Research

The Combustion Institute awarded its highest honor, the Bernard Lewis Gold Medal, to Colorado School of Mines George R. Brown Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering Robert J. Kee at the 36th International Symposium on Combustion August 5 in Seoul, South Korea. Kee received the award in honor of his research in the field of combustion, particularly on pioneering development of chemically reacting flow simulations and the CHEMKIN family of models. The institute also honored Kee by requesting he give a plenary lecture on the future of “Combustion Interfacing with Emerging Technologies.”

Charles Wesbrook, former CI president (2008-2012), Professor Robert Kee, and Katharina Höinghaus, CI President (2008-2016) at the Combustion Symposium in Seoul, South Korea. Photo Courtesy of the Combustion Institute.

Kee is the principal architect and developer of the CHEMKIN family of software, which has been the dominant modeling software in the field of combustion for more than 25 years. The software’s wide adoption stems from its strong code architecture that facilitates ease of use, as well as Kee’s extensive documentation that has been adopted and cited by thousands of researchers and developers worldwide as the seminal work in reactive flow modeling.

Kee continues to push the frontiers of reactive system modeling into new areas and is now acknowledged as an international leader in multiphysics modeling of electrochemical systems such as fuel cells and batteries and of multifunctional reactors for process intensification. This has led Kee to continue to develop software, as highlighted by a recently awarded contract from the Air Force to build the next generation of software for modeling reactive systems.

“Bob continues to set an example to all of us in research,” reflected Greg Jackson, head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Mines, “by continually expanding and adapting his modeling skills to address high-impact technical challenges such as better, safer batteries and membrane reactors for upgrading natural gas. We are honored to have a senior colleague as creative, thorough and generous as Bob.”

In addition to the Combustion Institute’s Gold Medal, Kee has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Combustion Institute’s Silver Combustion Medal, the Bastress Award for Outstanding Contributions to Technology Transfer from Sandia National Laboratories, and the DOE Basic Energy Sciences Award for Sustained Outstanding Research in Materials Chemistry. In addition to more than 200 archival papers, Kee is also the principal author of the leading textbook, “Chemically Reacting Flow.”

 

Contact:

Deirdre Keating, Communications Manager, College of Engineering & Computational Sciences | 303-384-2358 | dkeating@mines.edu
Mark Ramirez, Communications Manager, College of Applied Science & Engineering | 303-383-2622 | ramirez@mines.edu

In a state with an energy economy as purple as its politics, it can be hard to decide where to stand.

The Payne Institute for Earth Resources at Colorado School of Mines has teamed up with Inside Energy to host Spark! Unpacking the Politics of Energy in Colorado at 5 p.m. on Sept. 8 in the Ben H. Parker Student Center (1200 16th Street, Golden), Ballrooms A and B.

Join the Payne Institute and Inside Energy to explore everything Colorado’s energy portfolio stands to lose, gain or change in the 2016 election. Journalists from Inside Energy will press a panel of experts on critical energy issues to help the public make their own decisions in November.

The panel includes Ian Lange, PhD, Mineral and Energy Economics Program Director, Division of Economics and Business, Colorado School of Mines; Tracee Bentley, Executive Director, Colorado Petroleum Council; Meghan Nutting, Vice President of Policy and Government Affairs, Sunnova; and Lee Boughey, Senior Manager, Communications and Public Affairs, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association.

“This panel covers the full spectrum of the Colorado energy landscape,” says Dr. Lange. “I’m excited to hear the views of my fellow panelists and share my thoughts on how Colorado could be impacted by the policies on the ballot this fall.”

Come enjoy drinks, heavy hors d'oeuvres, energy trivia, networking, and a multimedia presentation at this signature event. RSVP online by Aug. 31 or visit EarthPolicy.Mines.edu for more information.

About the Payne Institute at Colorado School of Mines
The mission of the Payne Institute for Earth Resources at Colorado School of Mines is to inform and shape sound public policy related to earth resources, energy and the environment. Its goal is to educate current and future leaders on the market, policy and technological challenges presented by energy, environmental and resource management issues, and provide a forum for national and global policy debate. For more information, visit EarthPolicy.Mines.edu.

About Inside Energy
Inside Energy is a collaborative journalism initiative among public media with roots in Colorado, Wyoming and North Dakota. It is funded by a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Its mission, in collaboration with its partner stations, is to create a more informed public on energy issues. Inside Energy seeks to make energy issues a household topic and to inspire community conversations on the topic of energy. Learn more at InsideEnergy.org.

Contact:
Kelly Beard, Communication Specialist, Division of Economics and Business, Colorado School of Mines | 303-273-3452 | kbeard@mines.edu
Kathleen Morton, Digital Media and Communications Manager, Colorado School of Mines | 303-273-3088 | kmorton@mines.edu

University Professor Emeritus David Matlock will deliver a plenary lecture on steel this October at Materials Science and Technology 2016, one of the premier annual conferences in materials engineering.

Matlock, a member of the Metallurgical and Materials Engineering Department, will present the AIST Adolf Martens Memorial Steel Lecture, titled “Enhancing the Fatigue Performance of Steel: Have We Learned Anything from the Past?”

Matlock notes that fatigue failures in operating equipment continue to occur despite extensive research since the mid-1800s, when multiple railroad axle failures led to catastrophic accidents in Europe and the identification of the most important basic aspects of fatigue.

Studying fatigue remains extremely important, Matlock said, “particularly with the current emphasis on lightweight designs and optimized material usage in many systems” such as transportation. This optimization results in higher operating stresses and fewer safety factors, which increases the potential for fatigue failures.

Matlock will present a history of fatigue testing and failure, review the fundamental basis for fatigue, and discuss opportunities for increasing fatigue performance—and, consequently, the safety—of operating equipment.

The Association for Iron and Steel Technology established the lecture award in 2010 to honor of Adolf Martens, a German metallurgist from the late 19th and early 20th century who was a pioneer in establishing structure-property relationships in steel and one of the first researchers to use optical microscopy to observe that hard steels had different features than soft steels at the microscale.

The lecture award recognizes the achievement of significant, broadly known technical accomplishments that have enabled important advances in processing and product application in the field of ferrous physical metallurgy, and have either provided dramatic contributions to the field or made a lifetime of important contributions to the field.

Matlock, a member of the National Academy of Engineering, holds a BS from the University of Texas at Austin, and MS and PhD degrees from Stanford University. He joined Mines in 1972, and established the Advanced Steel Processing and Products Research Center with fellow University Emeritus Professor George Krauss in 1984. The center has since been recognized as one of the most successful centers of its kind and draws an annual budget of more than $1.5 million, the majority of which comes from industry support.

MS&T16 will be held October 23 to 27 in Salt Lake City, Utah, and is the comprehensive forum for materials science and engineering technologies. The conference brings together a broad range of technical sessions and expertise, combining the strengths of six major materials organizations: AIST, the American Ceramic Society, ASM International, Metallurgy and Materials Society of CIM, NACE International, and The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society.

Contact:
Mark Ramirez, Communications Manager, College of Applied Science & Engineering | 303-383-2622 | ramirez@mines.edu
Deirdre Keating, Communications Manager, College of Engineering & Computational Sciences | 303-384-2358 | dkeating@mines.edu

 

Water-Energy Education for the Next Generation, a Colorado School of Mines Research Experience for Teachers sponsored by the National Science Foundation, kicked off its first summer training with nine teachers from Colorado public schools. The six-week summer program focused on impacting K-12 STEM curricula by infusing standards-based, active-learning lessons with current research in the water-energy nexus.

                                 

Left to Right: Stephanie Spiris, Melissa McVey, Professor Timothy Strathmann, Renee Adams-Lee, Associate Professor Chris Higgins, Jill-Maria Kuzava, Assistant Professor Chris Bellona, Patricia Brandenburger, Professor Terri Hogue, WE²ST Education & Outreach Specialist Amy Martin, Shannon Garvin, Associate Professor Josh Sharp, Research Assistant Professor Andrea Blaine, Research Associate Cassandra Glenn, Liz Hudd, Julie McLean, Professor Tzahi Cath, and Amy Dehne

Participants shared what they learned and how they would apply it in their classrooms in culminating presentations July 22. Melissa McVey, a sixth-grade science teacher at Bell Middle School in Golden, credited the faculty and graduate students she worked with for new ideas on how to incorporate lessons on biomagnification and contaminants. She plans to have her students study how plants can improve water quality, and ultimately design and create their own mini-wetland.

                                       
Melissa McVey shares insights gathered during her summer research experience at Mines.

Patricia Brandenburger, an eighth-grade STEM teacher at Deer Creek Middle School in Littleton, was similarly enthusiastic about the program, saying, “I learned a lot about hydrology, geology and geochemistry, which has made me rethink the way I want to teach our energy transformation unit.”

WE²NG is an outreach component of the ConocoPhillips Center for a Sustainable WE²ST, led by Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor Terri Hogue and Research Assistant Professor Andrea Blaine. The program included technical, professional and pedagogical training, as well as weekly field trips to connect teachers with industry contacts. WE²NG will continue collaborative relationships with the teacher participants throughout the academic year.

Blaine hopes to see the program evolve and include even more local teachers next summer. “This first cohort of teachers has set the bar high,” said Blaine.  She also expressed her hope that the collaboration between K-12 teachers, Mines faculty and industry leaders will change the way STEM education is delivered. Blaine added, “I believe that a systemic, sustained method of bringing real and exciting science problems into the classroom could revolutionize the way the next generation of scientists addresses critical issues.”

 

Contact:

Deirdre Keating, Communications Manager, College of Engineering & Computational Sciences | 303-384-2358 | dkeating@mines.edu
Mark Ramirez, Communications Manager, College of Applied Science & Engineering | 303-383-2622 | ramirez@mines.edu

Reed MaxwellGroundbreaking research on global water supply co-authored by Colorado School of Mines Hydrology Professor Reed Maxwell and alumna Laura Condon, now assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at Syracuse University, appears in the July 22 issue of Science Magazine.

The paper, “Connections between groundwater flow and transportation partitioning”, tackles the issue of global freshwater supply by taking a unique approach in quantifying the water that plants release into the atmosphere through a process called transpiration in conjunction with evaporation of water from the soil. “Understanding how much fresh water we have on Earth seems like it should be an easy problem, but it’s not,” said Maxwell. “Since evaporation and transpiration often produce more water than surface flow from streams and rivers, this makes them very important for a fundamental understanding of seemingly basic questions like water flow”.

Maxwell and Condon’s model is unique because it integrates processes not often captured in existing water models, particularly the movement of water through the earth’s subsurface, i.e. lateral groundwater flow, which can be contributed to both evaporation and transpiration. Through computer simulations of water flow across the continental US, the team found a significant increase in water supply from transpiration when including lateral groundwater flow. “This is one of our biggest findings”, said Maxwell. “We see that disconnecting the groundwater movement from the simulation has a critical effect on matching other estimates of transpiration values.”

traditional land surface models vs. integrated hydrologic models

This conceptual diagram compares two approaches for modeling water movement above and below the land surface. Traditional land surface models simplify the system by solving it as a set of discrete columns without lateral groundwater flow while integrated hydrologic models connect three dimensional flow in the subsurface with processes at the land surface. Credit: Laura Condon, Syracuse, Mary Michael Forrester and Reed Maxwell, Colorado School of Mines

The study’s findings are paving the way for better global water models, which will greatly improve how scientists understand freshwater flows at continental scales. Groundwater flow seems to be the missing link in reconciling observations of plants’ water usage with computer simulations, and may allow scientists to move towards a better understanding of how much freshwater is present on Earth.

 
Funding
This work was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, Office of Biological and Environmental Research and Office of Advanced Scientific Computing through the IDEAS project. Simulations made possible through support from Yellowstone at the National Center for Atmospheric Research Computational and Information Systems Laboratory.
 
Publication
R. M. Maxwell, L. E. Condon (2016) “Connections Between Groundwater Flow and Transpiration Partitioning.” Science, 353, 6297, 377-380  DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf7891
 
 
Contact:
Agata Bogucka, Communications Manager, College of Earth Resource Sciences & Engineering | 303-384-2657 | abogucka@mines.edu
Deirdre Keating, Communications Manager, College of Engineering & Computational Sciences | 303-384-2358 | dkeating@mines.edu
 

 

Mines has received $2.1 million from the Department of Energy to fund three projects led by faculty in the interdisciplinary Nuclear Science and Engineering Program.

Mark Jensen

Jensen

Mark Jensen

Grandey Chair in Nuclear Science and Engineering, Chemistry Professor

Jensen has been awarded $800K from the DOE’s Nuclear Energy University Programs to identify and overcome kinetic barriers to separating the transuranic actinide elements americium and curium from fission product lanthanides.

Lowering the transuranic content of nuclear waste would increase the capacity of waste repositories. Although new separation processes that can remove americium and curium are under development, they are often too slow to be efficient and cost-effective. Jensen is working with Chemistry Assistant Professor Shubham Vyas and Artem Gelis, a chemist at Argonne National Laboratory, to understand and overcome the kinetic bottlenecks that slow down an important new extraction process known as ALSEP.

 
Mark Deinert

Deinert

Mark Deinert

Mechanical Engineering Associate Professor

Deinert has been awarded $800K through NEUP to develop an intuitive web-based tool that will allow technical and non-technical audiences to compare different energy generation options—nuclear, solar, wind, natural gas, coal, and biomass systems—by their cost, carbon intensity, land and water use, capacity, and reliability. Users will also be able to combine nuclear options with specific back-end fuel cycle options such as onsite storage, geological disposal, or reprocessing.

An application programming interface, or API, will also be developed to allow third-party developers to build custom tools for education, nonprofit use, or policy analysis. Deinert’s team also includes postdoctoral researcher Andrew Osborne and Tim Kaiser, director of research and high-performance computing at Mines.
 

 
Jeffrey King

King

Douglas Van Bossuyt

Van Bossuyt

Jeffrey King

Metallurgical and Materials Engineering Associate Professor

Douglas Van Bossuyt

Mechanical Engineering Assistant Professor

King and co-PI Van Bossuyt have been awarded $500K through NEUP and DOE’s Nuclear Energy Enabling Technologies program, in conjunction with DOE’s Nuclear Science User Facilities. The award includes $2M budgeted to Idaho National Laboratory to support the project, with irradiation and post-irradiation examinations using the lab’s Advanced Test Reactor.

The project will study how stainless steel and Inconel alloys, produced using a range of additive manufacturing techniques, perform when irradiated. The team will collect and measure specimens for tensile and yield strength, elasticity, ductility, thermal conductivity and thermal diffusivity. A subset of the specimens will be irradiated at the Advanced Test Reactor, and another subset will be thermally aged at Mines. Both sets of samples will again be subjected to thermo-mechanical testing and micro-structural characterization and the results compared to determine the changes caused by irradiation.

Additive manufacturing offers the potential to significantly enhance the production of nuclear components and fuels; however, there is relatively little information on the performance of additively manufactured parts during irradiation in a nuclear reactor environment. This study will offer insight into the viability of additively manufactured parts for nuclear reactor applications, identify key areas of concern, and provide data for future computational model development.
 

Contact:
Mark Ramirez, Communications Manager, College of Applied Science & Engineering | 303-383-2622 | ramirez@mines.edu
Kathleen Morton, Digital Media and Communications Manager, Colorado School of Mines | 303-273-3088 | kmorton@mines.edu

 

GOLDEN, CO, June 20, 2016 — Colorado School of Mines and the Alliance for the Development of Additive Processing Technologies (ADAPT), a consortium of academic, industry and government institutions focused on developing technologies to accelerate the certification and qualification of 3D-printed metal parts, will be hosting an open house 5 p.m. June 23 in the ADAPT Advanced Characterization Center (Brown W230).

Mines student Paige Bowling is one of 22 women running for the title of Miss Colorado June 9-11. She is pursuing degrees in chemical and biochemical engineering, and biochemistry. Bowling chose the competition as a way to raise scholarship funds for the extra year she will be attending Mines to complete both degrees.

At Mines, Bowling serves as the marketing director and regional officer (for the 20 sections) in the Society of Women in Engineering, and will be running under the platform of women in science and engineering for Miss Colorado.

“There is a very common stigma about women who chose to follow a career path in anything science or engineering related which perpetuates gender inequalities,” said Bowling. “If you ask a young girl what she wants to be when she grows up, over time many girls will shift their focus from grand career paths to something based upon gender-normative stereotypes. My ultimate goal is to not only promote young girls to continue on a path focused on math and science, but to also promote education to everyone. To do this, I hope to expand the current science and engineering resources available to schools for everyone, but especially young girls.”

Since she was a freshman, Bowling has been working with professor Brian Trewyn to synthesize mesoporous silica (MCM-141) for chemotherapy research and new fluorine imaging techniques to be used at hospitals within the next five years. Bowling also works as a Mines Help Desk operator, after taking over the role from her brother, Garrett, who graduated from Mines in December 2014 with a mechanical engineering specialty degree. She is a certified personal trainer at the Student Recreation Center and a member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.

This week, Bowling will have an interview before competing in the evening gown, swimsuit and 90-second talent portions of the competition. While most of the women will be doing music or dance routines, Bowling’s talent will be poi spinning. Poi is a performance art and typically involves swinging objects that have various rhythmical and geometric patterns. In a dark room, Bowling will be spinning LED lights that change color every 10 seconds.

Miss Colorado is a scholarship organization and women must be currently a Colorado resident and enrolled at a university. If Bowling wins the Miss Colorado title on Saturday, she will advance to compete in the Miss America competition in September. To support Bowling, follow her Facebook page. The deadline to vote for Bowling as the People’s Choice Vote is June 10.

 

Contact:

Kathleen Morton, Digital Media and Communications Manager, Colorado School of Mines | 303-273-3088 | kmorton@mines.edu
Jake Kupiec, Executive Director of Communications and Marketing, Colorado School of Mines | 303-273-3067 | kupiec@mines.edu

 

GOLDEN, CO, June 8, 2016 —Applied Mathematics and Statistics Assistant Professor Stephen Pankavich has received a three-year research grant from the National Science Foundation for $233,775 to develop new analytical and computational methods of solving mathematical problems in the kinetic theory of plasma dynamics.

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