Armour College Summer R&D Projects Underway

ArmourRD_Logo_Edited.jpgMore than 30 Armour College of Engineering undergraduate students have been participating in this summer’s Armour R&D program as part of the ACE Distinctive Education Program. Armour R&D is a very competitive program offering undergraduate students the opportunity to have a more complete understanding of the research and development process, thereby adding value to their current curriculum and preparing them for continued success after graduation. Students are selected to participate in the program based on merit and are sponsored through Armour College of Engineering, Wanger Institute for Sustainable Energy Research (WISER), Pritzker Institute of Biomedical Science and Engineering, and the Institute for Food Safety and Health.

Armour R&D includes the Program for Undergraduate Research Education (PURE) and Mentored INovation and Development (MIND). Students selected to participate in PURE will have an opportunity to work with an IIT faculty mentor on an engineering research project and gain valuable research experience. Those selected under the MIND program will develop technology based on research findings. Students will explore new applications of ongoing research and/or work towards the utilization of innovative technology.

The projects are categorized under the four IIT Engineering Themes: Water, Health, Energy, and Security. These themes are areas in which engineers can generate solutions of global impact that advance society.

David Brown (CAEE, 5th year) and CAEE Associate Professor Paul Anderson will focus on researching the site characteristics at Illinois Institute of Technology’s Rice campus. The team will research historical rainfall event data from the area, monitor a nearby stream’s flow and storm water contaminants, and communicate with the DuPage County Forest Preserve District about storm water problems in the area. The team will use sensors developed by Sylwia Odryzwolska as part of her MIND project to take measurements at the site. This MIND project will conclude with the preliminary design for a storm water management system.

Sara Glade (ChBE, 5th year) and CAEE Professor Krishna Pagilla seek to develop a mixed media filter for the removal of Phosphorous (P) from wastewater effluents via reactive filtration. Sara hopes the results of this PURE project can then be replicated on an industrial scale in order to reduce water pollution.

Sylwia Odryzwolska (ChBE, 5th year) and CAEE Associate Professor Paul Anderson will work to develop open-source water quality monitoring sensors as part of MIND. The objective is to have David Brown use the sensors to monitor the stormwater quality at the IIT Main Campus and IIT Rice Campus as part of his MIND project. To conduct the monitoring, multiple Arduino-based sensors will be used. This MIND project will be partially based on previous research Sylwia conducted for PURE under the title of Construction and Use of the Cheapstat Potentiostat.

Nick Barcenas (MMAE, 4th year) and MMAE Professor and Department Chair Keith Bowman aim to provide fundamental understanding of pharmaceutical tablet strength and to offer efficient manufacturing routes that will decrease cost of medicine. Through their PURE project they hope to create a solid theory explaining fracture behavior and fracture stochastics of tablets. Experiments will involve tablet production and mechanical testing of these tablets.

Uguumur Burentugs (BME, 5th year) and BME Assistant Professor Georgia Papavasiliou will Investigate the use of Maleimide Crosslinking for incorporation of multiple bio-functional Cues Into poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) hydrogels. Synthetic hydrogels made of PEG are widely used as scaffolds for tissue engineering. Through this PURE project, the team’s goal is to have a complete understanding on how to create improved structures using PEG hydrogels. This will lead to the development of improved structures to grow engineered tissues.

Syeda Fatima (BME, 2nd year) and BME Professor Eric Brey will follow up on work they performed in Dr. Brey’s lab over the spring 2014 semester. For their PURE project they plan to increase the stability of alginate microspheres that are used to circumvent the use of immunosuppressant treatment when transplanting pancreatic islets in people suffering from Type I Diabetes.

Mateo Garcia (BME, 4th year) and BME Professor David Mogul hope to discover more reliable neuroimaging techniques to diagnose traumatic brain injuries as part of PURE. They will work with The Virtual Brain, software that can mimic brain structure and function, to simulate structural lesion distribution in the brain (focal, multifocal, and diffuse) and compare the simulation data with resting state fMRI data from subjects. This work will be in conjunction with St. Louis University’s neurosurgery group, with which Dr. Mogul’s lab has several years of collaboration.

Nathan McMahon (BME, 3rd year) and BME Assistant Professor Kenneth Tichauer will work over the summer to further develop the dual tracer molecular imaging strategy. This strategy, pioneered by Dr. Tichauer, is a method of monitoring the metastatic spread of cancer in the lymph nodes of small animal models. The team hopes their PURE project will determine if nodal dissection is a necessary treatment method for patients on a case-by-case basis.

Yusra Sarhan (BME, 2nd year) and BME Professor David Mogul will build on previous PURE research to learn more about the electrophysiological aspect of epilepsy. Additional research through the PURE program is required to develop more efficient treatments for epileptic patients. Dr. Mogul and Sarhan hope to achieve this by finding improved protocols for using deep-brain stimulation to treat epileptic seizures in rats.

Aparna Singh (BME, 3rd year) and BME Assistant Professor Kenneth Tichauer will use molecular imaging to map the genetic differences in tumors in order to understand how cell surface receptors are expressed during tumorogenesis and vary among patients. This PURE project will provide an insight towards controlling cancer development and treating genetically heterogeneous tumors. Through their research they hope to develop a prototype, high-resolution fluorescence imaging system to map these genetic differences three-dimensionally, on a microscopic level.

Veronica Torres (BME, 3rd year) and BME Assistant Professor Kenneth Tichauer hope to improve neurosurgical guidance techniques by utilizing dual-reporter fluorescence image-guided surgery. Through their PURE project they hope to better define tumor-cell density and margins to improve resection of the tumor so that life expectancy of glioma patients is increased.

Cynthia Yang (BME, 4th year) and BME Assistant Professor Kenneth Tichauer will further research that began during the spring 2014 semester. This PURE project hopes to develop an intraoperative technology to comprehensively image tissue margins at the final stages of oncologic surgery. Imaging technology that can achieve this goal will reduce the stress on a patient caused by additional surgeries as well as save them money.

Zachary Zanzinger (CAEE, 4th year) and CAEE Assistant Professor Brent Stephens intend to expand work Zachary completed for the spring 2014 MIND program. In the spring, Zachary developed a cost effective, open source, multiple channel, multiple sensor-type data logger for use in building science research. This summer, Zachary seeks to improve his design by designing components that make the device more robust and improve the reliability of the firmware.

Jihad Zeid (ChBE, 3rd year) and CAEE Assistant Professor Brent Stephens will conduct research as part of the PURE program using an automated sampling system they created during the spring 2014 PURE program. They will sample indoor environments for particulate matter of different sizes, ranging from micro-particles to ultrafine particles. They also hope to learn how certain building characteristics affect the leakage of outdoor air pollution into the indoor environment.

Dzenis Beganovic (MMAE, 3rd year) and MMAE Professor Leon Shaw will continue with the PURE project they completed in previous semesters. This summer they will strive to build a machine to collect sufficient quantities of nano-scale LiBH3 for hydrogen sorption and desorption studies. The team’s goal with this research is to discover more efficient nano-scale materials to store hydrogen so it can effectively be used as an alternative energy source.

Ryan Cassel (MMAE, 3rd year) and MMAE Associate Professor Sammy Tin will conduct research through the PURE program in order to improve the performance and structural properties of advanced metallic alloys used in the automotive and aerospace industries. The team seeks to do this by developing forging processes that enable microstructural engineering. Creating stronger and lighter materials to be used in the construction of vehicles will help to increase fuel efficiency.

Jose Gibaja (MMAE, 2nd year) and MMAE Assistant Professor Carrie Hall are striving to finalize their PURE project that started in the spring 2014. That research investigated different types of bio-diesel to increase the power output of their combustions and decrease the exhaust gases. Using a virtual engine simulation tool, different blends of flex-fuels will be studied. Once the simulation of flex-fuels is completed, this work will be expanded to look at advanced combustion strategies that use multiple fuels. Another aspect of this research will be to study the control systems of engine combustion and how to develop and modify it to make it more efficient.

Mark Ito (MMAE, 3rd year), Johnson Leung (MMAE, 3rd year), Heewoong Yang (MMAE, 3rd year), and MMAE Associate Professor Francisco Ruiz hope to develop a human-powered vehicle based on an elliptical trainer for their MIND project. The team will design and test prototypes before they build the most efficient and practical vehicle. This device would help reduce fossil fuel emissions by encouraging people to commute with human power.

Rodolfo Manota Ramos (MMAE, 3rd year) and MMAE Associate Professor Sammy Tin plan on focusing their PURE project on developing high strength Nickel (Ni)-base alloys containing high levels of Niobium (Nb) for hot section turbine engine components. The team’s research program will quantify the effect of varying the levels of Nb on the microstructure and mechanical properties of experimental Ni-base superalloys in order to create a model to describe their behavior. Improvements in the structural properties of these critical alloys enable an improvement in overall performance, with lower fuel consumption.

Ming Chen (ECE, 4th year), Subarno Saha (ECE, 2nd year), Xinyi Yu (ECE, 4th year), and ECE Associate Professor Alexander Flueck are working on this PURE project with the goal of developing high performance computer modeling and simulation software for predicting the effects of disturbances in power systems faster than real-time. Based on the predictive capabilities of this research, operators will be able to respond before the full effects of a cascading outage are realized, thereby avoiding wide spread blackouts.

Rou Yi Yeap (ChBE, 3rd year) and CAEE Assistant Professor Brent Stephens will research the energy impacts of dirty filters on heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems. During their PURE project they will be performing energy simulations on several prototypical homes in multiple climates. Filter pressure drop and HVAC airflow rate data will be collected from literature and via experiments in an apartment unit test facility in Carman Hall. Their goal is to reduce the amount of energy used by HVAC systems and to determine how often air filters should be replaced.

Boyang Dong (ECE, 4th year) and CAEE Assistant Professor Brent Stephens will work towards developing an open-source building science sensor network using the Arduino platform for their summer MIND project. A variety of sensors, including custom made sensors, can be paired with the Arduino platform. This will provide researchers with more control over their measurements of energy and environmental parameters in indoor environments. The sensor network will allow for more standardized building science metadata collection in future research studies.

David Finol (MMAE, 2nd year) and MMAE Assistant Professor Ankit Srivastava will focus on the design, development, and testing of the primary concept of a control damping system to reduce flutter mitigation on aircraft wings. This PURE project will increase the overall safety of the aircraft by making the wings more stable when faced with aerodynamic forces such as “aeroelasticity.”

Madhushree Ghosh (MMAE, 4th year) and MMAE Assistant Professor Seebany Datta-Barua will develop methods of estimating the size and position of Traveling Ionospheric Disturbances (TID). A TID is an atmospheric phenomenon that occurs in the ionized part of the upper atmosphere. TIDs can interfere with the transmission of radio signals between satellites and ground stations causing errors in radio signal-based positioning, such as GPS systems. By characterizing properties such as frequency and amplitude of TIDs, the severity of the effects due to TIDs can be measured. Overall, the team hopes their PURE project will improve the quality and security of radio signal-based communication.

Georgi Hristov (MMAE, 5th year) and MMAE Professor David Williams will work with the newly formed NATO Task Group STO-AVT-239, whose objective is to explore “Innovative Control Effectors for Maneuvering of Air Vehicles.” Hristov will compile a comprehensive list of modern active flow control actuators and develop a computer model predicting their performance. The goal is to enhance aircraft aerodynamic performance, control, and maneuverability.

Luis Larco (ECE, 5th year) and ECE Professor and Motorola Chair Miles Wernick are working on a “predictive policing” project with the Chicago Police Department, and funded by the National Institute of Justice. The goal of this continuing PURE project is to develop mapping algorithms and software that have the unique ability to overlay real-time contrasting data sets, providing a holistic multidimensional view of crime and its potential contributing factors. Through this research project, the team hopes to help the CPD to deploy resources more intelligently into affected communities.

Joaquin Lares (MMAE, 4th year) and MMAE Associate Professor Matthew Spenko will strive to better understand the relationship between pressure-sinkage and wheel diameter-to-width ratio on different types of soils. Their PURE project will lead to Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGVs) such as the Mars Curiosity Rover and explosive ordinance disposal drones that have better traction in their changing environments.

All undergraduate engineering students participating in the summer 2014 PURE and MIND programs will present posters highlighting the work they have completed during the Armour R&D expo to be held in the fall semester.