Faculty Notes

Breakthrough Research Published in Science

ma1In a recent Science journal article entitled “Strong, Light, Multifunctional Fibers of Carbon Nanotubes with Ultrahigh Conductivity,” Professor Anson Ma and colleagues from Rice University detail their recent breakthrough revolutionizing the use of carbon nanotubes. Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are rolled cylinders of graphene sheets that have unprecedented mechanical, electrical, and thermal properties. In the past, many of the potential real-world applications of CNTs remained unfulfilled because researchers experienced great difficulties dispersing and processing CNTs into macroscopic objects while maintaining their fascinating properties. To address this problem, Dr. Ma and colleagues from Rice developed a scalable fluid-based process for spinning CNTs into lightweight and multifunctional fibers. These fibers combine the mechanical strength of carbon fibers with the specific electrical conductivity of metals, opening up the exciting possibility of using CNTs in aerospace, field-emission, and power-transmission applications. The article can be accessed at: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/339/6116/182

Dr. Ma, who earned his Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge in the UK, joined UConn in August 2011 as an Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering with a dual appointment in the Institute of Materials Science Polymer Program.  He recently received the Distinguished Young Rheologist Award from TA Instruments, which recognizes young faculty members who show exceptional promise in the field of rheology. Prior to that, he received the National Science Foundation Early Concept Grant for Exploration Research (EAGER) award, which focuses on investigating the use of nanoparticles in the delivery of cancer drugs.  –  By Heike Brueckner

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Four Faculty Receive Large Faculty Grants

Drs. Daniel Burkey, Mohammad Maifi Khan, Nejat Olgac and Zhuyin Ren were among 24 faculty to receive over $19,000 each in 2012 Faculty Large Grants from the University of Connecticut Research Foundation.  The grant program was established to help faculty better position themselves to apply for, and receive, extramural funding in support of their research and scholarly activities. The competitive grants will fund activities in diverse engineering areas:

  • Dr. Daniel Burkey (Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering) will apply his grant to the development of a pilot-scale osmotic heat engine for the department’s senior laboratory.
  • Dr. Mohammad Khan (Computer Science & Engineering) will apply his grant toward work aimed at leveraging the digital cloud for real-time integration and analysis of sensor data for clinical and research applications.
  • Dr. Nejat Olgac (Mechanical Engineering) will use his grant-monies for the prediction of thermo-acoustic instability (TAI) in combustion in a paradigm shift.
  • Dr. Zhuyin Ren (Mechanical Engineering) will apply his grant monies toward large eddy simulation of turbulent combustion with detailed chemistry.

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Dr. Langston Pens Guest Columns

academy-langston1Dr. Lee S. Langston, professor emeritus of Mechanical Engineering, recently published columns in Global Gas Turbine News and ASME’s Mechanical Engineering on the topics of bird strikes and Pratt & Whitney’s revolutionary new geared turbofan. Before joining academia, Dr. Langston worked at Pratt & Whitney Aircraft in East Hartford, CT conducting research and development on jet engine gas turbines, fuel cells, and heat pipes. His research involves experimental and analytical studies of fluid flows and heat transfer, both in general and with specific application to turbomachines. Much of his research has been concentrated in the area of turbine endwall aerodynamics. He has served as Associate Editor of the ASME Journal of Turbomachinery and Editor in Chief for the ASME Journal of Engineering for Gas Turbines and Power. He continues to write extensively on the gas turbine industry.

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