MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIR
pring 2010 has been a busy time for the ME Department. Our students have continued to improve both in their classroom and lab activities, and our faculty members have grown to excel in new research areas, covering a wide range of innovative technologies.
This newsletter highlights several examples of our expanding research program. Professor Xiaochun Li and his team are putting the Wisconsin Idea into action by implementing nanocomposites into traditional casting methods (see "Wisconsin cast metals..."). Professor Neil Duffie’s partnership with Minnesota-based LasX is another example (see "Polishing partnership..."). This blending of cutting-edge technology with well-established industrial procedures is a trend we plan to continue.
Our faculty members also are poised to have a major impact on societal problems with their research. Professor Tom Turng is using polymer-processing techniques to mass-fabricate tissue scaffolds (see "From plastics to people"), which could significantly benefit developments in the medical field. This program is part of the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery (WID), a new public facility that supports interdisciplinary research to benefit human health and welfare. That Turng is leading one of the five groups forming the intellectual heart of WID is an honor for the department and representative of the high caliber of our faculty’s work.
Turng developed the WID project with the help of one of his former graduate students, an example of the rich history of our students’ hands-on involvement with department research. The current generation of students is not only upholding this history but demonstrating its own particularly innovative abilities. Our second annual ME Undergraduate Research and Design Showcase put these abilities on display (see "ME Showcase"), and one group of students won a national innovation award for a medical device project they completed as part of a senior design course (see "Assisted walking system...").
Our students don’t only brainstorm and build new mechanical devices for class assignments—many of them develop inventions in their spare time! The department is well represented in many UW-Madison competitions, including Innovation Days, the Climate Leadership Challenge and the G. Steven Burrill Business Plan Competition. One of our graduate students, Chris Meyer, even made the final round of the Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest (see "Student News").
We thank the alumni and friends of the department who have helped support our efforts, and we invite you to let us know your own exciting news.
One more thing: We'd like to hear from YOU! Please send updates about your promotions, honors, family news, etc., to firstname.lastname@example.org.
L. Engelstad, ME Professor and Chair
3065 Mechanical Engineering Building
1513 University Ave.
Madison, WI 53706