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Western Michigan University - 2017

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Research Description

Research Description By Graduate Engineering Department

Chemical and Paper Engineering

Major research activities are devoted to paper, inks, and biochemical engineering. Work is being conducted in the following research areas: barrier coating, printed electronics, 3-D printing, biosensors, nanoparticle synthesis, nanostructures, nanocoatings, crystal growth, pharmaceutical formulations, powder flow, drug release and development, tablet manufacturing and characterization, electrostatics and the subsequent characterization of the value-added engineered products for the applications in pharmaceutical industries, lipid chemistry to solving biological problems and studying lipids involved in medicine, development and delivery of novel therapeutics for treatment of atherosclerosis.

Civil and Construction Engineering

The Department of Civil and Construction Engineering has three focus areas at the graduate level: Construction, Structures, and Transportation. The faculty research is focused on the development, management and operation of national infrastructure. Research topics include construction project management, simulation of the construction environment, cyber-physical systems, infrastructure condition assessment and repair, structural systems for rapid bridge construction and deconstruction, earthquake engineering, highway congestion modeling and remediation, highway mobility by utilizing communication and software technology towards an intelligent highway system.

Computer Science

Research in Computer Science includes distributed computing, with load balancing and distributed data structures, software engineering, databases, and hardware/software verification. Theoretical mathematical topics such as Quasi-Monte Carlo techniques and extrapolation are also included. Methods of information visualization and user-friendly software interfaces are being developed. Research in designing, developing and implementing smart wireless sensor network systems for various pharmaceutical, military, environmental, and commercial applications is also underway. This research revolves around networking issues (in-network processing, communications, and data management) to form a sensor network consisting of tens to thousands of smart sensor chips. Operational research and artificial intelligence techniques are utilized to build highly scalable, secure, and resilient networked applications and infrastructure. Applications of this work include: location-aware services, context-aware services, Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) and Vehicular networks, intelligent network and service management and planning of large-scale disaster recovery networks, war-area networks, and health-care intelligent services.

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Research is being pursued in intelligent sensor systems, micro and nano-electromechanical systems, digital image processing, pattern recognition, nonlinear circuits and systems, embedded and reconfigurable digital systems, intelligent systems using fuzzy logic, wireless technology including RFID, printed electronics, artificial and biological neural networks, power electronics, semiconductor materials and devices, electromagnetic compatibility, transformer design and characterization, multicore computer architecture and scheduling algorithms, and solution of big data problems.

Engineering Design, Manufacturing, and Management Systems

Facilities for plastics processing research are extensive, with the emphasis on improvements to manufacturing methods and on alternative mold materials. Cast metals research encompasses the relationship between process enhancement and product quality. The Center for Integrated Design focuses on the fusion of design elements from computer aided design (CAD) and computer aided engineering (CAE) through virtual reality (VR) and rapid prototyping. Examples include the dynamic modeling of flexible components such as hoses on moving assemblies.

Industrial and Entrepreneurial Engineering and Engineering Management

The graduate level research in the department is contained within 3 entities. The Human Performance Institute is an interdisciplinary center devoted to applied research, training, and outreach in the areas of occupational ergonomics, human factors, work design, and safety. The Institute specializes in product & safety system evaluation and design, healthcare modeling, and seating. The health systems decision support lab provides engineering solutions that improve the operations of public and individual health systems. Services include applied operations research and data analytics. The Engineering Management Research Laboratory performs and supports research on engineering management topics. Typical research includes investigation of the design and measurement of organizational variables such as culture, quality, and resilience. A Manufacturing Research Center conducts research in all areas of manufacturing, including cooperative research with industry, as well as other basic and applied projects in areas such as manufacturing processes, machining, precision engineering, metrology, and environmentally friendly and green manufacturing. Special expertise exists in machining of hard, brittle materials, such as semiconductors and ceramics.

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Work is being conducted in both mechanical and thermal systems. A mechanical testing facility is well equipped for determining mechanical properties of materials under both static and cyclic (fatigue) loading conditions. A thermal systems laboratory is used to conduct research on convective and boiling heat transfer. A Noise and Vibrations Laboratory, with both an anechoic and a reverberation chamber, is used for research to reduce noise levels associated with consumer products. Current research in the Fluid Mechanics Laboratory uses non-intrusive techniques such as Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV), Laser Doppler Velocimetry (LDV) and Planar Laser Induced Fluorescence (PLIF) techniques to measure flow velocities and concentration. Experimental plasmadynamics research is conducted in the Aerospace Laboratory for Plasma Experiments. Alternative fuel and fuel cell research is another area of interest. Internal combustion research is conducted in the Combustion and Flow Research Laboratory. Design, fabrication and testing of micro actuators, micro sensors, and other small devices are performed in Micro and Nano Technology laboratory. Mechanics of structural composites are investigated in the Advanced Composite Structures Laboratory. Smart material research and nano-crystalline ceramic research are among other activities of the department.

Research Description By Engineering Research Center

Center of Excellence in Engineering Education

The mission of the Center of Excellence in Engineering Education is to identify, develop, and apply effective learning methodologies for engineering education; identify, develop, and apply assessment tools to measure the effectiveness of engineering learning; conduct research in engineering education and engineering practice in collaboration with other educational institutions, community resources, industrial partners, and funding agencies; and to develop test sites which incorporate engineering education improvements, and disseminate effective teaching materials and practices developed through the ongoing work of the Center.

Ctr for Advanced Vehicle Design and Simulation

The Center for Advanced Vehicle Design and Simulation (CAViDS) in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences is active in conducting applied research in ground vehicle engineering. We focus on dual-use technologies that can meet the needs of both the industry and the military. As a WMU Board-approved center of excellence, we research advanced analysis and simulation tools for vehicle system and components that will impact the competitiveness of our industry partners and the reliability of military vehicles.

Manufacturing Research Center

The Manufacturing Research Center (MRC) supports manufacturing industries by providing opportunities for collaboration with faculty and students, and by serving as a resource and partner to our constituents. The MRC is a multidisciplinary operation within the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences (CEAS). The MRC emphasizes applied research in engineering and the manufacturing sciences. The MRC supports the following areas: manufacturing processes, material utilization, product and process development, quality initiatives, productivity and cost reduction programs, technology competitiveness, waste reduction, pollution avoidance, and energy conservation. The center has initiated a "green manufacturing" research program to specifically address the needs of industry to pursue environmental and energy conscious product design and manufacturing.