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Texas Tech University - 2016

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Research Description

Research Description By Graduate Engineering Department

Chemical Engineering

Chemical Engineering has a nationally ranked research program with award-winning faculty and students. Research in the department is focused in four research areas: Bioengineering, Energy and Sustainability, Polymers and Materials, and Modeling and Simulation. Faculty members in the area of bioengineering, have expertise and projects in a variety of areas, including vaccine design, drug delivery, nanomedicine, cellular signal transduction especially in the context of cardiovascular diseases, tissue engineering, cancer research, biofluid mechanics, high throughput screening, and biofuels. In the area of energy and sustainability, projects range from solar cell development and enhanced oil recovery to heterogeneous catalysis for energy applications. Polymers and materials science research in the department spans the breadth of the field, with projects ranging from chemistry to physics to engineering, including work in the area of colloids, glasses, ionic liquids, nanocomposites, rheology, and energetic materials. Modeling and simulation in the department also spans a broad range of topics from molecular dynamics simulation of nanocomposites and biofuels to molecular thermodynamics models. Research funding in the department comes from a diverse range of sources, including the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, Department of Defense, Department of Energy, and a range of private and industrial sources.

Civil, Environmental, and Construction Engineering

The Department of Civil, Environmental, and Construction Engineering (CECE) conducts research to meet the needs of society. The Maddox Engineering Research Center, a $30 Million dollar investment by the Whitacre College of Engineering (WCOE), is nearing completion and will house the Donovan Maddox Distinguished Chair (held by a CECE faculty) and four other CECE faculty who expertise is in environmental engineering. The research of these faculty will occupy over 30% of the new facilities. Other faculty members hold leadership roles and participate in research centers and institutes that carry out other research missions. Although generally multidisciplinary in nature, these centers concentrate areas of research expertise: the Texas Tech Center for Multidisciplinary Research in Transportation (TechMRT) coordinates all transportation related research in CECE as well as for other departments in Texas Tech University; the Water Resources Center (WRC) serves as the administrative division under which water and environmental engineering research is conducted including the fate of micro-contaminants in the environment, membrane processes for the desalinization of water, management of contaminated sediments, and nanomaterials for hazardous waste remediation. The TechMRT and WRC are housed within CECE and have faculty associates across the Whitacre College of Engineering. Research within each center has funding from several sources including the federal government, state government, and industry. Faculty members who are also affiliated with the National Wind Institute which conducts research on wind turbine and plant optimization, bluff body aerodynamics, wind-induced structural response, wind damage prediction, and improving structural design of built structures to mitigate damage and improve structural and community resiliency from high wind events such tornadoes and hurricanes.

Computer Science

Research areas of current computer science faculty include data-intensive, distributed and parallel computing, computer networks, cyber and network security, information security and retrieval, biometrics, wireless and sensor networks, artificial intelligence, pattern recognition, knowledge representation and declarative programming, data science and analytics, machine learning, green computing and networking, simulation, embedded and mobile systems, reliability and performance modeling, and software engineering including software testing, program analysis, self-managed software, and secure software engineering. The department houses the Center for Science and Engineering of Cyber Security, Knowledge Representation Lab, Data-intensive Scalable Computing Lab, Advanced Empirical Software Testing and Analysis research Lab, and TTU Wireless Mobile Network Lab. With current faculty search, the department expects to grow research expertise in Big data analytics and Big data visualization in the near future.

Electrical and Computer Engineering

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) hosts a number of large research centers and labs. The research ranges from pulsed power to solid state device research. Most of the PhD students are supported by outside grants for carrying out the research. The PhD students are complemented by post docs and undergraduate assistants. ECE hosts eight Centers and Labs: The Center for Nanophotonics conducts research and development on manipulation of photons-electrons in nano-scale materials for innovative photonic devices and emerging technologies. The Center’s research areas cover a broad spectrum, ranging from basic to applied, and dealing with state-of-the-art nano-scale material synthesis, fundamental physics, device fabrication and testing. The Center for Pulsed Power and Power Electronics performs research work on generating very short and high voltage and current pulses. The Nano Tech Center works on very small devices including MEMS and optical devices. The RF System-on-a-Chip Laboratory performs research into advanced efficient RF amplifiers for cellular phones. The Applied Vision Laboratory uses pattern recognition to exam properties and defects in all types of materials. The Computer Vision & Image Analysis Laboratory conducts research in applications of signal and image processing. The Neuro-Imaging, Cognition and Engineering Laboratory develop models of perception, memory, neurological diseases and language as they relate to the underlying structure and neural circuitry of the human brain. A rapidly expanding world class research facility with assets related to renewable power systems valued at over $20 Million at Reese Technology Center (10 miles west of Texas Tech University campus) has recently been established. It hosts the newly established GLEAMM (Global Laboratory for Energy Asset Management and Manufacturing) initiative. This work is coordinated by the National Wind Institute.


The Master of Science in Bioengineering program offers interdisciplinary education to engineers and scientists to apply engineering approaches on medicine and biological research questions. For developing careers in biomedical industry, the degree offers research opportunities in five core bioengineering fields, namely Biomechanics, Bioinstrumentation, Biomaterials, Bio-imaging, and Bio-computation. The Master of Engineering (MEng) degree program is an interdisciplinary, non-thesis program, offered on the campus of Texas Tech University and by distance. Due to its interdisciplinary nature, this program does not require specific major and minor subjects. However, the program does allow up to six hours of course work to be taken outside of engineering, upon the approval of the graduate advisor. The MEng degree program has three options: Standard, Healthcare Engineering, and Doctor of Jurisprudence (JD) & MEng program. The MEng degree standard option is designed for students to pursue an interdisciplinary study through taking engineering courses from any of the college's disciplines. Healthcare Engineering option is designed to meet the growing demand for engineers trained to apply the principles of engineering, health sciences, and business administration to effectively manage the physical, technological, and supports services of healthcare facilities in order to optimize the safety, quality, efficiency, accessibility, and cost effectiveness of healthcare delivery processes and healthcare systems. The JD and MEng program is designed for individuals interested in the areas of intellectual property (particularly patents), and law and Engineering.

Industrial, Manufacturing, and Systems Engineering

The Industrial Engineering Department supported research activities in a wide variety of areas. Ergonomics projects were in slips and falls, physiological and biomechanical modeling of manual materials handling activities, vibro-tactile feedback of wearable devices, pilot and driver eye-tracking and modeling. The Southwestern Bell Foundation CAD/CAM Laboratory was used to conduct research concerning the disassembly of PC recycling, object oriented integrated process planning and production scheduling, and tolerance control in process planning. Other research efforts examined anti-ice flat panel hail testing, aviation access control security systems, system capacity planning and production scheduling, economic feasibility of manufacturing fuel pellets from cotton by-products, and development of test methodology for systemic exploration of immature fiber content in Texas Cotton. With support of NSF, university, and department, manufacturing research grows very fast. The research activities in manufacturing areas include ultrasonic machining of composites (supported by NSF), laser additive manufacturing of metal and ceramics materials, bio 3D printing, hard materials remanufacturing. Research activates in the advanced manufacturing also include sustainable manufacturing, life-cycle assessment, laser additive remanufacturing. Research in healthcare includes modeling and control of cordioelectro physiology and fabrication of cellular structures mimicking blood vessel anatomy.

Mechanical Engineering

Research in the Department of Mechanical Engineering is highly interdisciplinary and addresses emerging issues in the following interrelated research topic groups: (a) Bioengineering and Healthcare Engineering, Biomechanics, Single Cell Mechanics and Disease, Bio-Inspired Systems and Devices, Biosensors; (b) Computational Mechanics, Multibody Elastodynamics, Modeling of Mechanically Active Biological Tissues, and Heart-Valve Tissue Mechanics; (c) Low Reynolds Number Hydrodynamics, Surface Rheology, Rheology of Microstructured Materials, and Theoretical and Numerical Descriptions of Soft Condensed Matter; (d) Vortex Dynamics, Turbulence, CFD and Measurement Techniques, Modeling and Experimental studies of Wind Turbine Arrays, and Physical Simulation of Tornado-Like Vortices; (e) Control and Fabrication of Microsystems, Coordinated Control and Swarm Optimization, and control of Unmanned Autonomous Systems; (f) Materials Sciences, including Luminescent Nano-Materials, Nanostructured Materials, Contact Mechanics at Micro and Nanoscale, Diamond Anvil Cell High-Pressure Techniques, and Nanopatterning of Metallic Glasses; (g) Energetic Materials, Heat Transfer and Combustion; and (h) Engineering Design, Wind Energy Technology and Innovation, Transdisciplinary Design, Radiation Safety and Control, and Component Failure Analysis.

Petroleum Engineering

The Bob L. Herd Department of Petroleum Engineering is housed in a state of the art research and instructional building on the main campus at TTU. The 40,000+ square feet sole use new building, has a large research lab dedicated to unconventional reservoirs and characterization of rocks that make up those reservoirs. Issues such as fluid flow at periphery of the Darcy equation, well placement and spacing and reservoir heterogeneity indicators are studied. The Fracturing and Production lab evaluates hydraulic fracturing technology, such as fracturing shale formations, wellbore/cement integrity and production operations of all types. Other labs for PVT, petrophysics and enhanced oil recovery (EOR) studies are also contained in the new building. Current focus is to develop an EOR database. We are making an effort to establish a consortium to enhance shale oil and gas development. In addition we are in the process of building a facility around the deep, large diameter test well located on our East Campus which is roughly 10 miles from the main campus. Large scale research such as artificial lift, flow assurance, cementing and field facilities control and optimization will be implemented at the East Campus. With our legacy of production optimization, the department sponsors the annual Southwestern Petroleum Short Course in which industry schools are developed and presented and the technical program presents papers on various Petroleum technical subjects which are then cataloged in annual proceedings.

Research Description By Engineering Research Center

Center for Multi-Disciplinary Research in Transportation

The Texas Tech Center for Multidisciplinary Research in Transportation (TechMRT) is a multi-disciplinary research center with participants from Chemical Engineering, Civil, Environmental and Construction Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Industrial Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Psychology, Rawls College of Business, and the United States Geological Survey. The majority of support for TechMRT comes from research and implementation projects through various offices within Texas Department of Transportation, with other research sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration, The National Cooperative Highway Research Program, and private industry. Current research topics include use of chemicals to remove snow and ice from roadways, the impact of deicing salts on corrosion of MSE reinforcement, fatigue resistance of high-mast illumination poles with pre-existing cracks, new rainfall coefficients, deteriorated bridge piles, web-based routing assistance tools to reduce pavement damage from oversize vehicles, asphalt binder rheological characterization for extreme climate events, and STEM teacher professional development and student outreach. The TechMRT laboratories include: High Performance Concrete Laboratory, Bituminous/Superpave Laboratory, Aggregate Research Laboratory; Boundary Layer Wind Tunnel; Mechanically Stabilized Earth (MSE) Test Box, Materials Characterization Center; Geographic Information Systems Research Laboratory; Trans Tech Traffic Engineering Laboratory; Water Research Center/USGS Research Laboratory, Earl Survey Research Laboratory.

Center for Nanophotonics

The Center for Nanophotonics conducts R&D on manipulation of photons-electrons in nano-scale materials for innovative photonic devices and emerging technologies. In particular, the Center’s research is dedicated to the advancement of nitride semiconductor technologies (BN, GaN, AlN, AlGaN, InGaN, InAlGaN, BNC) and to explore their applications for more efficient light sources and detectors active from deep ultraviolet to infrared, energy generation devices, radiation detectors for nuclear materials sensing, next generation compact high power and high energy lasers, and optical communications. The Center’s principal investigators have carried out crucial work for the understanding of the band structures, properties of fundamental optical transitions, carrier dynamics, and the roles of native defects in III-nitride semiconductors and pioneered the development of II-nitride based micro-LEDs, photonic crystal LEDs, single-chip AC-LEDs, and self-emissive micro-LED microdisplays. More recently, the researchers in the Center have pioneered the development of epitaxial growth of wafer scale single crystal hexagonal boron nitride, which is considered amongst the remaining frontiers in electronic materials. The Center is equipped with a vertically integrated R&D infrastructure for the growth of large crystalline materials (epitaxial films and bulk crystals), facilities for probing fundamental optical and electrical transport properties, micro- and nano-scale device processing and prototype device packaging.

Center for Pulsed Power and Power Electronics

The Center for Pulsed Power and Power Electronics (P3E) is a multi-disciplinary research center with participants from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, the Department of Mechanical Engineering, and the Department of Physics. While most of the research funding for P3E comes from the Department of Defense, Department of Energy, and industry, the research focus is basic in nature. The center's current research topics include: photoconductive solid state switching at 50,000 V levels, high voltage breakdown physics and breakdown formation, high power radio frequency generation for directed energy, explosive power generation, megawatt power electronics, and treatment of agricultural products with pulsed electric fields. The P3E laboratory currently occupies over 18000 square feet of laboratory space and has a full complement of supporting equipment including diverse high voltage and high power microwave sources (dc and pulsed), fast oscilloscopes and digitizers, advanced electromagnetic field solvers and circuit analysis codes, high speed cameras (picosecond to nanosecond temporal resolution), optical to vacuum ultraviolet emission spectrometers, and numerous vacuum systems ranging from a few up to 1000 cubic feet in enclosed vacuum space. The P3E has a new computerized numerical control machine shop for prototype manufacturing.

Center for the Science and Engineering of Cyber Security

The objective of the center is to study principles of Cyber Security, how to measure, assess, and enforce security in legacy systems, and how to build new systems that are secured. The science of Cyber Security is addressed by exploiting formal techniques that are theoretically grounded to express, model, and reason about security accurately. The engineering of cyber security utilizes empirical techniques that aim to create holistic and systematic approaches to development of automated tools for cyber security system analysis. The center also examines cyber security issues facing the general public, such as security in business enterprises, health care, and national infrastructures. To achieve its objective, the center focuses on research in theoretical underpinning of Cyber Security concepts, safe and secure software development, threat modeling, under certain reasoning about security, network security, vulnerability analysis, security policy verification, and access and identity management.

Nano Tech Center

The Nano Tech Center is an interdisciplinary center committed to carrying out state-of the-art research and education in key areas of nanotechnology with civilian, defense, and homeland security applications. High-impact research topics include: Nano-surface engineering and two- and three-dimensional nano-engineered active region for improving light emission and detection efficiency of III-nitride based deep ultra-violet (DUV) semiconductor light emitting diodes (LEDs). DUV LEDs can be used for water sterilization, communication, and biosensing. Research is also conducted on plasmonic devices for light generation, guiding, detection, and imaging in the nanoscale. These ultracompact, light-weight, low-power consumption and high efficient devices can be used in communications, imaging, and chemical and biological sensing. Research is also conducted on functional oxides and meta-materials for near-infrared, thermal, and terahertz (THz) imaging, sensing and signal processing. THz radiation has important applications in homeland security, chemistry, and medicine. There is also current research on nanostructured or thin-film dye-sensitized highly efficient solar cells. Dye-sensitized solar cells can be processed using the solution deposition technique in a large scale. This is a promising cost-effective alternative to silicon and other semiconductor solar-cell based technologies. Last but not least, research is conducted on oxide/graphene nanomaterials for rapid electrochemical energy storage to develop super-capacitors and fast rechargeable batteries, and on thermal conductivity analysis of nanowires for electronic and energy conversion applications.

National Wind Institute

The National Wind Institute (NWI) was established in December 2012, and is intended to serve as Texas Tech University's intellectual hub for interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research, commercialization and education related to wind science, wind energy, wind engineering and wind hazard mitigation and serves faculty affiliates, students and external partners. The vision of the NWI is to stimulate discovery and innovation, provide and implement solutions to wind-related problems, establish multidimensional partnerships, and educate the next generation of wind workforce and researchers. Based on more than 40 years of research, the NWI (formerly the Wind Science and Engineering Research Center) represents the nation's leading wind-focused research and education enterprise. In 2007, with support from the National Science Foundation, the first interdisciplinary PhD program dedicated to wind science and engineering was approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. NWI organizes and administers Texas Tech University’s large wind research portfolio and serves as the contact point for major project sponsors and external partners. It manages and operates several research facilities as well as a 67-acre research field site to support atmospheric, engineering and other disciplines.

Smart Grid Energy Center

The integration of distributed renewable energy sources and cyber security with smart grid is truly an interdisciplinary effort for the research and training of graduate students. The transformative and integrative nature of the proposed research activities are described below. The smart grid can be considered as a transactive agent that will enable the integration of power distribution, communication, control and information infrastructure for the development more reliable, secure, efficient, and economic energy distribution systems. The topics researched in the center are: dynamic modeling of generation networks with distributed energy sources; wide area damping strategies; dynamic safety/ reliability of smart grid using vector dissipative theory; control of doubly fed induction generators; cyber security and resiliency; power electronics; small signal stability of interconnected power systems; and frequency response of grid integrated with wind generation resources.

Water Resources Center

The mission of the Water Resources Center is to encourage, conduct, and coordinate water resources research and related activities on the Texas Tech University campus. Additionally, the center aims to be a globally recognized leader in the broad area of water resources sustainability using the Southern High Plains region as a test-bed for other similar semi-arid systems. Ongoing projects at the center are diverse and tackle cutting-edge research problems ranging from remediating contaminated sediments and water, brackish groundwater development, wastewater reuse in both terrestrial and space systems as well as food-energy-water nexus issues. The center works closely with other entities on campus and has well-established international collaborations in Brazil, China, and India.