ESM Professor Melik Demirel and a team of researchers are investigating the use of self-healing textiles to make chemically protective fabrics that could limit exposure to toxins.
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Akhlesh Lakhtakia, Charles Godfrey Binder Professor in Engineering Science and Mechanics, has been admitted as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), a professional society based in the United Kingdom with over 50,000 members worldwide.
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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Vijay K. Varadan, Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics at Penn State, was recently conferred an honorary doctor of science degree from Saveetha University for his contributions in medicine, engineering and nanotechnology.
Varadan is cofounder and CMO/CTO of Nanowear Inc., headquartered in New York City with research, development and manufacturing based out of Innovation Park at Penn State. Nanowear is the leading developer of patented, wireless textile-based nanosensor technology with applications in the cardiac, neurological, diabetic, sleep disorders, sleep apnea and sports medicine/performance diagnostic marketing markets.
The company’s proprietary technology provides medical professionals with accurate, real-time diagnostic data that is captured and transmitted wirelessly through a wearable deployment that is cost-effective and unobtrusive to patients.
At Nanowear, Varadan has concentrated specifically on the design and development of various electronic, acoustic and structural composites, smart materials, structures and devices including sensors, transducers and microelectromechanical systems. Through his work, he has helped develop neurostimulator, wireless microsensors and systems for sensing and controlling diseases such as Parkinson’s, epilepsy and Alzheimer’s.
Varadan’s research efforts have also led to the development of an “e-bra” and “e-vest” that can be integrated into garments, such as a woman’s sports bra or a man’s vest, that can monitor ECG, blood pressure, body temperature, respiratory rate, oxygen consumption and neural activity, and transmit the collected data to a smartphone. He is currently developing silicon- and organic-based printable electronics for wireless sensor systems with radio-frequency identification for human gait analysis, sleep disorders and various neurological disorders.
“Our e-bra enables continuous, real-time monitoring to identify any pathophysiological changes,” said Varadan. “It is a platform on which various sensors for cardiac-health monitoring are integrated into the fabric. The garment collects and transmits vital health signals to any desired location in the world.”
Varadan is also professor of neurosurgery at the Penn State College of Medicine and Twenty-first Century Endowed Chair of Nano- and Bio-Technology and Medicine, Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering, Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Distinguished Professor of Neurosurgery at the University of Arkansas.
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – A research group in Penn State’s Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics, led by Cliff Lissenden, recently received a 2016 American Society for Nondestructive Testing (ASNT) Fellowship Award to support its research on nondestructive inspection (NDI) of materials and structures in harsh environments.
There are many applications where NDI is required in harsh environments, such as chemical processing, material manufacturing, power generation and waste management. One particular example of a harsh environment, that also has significant geometric constraints, is dry cask storage of used nuclear fuel.
Spent fuel rods are confined in a welded stainless steel canister that is shielded and protected by a concrete and steel overpack drum. Aging management plans require periodic inspection of the canister, and stress corrosion cracking is one of the potential degradation modes because of the longer storage periods now required due to a lack of repositories for disposal.
Due to high temperatures, a gamma radiation environment and extremely limited access to structural components susceptible to degradation, dry storage casks necessitate distinctive nondestructive testing (NDT) methods.
Lissenden, along with Sungho Choi, research associate, and Mostafa Hasanian, doctoral candidate, are working to characterize surface degradation, specifically pitting and SCC, through the development of a robot-delivered laser ultrasonics system for dry storage casks.
Laser ultrasonics provide noncontact transduction for NDT that can be easily implemented into robotic inspection systems. By using a pulse laser coupled to an optical fiber and an innovative lens, Lissenden and his group aim to develop a system with the ability to operate in harsh, hazardous environments and confined spaces, providing an alternative to conventional contact or immersion-type techniques.
The robot-delivered laser ultrasonics system will also be suitable for other applications including pressure vessels, piping and structural components for power plants, to name a few. In particular, the system will be well adapted for inspection of defects in harsh environments such as inspection of pipelines exposed to high temperatures and radiation inside nuclear power plants and inspection of inaccessible, cramped and hazardous areas for preventive maintenance.
The ASNT Fellowship Award is granted to an ABET-accredited educational institution to fund specific research in NDT at the graduate level, either master’s or doctoral. The ASNT will provide $20,000 in funding to Lissenden’s group in July 2016, and will require a written report of the completed study within 24 months, which will be published in a future edition of Materials Evaluation. In addition, Hasanian, the fellowship student recipient, will present the group’s findings at an ASNT annual conference following completion of the research.
Recipients of the ASNT Fellowship Award will be recognized at the annual awards banquet at the society’s annual conference, Oct. 24-27, in Long Beach, California.
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society, recently awarded Akhlesh Lakhtakia, Charles Godfrey Binder Professor in Engineering Science and Mechanics, the 2016 Walston Chubb Award for Innovation.
Lakhtakia was recognized for his theoretical and experimental innovations in electromagnetics, leading to the conceptualization and development of sculptured thin films (STFs) for novel optical devices and biomedical, biomimetic and forensic applications.
In the mid-1980s, Lakhtakia spearheaded the area of chiral electromagnetics and helped found the area of complex-material electromagnetics. He initiated the concept of STFs in the early 1990s and has continued his efforts to establish the area of nanoengineered thin-film materials. STF research is now being conducted in more than 100 laboratories worldwide.
Lakhtakia’s research on STFs has led to the design of several types of optical devices including circular-polarization filters, spectral-hole filters, circular-polarization vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers. It has also led to the incorporation of STFs into sensors for toxic and bacterial agents and scaffolds for tissue growth and bone repair. One prospective use of STFs in this area is the coating of metallic prostheses to promote tissue integration.
More recent and significant applications of Lakhtakia’s research include growing STFs on nonplanar surfaces to improve the visualization of fingerprints (in particular, bloody fingerprints) and other impression evidence left by people in crime scenes, and using bioreplication to transfer the attributes of growing STFs on the compound eyes of insects to textured solar-cell surfaces, which could have a major impact on solar energy harvesting and the reduction of our carbon footprint.
Lakhtakia has been recognized for his STF research with numerous awards including a 2005 Nanotech Briefs Nano 50 Award for Nanotechnology, 2006 Nanotech Briefs Nano 50 Award for Innovation and a 2010 International Society for Optics and Photonics Technical Achievement Award.
Lakhtakia will receive his Walston Chubb Award on Nov. 11 at the Sigma Xi Annual Meeting and International Research Conference to be held in Atlanta, Georgia. He will also deliver the Walston Chubb Award Lecture, titled “Filamentary Materials for Optics, Terahertz, Acoustics, Forensics and Biomimicry.”
Sigma Xi is the international honor society of science and engineering and one of the oldest and largest scientific organizations in the world. The organization has a distinguished history of service to science and society for more than 125 years. More than 200 Nobel Prize winners have been members.
Since 2006, Sigma Xi has presented the Walston Chubb Award for Innovation to honor and promote creativity in science and engineering. The award carries a $4,000 honorarium, a certificate of recognition and an invitation to give the Walston Chubb Award Lecture at Sigma Xi's annual meeting.