Iowa State, Argo Genesis Chemical to dedicate new, $5.3 million bio-polymer pilot plant

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Eric Cochran led the way, counterclockwise, from one 500-gallon industrial tank to another and then another. By the time he got to the 1,300-gallon holding tank at the end he had explained how Iowa State University engineers are producing bio-polymers from soybean oil.

Advancing to a carbon negative economy

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Imagine a shift from our current petroleum economy—where carbon is pumped out of the ground to generate energy—toward an economy in which energy and other products are generated while putting carbon back into the ground, ultimately reducing the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the air. Iowa State’s Robert C. Brown and a group of [Continue Reading…]

Managing big data with efficient algorithms and software

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Electrical and computer engineering professor devises technology that helps transform data into usable information. Over the past 10 to 15 years, there has been a big change in the ecosystem of software and hardware for data processing. Srikanta Tirthapura, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, says this change is being driven by favorable economic [Continue Reading…]

Iowa State, astronaut Clayton Anderson ready to teach undergrads about spaceflight ops

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Twelve undergraduates will learn lessons in operational thinking during the second Spaceflight Operations Workshop to be offered by Iowa State’s Department of Aerospace Engineering. The students will learn from Clayton Anderson, a workshop coordinator who retired from NASA’s astronaut corps in 2013. Anderson said the workshop’s goal isn’t to train the next generation of astronauts. It’s to help students think in new ways.

Team PrISUm dominates Formula Sun Grand Prix, earns first overall victory

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Team PrISUm raced to its first overall solar car victory at this week’s Formula Sun Grand Prix in Austin, Texas. It was a dominating performance: No other competitor was within 30 laps after three days and 24 hours of hot racing.

Team PrISUm takes advantage of pole position, races to lead of Formula Sun Grand Prix

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The student-engineers of Team PrISUm have built a fast solar racing car and a nice lead in the Formula Sun Grand Prix. The three-day track race for student-designed and student-built solar cars continues in Austin, Texas, on Thursday and Friday.

Boeing names Muilenburg chief executive officer

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The Boeing board of directors has elected Dennis A. Muilenburg the company’s 10th chief executive, succeeding W. James (Jim) McNerney, Jr., who held the position for the past 10 years. Muilenburg, who has served as Boeing president and chief operating officer since 2013, becomes president and CEO on July 1.

Iowa State engineers develop micro-tentacles so tiny robots can handle delicate objects

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The tiny tube circled an ant’s thorax, gently trapping the insect and demonstrating the utility of a microrobotic tentacle developed by Iowa State University engineers. “Most robots use two fingers and to pick things up they have to squeeze,” said Jaeyoun (Jay) Kim, an Iowa State University associate professor of electrical and computer engineering and an associate of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory. “But these tentacles wrap around very gently.”

Iowa State freshmen build multidisciplinary research, 3D printing technology experience

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Three freshman honors students used 3D printing technology and more to conduct structural engineering research with Simon Laflamme, assistant professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering at Iowa State University. Students involved in the project were mechanical engineering freshman Heather Murphy, pre-industrial design freshman Derek Coulter, and industrial engineering freshman Connor Theisen. They participated in [Continue Reading…]

Iowa State engineer finds new ways to see data, train soldiers, help doctors

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Eliot Winer likes to show off the magic and usefulness of immersive virtual reality. So there you were, in the middle of Iowa State’s MIRAGE lab, taking a shift at a military checkpoint. In this case, the lab’s mix of virtual and real worlds put you behind the barriers protecting a strategic stretch of road. [Continue Reading…]

Iowa State developing nation’s first school curriculum for computer security literacy

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Iowa State University researchers are developing the nation’s first computer security literacy curriculum designed for middle school and high school students. During the IT-Olympics computer competition for high school students April 24-25 at Iowa State’s Hilton Coliseum, Iowa State cyber security experts will lead a workshop to introduce teachers to the curriculum and its learning [Continue Reading…]

Iowa Task Force 1 trains for tornado rescue in Davidson Hall

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Former engineering building serves one more group before complete demolition Tornadoes, fires and floods are familiar to many Iowans, but Iowa Task Force 1 has more than the average amount of knowledge of what the destruction can be from those disasters. During catastrophes with missing persons, the group travels across the state to perform search [Continue Reading…]

Iowa State University student named a 2015 Goldwater Scholar

Iowa State University student named a 2015 Goldwater Scholar

Iowa State University student Catherine Meis, Le Mars, has been named a 2015 Goldwater Scholar, the nation’s premier undergraduate scholarship in mathematics, natural sciences and engineering. Meis is a third-year student, majoring in materials engineering with a minor in bioengineering. Two other Iowa State students earned Honorable Mention in this year’s competition. They are Samuel [Continue Reading…]

Ryan Betters: Preparing for a civil engineering career in the U.S. Navy

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For Iowa State University civil engineering senior Ryan Betters, enlisting in the U.S. Navy has become a family affair. Both of Betters’ parents were in the Navy. His father was a petty officer second class who maintained F-14 Tomcat fighter jets. His mother was an aviation electrician. “It was always in the back of my [Continue Reading…]

Iowa State Steel Bridge Team places second at Midwest competition, advances to nationals

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Seven months of planning, fabrication, and practice culminated in less than 30 minutes recently for the Iowa State University Steel Bridge Team. On March 7, Cyclone civil engineering students rapidly built a scaled steel bridge inside Lakehead University CJ Sanders Fieldhouse, a 12-hour bus ride north from Ames to Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. The Iowa [Continue Reading…]

Iowa State engineers study the benefits of adding a second, smaller rotor to wind turbines

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Hui Hu picked up a 3-D printed model of a typical wind turbine and began explaining two problems with the big, tall, three-bladed machines. First, said the Iowa State University professor of aerospace engineering, check out the base of each blade. They’re big, round structural pieces. They’re not shaped like an airfoil. And so they [Continue Reading…]

Iowa State engineers developing pavement technologies to clear snow and ice from runways

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Alireza Sassani turned a switch and sent 60 volts of electricity into a small block of concrete. A few minutes later the Iowa State University doctoral student took some measurements and found the block’s surface temperature had risen from 64 degrees Fahrenheit to 189 degrees. Next, Therin Young stepped up to the demonstration table and [Continue Reading…]

Iowa State student outreach event teaches kids bridge-building

Civil engineering sophomore Paige Taylor helps a few Story County elementary school students build a K'Nex bridge on Feb. 8, 2015.

What do K’Nex, marshmallows, toothpicks, and crawling on tabletops have in common? Why, bridge-building of course. Several students in the Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering (CCEE) at Iowa State University led about 25 Story County elementary school students on a bridge-building adventure. One Sunday per month from November 2014 through February 2015, children discovered civil [Continue Reading…]

Developing the next generation of solar-powered robotic systems

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Ran Dai earns NSF CAREER award to design unmanned vehicles for long-duration, high-efficiency missions Using renewable energy to power aerial and ground vehicles could change the way we handle aspects of environmental monitoring, search and rescue missions, surveillance, and agricultural practices. To navigate these sorts of dynamic environments, Ran Dai, an assistant professor in aerospace [Continue Reading…]

Iowa State’s Wind Energy Manufacturing Laboratory partners with National Renewable Energy Laboratory in nationwide advanced composite institute

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Engineering researchers will provide expertise on designing wind blades for manufacturability as part of a new manufacturing innovation hub announced by the White House. The U.S. Department of Energy recently selected a collaborative research team that included Iowa State University for a large initiative focused on advanced composites. The White House announced the new Institute [Continue Reading…]

Rise of Machines competition: Engaging students in robotics

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In December, a group of Iowa State graduate and undergraduate students gathered at the Applied Science Complex to demonstrate their passion for making robots smarter and more autonomous. The event was the first “Rise of Machines” robotics competition, organized by Professor Sourabh Bhattacharya, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering who has been developing a cutting edge research program [Continue Reading…]

New aerospace professor works to connect the world with more efficient air travel 

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Peng Wei, a self-titled “airplane nerd,” joins the Iowa State faculty in the Department of Aerospace Engineering beginning in January 2015. He’ll teach two classes in systems engineering and work on three areas of research related to his biggest interest: air traffic management, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and airline and airport operations. Wei earned his [Continue Reading…]

Cyclones advance space exploration while working on Orion’s first test flight

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Aerospace engineering alumni are part of successful NASA test flight mission NASA began a new era of exploration with the Orion test flight on December 5, 2014. The Exploration Flight Test (EFT-1) was a two-orbit and nearly five-hour mission to test critical Orion systems, including the avionics, parachute and heatshield. This program would not be [Continue Reading…]

Change Agent: Baskar Ganapathysubramanian

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Baskar Ganapathysubramanian spelled out a major goal of his work on the title page of a conference presentation: “Revolutionizing Science through Simulation.” Baskar, an associate professor of mechanical engineering, and the researchers in his group are serious about that. They’re confident they have developed the tools and the methods to mathematically and computationally simulate problems across [Continue Reading…]

CoE students visit Uganda to improve rural livelihoods

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Summer provides opportunities for Iowa State students to apply their engineering skills to African agricultural practices and education. Two Iowa State student engineers visited the Kamuli District in Uganda this past summer with different groups and for different projects. However, they shared the same goal: enhance the quality of life in rural African communities. Hand-operated [Continue Reading…]