Research Highlights

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

      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 […]

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

      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 […]

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

      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 […]

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

      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 […]

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

      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 […]

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

      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 […]

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

      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 […]

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

      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 […]

    • Jump-starting battery advancements Steve Martin

      Solid electrolytes are key to making batteries more powerful and safer For more than 30 years, Steve Martin has been studying and characterizing different materials to identify properties that would allow for optimal energy transfer and storage in batteries. He says ceramic-like sulfide glasses may hold the solution, and now he’s working on a project […]

    • FactBoard: Visualizing Data

      Creating a real-time data-driven visual decision support system for the factory floor Guiping Hu has set out to make manufacturing production more efficient. The associate professor of industrial and manufacturing systems engineering is working on a project for the Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDII) to develop a shop floor decision support system called […]

    • Ecosystems of support Joe Zambreno

      Promoting an accessible, responsive approach to engineering education A new initiative in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering will help a pool of talented students pursue a degree in engineering. The project, called ECSEL: Electrical, Computer, and Software Engineers as Leaders, is part of the National Science Foundation’s Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and […]

    • Characterizing antimicrobial resistance

      Interdisciplinary team uses systems approach to sequence microbial genes Historically, treatments for disease-causing microorganisms have relied heavily on the use of antimicrobial drugs. Adina Howe says this very practice (both when it’s used properly and when it’s misused), along with naturally occurring phenomena, has accelerated how quickly microorganisms are evolving into resistant strains. “If we […]

    • Safer, more sustainable aviation Des Moines International Airport pavement testing area

      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 […]

    • Increasing electric steel performance Jun Cui

      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 […]

    • Self-destructing batteries transient battery

      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) […]

    • The road to biorenewable asphalt a new $5. 3 million Bio-Polymer Processing Facility located at Iowa State’s BioCentury Research Farm

      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 […]

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

      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. […]

    • Making progress toward invisibility cloaks Liang Dong

      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 […]

    • Nanostructures and Lego® Bricks 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

      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 […]

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

      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. […]