Kettering Professor to Fund 3D Scanning Laser Doppler Vibrometer with NSF Grant

A man holds a tablet with an image popping out of different hexagons. Each hexagon has a different symbol in it such as a lightbulb, pie chart, brain, beaker or tools.

The National Science Foundation has awarded Dr. Javad Baqersad, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Kettering University, a Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) grant of $577,750 to acquire a 3D scanning laser Doppler vibrometer (3DSLDV).

The instrument will incorporate a technique using coherent lights to measure the velocity of vibrating objects, allowing high-fidelity vibrations for high-temperature, lightweight and rotating structures.

The vibrometer’s capabilities will be critical for research in biomedical engineering; acoustic pressure in ultrasound therapy; skin and soft tissue characterization; structural health monitoring and damage detection; material modeling; and microstructure optimization. The research will fuel the development of materials with improved vibration performance; microstructural characterization of acoustoplastically deformed structures; uncertainty characterization in additive manufacturing metamaterials; dynamic analysis of tires and contact patch mechanics; and monitoring lithium-ion batteries.

The traditional measurement of vibrations used an accelerometer, which needed to be attached to its subject via an adhesive or hardware. The fact that this instrument measures vibrations without touching its subject is extremely valuable. 

Some of the research will include measuring human skin and soft tissue to detect possible skin conditions and monitoring the health and life of wind turbines. It will measure the vibratory characteristics of tires as they relate to tire forces developed at the contact patch, which is where the tire contacts the road. This could result in safety systems to detect things humans can’t see, such as black ice. The vibration behavior of electric motors will also be measured to improve the sound quality and ensure exterior noise is loud enough for visually impaired pedestrians to detect oncoming vehicles.

“This instrumentation will enable a breadth of projects that have the potential to be significantly impactful in the areas of providing sustainable energy sources, using lightweight materials to develop fuel-efficient cars and improving human health,” Baqersad said. “It will also enhance research in non-destructive inspection, energy, lithium-ion battery monitoring, additive manufacturing and material science.”

Dr. Jennifer Bastiaan, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering; Dr. Timothy Stiles, Associate Professor of Physics; Dr. Seyed Jamaleddin Mostafavi Yazdi, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering; and Dr. Foroogh Rouhollahi, Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering, are Co-Principal Investigators on the project. 

“This is a cool and useful instrument that will help Kettering University faculty, staff and students create knowledge in the areas of tire contact patch mechanics, battery electric vehicle exterior noise and beyond,” Bastiaan said. “Both our undergraduate and graduate students will have access to a state-of-the-art tool that will help prepare them for their future careers in industry and academia.” 

The MRI Program and the Division of Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation (CMMI) fund the grant.

This is the third significant grant the NSF has awarded to a Kettering faculty member this year. A team of Kettering University faculty members received a $398,946 grant in August to build meaningful partnerships among faculty and industry, resulting in increased research engagement and the establishment of an internship program for graduate students. Dr. Demet Usanmaz, Assistant Professor of Physics, received a $249,999 grant in June to increase clean energy generation by designing new thermoelectric materials that convert waste heat to electricity. 

Kettering University has received more than $2 million in research grants this year. Since 2016, the University has received more than $16 million in sponsored program funding that keeps Kettering on the cutting edge of technology and applied research.