University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Jae-Hwang Lee, the head of the Nano-Engineering Laboratory in the UMass Amherst Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department, is a member of a multi-institutional and multi-disciplinary team of researchers who co-authored a fundamental materials research article on cold spray additive manufacturing published in the prestigious journal Nature Scientific Report. Cold spray is a materials consolidation process that utilizes micron-sized particles and accelerates them at supersonic velocities through a de Laval rocket nozzle. The impacting particles undergo extreme plastic deformation and then consolidate, thus forming a dense coating with a near net-shaped quality.

Neural tube defects are among the most common birth defects and affect more than 500,000 infants worldwide each year, resulting in severe health problems, including paralysis of legs, brain damage, and even death. Now Professor Yubing Sun of our Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department has received a $400,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to develop a series of engineered tools to enable the investigation of the poorly understood mechanism that causes neural tube defects.

At the 38th annual Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Supermileage Competition on June 8 and 9, the UMass team scored an impressive fourth place out of 20 collegiate teams by hitting 775 miles per gallon on the 9.6-mile course at the Eaton Proving Grounds in Marshall, Michigan. See competition website. Though this fourth-place finish was equal to the best ever done by the UMass Supermileage Vehicle (SMV) in recent years, the effort was marred by a fuel leak that cost our team some crucial miles per gallon.

Professor Erin Baker of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has been approved by the university system’s Board of Trustees to receive the Armstrong Professional Development Professorship. The Armstrong Professorship was established in 2001 with an endowment of $850,000 by John and Elizabeth Armstrong of Amherst and a $650,000 matching grant from the University of Massachusetts President’s Distinguished Professorship Initiative. It is awarded for a three-year period “to a faculty member who is at the beginning of his/her career and has demonstrated substantial achievement and great promise in his/her area of teaching and research.”

Professor Erin Baker of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department recently published an article discussing ways to focus clean energy funding that will produce the greatest energy and environmental benefits within the constraints of a tight federal budget. Baker’s article, posted May 22 on the website of The Conversation, was also picked up by the Albany Times Union, San Francisco Chronicle, Pantagraph.com, and others. The headline of Baker’s article was “With a tight federal budget, here’s where to focus clean energy research funding.” Read Baker’s entire article in The Conversation.

Rune Percy and Alexander Smith, a student team from the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department at UMass Amherst, took second place in the recent elevator-pitch competition at the Awards Ceremony & Banquet for the Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation’s Entrepreneurship Initiative. Percy and Smith received a second-place prize of $750, based on their business-concept pitch for ARBioDesign, which aims to save tens of thousands of patients every year by personalizing dialysis treatment using rapid and inexpensive microfluidic blood-diagnostic tests.

Assistant Professor Juan Jiménez of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department is a co-principal investigator with Dr. Kristian Valen-Sendstad from the Simula Research Laboratory of Oslo, Norway, on a $937,848 grant from the Research Council of Norway to study a critical question: “Are Computer Simulations Misleading Us About the Pathobiology of Cerebrovascular Diseases?”

Ian Grosse, a researcher for the NSF Center for eDesign and a professor in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department, is a member on one of the two research teams that recently received awards from UMass Amherst’s Armstrong Fund for Science. The team of Duncan Irschick of the Biology Department, Grosse, and Brian Umberger of the Kinesiology Department is involved in a project called “Creation of a 3D motion freezer to understand human and animal locomotion.” The Armstrong Fund will grant $30,000 to the project over the next two years to encourage transformative research on campus that introduces new ways of thinking about pressing scientific or technical challenges.

On May 2 the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) Department held its annual Senior Design Project competition, the climax and showcase event for the department’s capstone course, “MIE 415: Design of Mechanical Systems.” Eight winning projects showed off sophisticated inventions ranging from a revolutionary new electric blender to a sleek new adult tricycle frame.

The University of Massachusetts Amherst will honor two extraordinary College of Engineering graduates during Undergraduate Commencement on Friday, May 12, at McGuirk Alumni Stadium, beginning at 4:30 p.m. Mechanical engineering major Victor K. Champagne III will be celebrated as both a 21st Century Leader and a Jack Welch Scholar, while electrical engineering major James M. Prescott will be toasted as a Jack Welch Scholar.

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