Multidisciplinary

Team Airband, an interdisciplinary all-women team, received the top prize of $20,000 in the Colorado School of Mines Mining Innovation Challenge sponsored by Newmont Mining.

The team’s invention is a wearable air-quality monitor that utilizes special sensors to detect the levels and presence of hazardous air pollutants. The team included students Michelle Pedrezas, Arjumand Alvi, Micaela Pedrezas and Daniela Machnik, and was led by EPICS mentor Leslie Light.

Teams Recon and Low-Cation also won awards and received $5,000 each. Team Recon was recognized for being the most market ready and Low-Cation for being the most innovative.

Ten student teams have been working on prototypes and pitches since the Jan. 20 Innovation Challenge kickoff. On April 20, the finalists presented their 10-minute pitches to an evaluation panel who ranked them on five criteria: presentation, prototype, innovation, marketability/business viability and impact/value.

Judges included College of Earth Resource Sciences and Engineering Dean Ramona Graves, Mining Engineering Department Head Priscilla Nelson, Director of Technology Transfer Will Vaughan, Newmont Group Executive and Global Exploration Solutions Perry Eaton, and Traxion co-founder Chris Cone.

To learn more about the three winning projects, visit the Midea hub.

See more photos from the April 20 Innovation Celebration.

 

Contact:
Kathleen Morton, Digital Media and Communications Manager, Colorado School of Mines | 303-273-3088 | kmorton@mines.edu
Karen Gilbert, Director of Public Relations, Colorado School of Mines | 303-273-3541 | kgilbert@mines.edu

 

The ConocoPhillips Center for a Sustainable WE2ST hosted a Research Symposium for WE2ST, the Department of Civil and Environment Engineering (CEE), and Hydrologic Science and Engineering (HSE) students on April 14. Posters from 20 WE2ST undergraduate scholars and graduate fellows were presented and judged. An additional 18 posters were presented by the CEE and HSE programs, although they were not part of the competition.

First and second place for the best poster by a WE2ST Graduate Fellow were awarded to Ella Walker and Chris Ruybal, respectively. Best Poster by a WE2ST Undergraduate Scholar went Kate Newhart, and second place to Kaylie Haynes. The faculty award for most student presenters outside of WE2ST went to CEE Professor Timm Strathmann.

Attendees also voted for the overall favorite poster at the Symposium, and this award went to Skylar Zilliox.

Finally, the Symposium showcased the winning water project from 6th graders at Shelton Elementary. The four elementary school students presented posters and a model to show off their water-saving shower design.

The symposium connected more than 75 distinguished guests from industry, academia, and the community. Mines students, faculty, and staff enjoyed an evening full of networking and conversations while reviewing student research in the overlapping fields of hydrology, environmental and civil engineering.

 

The ConocoPhillips Center for a Sustainable WE2ST welcomes you to learn more about their program and get involved by visiting their website.

 

 

Contact:
Deirdre Keating, Information Specialist, College of Engineering and Computational Sciences | 303-384-2358 | dkeating@mines.edu

Karen Gilbert, Director of Public Relations, Colorado School of Mines | 303-273-3541 | kgilbert@mines.edu

GOLDEN, Colo., March 25, 2016 – Colorado School of Mines won first place in the University of Denver’s Analytics Challenge earlier this month. Sponsored by Daniels College of Business, the competition centered on finding insights from two large data sets about Denver crime over the previous five years.

GOLDEN, Colo., Feb. 12, 2016 – More than 90 researchers from the Critical Materials Institute (CMI) gathered at Colorado School of Mines (Mines) for the CMI Winter Meeting Feb. 3-4. Attendees came from the Ames, Idaho, Lawrence Livermore and Oak Ridge national laboratories, as well as the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Iowa State University, Purdue, University of California – Davis, University of Tennessee, Yale and Mines.   

Microbes, pasta, oil and water were the recipe for first place in this fall’s CECS Senior Design Trade Fair by Team OG Effluent Solutions, who built an active filtration system using microbes to treat hydraulic fracking wastewater.

The trade fair is a creative, multidisciplinary design experience emerging from combined efforts in civil, electrical, mechanical, and environmental specialties in engineering and part of the College of Engineering & Computational Sciences.

The winning team consists of four environmental engineering seniors: Eric Hake, Mengyuan Yu, Katie Schumacher and Stephen Bryers; and two civil engineering seniors: Joseph Verissimo and Jacob Draper. The team cited their client, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering PhD candidate Stephanie Riley, as one of the key motivators in their year-long research project.

“As an undergraduate, often you build something for a research project, and then it ends up just sitting on a shelf – or worse,” explained Jake Draper. “In our case, we were incorporating our work into an existing project that grad students would be using for years to come. So we were motivated to build a high quality system that would continue to function long after we’ve graduated.”

The team’s mission, to develop and test a pilot scale biologically active filtration (BAF) system, stemmed from nanofiltration research taking place at Mines’ Advanced Water Technology Center (AQWATEC).

“More than two billion gallons of fracking wastewater are produced every day in America,” said Katie Schumacher. “Right now the primary disposal method is deep well injection, which isn’t sustainable in the long term. Our project is a pretreatment system for ultra-filtration membranes, which could lead to that wastewater being useful rather than wasted.”

The team built three pilot scale BAF systems and tested different conditions to find which allowed the microbes to grow fastest, leading to an increase in the removal of organics.

“We ran frack water through the columns, and essentially what happens is that these little bugs attach to the medium – tiny plastic pieces that we call pasta because – well, they look like tiny pasta shapes,” said Erick Hake, who worked on the project throughout the summer at Mines. “They allow the microbes, the biomass, to grow. The biomass then metabolizes and removes organics from the water.”

Even before the team won first place, several of the members expressed their gratitude for working on a project with real applications for advancing research.

“Building the hydraulic system was fun,” said Draper, “but it wasn’t our primary focus.”

“Figuring out the optimal operating conditions was our real goal,” continued Schumacher.

Their faculty advisor, Assistant Professor Kate Smits, agreed. “Part of their success was the amazing participation from their client, Stephanie Riley, and their technical adviser, Tzahi Cath, who really took the team under their wings and integrated them into their research team. The system, procedure and results will continue to be carried on by Stephanie Riley as part of her graduate thesis work.”

Associate Professor Tzahi Cath is hopeful that the team’s success will influence future Senior Design projects. “It makes a lot of sense to connect teams to ongoing, funded projects on campus,” said Cath. “The seniors feel that they are part of a real project, that their design matters, and that the product of their project will continue to be used after they are done.”

Both Smits and Cath noted that the quality of the team ultimately determined its success. “OG Solutions is a unique combination of very smart and very dedicated students, with a lot of hands on experience,” said Cath. “Most importantly, they were open to listen, to learn, and to implement what they learned, most often coming up with better solutions. Their success was also highly attributed to the dedicated mentoring by Stephanie Riley, and the AQWATEC technician, Mike Veres. Above all, I am proud of the data that the students have generated – at or above the level of data that graduate students are generating.”

 

Congratulations to all this semester’s Senior Design Trade Fair winners: 

Overall Trade Fair Winners

  • 1st Place – OG Effluent Solutions (S15-09): Students: Eric Hake, Joseph Verissimo, Mengyuan Yu, Jacob Draper, Katie Schumacher, Stephen Byers; Client: Stephanie Riley; Faculty Advisor: Dr. Kate Smits; Consultant: Dr. Tzahi Cath; Project: Biologically Active Filtration
     
  • 2nd Place – Pub Bike Racer (S15-08): Students: Matthew Alemann, Jens Cole, Phu Nguyen, Martin Vincentelli, Julianne Wilson, Gabriel Yaakob; Client: Dr. Robert Amaro; Faculty Advisor: Ryan Miller; Consultant: Dr. Cameron Turner; Project: 1976 Honda CB550 Retro-mod
  • 3rd Place – Colorado Precision Solutions (S15-07): Students: Jesse Arnold, Spencer Connor, Matt Edwards, Tyler Kordziel, Rachel Newman, Ebrahim Nobakht; Client: Dr. Aaron Stebner; Faculty Advisor: Buddy Haun; Consultant: Dr. Xiaoli Zhang; Project: Precision Axis Alignment Fixture for Microtesting

Essay Contest Winners

  • 1st Place – “Material Makes the Impact” by Katarina Bujnoch
  • 2nd Place – “Thunder Valley: How Renewable Energy Can Benefit a Community” by Aleithia Toews
  • 3rd Place – “The Power of a Simple Element” by Katie Schumacher

The winning teams, as well as an outstanding graduating senior from each CECS degree program, will receive plaques at the CECS Graduation Reception on Dec. 17 in the Student Ballrooms A and B.

 

Contact:
Deirdre Keating, Information Specialist, College of Engineering & Computational Sciences | 303-384-2358 | dkeating@mines.edu
Karen Gilbert, Director of Public Relations, Colorado School of Mines | 303-273-3541 | kgilbert@mines.edu

A space payload designed and tested with the help of Colorado School of Mines faculty and students will be launched to the International Space Station on Dec. 3 on the Orbital ATK OA-4 mission aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket. Once at the ISS, these water-mist portable fire extinguishers will protect the equipment and lives of astronauts in case of any fire event for years to come.

The payload consists of the first two (out of a total of nine) water-mist portable fire extinguishers (PFEs), which will replace carbon-dioxide extinguishers currently on the International Space Station. Three additional missions in the spring will launch the remaining PFEs, including two missions with SpaceX and one more with Orbital ATK.

After several years of research, testing, and conducting experiments on a variety of NASA flight facilities (including drop towers, low-gravity aircraft, and a Space Shuttle experiment in 2003), the Mines researchers and their students found water-mist fire suppression technology to be more efficient and suitable for putting out spacecraft fires than any other suppression agent.  

"Water mist systems create a fog of micron-size droplets that quickly remove heat and replace oxygen as the water evaporates, suppressing the fire and preventing it from spreading to other surfaces," said Director of the Center for Space Resources Angel Abbud-Madrid.  “From the Space Shuttle experiments, we also learned that water mists take about one-tenth the water of traditional sprinklers to extinguish a flame.”  

Chemical and Biological Engineering Emeritus Professor Thomas McKinnon and former Assistant Research Professor Edward Riedel, along with Abbud-Madrid started working on this project in 1997 in an effort to find an environmentally friendly replacement of harmful chemical fire-suppression agents for terrestrial and space applications. Mechanical Engineering Professor Robert Kee later helped with the development of a numerical model to predict the optimum droplet size and water concentration to effectively suppress fires.

After these encouraging results, Mines partnered with Littleton-based ADA Technologies to develop several prototype water-mist PFEs for spacecraft applications.

By 2011, following concerns on the compatibility of carbon dioxide extinguishers with the emergency breathing equipment on the ISS, NASA recommended the use of non-toxic water-mist fire extinguishers to mitigate this operational risk. Mines and ADA collaborated with three NASA centers (Johnson, Glenn, and White Sands) to design and test the spaceflight units. Wyle Engineering and Flexial Corp then took care of fabricating and certifying all portable fire extinguishers for flight. As it becomes the preferred fire suppression agent for the ISS, water-mist PFEs will most probably become the technology of choice for other human-rated spacecraft.

"It has been quite a ride throughout all these 18 years to come to this point," said Abbud-Madrid. "Let's now hope that the final ride for these PFEs to the space station is a smooth and successful one."

ULA will provide updates on the launch on their website, through the launch hotline at 1-877-852-4321 and on ULA social media including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Follow along using hashtags #Cygnus, #OA4 and #AtlasV.

 

UPDATE: The launch was delayed due to weather, but was successful on Dec. 6.

 

Contact:

Karen Gilbert, Director of Public Relations, Colorado School of Mines / 303-273-3541 / kgilbert@mines.edu
Kathleen Morton, Digital Media and Communications Manager, Colorado School of Mines / 303-273-3088 / kmorton@mines.edu

Imagining cookie crumbs as dirt and gummy worms as organic matter, Colorado School of Mines students introduced elementary school students to the concept of oil and gas formation in one of several science demonstrations held during the 6th Annual Math & Science Night at Shelton Elementary on Nov. 4.

Mines students had a large presence at the math and science expo: The Water-Energy, Science and Technology (WE²ST) Center ran nine stations and several other Mines student organizations also participated. Shelton’s Math & Science Night provides parents and students a fun, engaging and hands-on learning environment with the goal to get students excited about math and science.

Karen Brown, principal of Shelton, attributed the success of the program to the participation of Mines students. “We are so thrilled to have built a partnership with Mines and its students,” said Brown.

“Since its inception, Shelton’s Math and Science Night has always been well attended because of the expertise and fun the Mines students, as well as other presenters, bring to the table,” Brown continued. “They are also great role models for our students.”

According to Andrea Blaine, assistant director of WE²ST, “one of the strongest aspects of WE²ST’s participation was our ability to establish a meaningful connection between Mines and the larger community. Our presence at the event allowed us to educate children and adults on important current environmental topics, such as water and energy, in a non-threatening, fun atmosphere.”

In addition to the edible “fossil fuels” demonstration, students used a four-foot square model to see the paths of water within a watershed and community at the EnviroScape station and received hands-on experience learning about osmosis, the properties of gasses, aquifer sand tanks, and water use in the U.S. compared to other countries.

“It really is fantastic and wonderful that Shelton offers this type of thing,” said Alison Bodor, a Shelton Elementary School parent, who complimented WE²ST in particular on their organization.

Mines Blasterbotica Team, dressed like cowboys for the event’s Wild West theme, also had a large number of participants. They demonstrated how robots could be used for mining in space exploration.

Mines’ Nao robot, “Gold,” was a star attraction for the children. Mechanical Engineering Professor John Steele encouraged his student Steven Emerson to participate and showcase the robot.

“She was a big hit. The kids seemed a little awestruck when she did her choreographed demo,” Emerson said. He also noted that teaming up with the Mines Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers (SASE) chapter helped, as they provided other demos that allowed the robot time to cool off between groups of children.

Mines Society of Geophysicists, Society of Physics Students, Society of Women Engineers, the Integrated GroundWater Modeling Center at Mines, and the Re-Inventing the Nation’s Urban Water Infrastructure (ReNUWIt) Research Center also set up hands-on learning demonstrations for the students of Shelton Elementary School.

 

Contact:
Deirdre Keating, Information Specialist, College of Engineering & Computational Sciences | 303-384-2358 | dkeating@mines.edu
Karen Gilbert, Director of Public Relations, Colorado School of Mines | 303-273-3541 | kgilbert@mines.edu

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