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ME: The Mechanical Engineering Department Newsletter


The ME Newsletter
Fall-Winter 2005-2006

Featured articles

Tiny bubbles in the melt: Study could lead to more energy efficient alloys

ME curriculum undergoes redesign

3M Foundation makes $1.6 million gift to MEIE Building Project

WEMPEC lab renovated to enhance student learning

Latest student design team vehicle fueled by human power

Focus on new faculty: Assistant Professor Kevin Turner

Regular Features

Message from the chair

Faculty News /
In the News

Student News

Alumni News: Distinguished Achievement Award Recipient Jim Berbee




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On July 20, Assistant Professor Tim Shedd’s new liquid-spray system for cooling computers and other high performance electronics appeared in the electronic newsletter NASA Tech Briefs INSIDER. Published for more than three decades by NASA and Associated Business Publications, the newsletter has a current circulation of over 200,000.

The “Emerging Technologies” section of the July issue of R&D Magazine featured Assistant Professor Scott Sanders’ new laser system. The laser builds on the supercontinuum generation phenomenon, which converts single-color lasers into a multicolored beam using a special kind of optical fiber, to rapidly deliver a pulsed rainbow of colors.

News of a partnership between Professor Tim
, and the businesses Cascade Asset Management of Madison and Pro Ex Extrusion of Oshkosh appeared in the August 11 edition of the Wisconsin State Journal. The partners are working to determine if plastics in computers can be made into valuable, high-end products.

Osswald, head of the Polymer Engineering Center, and graduate student Mike Dattner are studying the characteristics of a certain plastic that Cascade retrieves from computers. The company currently gets about 4 cents per pound for the plastic by shipping it to China, the story said, where the material is made into filler for luggage.

Putting computer plastic to more sophisticated uses could bring greater revenues to companies like Cascade, which recycles computers, and Pro Ex,
which makes resin from recycled plastic.

The team’s efforts are funded by a two-year, $60,000 grant from the UW System Solid Waste Research Program.


The International Solar Energy Society (ISES) and the American Solar Energy Society (ASES) each presented Professor Emeritus William Beckman with an award at a joint meeting in August. ISES bestowed its bi-annual Farrington Daniels Award on Beckman for his exceptional and long-standing intellectual leadership in the field of solar energy. And ASES honored him for his significant contributions to solar energy technology with the Hoyt Clarke Hottel Award.

Professors Neil Duffie, Frank Pfefferkorn and Xiaochun Li have received a three-year, $382,221 National Science Foundation grant to study automated polishing of micro/meso parts. The team will combine laser micro-surface melting and autonomous motion control techniques to achieve automated polishing of parts fabricated by emerging micro/meso-manufacturing processes. They expect the research to improve the surface conditions, including roughness and waviness, and performance of these parts.The surface processing motion under study may also facilitate automation of other manufacturing processes.

In addition, Duffie, who is a member of the National Research Council’s Board on Assessment of National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Programs, has been appointed chair of the board’s Assessment Panel for the NIST Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory. The board evaluates the technical merit and relevance of NIST’s laboratory programs with respect to NIST’s mission to promote U.S. economic growth by working with industry to develop and apply technology, measurements and standards.

In mid-September, Professor Roxann Engelstad gave a plenary presentation entitled, “Mechanical simulation—A fundamental tool for advanced lithography” at the 2005 International Conference on Micro- and Nano-Engineering (MNE) in Vienna, Austria. MNE brings together scientists and engineers from all over the world to discuss progress and future trends in the fabrication and applications of micro- and nano-structures.

Funded by a three-year, $1.2 million National Science Foundation grant, Assistant Professor Xiaochun Li is leading an interdisciplinary team in studying novel sub-wavelength, microphotonic sensors and their use in manufacturing.

The team, including Electrical and Computer Engineering Assistant Professor
Hongrui Jiang and researchers from two other universities, will test the sensors’ spatial and temporal resolution for temperature and strain measurements. They will also embed the sensors into metals using innovative techniques in order to determine sensor reliability and endurance in real manufacturing environments.

The team will use sensor data to better understand two important manufacturing processes: chemical mechanical planarization in semiconductor manufacturing and continuous casting for steel production.

Wisconsin Distinguished Professor Rolf Reitz was among the recipients of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) 2003 Arch T. Colwell Merit Awards presented at the SAE 2005 World Congress. Funded by Colwell, a past SAE president who served the society for almost 50 years, the annual awards honor the authors of papers of outstanding technical or professional merit presented at an SAE meeting.

Reitz’s article, co-authored with
Mark Subramaniam and Mark Ruman, is entitled “Reduction of emissions and fuel consumption in a two-stroke direct injection engine with multidimensional modeling and an evolutionary search technique.”

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Date last modified: Monday, 9-January-2006 15:43:00 CDT
Date created: 9-January-2006



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