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Home | Tag Archives: utep engineering

Tag Archives: utep engineering

UTEP Engineering partner LIMBS International awarded the 2019 Drucker Prize

LIMBS International, a local nonprofit organization with a partnership with The University of Texas at El Paso’s College of Engineering, was awarded the 2019 Drucker Prize from more than 400 nationwide nonprofits.

LIMBS International was recognized by Drucker Prize judges for its “innovative and holistic programs for lower-limb amputees in developing countries.”

The judges also recognized the organization’s promise to further leverage innovation moving forward.

LIMBS International’s mission is to transform the lives of amputees in developing countries through community engagement and research and development of sustainable, affordable prosthetic solutions.

A key aspect of the LIMBS’ mission is to provide college students the opportunity to participate in positive, life-changing experiences through research and development (R&D) projects in emerging nations.

Founder and former CEO of LIMBS, Roger Gonzalez, Ph.D., is Chair and professor in the Engineering Education and Leadership department at UTEP.

His expertise is in mechanical and biomedical engineering. Gonzalez said this award shows that LIMBS is committed to innovating their technology and processes.

“It is an honor to be recognized for our international work for the past 15 years,” he said. “Our partnership with UTEP has continued to allow us to make the needed adjustment to be more effective in helping more of the poorest-of-the-poor amputees.”

Zach First, executive director of the Drucker Institute said, “It would have been easy for LIMBS International to be satisfied with its technical achievement of a $20 functional prosthetic. But it often takes social innovation to make technical innovation effective. And LIMBS International exemplifies this in the way they married their innovative prosthetic with an equally innovative local physical-therapy model. Thanks to their work, innocent victims of war and disease get a second chance to stand on their own two feet.”

Oscar Gonzalez Montoya, President of LIMBS International said, “We are greatly honored to be selected for the 2019 Drucker Prize. We look forward to implementing new innovative solutions that were inspired during the application process—addressing accessibility challenges and engaging communities to assist amputees in the developing world. We are thankful for this opportunity to increase our impact around the world.”

To learn more about LIMBS International program at UTEP, visit their website.

UTEP Keck Center Engineers Awarded $900K to Bolster Metal Printing Processes

Researchers from The University of Texas at El Paso’s W.M. Keck Center for 3D Innovation were awarded an Army Research Laboratory grant worth $900,000.

The three recipients are Ryan Wicker, Ph.D., director of the Keck Center; Cesar Terrazas, Ph.D., research assistant professor; and Philip Morton, applications manager for the Keck Center. The money, facilitated through the MSI STEM Research and Development Consortium, will help advance laser powder bed fusion additive manufacturing technology through efficient detection of defects using in situ process monitoring and 3-D metal-matrix composite fabrication process development.

Ryan Wicker, Ph.D., director of the Keck Center

“We are extremely pleased to have an opportunity to expand on the work we do here at the Keck Center,” Wicker said. “This is a testament not only to the unique capabilities of our facility but also to the expertise offered by our faculty and staff.”

The money is funding a pair of objectives and will be allocated to the Keck Center during the next three years.

The first involves improvements to the method of process monitoring. Morton said plans call for implementation of an infrared camera to observe the metal printing process and develop algorithms to better identify defects and make commensurate adjustments to correct them in a quick, efficient manner.

“A lot of people are already interested in process monitoring,” Morton said. “You can buy some systems with

Philip Morton, applications manager for the Keck Center.

cameras. But what we’re trying to add is real-time defect detection in order to make real-time corrections.”

The second is an effort to institute nitriding of a titanium alloy during the laser powder bed fusion process.

Morton said a laser would be used to heat up the metal as it’s printing while it is simultaneously being exposed to nitrogen to form titanium nitride within the alloy.

“Typically, if you nitride something, it’s a surface coating,” Morton said. “So, you can’t really get these nitrides inside of the metal easily. The idea is tailoring the microstructure. Instead of simply designing the shape or geometry of a part, we can tailor the material properties.”

“It’s a new tool to solve a problem,” Morton said. “Traditionally, a designer can look at a part and say, ‘Oh, it needs to be thick here to withstand the load.’ But what we’re wanting to do is tailor sections of it. So, if you had a rocket, you can strengthen the area exposed to the hottest temperatures to avoid failure when running hotter.”

Cesar Terrazas, Ph.D., research assistant professor.

Morton said the Keck Center will receive about $300,000 of the grant money during the first year, which will be spent establishing a proof-of-concept. The following two years will involve system fabrication and implementation.

Morton said the past performance of the Keck Center was key in obtaining this grant. Agencies are confident that UTEP is well equipped to carry out the proposals it puts forth, he said. That has made the Keck Center very competitive in securing research money.

“We are one of the first additive manufacturing users to start building feedback control into these systems,” Morton said. “Now, these commercial companies are starting to build and implement these systems. So, we have some past performance as well as the research infrastructure, which makes it easier to get awards because agencies don’t want to fund your infrastructure. We’re excited to get this planned out and working.”

UTEP Receives $260k National Science Foundation Grant to Study Biomaterials

A team of metallurgical and materials engineering faculty at The University of Texas at El Paso has been awarded nearly $260,000 by the National Science Foundation to purchase an Advanced Nanoscale Deformation system with imaging, or nanoindenter, to study the mechanical behavior of biomaterials and biomolecules.

Photo: VCU
Basic nanoindenter |Photo: VCU

The nanoidenter is used to measure and test mechanical and material properties at a scale about a thousand times smaller than a human hair. It will enable UTEP researchers to look at wear and susceptibility in nanostructured materials, the nanomechanical characterization of 3-D printable materials, the biomechanical properties of tissue engineered biomaterials, and much more.

The new equipment will provide UTEP undergraduate and graduate students with a user-friendly testing platform.

Students will be trained to conduct leading-edge research using the state-of-the-art system in combination with other advanced material characterization techniques, making them competitive professional career candidates in STEM fields.

“Outcomes of this research will include novel materials with desired adhesion, wear and reduced vulnerability to mechanically induced damage, as well as biomaterials for use in regenerative therapeutic medicine fields and high-strength materials for mechanical and electronics application” Misra said.

The UTEP grant team, led by Metallurgical, Materials and Biomedical Engineering Department Chair and Professor Devesh Misra, Ph.D., includes Professor Thomas Boland, Ph.D.; Assistant Professor David A. Roberson, Ph.D.; Associate Professor Namsoo P. Kim, Ph.D.; and Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering Pavana Prabhakar, Ph.D.

UTEP Electrical and Computer Engineering Department Innovation Makes 2015 “Best Of” List

A breakthrough innovation by members of UTEP’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering that may help the speed of light transmit computer data made Opli Magazine’s Best in 2015 for Innovations in Photonics. Opli is the largest independent news source dedicated to covering photonics, physics, machine vision, medical engineering, solar energy and technology.

Nothing is faster than the speed of light. At 186,000 miles per second, scientists have fixated on the power source for years, hoping to harness its speed for faster data transmission in computers.

Electrical engineer Raymond Rumpf, Ph.D, is one of those scientists. He envisions a world where computers will one day send information on light – not electricity.

“This could mean exponentially faster computers and internet connections,” said Rumpf, an associate professor of electrical and computerRumpf_nl_trejo engineering at The University of Texas at El Paso.

Current computer systems are considered slow because of the metallic wire connections within their circuit boards. Using electricity, copper wires transfer data some 1,000 times slower than light potentially could.

Swapping out electric data transmission for light, or optical power, would lead to a much more efficient system, Rumpf said. The problem is how to control light beams so that they can make the same sharp turns that wires make on circuit boards.

Guiding light beams to make sharp turns has been notoriously difficult. Conventional light beam waveguides, structures that light can travel through for direction – like optical fibers or hollow metal pipes – must curve gradually to make light beams turn. If the turn is too quick, the light beam will lose its energy.

“The name of the game is being able to control these light waves,” said UTEP alumnus Javier Pazos, Ph.D., who conducted research in Rumpf’s lab. “And we were able to do just that, with unprecedented success.”

In close collaboration with the University of Central Florida, Rumpf’s EM Lab recently devised and demonstrated a complex geometrical plastic lattice that a light beam can travel through instead of conventional waveguides. Described in the journal Optics Express, the technology offers a novel way to bend and control light at whatever degree the handlers choose.

Pazos emphasized that besides being able to bend light, the material they used to achieve control over it is ordinary and inexpensive, particularly when compared to other technologies that are attempting to do the same thing.

“The fact that we can do this with a simple plastic – an epoxy – is a pretty big deal,” he said. “Normally, you need an exotic, unheard of material to even attempt this.”

The study occurred in collaboration with the University of Central Florida; UTEP engineers served as the theorists and designers behind the invention, while UCF researchers built the final product with a nanoscale 3-D printer and then measured its performance in their lab.

Rumpf, who spearheaded the effort, envisions the groundbreaking technology will first appear in high-performance super computers before it can be found in people’s everyday laptops.

This year Rumpf was invited to present a lecture at The Royal Society in Buckinghamshire, England, because of his involvement with cutting-edge research. The society, which is is known for identifying and supporting the work of outstanding scientists, brought together a small group of world-renowned, electromagnetics experts, including Rumpf, to share their ideas and consider the up-and-coming potential for radically new devices.

Laser_org_nl“My talk was very well received at the society,” Rumpf said. “I think what got everyone’s attention was how we can build this light-bending lattice not just for flat surfaces, but for curved ones, too.”

Rumpf explained that the lab is able to tailor the technology for curved surfaces, like the nose of an airplane, the head of a missile or even contact lenses.

This sort of exploration, which takes controlling light to a whole new level, may have been what caught the Royal Society’s attention, and even more recently, EE Web.

The online Electrical Engineering community interviewed the UTEP faculty member in February 2015 and featured him on their site as engineer of the week.

Pazos, who graduated from UTEP in December 2014 with a Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering, said he is grateful he got to work alongside Rumpf during his time at the University.

“Dr. Rumpf is a visionary and a great inspiration,” Pazos said. “He takes on high-risk, high-reward projects, and like any good engineer, he looks at what’s out there and can envision a way to make it better.”

The EM Lab’s research focus has inspired Pazos to seek a career with Intel; the company is currently making strides toward this new high-tech future that involves light.

Author: Nadia M. Whitehead UTEP News Service

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