College of Engineering University of Wisconsin-Madison
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ME: The Mechanical Engineering Department Newsletter


Featured articles

From plastics to people: Bionates team transfers polymer processing to tissue-scaffold engineering

Wisconsin cast-metals manufacturing benefits from $10 million federal grant

Nellis named Kaiser Chair in Mechanical Engineering

'The Sawtooth' dedicated as Sam Wu Lecture Hall

'Dr. Jay' receives college teaching award

Powertrain Control Research Lab celebrates 20+ years of vehicle research

Polishing partnership combines research and industry

ME Endowed Professorships

Regular Features



ME Showcase and
other recent news

Undergrads win BIG at innovation competition

Assisted walking system wins national award

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The UW-Madison Human Powered Vehicle Team placed second overall in the ASME East Coast Human Powered Vehicle Challenge, hosted by Central Connecticut State University May 7-9. The UW-Madison team entered a three-wheeled recumbent vehicle that it designed, manufactured and tested over the past two semesters. The team is advised by Associate Professor Frank Pfefferkorn and Assistant Professor Heidi-Lynn Ploeg.

PhD candidates Reed Hanson, Sage Kokjohn and Derek Splitter won $15,000 at the 2010 Climate Leadership Challenge, sponsored by the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies Center for
Sustainability and the Global Environment, for a new way to operate internal combustion engines with a variety of fuels. Undergraduate student Eyleen Chou was part of a team that won $10,000 for Coco Stove. Read more at

Graduate student Chris Meyer claimed second prize and $7,000 in the 2010 G. Steven Burrill Business Plan Competition for Sector67, a nonprofit prototyping center and “hacker space” to help members collaborate on next-generation devices. Meyer also placed in the top 12 in the 2010 Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest.


UW-Madison Clean Snowmobile
Clean sweep again for snowmobile team!

For the second consecutive year, UW-Madison rode to the top of both divisions of the SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge, held March 15-20 at Michigan Technological University. Advised by Faculty Associate Glenn Bower, the UW-Madison team was the only team to bring both an internal combustion sled and an electric sled to the collegiate competition. For this competition, students re-engineer stock snowmobiles to reduce emissions and noise while maintaining or boosting performance. This year, UW-Madison significantly widened its margin of victory with both sleds. Read more at


Assistant Professor Heidi-Lynn Ploeg with Showcase participants.
Assistant Professor Heidi-Lynn Ploeg with Showcase participants.

ME Showcase highlights design and research

Decorative initial cap The second annual Mechanical Engineering Undergraduate Research and Design Showcase was held April 29 and brought together students, faculty and industrial advisory board members. Eighty-two students participated, presenting 26 posters about their undergraduate research or senior design projects. Six faculty members and six industrial advisory board members judged the projects, awarding cash prizes to the best research and design projects.

Associate Professor Frank Pfefferkorn coordinated the event. “Everyone enjoyed themselves,” he says. “Students liked showing off their work and getting feedback, the faculty enjoyed seeing the breadth of projects our undergraduates have been working on, and the IAB members were glad to see the students practice their communication skills and present their ideas.”

“In looking at the range of projects, you can see how they would immediately impact and improve people’s lives around the world—that really impresses me,” says Pfefferkorn.

Top design projects

• Brian Bradley, Kevin Koehler, Kiel Larsen, Andy Prell and Paul Thoresen took first place and $300 for Pressure Sensitive Toothbrush
• Ken Roggow, Lisa Frank and Jennifer Levin took second place and $200 for Blue Moon Work Surfaces for Powered Wheelchairs.

• Ryan Raubolt, Jake Esselman and Fred Tsai took third place and $100 for Anywhere Reader
• Honorable mention awards went to Jake Eselman, Ryan Raubolt, Matthias Beurer and James Chang for Manual Wheelchair Storage and Work Surfaces; Sam Barbuch, Tim Barkley, Dan Melanx, Casey Scott and Jon Tichenor for Portable Self-Powered Water Filtration Device; and Kyle Dinse, Charlie Eakley, John Kolstad, Alex Langefels and Tom Mulholland for Mobile Water Filtration.

Top research projects

• Hammad Mazhar took first place and $300 for “Simulation of multibody granular dynamics: leveraging high performance GPU computing.”

• Sarah McCoy took second place and $200 for “Accuracy of bone geometry from computed tomography.”

• Jeremiah Osborn took third place and $100 for “Modeling, optimization and experimentation with a two-stage mixed-gas Joule-Thomson cryoprobe.”

• Honorable mention awards went to Brian Bradley for “Induction machine ion loss portioning and flux optimization study,” Bryant Mueller for “Microfluidic shear stress measurements using traction force microscopy,” and Yvonne Schumacher for “Does freezing bone change the geometry and mineral density of bone models?”









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Copyright 2010 The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System

Date last modified: Monday, 20-December-2010
Date created: 20-December-2010



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