College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

ME student wins ASME paper award

Tim Morgan, a concurrent BSME/MBA student, recently won the ASME Fluids Engineering Division 2010 Young Engineering Paper Contest with his paper titled “X-ray Particle Tracking of Dense Particle Motion in a Vibration-Excited Granular Bed.”

He presented the paper at the 2010 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition in Vancouver, BC, November 12-18. The award was based on his written paper and conference presentation. The second- and third-place winners were graduate students at Virginia Tech and Purdue, respectively.

Working in the Experimental Multiphase Flow Laboratory under Ted Heindel, Bergles Professor of Thermal Science, Morgan completed the paper as part of his honors research project. His overall focus was on granular convection, or what is sometimes referred to as the Brazil nut effect. This phenomenon happens when the largest particles in a mixture of objects of different sizes end up on the top of the surface.

“During my freshman year at Iowa State, Dr. Heindel suggested I look into the Brazil nut effect but at the time the x-ray acquisition and analysis software wasn’t sophisticated enough to produce data that satisfied my curiosity,” Morgan said. “Over the past few years, the software on the system has improved to the point where more conclusive data could be obtained, so when I had the opportunity to reexamine the Brazil nut phenomenon for my honors research project, I jumped at the chance.”

Upon graduation in December, Morgan will continue his studies at Iowa State as a PhD student in the Experimental Multiphase Flow Laboratory, working primarily with the x-ray flow visualization system to improve data analysis and data visualization.

“I am most excited about doing things that have never done before,” Morgan said. “We are able to do research we didn’t think was possible just a few years ago, and I expect that during my PhD work the progress will continue, if not accelerate. When you do something that you know few, if any, other people in the world have ever done, it is an adrenaline rush.”