MAE News

Solar decathlon team is designing a house to operate on renewable energy Dec 19, 2014
Students Shine at Design Review Despite Rain

The biggest storm of the season did not deter the more than 400 senior engineering students from displaying their project goals at the Fall Design Review Friday, Dec. 12. However the rainy weather did cause the event to move indoors. Eighty teams of students set up poster displays in Engineering Gateway, Engineering Tower and the Calit2 atrium.

The student teams explained their projects to industry and faculty mentors as well as staff and other students. “The ambition from students this year is phenomenal,” said mechanical engineering Professor Mike McCarthy. “I’m looking forward to a year of challenging projects. It’s not going to be easy, but it will be exciting.” McCarthy noted that this was the first year in memory that it has rained on Fall Design Review.

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Marc Madou Dec 16, 2014
Engineer Named Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors

UC Irvine engineering professor Marc Madou has been named a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI) for 2014. The distinction is awarded to academics who’ve demonstrated a prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development and the welfare of society.

A Chancellor’s Professor in mechanical engineering, Madou specializes in applying miniaturization science to solve chemical and biological problems, with an emphasis on on sensing, microfluidics, carbon nanotechnology and energy. His research includes medical diagnostics, sensor technology, micro-battery development and novel drug delivery systems. He is a leading expert in scalable nanomanufacturing technologies and has more than 100 issued patents and invention disclosures. His book Fundamentals of Microfabrication, now in its third edition, is one of the most widely read texts in micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS).

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Students Tasha Lam, Kristy Kim and Tess Hoang talk with mentor Sumalee Johnson, an ICS alumna Dec 10, 2014
Mentorship Program Helps Students Succeed

An undergraduate mentoring program sponsored by the Samueli School of Engineering and the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences seeks to support underrepresented students, keeping them interested and engaged in school and in their future careers.

At an intimate networking event in the Newkirk Alumni Center, students from both schools gathered Thursday evening, November 13, to meet with the industry professionals who have volunteered to mentor them.

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Samueli School Dean Gregory Washington Nov 20, 2014
Gregory Washington Recognized as Fellow

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) has named Samueli School of Engineering Dean Gregory Washington a Fellow in recognition of his outstanding engineering achievements. The ASME Committee of Past Presidents confers the Fellow grade of membership on worthy candidates.

Nov 18, 2014
NSF Funds New UCI Program Addressing Disparities in STEM Majors

UCI partners with community colleges to improve transfer process and retention    
UC Irvine has partnered with three community colleges (Irvine Valley College, Santa Ana College and Saddleback College) to improve the recruitment and retention of  women and underrepresented minorities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) majors.

Professor Said Elghobashi with Samueli School Dean Gregory Washington Nov 7, 2014
National Academy of Engineering Inductee Professor Said Elghobashi Explains Turbulence

The Samueli School’s newest National Academy of Engineering (NAE) inductee is one of its longest serving faculty. Said Elghobashi became the 16th faculty member of UC Irvine’s School of Engineering in 1978 and has contributed significantly over the years to the development of the mechanical and aerospace engineering department. So it was with great pride and celebration for the school and Dean Gregory Washington to host a distinguished lecture in honor of Elghobashi.

From left: Yosi Shacham-Diamand, Yossi Rosenwaks, Gregory Washington, Henry Samueli and Howard Gillman Nov 6, 2014
Engineering Sustainability Conference 2025 Addresses Challenges of the Future

For the third year in a row, faculty members from the Samueli School of Engineering and the Iby and Aladar Fleishman Faculty of Engineering at Tel Aviv University (TAU) came together for a joint workshop to address an engineering challenge of the future.

From left: IVC President Glenn Roquemore, UCI Provost and -Chancellor Howard Gillman, Chapman University President James Doti and Saddleback College President Tod Burnett. Oct 28, 2014
Team Orange County “Breaks” Ground for Casa del Sol

The sun smiled brightly on students, faculty, administrators, elected officials and industry supporters as they ceremoniously “broke” ground for the house named in its honor. Casa del Sol is the solar-powered house being designed by Team Orange County for entry in the 2015 U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon. The international competition will be held next October at the Orange County Great Park in Irvine.

Team OC is a collaborative venture among UC Irvine, Chapman University, Saddleback College and Irvine Valley College (IVC). The four academic institutions’ leaders were on hand as well as Irvine Mayor Steven Choi, Irvine Mayor Pro Tem Jeffrey Lalloway, CEO and President of FivePoint Communities Emile Haddad and Southern California Edison President Pedro Pizarro. Christina Shea, Irvine councilwoman and chair of the Orange County Great Park Board of Directors, served as master of ceremonies for the ground breaking event at IVC.

 

Hellman Fellows Oct 22, 2014
Two UCI Engineers Named Hellman Fellows

Two Samueli School engineers – Anne Lemnitzer and Timothy Rupert -- have been selected as Hellman Fellows for 2014-15. The Hellman Fellows Program aims to support the research of promising assistant professors who show capacity for great distinction in their chosen fields of endeavor.

Lemnitzer, an assistant professor in civil and environmental engineering, is studying the resistance of pile foundations as used underneath bridges or tall buildings to withstand lateral loading such as earthquakes or vessel impact. Her study will consists of a combination of analytical modeling and small scale laboratory testing conducted in the UCI Structural Engineering Testing Hall (SETH Lab). Lemnitzer says the $23,000 Hellman award will allow her to investigate if currently suggested pile geometries are really necessary to withstand earthquake loading or if more economical solutions can be achieved with advanced design formulations.

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From Left: Samueli School Dean Gregory Washington, Filippo Capolino, Ozdal Boyraz, Regina Ragan and Marc Madou Oct 14, 2014
UCI engineers develop prototype of low-cost, disposable lung Infection Detector

NSF grant supports their efforts to improve manufacturing process for nanodevices

 Imagine a low-cost, disposable breath analysis device that a person with cystic fibrosis could use at home along with a smartphone to immediately detect a lung infection, much like the device police use to gauge a driver’s blood alcohol level.

Timely knowledge of a lung infection would let people with CF or other inflammatory respiratory conditions seek immediate treatment and thereby prevent life-shortening permanent damage to their already vulnerable airways.

Thanks to a nearly $1.3 million grant from the National Science Foundation, UC Irvine engineers can continue developing this type of nanotechnology device – and potentially many others – using a more wide-scale manufacturing process.

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Nathan Cox, Rose Hills scholarship recipient Oct 3, 2014
Rose Hills Foundation Turns Dreams into Reality through Scholarship Support

$700,000 in scholarships to be awarded to 18 talented UCI undergraduates pursuing STEM degrees

UC Irvine has been awarded $700,000 from The Rose Hills Foundation to support students in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) pursuits.Each year for the next four years, The Rose Hills Foundation Undergraduate Science & Engineering Scholarships will assist 18 high-achieving undergraduates. The students will meet with one another at regular intervals throughout the year to discuss their goals and share their experiences.

“This exciting new partnership with The Rose Hills Foundation will ensure that some of our best and brightest STEM students reach their full potential,” said Chancellor Howard Gillman. “We are very grateful for this support and look forward to working with The Rose Hills Foundation to advance our shared goals.”

St. Margaret's students with UC Irvine engineering professors Sep 17, 2014
St. Margaret’s High School Summer Internship Program Celebrates 10 Years at Samueli School

Seven high school students participated in this year’s St. Margaret’s Episcopal School Summer Internship Program at the Samueli School of Engineering. They presented their research projects to their parents, teachers and the engineering faculty and graduate students who mentored them at a recent event in the Harut Barsamian Colloquia Room, hosted by Samueli School Dean Gregory Washington.

Now in its 10th year, the internship program matches high-potential students with a faculty member and research area based on their interests. Spearheaded by Engineering Leadership Council member Stacey Nicholas, the program aims to inspire enthusiasm for STEM fields with the hope that the high school students will pursue these areas as they move forward in their education and careers.  Washington reports that 85 percent of the U.S. economy is tied to advances in STEM, but only 4 percent of our workforce is in these areas.

2014 Saudia Arabia International Program Sep 11, 2014
Saudi Arabia International Program Continues to Improve in its Third Year

Saudi Arabia International Program students celebrated the conclusion of the 10-week accelerated session with a spirited Summer Symposium in the Harut Barsamian Colloquia Room. At the event, 13 international engineering students displayed their hard work with posters and oral presentations, while faculty, staff and guests toured the room and voted on their favorite project. 

Now in its third year, the Saudi Arabia International Program is a collaboration between Salman bin Abdulaziz University and the Samueli School of Engineering. Students are matched with engineering faculty whose special expertise aligns with their own interests and career goals. The curriculum encompasses fundamental knowledge and introduces tools and programs required to pursue an advanced career in technical areas related to their specialization.

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Douglas Thorpe ’82, Photo by Steve Zylius Sep 10, 2014
The king of drones
Douglas Thorpe ’82 has spent decades developing unmanned aerial vehicles for all kinds of uses

On an overcast morning in late May 1976, Douglas Thorpe ’82, then a UC Irvine freshman, was on his way to school when a small plane fell out of the sky. The single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza crashed in an empty field near campus, killing everyone on board. Thorpe was first on the scene, and what he saw changed his life.

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UCI Distinguished Professor Satya Atluri. Photo by Steve Zylius Sep 10, 2014
UCI Distinguished Professor Satya Atluri Recognized with AIAA Crichlow Trust Prize

The American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics (AIAA) announced in August that UCI Distinguished Professor Satya Atluri has been selected to receive the Walter J. and Angeline H. Crichlow Trust Prize, one of the AIAA’s most prestigious awards. Presented every four years, the prize recognizes an individual for a specific achievement or body of work that has become significant during the immediate past 15 years.The prize carries an honorarium of $100,000.

Atluri has conducted groundbreaking mathematical work, including inventing the so-called “meshless method” that has aided the design of safer materials and structures used in aircraft. Throughout his career, Atluri’s work has encompassed theoretical, applied and computational mechanics of solids and fluids; and structural longevity, failure prevention and health management.

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Peter J. Burke Sep 9, 2014
Awards Recognize Excellence in Teaching, Research and Innovation

Seven Samueli School faculty members earned 2014 recognition awards at last spring’s faculty meeting. Dean Gregory Washington initiated the annual awards to acknowledge the valued contributions of faculty.

The awards were given to one junior, mid-career and senior faculty member in each category of research excellence and teaching innovation, and one professor was selected as the Innovator of the Year. Here are the honorees, excerpted from the nomination forms.

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From left: Satya Atluri, Syed Jafar and Matt Law Jun 25, 2014
Three Engineering Faculty -- Satya Atluri, Syed Jafar and Matt Law -- Among Most Highly Cited Researchers

Three Samueli School engineering professors – Satya Atluri, Syed A. Jafar and Matt Law – have been recognized as among the world’s leading scientific minds, according to the 2014 Highly Cited Researchers list published by Thomson Reuters. The list of highly cited scholars includes preeminent researchers in 21 fields of the sciences and social sciences who have demonstrated great influence in their field as measured by citations to their work. This list is based on papers published during the 11-year period 2002-2012. Researchers are selected not only for total citations but also for the number of highly cited papers contributed. When one researcher cites another’s work, he/she is acknowledging the relevance of that work to the current study. Fewer than one-half of one percent of all published researchers are included in the listing.

Satya Atluri, a Distinguished Professor in mechanical and aerospace engineering and director of the Center for Aerospace Research and Education, conducts groundbreaking mathematical work, including inventing the so-called “meshless method” that has aided the design of safer materials for aircraft. Throughout his career, his work has encompassed theoretical, applied and computational mechanics of solids and fluids; and structural longevity, failure prevention and health management. Atluri most recently received India’s Padma Bhushan award “for distinguished service of high order in the field of engineering and science.”

Syed Jafar, an associate professor in electrical engineering and computer science, analyzes the capacity of wireless communication networks. In addition to his earlier work on multiple antenna (MIMO) technology and cognitive radio, Jafar is best known for his seminal work on the idea known as interference alignment, in which he shows how a resource such as bandwidth in a network can be shared among competing users in such a manner that each user gets half of the total bandwidth free from interference from others. Jafar and his first year Ph.D. student Viveck Cadambe were among the youngest researchers ever to win the prestigious IEEE Information Theory Society Paper Award, and interference alignment has since been recognized as one of the "Top Topics" and as a "Fast Moving Research Front" by Sciencewatch in 2011.

Matt Law, an assistant professor of chemistry who holds a joint appointment in chemical engineering and materials science, develops new nanoscale and Earth-abundant materials for producing electricity and chemical fuels from sunlight. Law’s current research interests include quantum dot solar cells, the physics of metal sulfide semiconductors, and devices that split water into hydrogen and oxygen.

From left: Professor Scott Samuelsen, Fulbright Scholar Dustin McLarty, Associate Professor Jack Brouwer May 28, 2014
UCI Engineering Postdoc Receives Prestigious Fulbright

Dustin McLarty, a postdoctoral researcher at the Advanced Power and Energy Program, will take what he’s learned working on UCI’s micro-grid power supply to Italy, on a Fulbright scholarship.

Sponsored by the U.S. government, the Fulbright Program offers highly competitive, merit-based grants for students and young professionals to study, conduct research or exercise their talents abroad. Founded by United States Senator J. William Fulbright in 1946, the Fulbright today is the largest U.S. international exchange program. It currently awards approximately 1,900 grants annually in all fields of study and operates in more than 140 countries. It is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the U.S. and people of other countries.

“UCI has one of the most cutting edge micro-grids in the world,” says McLarty. “It provides the campus electricity, cooling and heating with close to 99 percent self-generated power, almost none of the energy is coming from Southern California Edison.”

A micro-grid is a similar but smaller version of the traditional power grid and consists of power generation, distribution and controls such as voltage regulation and switch gears. Micro-grids integrate renewable sources of energy such as solar, wind power, hydrology, geothermal, waste-to-energy, and combined heat and power systems. They can operate on their own or be connected to the traditional grid, and they have a closer proximity between the power generation and the power user. UCI’s micro-grid integrates solar, fuel cell, thermal and natural gas to serve the campus’s needs.

McLarty’s research has to do with leveling out the intermittencies involved with a grid that relies on renewable sources of energy. “We put all these new energy sources on the grid and they don’t behave like our old ones, so we have to come up with a mix of new technologies that can interface, store and deploy the renewables in a way that levels out the power supply.”

Professor Derek Dunn-Rankin builds music box tower May 16, 2014
UCI Engineers Make Music with Class Project

Who knew that making music would become essential to the mechanical engineering curriculum?

For six years now, all UCI mechanical engineering seniors have taken a required course that has them designing, building and testing a music box. Not your ordinary jewelry-storing, ballerina-twirling, dresser-adorning music box, but a geometrically shaped, painted, stackable module that, with the drop of a metal ball, plays two seconds of original music. When the boxes are placed on top of one another in a tall tower, they are designed to play as a round. The first year, the assigned song was “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.”

Professor Derek Dunn-Rankin came up with the idea. Students in his class often start by deconstructing a thermo-electro-mechanical device, a hair dryer for example, to see how it works. As they move on to the musical box stack project, students are grouped into teams of four or five and assigned a number. Teams receive a set of parts that are sufficient to build a minimally functioning music box – some plywood, dowels, a microprocessor, an amplifier, wires, a switch, a servomotor and a speaker – but they are free to modify or replace any of the parts to improve the box’s performance. Although each person in the group is responsible for one element of the device, the students must all work together to create a functioning music box. Typically, there is a structures person, a programmer, one who works on lighting and servos, and someone who creates the sound and mounts components. There is overlap, but everyone has a core responsibility.

Dunn-Rankin chose this challenge for three reasons. First, it’s cooperative rather than competitive. “All of the head-to-head design competitions are great for energy and enthusiasm, but they can mistakenly encourage secretive design rather than expansive design, and it is the latter that leads to high performance,” says Dunn Rankin, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department chair. “In this class, students are free, even encouraged, to learn best practices from their colleagues and to implement them.”

Xiaoqing Pan May 15, 2014
Prominent Materials Science Physicist to Join UCI Faculty

Xiaoqing Pan will oversee new $20 million research institute

Xiaoqing Pan, an internationally recognized researcher in the physics of materials, will join the UC Irvine faculty and lead a $20 million initiative to establish a world-class electron microscopy and materials science research facility.

The Irvine Materials Research Institute will help foster discovery of new properties in potentially lifesaving and technologically important materials through characterization - probing the internal structure of a material's atoms. The institute will serve as an interdisciplinary nexus for the study and development of these materials, enabling such advances as better solar cells, sustainable batteries and semiconductors, and treatments for bacterial and viral infections.

The transmission electron microscopes to be set up at the IMRI use beams of electrons instead of light waves to image a specimen with atomic resolution. This method produces a more detailed view at substantially greater magnification than with any optical microscope. UC Irvine researchers will utilize these microscopes to examine biological materials (such as microorganisms and cells), large molecules, medical biopsy samples, metals, minerals, ceramics and the characteristics of various surfaces.

"UC Irvine is making an investment of $20 million to develop cutting-edge capabilities in transmission electron microscopy," said Howard Gillman, provost and executive vice chancellor. "Bringing Professor Pan here to lead this institute is a real triumph for us in the materials science area. The research facility will establish our national prominence in this field and broadly benefit our programs in engineering, physical sciences, biological sciences and medicine."

"The electron microscopy initiative and the IMRI at UC Irvine will provide me with new tools and great opportunities for potential collaborations with the many researchers on campus," said Pan, a physicist. "I am grateful for the chance to help shape the university's future development through a combination of assisting students, developing departments, establishing the institute and moving forward in my own research."

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