Research Highlights

    • 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. […]

    • Left to right: Boyce Chang, Martin Thuo, Michael Bartlett and Ravi Tutika. Smart material gets stronger when stressed

      Cyclone Engineers have developed a new smart and responsive material that stiffens up like a worked-out muscle. Stress a muscle and it gets stronger. Mechanically stress the rubbery material – say with a twist or a bend – and the material automatically stiffens by up to 300 percent, the engineers said. In lab tests, mechanical […]

    • 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 […]

    • 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 […]

    • Cassandra Rutherford NSF CAREER PROJECT IN PROGRESS

      Stronger, cheaper, greener foundations for offshore renewable energy generation “A challenge of foundation research is that you can’t see through soil, so you often can’t see exactly what’s happening in an experiment. We used a transparent soil – a gelatin that acts like soft clay – to make observations not possible any other way.” – […]

    • 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 […]

    • 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. […]

    • Mapping paths to productive plants

      A computer network and a plant don’t seem to have much in common at first glance. But when Julie Dickerson looks, she sees many similarities – and sees how her expertise in computing network science can help unravel complex biological systems. “Mapping networks of how genes influence plant growth and development is key to increasing […]

    • Timothy Bigelow, associate professor of mechanical engineering and electrical and computer engineering Noninvasive treatment of medical implant infections

      Timothy Bigelow, an associate professor of mechanical engineering and electrical and computer engineering, is using high-intensity ultrasounds as a noninvasive way to treat infections that can grow on medical implants. “Medical implant infections are uncommon, but when they do occur you have to have a second operation to remove the implant and replace it,” Bigelow […]

    • Rozier standing with a NASA robot Safety systems for autonomous flight

      Looking to the sky of the future, Kristin Yvonne Rozier sees Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) criss-crossing the horizon – and many new challenges for UAS safety and air traffic control. Rozier, an assistant professor of aerospace engineering, is developing new tools to help pilot-less aircraft safely fly themselves. “Our goal is to create on-board systems […]

    • treating printed graphene with lasers to create electronic circuits that repel water Flexible, water-repellent graphene circuits for washable electronics

      Cyclone Engineer Jonathan Claussen is creating new graphene printing technology and using it to produce low-cost, flexible, highly conductive and water-repellant electronic circuits. “We’re taking low-cost, inkjet-printed graphene and tuning it with a laser to make functional materials,” said Claussen, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering and an associate scientist at the U.S. Department of […]

    • 2018 NSF CAREER Award Winners

      Seven Iowa State University College of Engineering faculty have been selected for 2018 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 support aims to build a firm foundation for leadership in integrating research and education. […]

    • nanostructure sensor surface At-Home Disease Testing: Designing Microfabricated-Paper Sensors For Biomarker Detection

      Imagine testing for cancers, hepatitis and tuberculosis as quickly, easily and inexpensively as today’s home pregnancy tests and blood glucose monitoring strips. Cyclone engineer Meng Lu is using the power of microfabrication to create state-of-the-art, on-demand diagnostic technology. Lu, an assistant professor in both electrical and computer engineering and mechanical engineering, says the key to […]

    • Benjamin Ahn Educating Today’s Engineers: Examining How, Why and When New Technology Tools Improve Engineering Education

      Benjamin Ahn’s research goal is to identify the best educational approaches for educating new generations of engineers, using technology tools available today. “The next generation of engineers will face new challenges, and we have new technology tools to help educate and prepare students,” says Ahn, assistant professor of aerospace engineering. “But technology is only as […]

    • James Mccauley Modern Grid: Linking U.S. Electrical Systems to Move Renewable Energy and Increase Reliability

      James McCalley is working with researchers from across the nation to find ways to tie the United States’ largest – but separate – electricity grids together. In a study that is part of a U.S. Department of Energy $220 million Grid Modernization Initiative, McCalley and his Iowa State University researchteam are building computer models simulating 15 […]

    • Jeramy Ashlock Firm Foundations: Refining Pile Design Models For Earthquake-Resistant Buildings

      Many researchers say they want to shake up their fields of study. Iowa State engineer Jeramy Ashlock means it. Ashlock, the Richard L. Handy Professor of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering, studies how building and bridge foundations interact with soil during earthquakes and structural vibrations. In research funded by an National Science Foundation CAREER award, Ashlock and his […]

    • Matt Helmers with farmers in field Middle Ground: Examining Farm Field Drainage to Develop Balanced Agricultural Practices

      Matt Helmers’ mission is to put the “middle ground” in managing agricultural land. Crops need enough but not too much water in the soil. Agricultural producers seek to get just the right amount of nutrients to plants, without the excess traveling elsewhere. “The overall goal of my research in water quality and drainage flow is […]

    • Realtime Analytics for Transportation Lab Data Driven: Smart Systems For Traffic Management

      Cyclone engineers are using big data to make big improvements to road safety and traffic management. Anuj Sharma, associate professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering, and a team of researchers are using continuous traffic data streams – video, traffic volume, speed, backups, weather and more – to build automated, real-time traffic management tools. With support […]

    • Zengyi Shao and Jean-Philippe Tessonnier New Nylon, New Possibilities

      Cyclone engineers Zengyi Shao and Jean-Philippe Tessonnier created a new type of biobased nylon that outperforms nylon created from petroleum chemicals. Shao and Tessonnier, both assistant professors of chemical and biological engineering, combined their expertise in biocatalysis and chemical catalysis to design a hybrid biomass-to-nylon process that integrates fermentation and downstream upgrading. This hybrid process […]

    • iron-nickel phosphide nanoparticle Bubbling With Renewable Fuel: Nanoscale Catalyst Splits Hydrogen From Water Quickly and Efficiently

      At the macroscale, rust is a common, everyday material. But at the nanoscale, it might hold the promise of sustainable clean energy. Shan Hu, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering, is developing new catalysts made of rust nanostructures that convert light into fuel faster and cheaper than other leading catalysts. “Rust, or iron oxide, is […]