory is also constructing a similar but larger,
128 processor machine in collaboration with researchers from Physics,
Computer Science, Astronomy, Mathematics, Chemistry, Chemical
Engineering, and Polymer Science. This computer will be housed
in the Center for Scientific Computation and will be used for
educational and research purposes.
Individual Faculty News
Kourosh Danai presented a paper entitled ``A
Knowledge-Based Tuning Method for Injection Molding Machines,''
at the Japan-USA Flexible Automation Conference in Ann Arbor,
Michigan in July. This paper was co-authored with Dong Zhe Yang
and David Kazmer. Kourosh Danai also received a three-year research
grant in June from the US Army Research Laboratory in the amount
of $207,837 to develop a method for helicopter track and balance.
To investigate the stability of different spinal fixation techniques
for optimized spine fusion and reduced revision surgery rate,
Robert Gao and his graduate student have been working on "biomechanical
evaluation of lumbar spine fixation" with surgeons at the
Baystate Medical Center. The work is has been supported by a grant
from the BMC.
Karl Jakus is providing materials and fluid
mechanics support to an Air Force SBIR Project (Quadrant Engineering)
for developing a microwave resonant cavity to measure humidity
fluctuations in the atmosphere. The device in an appropriately
shaped aerodynamic housing will be attached to Air Force planes
and will provide data about humidity turbulence in the atmosphere.
The challenge is to design the cavity with low electromagnetic
losses, minimal aerodynamic disturbance, and extreme dimensional
stability with respect to temperature fluctuations. A dimensional
stability of one part in ten million is required with respect
to temperature changes from room to -50C. The use of Ultra Low
Expansion glass (material used for the Hubble telescope) is contemplated.
Professor Jakus is going to serve on a review panel at NIH on
October 12-13, 2000. The proposal under review is related to the
development of layered ceramic composites for dental crown applications.
The proposal is for a five years long research project at a total
cost of 6.6 M$ and involves thirteen researchers from four institutions.
Professor Jakus is going to present the research results of Premal
Shah, graduate student at the 6th International Symposium on Functionally
Graded Materials held in Estes Park, Colorado on September 10-14,
2000. The paper titled "Impact Damage in Monolithic and Functionally
Graded Alumina" discusses the efficacy of elastic modulus
gradation in ceramic components against damage due to impact by
Byung Kim has been awarded $45,000 from the
U.S. Army to study the role of nanoclay and the effect of morpho9logical
changes on the heat deflection temperature of injection molded
Poly(Caprolactone). Professor Kim also received 6th year funding
of $30,000 from Gillette to study multicomponent injection molding
and optimization of the mold design.
Sundar Krishnamurty has been appointed Associate
Editor, Journal of Design and Manufacturing Automation, CRC Press,
2000-2003. He has been invited to participate and chair a session
on the 2000 Gordon Research Conference on Theoretical Foundations
for of Product Design and Manufacturing, Plymouth, New Hampshire,
June 11-16, 2000, and is an organizing committee member for the
2002 conference. Professor Krishnamurty was a panelist in the
2000 NSF sponsored workshop on Decision-based Design, Baltimore
(David Kazmer was also a panelist in this workshop) and has been
invited to participate in the upcoming NSF sponsored workshop
on e-Product Design and Realization (Janis Terpenny is also an
invited participant to this workshop). He is Vice President of
the UMass-MSP Board, 2000-2002. He recently presented papers in
various conferences: (1) "A Tradeoff-Based Robust Design
Approach to Mechanism Synthesis" with graduate student Harikumar
Iyer, 2000 Applied Mechanisms and Robotics Conference, Cincinnati,
Dec 12-15, 1999, (2) "On Decision Model Development in Engineering
Design" with graduate student Tang Xiao, The 4th International
Conference on Engineering Design and
Automation, Orlando, Florida, July 30-August 2, 2000, (3) "Performance
Estimation and Robust Design Decisions" with graduate student
Tang Xiao, 2000 ASME Design Technical Conferences -- Design Automation
Conference, Baltimore, September 10-12, 2000, (4) "Bayesian
Analysis in Design Model Assessment" with graduate student
Srikanth Doraiswamy, 2000 ASME Design Technical Conferences --
Design Theory and Methodology, Baltimore, September 10-12, 2000
As part of a research project funded by Northeast
Utilities and the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust Fund, Jim
Manwell and his group will be monitoring the wind resource offshore
in Nantucket Sound. This is in preparation for the development
of an offshore wind farm, which could eventually have a generating
capacity of 500 MW (about half the power rating of a large nuclear
power plant). The first monitoring site will be at Bishop and
Clerk's Light, which is situated on a rocky shoal approximately
3 miles off Yarmouth. One of the high points of his summer vacation
was visiting the site on a small boat. But it will certainly be
a challenge to do long term monitoring there! Not the least of
the challenges is having to compete with the cormorants who perch
there and leave copious amounts of guano.
Ana Muriel is working closely with General Motors
as part of their Integrated Supply Chain Management Initiative.
As GM tries to offer customized vehicles in short delivery times,
a make-to-order production environment becomes essential. In this
setting, manufacturing plants need more flexibility to buffer
demand variability. Professor Muriel is studying the impact that
the added flexibility has on component inventory levels and transportation
costs and developing an integrated framework to make capacity
and flexibility decision in a make-to-order environment. This
work has led to a paper, "Impact of Manufacturing Flexibility
on Supply Chain Performance", that she presented in the International
Production and Operations Management Conference. It won the Third
Best Paper award. Professor Muriel also continues working in the
integration of production, inventory and transportation in the
supply chain with Professor David Simchi-Levi (MIT) under NSF
Shanti Nair worked with the Baystate Medical Center in exploring
the use of polymers as artificial muscles. Tested a polyacrylic
based polymer for its expansion and contraction properties as
a function of electrical and chemical impulses. Professor Nair
also conducted seed experiments jointly with professor Donovan
to explore a new phenomenon, namely, viscoelastic deformation
induced transport of environmental species. This work resulted
in a paper submitted to the J. of
Applied Polymer Science entitled: "Creep enhanced adsorption
of water or zinc chloride increases the creep rate of Nylon 6,6".
Professor Nair has been invited to SUNY to speak about Polymer
Multiphase composites and is currently developing a joint Proposal
to NSF with Prof. Lloyd Goettler at Univ. of Akron on "Fracture
Behavior of Nanocomposite Polymer Blends"
Last Spring, Professor Smith was on sabbatical
and he visited Germany at he Universities of Greifswald (old East
Germany) and Braunschweig giving lectures on Steiner trees and
network design. Also, he spent one month in Brazil and visited
Universities in Belo Horizonte, Campinas, and Sao Jao del Rey
also lecturing on Steiner trees, queueing networks, and simulation
modeling. Finally, he spent nine days in Russia visiting the cities
of St. Petersburg, Pskov, and Novogorad. In these cities, he gave
lectures on optimization in land use planning and traffic network
design as part of a U.S. AID project.
Janis Terpenny is collaborating with a nearby
company, Telaxis Communications, on a project titled "Improving
Engineering Processes and Productivity Through Knowledge Capture
and Reuse". Two primary tasks are included in this project.
The initial focus is on discovering and documenting current engineering
processes for Telaxis. The resultant documents will be implemented
on a company intranet server and provide web access and search
capabilities to all company employees. The second phase of the
project will focus on the creation of a knowledge base system
that will provide the ability to store, maintain, and retrieve
"good" solutions to known design problems. Telaxis will
participate directly in the design of this systemwith guidance
into the desired information content. Telaxis will also provide
feedback to the user interface development. An initial prototype
example based upon selected Telaxis product designs will also
be completed by the end of the project period. This project is
just one aspect of a larger project going on in professor Terpenny's
lab to develop a web-based system to support system and product
development processes from concept to solution.
Professor Terpenny is also working on developing a Virtual Classroom
for Economics of Engineering Design. This is a collaborative project
betweenVirginia Tech, the University of Massachusetts-Amherst,
and GE Industrial Systems. Funding for this work has been provided
by the National Science Foundation, the Division of Undergraduate
Education, DUE-9952750. The web address for the virtual classroom
is http://mielsvrs.ecs.umass.edu/virtual_econ/ This site was developed
to address the need of all engineers to improve their knowledge
and skills in the economics of engineering design. It can be used
by practicing engineers or in teaching engineering economics at
the undergraduate level. Here you will find a wealth of information
and resources including modular course materials with concepts,
examples, quizzes, and frequently asked questions. You will also
find related links to textbooks and other interesting web sites.
Universities can take advantage of the ability to post syllabi
and class announcements. Projects with industry are also included
and provide students with real-world open-ended problems. Industry
partners interact with students through e-mail, a message board,
and recorded audio/video of classroom guest lectures directly
related to the case problems.
Steven St. Laurent, Senior in Mechanical and
Industrial Engineering, received the Outstanding Student Intern
Award for his co-op placement this past summer at Sandia National
Laboratories (SNL). He worked with solar power plant research
at SNL in Albuquerque, New Mexico, from January through August,
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