WVU Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources

WVU Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources - Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering - In Motion - April 2018 - mae.statler.wvu.edu

Letter from the Chair

Dear Alumni and Friends:

Welcome to the first electronic edition of our newsletter, In Motion. The Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering has excelled in the past year, by sustaining great traditions and initiating new ventures.

The Pumpkin Drop, an icon of our outreach efforts for 30 years, gives us an opportunity to showcase our educational projects to future students and recruit the best of the best to our engineering programs. Our diverse range of car projects, which includes four decades of continuous participation in the mini-Baja competition sponsored by the SAE, now includes the EcoCAR3 team, which was in fourth place after year three of this national competition, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and General Motors. Gaining international press, our three consecutive wins in the NASA Sample Return Robot Challenge have promoted WVU’s reputation in autonomous navigation and robot applications. The West Virginia Robotic Technology Center has boosted further the close working relationship between NASA and the Department.

Our Microgravity Research Team, Experimental Rockery Club and unmanned aerial vehicle Design, Build, Fly competition, have all brought greater visibility and recognition to our undergraduate program in aerospace engineering. We continue to conduct nationally recognized research related to automotive and energy technologies, as well as the environment. The growth of our research in materials science and engineering has been significant in recent years, with the first four students already graduated from the new multidisciplinary graduate program that we have established in this discipline, both at the MS and PhD levels.

The hard work, dedication and enthusiasm of our faculty, staff and students have yielded metrics of productivity that bring great pride to our Department, as shown in the attached page of departmental statistics. For example, our undergraduate enrollment has grown by 24 percent in the past two years. Our latest data for calendar year 2017 suggests that the total level of new research awards secured by MAE faculty in 2017 (about $11.5 million) has nearly doubled in just 18 months.

Chart showing new research awards secured by MAE Faculty  shows that FY 2017 ended with $8, 581,700.69.
Chart showing MAE Faculty trends between Fall 2014 and Fall 2016. Total number of Faculty raised from 34 to 36.
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering students chart shows that between Fall 2014 and 2017, total undergraduate students rose 143 students to a total of 745.

I am hopeful that the articles linked to this newsletter will bring back memories, showcase our new ventures and reinforce your pride as friends and supporters of our institution and Department!

Jacky Prucz
Chair, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

RESEARCH
Researchers will conduct sensor experiments at the country's most efficient coal-fired power plant in Maidsville.

WVU to conduct commercial-scale research of clean tech for coal-fired power plants

West Virginia University researchers are leading commercial-scale research and development of two new innovations at the country’s most efficient coal-fired power plant in Maidsville. The devices, a corrosion sensor invented at WVU and a gas sensor invented at Los Alamos National Laboratory, could make coal combustion more efficient with fewer emissions and fewer unplanned outages saving millions of dollars.
 
Representatives from WVU and the West Virginia National Guard discuss upcoming plans to conduct demonstrations in the West Virginia Memorial Tunnel Complex.

Research team to test effectiveness of drones, robots in underground tunnels

Can robots and drones peacefully coexist on search and rescue missions under less than optimal conditions? A research team at West Virginia University plans to find out.
 
Acid mine drainage sludge drying cells at a mine in Upshur County, West Virginia.

WVU study of rare earth elements moves to second phase

The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory selected WVU to move forward with its program to extract valuable rare earth elements, vital to the technology industry, from coal mining by-products.
 
A new study by researchers at WVU models methane emissions from a future, much larger vehicle fleet.

WVU study provides road map to lower methane emissions for future heavy-duty natural gas vehicle fleet

A study published in the Journal of Air and Waste Management Association builds upon recent heavy-duty natural gas vehicle methane emission measurements to model methane emissions from a future, much larger vehicle fleet. The predicted methane emissions rates from a 2035 natural gas fleet cover a wide range depending on technologies adopted and best management practices employed.
 
Mebane will study carbon dioxide reduction as part of an NSF collaborative award.

Mebane to study carbon dioxide reduction under NSF collaborative award

One of the biggest factors hampering the growth of renewable energy is storage. Sun and wind are intermittent and dependent on geography, requiring energy storage and transportation. Batteries are a means of addressing the storage problem, but they have a low-energy density, and are relatively expensive and difficult to transport. Assistant Professor David Mebane will be investigating one possible alternative that could potentially create a route to “green” hydrocarbons.
A GRAND OLD TRADITION
MAE Volunteers watch the pumpkins drop.

WVU celebrates 30th anniversary of Pumpkin Drop

One of the most enduring traditions on WVU’s Evansdale campus is the annual Pumpkin Drop competition. In its 30th year, the event continues to draw large crowds of elementary, middle and high school students and their teachers to the watch pumpkins fall from the 11-story Engineering Sciences Building. This year’s event was won by the team from Greater Beckley Christian School. A history of the event can be found online.
STUDENT NEWS
Justin Moser and Mark Ziegler will travel the country with Rooster Hall Racing for the 2018 Pirelli World Challenge Series.

Students get the green light to intern with Rooster Hall Racing

Two students from the Statler College are gearing up for internships with Rooster Hall Racing, in Louisa, Virginia.
 
WVU's Experimental Rocketry team with its rocket. The team is preparing to defend its first-place title in the 2018 Spaceport America Cup.

Experimental Rocketry team gears up to defend title in international competition

WVU’s Experimental Rocketry team is preparing to defend their first-place title in the 10,000-foot launch category at the 2018 Spaceport America Cup, the world's largest intercollegiate rocket engineering conference and competition.
 
Microgravity Team members (from left) include Tim Bear, Anthony Fucello, Robert Wilson, Ray Nevling and Matt Eberspeaker.

Students conduct research in microgravity conditions

A team of engineering students recently conducted soldering experiments aboard the Zero Gravity Corporation’s microgravity research aircraft, G-Force One.
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ABOUT THIS EMAIL
In Motion is an e-newsletter produced by the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at West Virginia University. Please share your comments and suggestions by emailing us at engineeringwv@mail.wvu.edu.
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Department of Mechanical and Aerospace | West Virginia University
395 Evansdale Drive | P.O. Box 6106 | Morgantown, WV 26506-6106
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