Lehigh University
Lehigh University


Lehigh Engineering Update - December 2010


  • The department of materials science and engineering renewed its claim as one of the nation's best when its undergraduate students swept the awards at the International Metallographic Contest for the second year in a row. Two Lehigh teams tied for first place in the category for undergraduate student metals and metal alloys, and another team came in third. No second prize was awarded this year. The contest, sponsored by the International Metallographic Society (IMS), was held recently in Portland, OR. Daniel Grande, Nicholas Greybush, Bryan Hernandez and Kylie Ford shared first place for their poster, which was titled "Metallographic Examination of an Endoprosthetic Knee." Their first place finish was shared by the Lehigh team of Paul Sihelnik, Anthony Spizzirri, Marianne Sullivan and Ukrit Thamma with their poster, "Metallographic Analysis of a Trumpet Valve." Completing the sweep were Lehigh's Austin Baker, Tiffany Chen, Christopher Chew and Jacob Bumgardner, who placed third. All of the students are members of the Class of 2011.

  • Michelle Spicer '12, a junior in the department of chemical engineering, took first place in the undergraduate student poster competition for her research work exploring CO2 capture by solid adsorbents. Michelle spent this past summer deeply engaged in the lab, along with graduate student-mentors Kevin Doura, Chris Keturakis, Julie Molinari, and Chip Roberts, learning the fundamentals of catalysis research, associated equipment and technology, and the world of graduate studies in general. And although the Salt Lake conference was Michelle's first "real engineering presentation," according to her advisor Professor Israel Wachs, many attendees commented on the quality of her presentation and her research work overall.


  • Along with award-winning student representation, faculty of Lehigh's department of chemical engineering put on a strong showing at the 2010 AIChE conference in Salt Lake City. Professors James Gilchrist, Jeetain Mittal, Mayuresh V. Kothare and Xuanhong Cheng led conference sessions during the event. Along with session leadership, many submitted abstracts for the meeting as well. A complete listing of Lehigh contributions tothis annual gathering of chemical enigneering leadership is available via the AIChE Web site.

  • The Lehigh Board of Trustees voted to reappoint President Alice P. Gast to a second five-year term through 2016. "President Gast's commitment to academic excellence, to ensuring the success of our students and to building upon our historic strengths while charting an exciting new course for the future have invigorated the university," says Board of Trustees Chair Daniel Smith. "We are delighted that Alice has agreed to build upon the tremendous progress of the last four years." Earlier this Fall, Gast was named one of three science envoys to the Muslim world, a prestigious new U.S. State Department position created in 2009 by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. In this capacity, President Gast will seek to "deepen existing ties and foster new relationships with foreign counterparts and gain insights from other nations about potential areas of collaboration that will help address global challenges and realize shared goals," according to the State Department.

  • On November 15 in the center of Lehigh's Asa Packer campus, a 29-foot speedboat designed and built by Joachim Grenestedt, professor of mechanical engineering and mechanics, was unveiled and named "The Numerette" by Lehigh President Alice Gast to a crowd of some 150 students, faculty and staff. From concept to construction, the project was carried out entirely at Lehigh and funded by the U.S. Office of Naval Research.While the vessel may appear to the untrained eye as a sleek speedboat, it is in actuality a "slamming load test facility" -- a research system that monitors the impact of waves and varying water pressures upon the ship's composite panels and stainless steel frame. According to Grenestedt, the vessel contains more than 120 strain gauges; in the near future, plans call for the installation of 100 pressure sensors, a wave altimeter, a inertial measurement unit, and other devices to create an integrated picture of the impact upon a vessel's hull. Grenestedt hopes this work will one day influence shipbuilding design codes and lead to lighter, stronger watercraft, for both military and civil usage.

  • The Verrazano-Narrows, the largest suspension bridge in the U.S., opened in 1964. Five years later, to accommodate increased traffic, a lower deck was added. Now, New York City's Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority (TBTA) has decided to replace the original upper deck -- a grid of steel beams overlaid with concrete -- with a steel orthotropic deck. Sougata Roy, a senior research scientist in Lehigh's ATLSS (Advanced Technology for Large Structural Systems) Research Center, is testing a full-scale prototype of the orthotropic deck that will be used as the Verrazano-Narrows' replacement deck. The experiments are taking place in the ATLSS structural testing lab, whose test floor and fixed reaction walls, among the world's largest, impose multidirectional loads that simulate the demands structures sustain from traffic, wind and earthquakes.

  • The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) will be hosting their annual Lehigh Valley Section Holiday Banquet on Thursday Dec. 2. During the event, Dan M. Frangopol, holder of Lehigh's Fazlur Rahman Khan Chair professor of civil engineering at Lehigh, will be acknowledged for the ASCE Distinguished Member Award he received this past October. As ASCE's highest accolade, Distinguished Membership recognizes eminence in a branch of engineering, and is currently comprised of only 192 of the Society's 144,000 members worldwide. Frangopol serves as the first Fazlur R. Khan Endowed Chair of Structural Engineering and Architecture at Lehigh, and is one of 13 new distinguished members of ASCE, the world's premier organization for civil engineers.

  • Dr. Xiaohui (Frank) Zhang, professor of mechanical engineering, was awarded the NCRP Fall 2010 Scientist Development Grant by the American Heart Association (AHA). The grant, which gives over $300,000 in funding for research, supports Zhang as a "highly promising" scientist, according to the AHA Website. Zhang's research project that will be funded by the award is entitled "Single-molecule study of leukocyte integrin-ligand interaction." Zhang's past research has explored biomechanical and biochemical properties of proteins, development of new experimental and diagnostic approaches based on single-molecule manipulation and detection techniques, as well as application of these tools to study cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Zhang is also a Professional Member of the AHA.


  • Vince Forlenza '75, president and chief operating officer of Becton, Dickinson and Company, has been named chairman of the Advanced Medical Technology Association's AdvaMedDx division, which focuses on opportunities and challenges facing companies that discover, develop, and provide in vitro diagnostic technologies. In this capacity, Forlenza will work to promote continued innovation of advanced diagnostic technologies that help physicians detect disease earlier, reduce healthcare costs, and improve overall patient care. Forlenza received his bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from Lehigh and his MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He currently serves as a member of Lehigh's Engineering Advisory Board.

  • WFMZ-TV ran a story about the pivotal role Bill Maloney '80 played in the Chilean mine rescue. The Lehigh alumnus travelled to campus in November to give a talk about his leadership in the "Plan B" initiative that led to the rescue of "Los 33."

  • The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) has recognized Jack T. Sanders '74 with its Award of Merit. Sanders is a contamination engineering specialist at ATK Aerospace Systems, the world's top producer of solid rocket propulsion systems and a leading supplier of military and commercial aircraft structures. The Award is the highest society award granted to an individual member for distinguished service. Sanders holds a bachelor's degree in materials science and engineering from Lehigh , and a master's degree in administrative science from Johns Hopkins. He specializes in contamination control in aerospace systems with a focus on earth and space weather systems, and he is currently involved in research related to travel in the furthest reaches of the ionosphere.

  • As part of the Fall 2010 Spencer C. Schantz Distiguished Lecture Series, Dr. Stephen P. Boyd of Stanford University will be giving a public lecture on Dec. 7 at 3:30 p.m. in Perella Auditorium. The lecture, titled "The Role of Embedded Optimization in Smart Systems and Products," will explore the importance of sophisticated, mathematical algorithms that support many of the systems and products that are used daily. The focus of the talk will be to discuss the development or learning of mathematical models, the role of uncertainty, the idea of feedback or recourse, and computational complexity.

Posted on Wednesday, December 01, 2010

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