Category: Research Highlights

Des Moines International Airport pavement testing area

Safer, more sustainable aviation

Iowa State’s partnership in FAA program advances airport runways, operating technology Engineers from Iowa State are part of a collaborative partnership to help navigate and improve the complex, ever-changing aviation industry with innovative ideas and new research projects. “When you look at addressing any problem in the field, from the weather to security to operational … Continue reading Safer, more sustainable aviation

Jun Cui

Increasing electric steel performance

Materials research will make electric motors more efficient, cost effective Can electric steel, a popular material that’s already a key functional material for modern society, get better? Jun Cui, an associate professor of materials science and engineering and a senior scientist at the U.S.  Department of Energy Ames Laboratory, says it can. That’s why he’s … Continue reading Increasing electric steel performance

transient battery

Self-destructing batteries

A practical solution for powering transient electronics Researchers at Iowa State have made significant progress in an effort to make transient electronic devices completely autonomous. Reza Montazami, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering and an associate of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory, is leading a team that has developed a transient lithium-ion (Li-ion) … Continue reading Self-destructing batteries

a new $5. 3 million Bio-Polymer Processing Facility located at Iowa State’s BioCentury Research Farm

The road to biorenewable asphalt

Researchers scale-up plans to use soybean oil to produce bio-polymers A new Bio-Polymer Processing Facility located at Iowa State University’s BioCentury Research Farm gives researchers a broader understanding of what it would take to commercialize bio-polymers so they can be added to materials like asphalt. Eric Cochran, associate professor of chemical and biological engineering, and … Continue reading The road to biorenewable asphalt

Diane Rover, professor of electrical and computer engineering, promotes new educational approaches in the classroom through a new interdisciplinary project

A new model of engineering education

Collaborative course design will transform education and develop the next generation of engineers Electrical and computer engineering technologies have evolved from simple electronics and computing devices to complex systems that profoundly change the world in which we live. Designing these complex systems requires a new way of thinking, including developing social, professional and ethical responsibility. … Continue reading A new model of engineering education

Liang Dong

Making progress toward invisibility cloaks

Meta-skin suppresses scattering microwaves, hides objects from radar detection Two professors in electrical and computer engineering have made significant headway in an innovative stealth technology. Liang Dong, an associate professor who researches micro-nanofabrication, liquids and polymers, and Jiming Song, a professor who studies electromagnetics, have combined their areas of expertise to create a flexible, stretchable … Continue reading Making progress toward invisibility cloaks

Ludovico Cademartiri (right foreground), assistant professor of materials science and engineering, and his research team use an interdisciplinary approach to tackle a wide range of challenges in materials science

Nanostructures and Lego® Bricks

Advancing technology through practical and radical materials science Materials science, chemistry, physics and life. These are the driving forces behind the research in Ludovico Cademartiri’s laboratory at Iowa State. Cademartiri, assistant professor of materials science and engineering and associate scientist with the U.S. Department of Energy Ames Laboratory, says he and his graduate students work … Continue reading Nanostructures and Lego® Bricks

Surya Mallapragada, Carol Vohs Johnson Chair in Chemical and Biological Engineering

Engineering better health

Polymeric biomaterials combined with nanoscale delivery devices can improve preventative medicine Surya Mallapragada knows the value an engineering perspective can add to advancing the biomedical field. For years, Mallapragada, the Carol Vohs Johnson Chair in Chemical and Biological Engineering, has been researching the best ways to synthesize copolymers and nanoscale delivery devices to treat illnesses. … Continue reading Engineering better health

Tom Schnieders and Rick Stone

ATHENA Lab augments human capabilities

Engineering ideas and technologies enhance human performance, preserve safety and quality of life Developing telerobotics control systems, applying biomechanics for improved sports performance, creating visualization tools that improve battle space awareness. These projects and more are going on within the Augmentation and Training of Humans with Engineering in North America Lab. The lab, known as … Continue reading ATHENA Lab augments human capabilities

Multiphase flow science

Leadership in multiphase flow discovery, education and practice

A cohesive group of researchers at Iowa State has joined together to accelerate discoveries in multiphase flow science and their transfer to industry. The group known as CoMFRE initially started out in 2002 as an informal way for faculty to share insights about related research projects. Now, the team is more formally organized with a … Continue reading Leadership in multiphase flow discovery, education and practice

nanoscale materials

New heights for materials science

With his plans to develop an open-source manufacturing platform, Peter Collins is determined to make additive manufacturing a mainstream technology. Collins, who is an associate professor in materials science and engineering, says the advantages of additive manufacturing—using fewer resources, improving material performance and creating one-of-a-kind products—can be a game changer for manufacturers of all sizes. … Continue reading New heights for materials science

More data, more vulnerabilities

Protecting and securing data takes on many forms at Iowa State, where researchers in electrical and computer engineering are tackling big threats in the digital world: detecting malware on apps, improving online privacy and eliminating insider threats. Mathematical abstraction and software reasoning Suraj Kothari, Richardson Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, mixes theoretical ideas and … Continue reading More data, more vulnerabilities


Engineers, elementary educators and future teachers partner to teach STEM

At Iowa State, integrating engineering into K-12 classrooms is a collaborative effort that spans across campus and into surrounding school districts. Trinect, a program funded by the National Science Foundation STEM-C Partnerships, brings together three groups to introduce engineering concepts to young students: engineering graduate students, preservice teacher students and cooperating elementary teachers from Des … Continue reading Engineers, elementary educators and future teachers partner to teach STEM

Matt Darr

Market-ready solutions

Advanced ag machinery technology developed at ISU transfers to industry Matthew Darr’s research group strives to make an impact that extends knowledge and scientific development to the marketplace. “Seeing our results ported out to the public sector where we’re able to help agricultural producers with intelligent technologies — that’s our ‘why,’” he says. Darr, an … Continue reading Market-ready solutions

Ran Dai and student team

Power management in smart robots

Designing solar-powered vehicles for long-duration, high-efficiency missions Using renewable energy to power aerial and ground vehicles could change the way we handle aspects of environmental monitoring, search and rescue missions, surveillance, and agricultural practices. To navigate these sorts of dynamic environments, Ran Dai, an assistant professor in aerospace engineering and Black and Veatch Faculty Fellow, … Continue reading Power management in smart robots

Soil and water samples illuminate antibiotic resistance

Studies of manure application reveal antibiotic resistance movement While using manure as an organic source of fertilizer has helped the agricultural industry maintain balance in integrated crop and livestock systems, there is some risk the manure contains bacteria that may contaminate water bodies if transported off the field by rain. Michelle Soupir, an associate professor … Continue reading Soil and water samples illuminate antibiotic resistance

Easing traffic headaches

InTrans performs need-based research to improve transportation infrastructure Since Iowa State’s Institute for Transportation (InTrans) first began as the Local Transportation Information Center in 1983, researchers have transformed the surface transportation landscape through innovative methods, materials and technologies. Now, with specialization in areas that range from work zone safety and traffic engineering to sustainable pavement … Continue reading Easing traffic headaches

A faster way to optimal solutions

Using simulation and modeling to improve sustainable buildings Insurmountable data is no match for Baskar Ganapathysubramanian. In fact, he says the more data, the better. That way he’s sure to evaluate every possible scenario within the models he creates. Ganapathysubramanian, associate professor of mechanical engineering, uses mathematical techniques and computational tools to solve a variety … Continue reading A faster way to optimal solutions

Customized products, processes

Delivering advanced manufacturing technology ready for commercialization Researchers in Iowa State’s industrial and manufacturing systems engineering (IMSE) department are major players in the country’s goal to strengthen the resurgence of manufacturing in America. With their projects to be supported by three of the recent federal manufacturing research centers – America Makes, the Institute for Advanced … Continue reading Customized products, processes

Wind characterization leads to new innovations

Expanding wind energy volume takes an interdisciplinary perspective Aerospace engineering and atmospheric sciences are joining forces and technology at Iowa State to better understand airflow and wind shear on wind farms. Using computer models, wind and icing tunnel experiments, and field measurements, the researchers say their work can depict individual turbine dynamics, turbine-to-turbine interaction and … Continue reading Wind characterization leads to new innovations

Taking cyberinnovation to the farm

Data from soil sensors gives researchers and farmers insight into sustainable agricultural practices Maintaining soil health by protecting land suitable for growing crops continues to be a priority as the world’s population rises. Issues like managing the nitrogen cycle, which is also one of the 14 Grand Challenges identified by the National Academy of Engineering, … Continue reading Taking cyberinnovation to the farm

Shifting the paradigm of biorenewable chemicals

CBiRC focuses on platform technologies and new chemicals from biomass feedstocks to replace petrochemicals When the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center for Biorenewable Chemicals (CBiRC) was founded in 2008, its approach of combining biology and chemistry to develop sustainable biobased chemicals was a novel idea. “At the time, we were trying decide if there … Continue reading Shifting the paradigm of biorenewable chemicals

Changing cancer treatment

Polymer science advances drug-delivery mechanisms to better break down cancerous tumors The National Cancer Institute has indicated that in 2014, “it is estimated that there will be 1,665,540 new cases of all cancer sites and an estimated 585,720 people will die of this disease.” That’s why Katie Bratlie, an assistant professor of materials science and … Continue reading Changing cancer treatment

A new kind of solar cell

Improving the performance of organic, thin-film materials with perovskites to make solar energy more affordable and accessible With the sun providing most forms of energy, whether indirectly or directly, it’s no wonder Vikram Dalal has spent more than 40 years working on better ways to access its energy. But it’s the potential to provide the … Continue reading A new kind of solar cell

Advancing production in large-scale industries

Calling for a multidisciplinary, value-driven philosophy for systems engineering Energy. Transportation. Civil infrastructure. Aerospace. These and many other large-scale, complex industries are critical to the security and prosperity of our nation. And they are in need of some serious attention. That’s where Christina Bloebaum says she can make a difference. Bloebaum, the Dennis and Rebecca Muilenburg Professor of Aerospace … Continue reading Advancing production in large-scale industries

Revolutionizing disease prevention and treatment

Using a systems approach coupled with nanoscale technology to develop next-generation vaccines For more than a decade, Balaji Narasimhan has been determined to improve vaccine deliveryand availability, a mission that’s especially important for parts of the world where access to such life-saving, preventative medicine isn’t always practical or even possible. One project includes searching for ways to … Continue reading Revolutionizing disease prevention and treatment

Reducing the cost of wind energy

Sensing skin monitors structural health of wind turbine blades, giving insight into needed repairs An inexpensive polymer that can detect damage on large-scale surfaces could be pivotal in making wind energy a more affordable alternative energy option. The material, which is made into 3-inch square pieces, is a nanocomposite elastomeric capacitor fabricated from a dielectric … Continue reading Reducing the cost of wind energy

A smarter power grid

Cyber-physical testbed gives realistic platform for power grid security research With the nation’s security and economic vitality in his sights, Manimaran Govindarasu is setting out to make the power grid infrastructure more resilient against evolving and continuous cyberattacks. These attacks could result in anything from compromised data within utility companies to significant blackouts across the country. … Continue reading A smarter power grid

Transient electronics research featured on Fox News

Fox News featured transient electronics research being done by Reza Montazami, assistant professor in mechanical engineering. The goal of the research is to be able to trigger electronic devices to dissolve and become unusable. Access the Fox News video story below, and read more about Montazami’s research in a story by ISU News Service. Fox News – … Continue reading Transient electronics research featured on Fox News