Category: Research Highlights

Expect Turbulence

Paul Durbin is creating new hybrid, adaptable computational models to predict transitions from laminar fluid flow to turbulence and to simulate the turbulent flow. Right now, engineers rely on two types of turbulence modeling: average flow calculations, which offer high efficiency, but less detail, and eddy-resolving calculations, which offer more detail about turbulence, but take more time and are often cost prohibitive.

Growing Collaboration: Optimization and machine learning meet plant genomics

Lizhi Wang, associate professor of industrial and manufacturing systems engineering, is applying process optimization and machine learning to improve crops’ adaptability to new environmental conditions. Wang, also an Iowa State Plant Sciences Institute Faculty Scholar, serves as the principal investigator for the project supported by a $2 million grant from the National Science Foundation.

3-D Printing Concrete Rapid Solutions with a Steady Material

If 3-D printing can quickly and efficiently create machine parts, could it also quickly and efficiently create bridges and buildings after natural disasters? Kejin Wang, Wilson Professor of Engineering in civil, construction and environmental engineering, is leading advanced research in the emerging field of 3-D concrete printing. She aims to add 3-D concrete printing to civil and construction engineers’ toolbox.

nanovaccine students

Tiny components, big accomplishments for Nanovaccine Institute’s young scientists

The headlines and feature stories have become frequent for the Iowa State University-based Nanovaccine Institute, a multidisciplinary network of scientists devoted to transforming the development and delivery of vaccines and therapeutics that will fight deadly diseases worldwide. Led by Iowa State Chemical and Biological Engineering Anson Marston Distinguished Professor and Vlasta Klima Balloun Faculty Chair … Continue reading Tiny components, big accomplishments for Nanovaccine Institute’s young scientists

Raj Raman

Raj Raman

Raj Raman, Morrill Professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering, sees the purpose of any university as creating new knowledge and building human capital. In his research to improve engineering education, Raman does both.

Engineering health at the breakfast table

When mom said “breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” she couldn’t have imagined what Cyclone Engineer Tom Mansell has cooking. Mansell is creating new probiotics and prebiotics that will treat disease as you eat your morning cup of yogurt.

Kaoru Ikuma with grad student

Something in the Water

Kaoru Ikuma (pictured, right), assistant professor in civil, construction and environmental engineering, is bringing clarity – clear, clean drinking water and clear answers – to environmental microbiology questions about water quality. She and her team are researching drinking water and waterbodies to improve public health protection. Drinking water disinfection Ikuma and her team are studying … Continue reading Something in the Water

Autonomous Flight

From taxicabs of yesterday to rideshares of today to…autonomous personal aircraft of tomorrow? To see the future of getting around congested urban areas, look up in the air. Peng Wei, assistant professor of aerospace engineering, is developing air traffic management systems to make Urban Air Mobility (UAM) a safe, efficient and scalable reality.

In a heartbeat

Adarsh Krishnamurthy (pictured, left) and Ming-Chen Hsu (center) got to talking about their research interests – Krishnamurthy works in simulating cardiac mechanics and Hsu in simulating valve dynamics – when they had an idea. “He had the heart without the valve, and I had the valve without the heart,” Hsu said. “We thought ‘why don’t we just put them together?’”

Smart Energy for Efficient Space

Kristen Cetin, assistant professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering, is harnessing smart energy technologies to enhance building performance and occupant comfort. “We’re combining the power of sensors, automation, the internet of things and modeling to create data-driven, real-time energy efficiency strategies for the built environment,” said Cetin.

Robotic plant measurements

Robotic Plant Measurements Roll Toward Data-Driven Agriculture

Photography by Chris Gannon Lie Tang’s research team designs plant measuring robots that quickly and accurately collect the plant-trait data needed for data-driven crop performance research. “We combine intelligent robotics and sensing technologies to improve both the throughput and the quality of plant measurements, a core need in the growing fi eld of predictive plant … Continue reading Robotic Plant Measurements Roll Toward Data-Driven Agriculture

Model Future: Optimized Electric Power System Planning

Renewable energy offers promise for cleaner, cheaper electricity, but the variability in its production levels introduces new levels of uncertainly into the electric power system. Sarah Ryan, Joseph Walkup Professor in Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering, is developing new stochastic optimization techniques to help electric system operators effectively plan for deeper integration of renewables.

Namrata Vaswani

Data Recovery Tools for the Big Data Age

Big data holds big potential for solving pressing problems of our time – but big data also brings the significant challenge of working with high dimensional data sets. Namrata Vaswani , professor of electrical and computer engineering, is developing novel algorithms for high-dimensional data recovery. Her algorithms can recover data from noisy or distorted measurements … Continue reading Data Recovery Tools for the Big Data Age

Better Ceramics

Cleaner, Greener Technologies Xiaoli Tan is creating new materials needed to solve international sustainability and environmental challenges. Tan, professor of materials science and engineering, is an expert in designing, creating and measuring new compositions of functional oxide ceramics, materials widely used in electronics. “Our goal is to establish the interrelationships between materials’ composition, microstructure, and … Continue reading Better Ceramics

Manimaran Govindarasu, left, and Sourabh Bhattacharya

Game Theory

To quantify threats of power grid cyberattacks Threat levels for cyberattacks on the power grid are usually labeled high, medium or low. That’s too qualitative and too subjective for Cyclone Engineers. Current assessments are inadequate to account for dynamic and uncertain adversaries and the complexity of the computer controls and networks that support the grid. … Continue reading Game Theory

Data-Driven Modeling

For a smart, resilient grid Zhaoyu Wang, Harpole-Pentair assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, is using data-driven science and machine learning to bring real-time modeling to electric power systems – and to enhance system resilience in severe weather events. Real-time, grid-wide monitoring Wang’s team is customizing machine learning algorithms currently used in photo processing … Continue reading Data-Driven Modeling

2019 NSF CAREER Winners

Three Iowa State University Cyclone Engineers have been selected for 2019 National Science Foundation’s Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER). CAREER awards are the NSF’s most prestigious awards given to early-career faculty. The program aims to build a firm foundation for leadership in integrating research and education.

Boosting diversity in engineering with evidence-based strategies

IINSPIRE LSAMP: Thriving in STEM Disciplines Iowa State leads the $5 million Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Iowa-Illinois-Nebraska STEM Partnership for Research and Education (IINSPIRE) project that aims to increase the number and improve the experience of underrepresented students completing STEM degrees in the Midwest. IINSPIRE offers students evidence- based academic, professional and … Continue reading Boosting diversity in engineering with evidence-based strategies

Advancing biorenewables processing for a sustainable, agriculture-powered future

Cyclone Engineer Robert Brown is pioneering the use of thermochemical processes to efficiently and inexpensively turn biomass into biofuels and biobased chemicals. Brown, Anson Marston Distinguished Professor in Engineering, has built a nation-leading research program in scaling biomass processing discoveries from the bench to pilot and demonstration scales. He directs Iowa State’s Bioeconomy Institute, which researches … Continue reading Advancing biorenewables processing for a sustainable, agriculture-powered future

Frank Peters, third from left, an associate professor, was recently named to the C. G. “Turk” and Joyce A. Therkildsen Professorship in Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering

Philanthropy jump-starts research innovation

More than 50 named professors and chair positions “Philanthropy propels early-stage, innovative research at Iowa State, making discoveries possible that simply wouldn’t have happened without donors’ gifts,” said Sarah Rajala, James L. and Katherine S. Melsa Dean of Engineering. “The outstanding level of support from our donors also helps us attract the best faculty to … Continue reading Philanthropy jump-starts research innovation

2018 NSF CAREER Award Winners

Alice Alipour Assistant professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering “Resiliency of Electric Power Networks Under Wind Loads and Aging Effects through Risk-Informed Design and Assessment Strategies” Alipour will use a systems approach to create new design methodologies for electric power networks that will increase power grid resiliency in hurricanes, blizzards and other severe storms. … Continue reading 2018 NSF CAREER Award Winners

Doug Jacobson, University Professor of electrical and computer engineering, left, and Daji Qiao, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering

Cyber Everywhere: New Tools to Optimize and Secure the Internet of Things

Cyclone Engineers are developing new tools to optimize networking and secure information in our new world of mobile devices in every pocket, “smart homes,” and remote sensors on everything from bridges to plants. “Cyber is no longer just in our computers. It’s now ‘cyber everywhere,’” said Daji Qiao, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering. … Continue reading Cyber Everywhere: New Tools to Optimize and Secure the Internet of Things