Category: Research Highlights

Developing New Batteries for Space Exploration

Batteries have become such a modern day convenience that many times we don’t think about them until they need recharged or replaced. Even in space, batteries make life easier by advancing exploration when they are used in land rovers, astronaut equipment and energy storage devices. But creating a battery for space exploration requires some interesting … Continue reading Developing New Batteries for Space Exploration

Cyence

Iowa State Turns on ‘Cyence,’ the Most Powerful Computer Ever on Campus

The most powerful computer ever on the Iowa State University campus – a machine dubbed “Cyence” that’s capable of 183.043 trillion calculations per second with total memory of 38.4 trillion bytes – is just beginning to produce data for 17 research projects. The thinking and infrastructure behind the new machine will have much broader effects … Continue reading Iowa State Turns on ‘Cyence,’ the Most Powerful Computer Ever on Campus

cooling strategies

Iowa State Engineers Develop New Tests to Cool Turbine Blades, Improve Engines

Engineers know that gas turbine engines for aircraft and power plants are more efficient and burn less fuel when they run at temperatures high enough to melt metal. But how to raise temperatures and efficiencies without damaging engine parts and pieces? Iowa State University’s Hui Hu and Blake Johnson, working away in a tight corner … Continue reading Iowa State Engineers Develop New Tests to Cool Turbine Blades, Improve Engines

Dennis Vigil and Michael Olsen

Iowa State Photobioreactor Research Could Speed Biofuels Development

Photobioreactors, the production systems used to grow algae, seem to operate on a simple concept: place photosynthetic microorganisms in a liquid growth medium and add light. But Dennis Vigil, associate professor of chemical and biological engineering at Iowa State, and his research partner, Michael Olsen, professor of mechanical engineering, know that photobioreactors are much more … Continue reading Iowa State Photobioreactor Research Could Speed Biofuels Development

three-axis dynamometer

Changing the way engineering feels: A project to improve the accessibility of STEM fields for the visually impaired

Open an engineering textbook, and you’re sure to find charts, graphs, and complex equations. Hard enough to decipher, imagine parsing that information if you were blind or visually impaired. Conveying the detailed visual information that goes hand-in-hand with disciplines in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields isn’t necessarily impossible. But, according to Cris … Continue reading Changing the way engineering feels: A project to improve the accessibility of STEM fields for the visually impaired

semi-active damper

Iowa State Professor to Use Car Brake Technology to Protect Building Structures

Dr. Laflamme’s proposed semi-active damping system works much like car brake technology. Civil, construction and environmental engineering Assistant Professor Simon Laflamme will use car brake technology to ensure the structural integrity of buildings. Thanks to a recent $200,691 National Science Foundation (NSF) grant, Laflamme will integrate electronic control systems to reduce building movements due to … Continue reading Iowa State Professor to Use Car Brake Technology to Protect Building Structures

Kaitlin Bratlie

Developing Polymer Drugs for Cancer Treatment

Through research on drug delivery systems, Kaitlin Bratlie, assistant professor of materials science and engineering and chemical and biological engineering at Iowa State, is working on a way to treat cancers that don’t respond well to current treatments. Her project has been underway for just a year and is several years away from clinical trials, … Continue reading Developing Polymer Drugs for Cancer Treatment

MIRAGE

Iowa State’s MIRAGE lab mixes real and virtual to create new research opportunities

Two armed soldiers stand behind a barrier, guarding a checkpoint in the road, watching for trouble.A white truck turns toward them.“See what he wants, guys,” says one of the guards.“Sir, we have a military-aged male jumping out of the truck. He’s going behind that van.” “Is he armed?” “No visuals, sir.” And so goes another … Continue reading Iowa State’s MIRAGE lab mixes real and virtual to create new research opportunities

Simon Laflamme

“Sensing Skin” for Turbines Could Reduce the Cost of Wind Energy

A project that started out as a side experiment to monitor bridge damages has since evolved into a revolutionary, cost-saving solution in the world of wind energy.Simon Laflamme, assistant professor of civil, construction, and environmental engineering at Iowa State, began developing a damage-detecting polymer “skin” as a student at MIT.The skin, which is made into … Continue reading “Sensing Skin” for Turbines Could Reduce the Cost of Wind Energy

Iowa State Engineer looks to Dragonflies, Bats for Flight Lessons

Ever since the Wright brothers, engineers have been working to develop bigger and better flying machines that maximize lift while minimizing drag.There has always been a need to efficiently carry more people and more cargo. And so the science and engineering of getting large aircraft off the ground is very well understood.But what about flight … Continue reading Iowa State Engineer looks to Dragonflies, Bats for Flight Lessons

Grad student, professor advance soil test technology invented by emeritus professor

An Iowa State University geotechnical engineering research duo has automated a soil strength test invented by an Iowa State civil engineering professor emeritus.Jeramy Ashlock, assistant professor and Black & Veatch Building a World of Difference Faculty Fellow, and geotechnical engineering Master’s graduate Ted Bechtum have automated the Borehole Shear Test (BST), an on-site soil strength … Continue reading Grad student, professor advance soil test technology invented by emeritus professor

ECPE Researcher Completes Lab on a Chip Device

Liang Dong recently completed research on a device that can help scientists find more effective ways to protect crops and combat Parkinson’s disease by studying, of all things, worms.Nematodes possess simple nervous systems, but still share important characteristics with the nervous systems of humans. By studying nematode nerves, researchers can learn more about the human nervous … Continue reading ECPE Researcher Completes Lab on a Chip Device

Professor Invents Sewer Pipe Made of Recycled Plastic, Fly Ash

David White, the Richard L. Handy Endowed Associate Professor in geotechnical/materials engineering, has invented a sewer pipe made of recycled plastic soda bottles, plastic fibers and fly ash.“America’s infrastructure currently has about 600,000 miles of sewer pipes, much of which is older than 30 years and in need of repair,” White says. “I feel that … Continue reading Professor Invents Sewer Pipe Made of Recycled Plastic, Fly Ash

Evolving Microbes Help Iowa State Engineers Turn Bio-Oil into Advanced Bio-Fuels

Microbes are working away in an Iowa State University laboratory to ferment biofuels from the sugar and acetate produced by rapidly heating biomass such as corn stalks and sawdust. But it’s not an easy job for E. coli and C. reinhardtii. The bacteria and microalgae, respectively, don’t like something in the bio-oil produced by fast … Continue reading Evolving Microbes Help Iowa State Engineers Turn Bio-Oil into Advanced Bio-Fuels

Iowa State Engineer Discovers Spider Silk Conducts Heat as well as Metals

Xinwei Wang had a hunch that spider webs were worth a much closer look. So he ordered eight spiders – Nephila clavipes, golden silk orbweavers – and put them to work eating crickets and spinning webs in the cages he set up in an Iowa State University greenhouse. Wang, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at Iowa State, studies … Continue reading Iowa State Engineer Discovers Spider Silk Conducts Heat as well as Metals

ISU Professor takes on Threat of Espionage via Hacked Smartphones

It’s not exactly dinner-table conversation, but cyber insecurity is bearing down on everyone from company CEOs to generals at U.S. military bases overseas.Recent incidents, particularly the hacking of government websites by the group Anonymous and the theft of confidential data from online retailers like Zappos, have raised questions about Internet safety. Congress’ recent introduction of … Continue reading ISU Professor takes on Threat of Espionage via Hacked Smartphones

Biochar is an investment in soil

Eric Debner, eric.debner@iowastatedaily.com While no meteorologist or agronomist can accurately predict which years will be “dry years,” scientists and farmers can now take steps to protect themselves against plant dehydration during a drought. Biochar, a substance known for its ability to retain water and enrich soil fertility, is on the mind of researchers at Iowa State. Read more