Friday, August 28, 2009

Dr. Milanovic Receives Faculty Award

At the Faculty/Staff Kickoff for the new academic year, held August 26 in the newly renovated Gengras Café, Dr. Ivana Milanovic, Associate Professor and Chair, Mechanical Engineering, received an award recognizing her innovations in teaching and learning. Specifically, Dr. Milanovic was honored for her development of a laboratory structure for a sequence of thermofluids experiments for the Mechanical Engineering Technology program here in CETA.

The structure provides a sequence of modules that bring students in Design of Experiment projects from experimental design to engineering design. The new structure has led to dramatic student accomplishments that is documented in course assessment data and alumni feedback. Several alumni report that the structure was a topic in their job interviews and is seen positively by employers.

The Awards for Innovations in Teaching and Learning recognize recent and specific achievements in creative and effective teaching. They are sponsored and funded by the harry Jack Gray/National Endowment for the Humanities Teaching Enhancement Grants. Recipients receive faculty development funding to use during the coming academic year.

(l. to r.) Dr. Marcia Moen, chair of the awards committee, Dr. Ivana Milaovic, Dr. Lynn Pasquerella, provost of the University

CETA congratulates Dr. Milanovic on receiving this important award.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Professor Milanovic Presents at ASME Conference

Dr. Ivana Milanovic, associate professor of Mechanical Engineering, and Khaled J. Hammad of Dantec Dynamics presented two papers at the American Society of Mechancial Engineers (ASME) Fluids Engineering Division Summer Meeting (FEDSM) this month in Vail, Colorado. The research studies, “FEDSM2009–78318: Flow Structure in the Near-Wall Region of a Submerged Impinging Jet” and FEDSM2009–78398: APOD Study of an Impinging Jet Flowfield,” reported on the turbulent flow structure and proper orthogonal decomposition modal analysis of an impinging jet flow field and their relevance to various thermal control strategies.

Dr. Milanovic also co-organized the Fifth Symposium on Fundamental Issues and Perspectives in Fluid Mechanics and the Second Symposium on Transport Phenomena in Mixing.

The FEDSM Annual Conference provides a forum for the exchange of information on fluids engineering for engineers from around the world. The conference addresses a range of topics in analysis, numerical methods, and experiments in fluid mechanics. Dr. Milanovic’s presentation was made possible through funding provided by WELFund, a legacy of Hartford College for Women.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Professor Leads Guitar-Curing Project

Dr. Patricia Mellodge, assistant professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, plays guitar and studies, among other things, the mathematical modeling of microwave-material interactions. She has combined those two passions in a project designed to improve the wood coating process for Taylor Guitars using microwave energy. She is working on this project with Dr. Diane Folz, research faculty in Materials Science and Engineering at Virginia Tech (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, where Dr. Mellodge earned her Ph.D.), CETA colleague Dr. Bob Celmer, professor and program director of Acoustical Engineering and Music, and students from both CETA and Virginia Tech

Last year Virginia Tech students Chase Hammond, Cary Hill, and Charles Sprinkle, Materials Science and Engineering majors, worked on microwave processing and materials characterization as part of their senior project. The CETA students, Andy Sorenson and Stalin Vera, Acoustical Engineering and Music majors, performed vibrational testing on uncured, Taylor’s ultraviolet-cured, and Virginia-Tech-cured samples and compared the results as a project for their Noise Control Design class. The overall objective for all the students was to determine whether microwaves represent a viable alternative to Taylor’s current UV process that would give Taylor more control over the curing process. Taylor provided samples of their wood and UV-activated coating materials, along with guidance in using them.

In late May, the students traveled with Drs. Mellodge and Folz to Taylor Guitars in El Cajon, California, to meet Taylor staff members Matt Guzzetta, industrial designer, and Steve Baldwin, the Finish Department manager, and present the results of their first year’s work. In addition, the students, faculty, and Taylor staff discussed what Taylor sees as the most crucial issues in their finishing process and what steps need to be taken next in the project.

In addition to the trip to El Cajon, Drs. Mellodge and Folz attended a workshop at Purdue University entitled “Exploring Comprehensive Design and Product Lifecycle Management Through Guitar Design and Manufacture.” The workshop was funded by the National Science Foundation and hosted by Mike Aikens from Butler County Community College, Tom Singer from Sinclair Community College, and Nathan Hartman, Mark French, and Brad Harringer from Purdue University. The intent of the workshop was to expose faculty to the construction of an electric guitar as a vehicle for teaching STEM, engineering design, and manufacturing concepts to students. The hosts also hoped to build collaborations with attendees to expand the project to more schools. Drs. Mellodge and. Folz hope to expand the project with Taylor to incorporate the concepts they learned at the workshop and collaborate with Purdue, Butler, and Sinclair.

In the meanwhile, the Taylor project will continue this coming academic year as student projects at both CETA and Virginia Tech. The Virginia Tech students will develop the microwave process further, with a focus on improving the quality of the base layer coating applied to the wood. The CETA students will continue to evaluate the vibrational characteristics of the samples cured using various methods and will compare the results.

Dr. Mellodge is proud of this project. As she says, it “is a great opportunity for students to engage in a real-world research project and experience the design process from concept to application. As the project continues, we will expand into other engineering areas such as electromagnetic, computer modeling, and simulation. Over the course of this multi-year collaboration, we expect many undergraduates from the University of Hartford and Virginia Tech to work together on this project.”

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Helping a Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy Patient

A family in West Hartford needed very special help. Their 6-year-old son suffers from spastic, quadriplegic cerebral palsy that developed because of complications during his birth. The family wanted to be able to include the child in activities like sledding and bike-riding but couldn’t find equipment adapted for his needs. Dr. Mary Arico and Prof. Sara Zajac, who teach the Biomedical Engineering Design Project II class (BE 461), assembled a team of students in the fourth year of the Biomedical Engineering program to meet the challenge and develop a sled and bike trailer that would be usable with a Blue Sky Cycle Carts Special Needs bike trailer for the child.

The family focused on the durability, the ease of use, and the safety aspects of the final product. The child’s physical therapist required the device to encourage good posture, to protect the child during impact, and provide adequate support for the child’s sensitive areas, such as the head. The design team added such design constraints as the ability to be machined by the team, the ability to operate in snow, a low center of gravity, and the like.

Students Brittany Mejia, Ahmad Osman, Mohammed Osman, Huy Pham, Chris Poudrette, Maria Qadri, and Haralambos Zaharis designed a project that met all of the requirements, and the bike trailer/sled was completed and is being used by the family this summer.

Friday, August 14, 2009

CETA Professor Named to Task Force

Dr. Ladimer Nagurney, associate professor of Electrical, Computer, and Biomedical Engineering has been named to the Regional Rail Advisory Task force in western Massachusetts. The task force was formed to advise on the spending of stimulus funds for rail lines from New Haven, Conn., to Vermont and for other lines in western Massachusetts. The final report from the group is due by May 2010. The Massachusetts and Connecticut Departments of Transportation, both states congressional delegations and other elected officials are among the recipients of the group’s reports.

Among the proposals under consideration is extending the Knowledge Corridor, the rail lines and institutions along the Connecticut River from New Haven to Northampton, Mass., into a Knowledge Web. That Web would be achieved by interconnecting the existing rail lines from Amherst, Mass., south to Storrs and New London, Conn. In this plan, the land grant institutions in both Connecticut and Massachusetts could benefit.

The Knowledge Web was conceived because there are roughly 75,000 college students along the New Haven-to-Northampton corridor (which includes the University of Hartford) and another 75,000 along the Amherst-to-New London corridor. All of those students—and many businesses—would certainly be helped by more frequent and wider rail service.

While the stimulus money is intended to be used to improve passenger rail transportation, it will be used to improve roadbeds, change jointed rail to continuously welded rail, and improve grade crossings and bridges, all of which will also improve freight handling. As Dr. Nagurney says, “any vehicles, either passenger or freight, that we can move away from highways, will ‘green’ New England.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Some Recent Faculty Grants, Awards and Publications

Sustainability Grants

A project created by Dr. Clara Fang, assistant professor of Civil, Environmental & Biomedical Engineering, and Dr. Tom Filburn, associate professor of Mechanical & Biomedical Engineering and assistant director of the Clean Energy Institute, is among the six recipients of sustainability grants awarded by Lynn Pasquerella, provost of the University, for the upcoming academic year. Dr. Fang and Dr. Filburn are offering a seminar series open to both the University and wider community on sustainability. The seminars will be held during the fall and spring semesters.

The Sustainability Grant program was established by the Office of the Provost to address sustainability and encourage student learning in that interdisciplinary field. In addition, the program is meant to identify and establish resources to educate people at the local, regional and national levels about the environment.

Coffin Grants and Summer Stipends

Three CETA faculty are among the fourteen recipients of Coffin Grants and Summer Stipends awarded for the 2009–2010 academic year. Dr. Michelle Vigeant, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, received a Coffin Grant that enables course release time so that she can pursue her research in architectural acoustics. Her project is aimed at determining whether a listener’s acoustic perception varies will small as well as large changes in position in a hall. Dr. Vigeant will make her measurements and recordings in the Bushnell Belding theater in Hartford.

James Fuller, associate professor of Architecture, received a Summer Stipend to allow him to write papers in continuation of work he is performing under a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency. Fuller’s work focuses on sustainable growth and permits development of model regulations for incorporating affordable housing in smart growth development. Relevant portions of the project will be included in course curricula in CETA.

Dr. Christian Carloni, assistant professor of Architecture, also received a Summer Stipend. Dr. Carloni’s work involves a numerical analysis of the debonding mechanism of certain laminates used in construction, a continuing study for him. He will prepare conference papers based on the results of his analysis for two symposia on masonry.

A Student Presentation

Two of Dr. Michelle Vigeant’s students presented a paper at the Acoustical Society of America (ASA) spring conference in Portland, Oregon, in May. Clothilde Giacomoni, Acoustical Engineering and Music, and Amy Scherma, Mechanical Engineering with Acoustics concentration, both class of 2010, offered their paper “Comparisons of Different Microphones, Microphone Orientation and Spacing on Late Lateral Energy Measurements.” In the paper, the two discuss research in architectural acoustics relating to the subjective impression of spaciousness in concert halls. In addition to Dr. Vigeant’s supervision, the students received support from a WELFund (Women's Education and Leadership Fund, a legacy of the Hartford College for Women) grant.

The ASA conferences are the premier venue for presentations of the latest research in Acoustics in North America.

Faculty Publications

Dr. Michelle Vigeant published a paper in Acta Acustica 94(6) along with colleagues L.M. Wang and J.H. Rindel, entitled “Investigations of orchestra auralizations using the multi-channel multi-source auralization technique.

Dr. Clara Fang, assistant professor of Civil, Environmental & Biomedical Engineering, recently authored a paper entitled “Modeling and Simulation of Vehicle Projection Arrival Discharge Process in Adaptive Traffic Signal Controls,” which will be published in the Journal of Advanced Transportation. She also recently co-authored two papers on the use of fuzzy logic in freeway ramp metering and interchange signal controls with a research group in Intelligent Transportation Systems at Massy University, New Zealand.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Paper by CETA Faculty Wins Prestigious Award

A paper authored by Dr. Jonathan Hill, assistant professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Dr. Saeid Moslehpour, assistant professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Dr. Hisham Alnajjar, associate professor of Electrical, Computer, and Biomedical Engineering, and published in the journal Computers in Education has been awarded the Harden-Simons Prize. The paper, “Educational Discrete Time Signal Processing Toolkit," appeared in the April-June issue of the journal.

The Harden Simons Prize is an annual award presented to the outstanding paper on computational methods published in the journal. It commemorates the contributions of Dr. Richard C. Harden and Dr. Fred O. Simons, engineering educators, to the Computers in Education division of ASEE and the journal.

The Computers in Education division is a medium for the exchange of ideas pertaining to the users of analog, hybrid and digital computers in education. Its members are engineering, mathematics, and science educators who want to improve the quality of engineering instruction. The division publishes the journal quarterly and distributes it to more than one thousand individuals and departments.

CETA Faculty Present and Publish

Several CETA professors presented papers at the annual ASEE (American Society for Engineering Education) conference and exposition held this year starting June 15 in Austin, Texas. The ASEE Conference is the only national conference addressing the various disciplines in engineering, technology, and architecture.

Dr. Ivana Milanovic, associate professor of Mechanical Engineering, and Dr. Tom Eppes, associate professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, presented their paper “AC 2009–30: Senior Design Projects for Engineering Technology: Issues, Benefits, and Trade-Offs.” In the paper, the two professors discuss the evolution and structure of and the approach to senior capstone projects in CETA.

Dr. Patricia Mellodge, assistant professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, presented two papers. The first, “Digital Health: A Sophomore Level Interdisciplinary Engineering Design Project Course,” was written and presented with Brad Deschenes, a Computer Engineering major here in CETA who will be a senior this fall. The second paper is “A Multi-University, Interdisciplinary Senior Design Project in Engineering” concerns a project that Dr. Mellodge is working on with Professor Diane Folz of Virginia Tech.

CETA student Brad Deschenes and Dr. Patricia Mellodge at the ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition in Austin, Texas.

Dr. Clara Fang, assistant professor of Civil, Environmental & Biomedical Engineering, presented her paper entitled “Community-based Service Project Learning in Civil Engineering Courses,” in which she discusses a service project she uses in a Civil Engineering course.
Dr. Fang has also had a paper accepted for publication in the Journal of Advanced Transportation in 2009. The paper, authored with L. Elefteriadou, is entitled "Modeling and Simulation Vehicle Projection Arrival-Discharge Process in Adaptive Traffic Signal Controls."