2013 in Review: The year in Kettering research news

Jan 9, 2014

2013 was a great year for new and ongoing research projects at Kettering.

Kettering faculty and researchers had a productive and illustrious 2013 calendar year in its various research labs and projects.  Below is a summary of some of the new and ongoing research projects highlighted at Kettering in 2013.

Dawn Thompson, Stan Good and Dan Vandersluis of Faurecia, donated $10,000 to ergonomics lab

Thanks to a donation totaling approximately $10,000 worth of equipment and hardware, students in Kettering University’s ergonomics class now have a replica of a Chrysler 200 steering column and instrument panel to help study, understand or even improve on the assembly process. Read the full story on the Ergonomics Lab.

The Kettering University Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering Department has a new thermoformer for its students thanks to $40,000 in grants from three organizations.

The machine, used to form a variety of plastics products, replaces a thermoformer that Kettering had since the 1960s that was no longer operational. The process includes loading sheet plastic into the machine, which is sent into an oven. A form is then pushed into the plastic and a vacuum draws the sheet into the form, creating the product. Read about all the applications of a thermoformer.

Dr. Ilya  Kudish, professor of mathematics, is one of an elite group of tribologists worldwide working to address this issue of rolling contact fatigue in devices and machines with gears, bearings, and other parts involved in frequent motion.

Tribology is the science and engineering of interacting surfaces in relative motion, including the study and application of the principles of friction, lubrication and wear. Contact fatigue, or pitting, exacerbates defects and cracks in metal. It is caused by inherent material defects and repeated stresses occurring in material. Read more about Tribology research at Kettering.

Dr. Matthew Sanders, professor of industrial and manufacturing engineering has received a funded research grant from IESC in the amount of $200,000 to test the critical characteristics of a newly designed aluminum-based battery that is more versatile, has a longer shelf life and is made of environmentally friendly, non-toxic, low cost components. 

According to Intech Energy Storage Corporation, the battery concept can be used in every type of battery from a pacemaker to a truck or boat motor. The possible intended uses for the battery include land and sea transportation vehicles, multi-purpose usage such as laptops and cell phones as well as specialty products such as military equipment. Read more about battery research at Kettering University.

Kettering University’s Research in Engineering and Collaborative Haptics (REACH) Lab, has created many opportunities students studying Haptics to use the technology to help solve real-world medical issue in Flint, Mich.

Haptics technology allows a user to ‘touch’ virtual objects by using forces, vibrations or movements of the user in simulations. It has a wide variety of practical uses in various industries, but students in the REACH lab have found the technology particularly useful in coming up with practical applications of haptics in the local medical community. Read more about how research at Kettering University is helping make medical advances in Flint, Mich.

Dr. Kevin Bai, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, and his team of researchers, in the Advanced Power Electronics Lab (APEL) are currently working under contract with Mahindra Genze, to develop battery management and motor drive systems for electric scooters.

Once completed, the vision for the scooters is to provide an electric vehicle that allows students or big city commuters to travel to and from school or work, remove their battery and plug it into a wall outlet to recharge it, and then commute home. More information on this research initiative.

Five faculty members led by Justin Young,  assistant professor of industrial engineering, received an $114,039 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF)  for a program entitled "MRI: Acquisition of a Motion Capture System to Facilitate Multidisciplinary Research Efforts and Enhance Undergraduate Research Training."

The grant will allow for the acquisition of a three position sensor 3D Investigator Motion Capture System by Northern Digital Inc. This instrument acquisition will serve faculty researchers from the Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering (IME), Computer Science (CS), and Electrical & Computer Engineering (ECE) departments. Their overlapping research specialties include ergonomics, human factors, human-computer interaction (HCI), haptic interfaces, virtual reality and simulation environments, medical robotics, and autonomous vehicle navigation. More information on this project.

Dr. Jaerock Kwon, assistant professor of Computer Engineering,  received a $341,563 National Science Foundation research grant for a program entitled, "MRI: Development of High-Throughput and High-Resolution Three-Dimensional Tissue Scanner with Internet-Connected 3D Virtual Microscope for Large-Scale Automated Histology."

The grant that Kwon received will support the hardware and software components of the Knife-Edge Scanning Microscope which is a web-based, lightweight, 3D volume viewer that serves large volumes (typically the whole brain) of high-resolution mouse brain images. The advantage of this methodology is its ability to scan the entire brain with a high throughput (speed of data acquisition) and high resolution. Read more about this project.

Visit www.kettering.edu/research for a complete list of research labs and projects at Kettering University.