2024

March


Three new professorships in Mechanical Engineering

Three new professorships were announced in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Burak Kara has been named a George Tallman and Florence Barrett Ladd Professor of Mechanical Engineering; Carmel Majidi has been named the Clarence H. Adamson Professor of Mechanical Engineering; and Jon Malen has been named the Raymond J. Lane Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering.


February


LeDuc, Ozdoganlar, and Yang featured in Interesting Engineering
Interesting Engineering

MechE’s Philip LeDuc, Burak Ozdoganlar, and Feimo Yang have developed a new tissue engineering technique that may alleviate the organ transplantation crisis. The work was featured in Interesting Engineering. “What makes our method different from other kinds of 3D printing is that instead of letting the water completely freeze while we’re printing, we let it maintain a liquid phase on top,” said Yang, who hopes that the versatility of the 3D-printed blood vessels will have further applications beyond the immediate organ transplant issue.


January


Fuchs featured in a podcast done by Issues in Science and Technology
Issues in Science and Technology

EPP’s Erica Fuchs was featured in a podcast by Issues in Science and Technology. She and Lisa Margonelli talk about Fuchs’ pilot project that she has been working on for the past year—the National Network for Critical Technology Assessment. This project will allow the federal government to predict and tackle supply chain issues effectively ahead of time. 


2023


December


Wolf’s 3D printing technology mentioned in Defense News
Defense News

MFI/NEXT Manufacturing’s Sandra DeVincent Wolf’s research was mentioned in Defense News as part of an article on manufacturing issues with 3D printing pertaining to the U.S.’s submarine fleet. In order to resolve the issue, the Navy has started to install cameras, microphones, and sensors that will monitor the manufacturing process and can catch errors in real time; this is similar to the technology in Wolf’s lab. “The machines in her labs are rigged with sensors: high- and low-speed cameras, thermal imaging, images of the melt pool, images of the metal spatter, acoustic monitoring, and more,” the article notes.


Webster-Wood talks with Nature about biohybrid robots
Nature

MechE’s Victoria Webster-Wood talks with Nature about biohybrid robots. “A biohybrid is really any robot that combines both biological materials and synthetic materials,” she says. These machines have many potential applications including search and rescue following earthquakes.


Changliu Liu Receives Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing Champion Award
Robotics Institute News

Changliu Liu, a Manufacturing Futures Institute researcher who is developing robotic assembly and disassembly processes for Lego blocks, recently received the 2023 ARM Champion Award. The assistant professor in the Robotics Institute was recognized by the Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing Institute for the substantial impact through her work in robot safety.


November


Taylor featured in PittsburghInno
PittsburghInno

MechE’s Rebecca Taylor was featured in PittsburghInno for being named the first Ansys Career Development Chair in the College of Engineering. The Ansys endowment she received will go toward educating mechanical engineering students using Ansys software. “Using Ansys software in my lab and classroom will help prepare my students to use self-assembly as a powerful tool for advanced manufacturing,” Taylor says. The announcement was also covered in the Pittsburgh Business Times.


October


Majidi talks about shape-shifting robots
BuiltIn

MechE’s Carmel Majidi talks to BuiltIn about shape-shifting robots. “This technology introduces new capabilities to achieve robotic functions at the small scale in hard-to-reach places,” he says. “Because of its shape-shifting properties and response to external stimuli, it can be operated remotely and controlled to move within otherwise hard to reach parts, such as those within the body.”


Fuchs talks about autoworkers’ roles in the electric car industry
CNN Business

EPP’s Erica Fuchs talks to CNN Business about the autoworkers’ roles in the electric car industry. Because there are fewer parts in making an electric car than in its gasoline counterparts, people assume that there will be fewer jobs in the electric car industry. “But making the powertrain of electric vehicles—the batteries, electric motors and power management systems—requires more total labor, not less, than that involved in making engines and transmissions,” she says.


Jayan comments on battery technology in the crashed Venice bus
AP News

MechE’s Reeja Jayan comments on battery technology in the crashed Venice bus in AP News. While the Italian’s transport minister is questioning the spread of electric vehicles in the midst of this catastrophe, experts say that the battery chemistry used actually makes it less prone to fires. “In batteries that use nickel or cobalt, oxygen can be released if the temperature gets too hot, fueling a fire. But in a lithium-iron-phosphate battery, there is a strong bond between oxygen and phosphorus, keeping the oxygen in place,” she says.


Whitefoot comments on green cars in MSN
MSN

MechE/EPP’s Kate Whitefoot comments on the future of green vehicles in MSN. “Moving heavy vehicles like school buses, construction equipment, and big trucks to electrification will definitely be slower. That’s where improving the efficiency of internal combustion engines will be important,” she says.


Fuchs elected to the Board of the National Semiconductor Technology Center
National Institute of Standards and Technology

EPP’s Erica Fuchs was elected to the board of trustees that will oversee a nonprofit entity that is expected to run the National Semiconductor Technology Center (NSTC). The NSTC aims to make groundbreaking innovations in semiconductor design and manufacturing and bring these technologies to market at a lower cost in a shorter amount of time.


September


Whitefoot comments on gas-powered green vehicles
Newsweek

MechE/EPP’s Kate Whitefoot comments on gas-powered green vehicles in Newsweek. Researchers from the University of Minnesota and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Sandia National Laboratories collaborated to create a spark plug replacement prototype that will allow fuel to burn more cleanly and efficiently. “Moving heavy vehicles like school buses, construction equipment, and big trucks to electrification will definitely be slower. That’s where improving the efficiency of internal combustion engines will be important,” Whitefoot says.


July


YKK AP’s new research lab works to advance job site safety, productivity, and quality
USGlass News Network

The opening celebration of YKK AP’s research lab at Mill 19 included demonstrations by MechE’s Kenji Shimada’s research team, which is developing technology to solve key issues in the architectural products industry.


June


Wolf featured in Pittsburgh Business Times
Pittsburgh Business Times

MFI/Next Manufacturing’s Sandra DeVincent Wolf encourages local manufacturers to reach out to organizations and universities like Carnegie Mellon to learn how to adopt new technologies. She was featured as one of 20 People to Know in Manufacturing in the recent issue of the Pittsburgh Business Times.


CMU research team featured in Pittsburgh Business Times
Pittsburgh Business Times

A team led by CMU and including United States Steel Corp. and Nucor, will receive $3.1 million for a process designed to decarbonize the steel industry.


May


Majidi comments on new material for “soft robotics” in Scientific American
Scientific American

MechE’s Carmel Majidi talks about a new low-density gel material that is able to conduct electricity to power a motor in Scientific American. In his recent study published in Nature Electronics, he used this material to power two basic machines, a toy car and a snail-like soft robot. “There are so many possibilities that arise when you take machines and robots out of the hard case and engineer them out of materials that are soft and squishy,” Majidi says.


MFI Faculty Director talks digital twins, supply chain issues
Supply Chain Dive

ECE’s Gary Fedder spoke to Supply Chain Dive about the promise of digital twins and their potential to address supply chain issues. “One can do basically virtual experiments to understand: How do you make the factory more efficient?” Fedder said. “The reason that’s super important is that usually translates into a lot of money.”


Bockstaller discusses his self-healing plastic research with CBS News Pittsburgh
CBS News Pittsburgh

MSE’s Michael Bockstaller discusses his self-healing plastic research with CBS News Pittsburgh. Typically, plastic’s short lifespan results in substantial waste production, and creating new plastic is much cheaper than recycling it. “The idea is that by creating polymers that would feature self-healing properties, we might be able to prolong the lifetime of these systems and reduce waste formation,” Bockstaller says.