Apache Corporation Donates $2 Million for Petroleum Research
Texas Tech and Apache Corp. have announced a $2 million gift to the Whitacre College of Engineering that will establish the Apache Upstream Research Center in the new Petroleum Engineering Research Building.
This center will be an important aspect of the new Petroleum Engineering Research Building's laboratories, focused on the latest environmentally responsible fracturing techniques including horizontal well drilling, rock mechanics, the energy-water nexus, wellbore integrity, and well cementing. Research will be conducted in the center by faculty members from multiple engineering disciplines and will advance the leading edge of fracturing procedures and environmentally responsible practices.
In addition, both undergraduate and graduate students will have the opportunity to apply new knowledge and innovations to their engineering studies as these advancements are discovered. This will build upon the robust theoretical and practical education that Texas Tech engineers receive.
Apache's gift is eligible for an additional $2 million of matching funds from the Texas Research Incentive Program, created by the state of Texas. Once matching funds are received, the funding will support equipment purchases and research projects in the fracturing techniques center.
Ekwaro-Osire Named Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Programs
Dr. Stephen Ekwaro-Osire, a professor of mechanical engineering and director of the mechanical engineering undergraduate program, has been named the associate dean of research and graduate programs for the Whitacre College of Engineering. He will assume this responsibility in January 2013.
He will be responsible for the quality and development of the college's faculty, master's, and doctoral research programs. He will work with faculty to enrich pedagogy and develop opportunities in faculty research and scholarship, will serve as a catalyst for research innovation, and will foster and facilitate interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary collaborations across the university.
He has conducted research in laboratories of the Air Force and NASA. His research interests include engineering design, vibrations, engineering education, and orthopedic biomechanics. He is a member of Texas Tech's Teaching Academy, an active member of the American Society for Engineering Education, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Society for Design and Process, and the Society for Experimental Mechanics.
ASME Students Win Second in International Old Guard Contest
Texas Tech won second place in the Old Guard Oral Presentation Contest at the ASME 2012 International Mechanical Engineering Congress & Exposition. The contest included representatives from England, France, India, Lebanon, Mexico, the United States, and other countries.
The project was "Reinventing the Wheel: A Radially Collapsing Wheel for an Innovative Wheelchair Design." The design for the radially collapsing wheel targets the demand by users for a size-conscious wheel that does not need to be removed from a wheelchair for transportation. This design meets all structural strength requirements and adds the revolutionary benefit of collapsibility. The wheel design uses a scissor geometry supported by 16 structural spokes. Each spoke is connected to one of two central hubs, with adjacent spokes alternating between hubs. When fully extended, the hubs separate to provide further stability and support for the wheel. Rubber tread completes the smooth radius. Additionally, the tread provides shock absorption and vibration reduction, which will greatly increase the user's comfort. To collapse, the hubs easily slide into plane and allow the scissor geometry to fold about the central axis. After collapsing, the assembly slides neatly into the cylindrical housing located under the seat of the wheelchair. This collapsed wheel provides a compact and streamlined package that gives this wheelchair an advantage over all other foldable chairs.
The team previously won first place in the Old Guard Oral Presentations at the regional District E competition of ASME's Student Professional Development Conference. The winning student presenter was Pejmon Arbrapour.
Laity Accepted to the U.S. Particle Accelerator School
George Laity, a doctoral student in the Center for Pulsed Power and Power Electronics, has been accepted to attend the U.S. Particle Accelerator School (USPAS), organized by Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) and located at Duke University from January 14–25, 2013. USPAS is a national graduate program that provides graduate-level educational programs in the science of particle beams and their associated accelerator technologies that are not otherwise available to the scientific and engineering communities.
He will receive a $3000 scholarship from Fermilab to pay for the costs of the school that include: registration fees, hotel accommodations, meals for two weeks, and textbooks.
Holman Wins Best Graduate Student Paper Award
Daniel Holman, a graduate computer science student, won a Best Graduate Student Paper award in the symposium session titled "Remote Sensing of Evapotranspiration Community," at the American Society of Agronomy: ASA, CSSA and SSSA International Annual Meeting that was held on Oct. 21–24, 2012 in Cincinnati, Ohio.
The paper was titled "Gaussian Processes-based Predictive Models to Estimate Reference ET from Alternative Meteorological Data Sources for Irrigation Scheduling." The authors were Daniel Holman, Dr. Mohan Sridharan, Prasanna Gowda, Dana Porter, Thomas Marek, Terry Howell and Jerry Moorhead.
Zhang Wins Paper of Excellence Award
Shiqi Zhang, a graduate computer science student, won a Paper of Excellence award at the International Conference on Development and Learning (ICDL) on November 7–9, 2012, in San Diego, Calif.
His paper was titled "ASP+POMDP: Integrating Non-monotonic Logical Reasoning and Probabilistic Planning on Robots." The authors were Shiqi Zhang, Dr. Mohan Sridharan and Forrest Sheng Bao.
Lin Elected Fellow of the American Physical Society
Dr. Jingyu Lin, Linda F. Whitacre Chair and professor of electrical and computer engineering, has been elected as a fellow of the American Physical Society (APS).
She was elected "for her seminal contributions to our fundamental understanding of the electronic and optical properties of the group III-nitride semiconductors and her significant impact on the use of these materials for nanophotonic devices." Election to APS fellowship is limited to no more than one half of one percent of the membership.
APS fellows in the Whitacre College of Engineering include:
- Dr. Hongxing Jiang
- Dr. Magne Kristiansen
- Dr. Jingyu Lin
- Dr. Greg McKenna
- Dr. Sindee Simon
Mechanical Engineering Research Published in PNAS
Mechanical engineering graduate students Cheng Ji and Archis Marathe, and faculty members Drs. Jharna Chaudhuri and Yanzhang Ma's groundbreaking research on boron nitride is featured in the latest issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
Boron nitride is normally a soft material that can be used as a lubricant, as well as other applications in industry. After undergoing special processes at ultra-high pressures and temperatures, boron nitride can transform to two different super-hard forms: cubic boron nitride and wurtzitic boron nitride. These materials have broad applications in areas such as tools for fabrication of extremely hard materials or armor for military forces.
In the published work, the group reported successful transformation of the soft boron nitride, with a high degree of disorder, to wurtzitic boron nitride by way of plastic shear under high pressure, and provided a mechanism for such transformation. The discovery established an alternative path to the synthesis of this super-hard boron nitride under a record low pressure and room temperature, leading to a new way for mass production. This reveals a new mechanism for material synthesis of this type. It also proves the concept that structures that can only be obtained at high pressures, but revert after unloading, can be trapped through the application of shear.
|Modified Zipper Frac
Researchers Develop Improved Fracturing Techniques
Dr. Mohamed Soliman; chair of the Bob L. Herd Department of Petroleum Engineering, George P. Livermore Chair in Petroleum Engineering, and professor of petroleum engineering; and two graduate students in petroleum engineering, Mehdi Rafiee and Elias Pirayesh; have developed new techniques to enhance the process of hydraulic fracturing.
In recent years, new fracturing techniques have sought to enhance production of trapped hydrocarbons. Zipper frac, for example, is one of those techniques, which involves simultaneous stimulation of two parallel horizontal wells. In this proecess, fractures in each stage propagate toward each other, so the induced stresses at the tips force fractures further and increase output. The group's new patent pending design is a modified zipper frac (MZF), where fractures are initiated in a staggered pattern to induce stress, not only at the tips, but also in the middle area between fractures.
A second patent has been filed to cover an optimization technique that maximizes production through variable spacing between hydraulic fractures. Fractures are not spread equally; instead, measurements are taken after the first fracture to determine placement of subsequent fractures.
November 25, 2012 – November 19, 2012
- Drs. Karlene A. Hoo and Raghunathan Rengasamy were awarded $15,000 by Various Sponsors - Industrial. The title of the proposal was "Process Control Consortium."
Civil and Environmental Engineering
- Drs. Douglas A. Smith and Delong Zuo were awarded $10,000 by NSF/Colorado State Univ. The title of the proposal was "Wind Tunnel Comparative Study."
- Dr. Eonsuk Shin was awarded $5,339 by the ETRI, Korea. The title of the proposal was "Study on the Robot Component Fault Processing and Recovery Mechanism."
Center for Nanophotonics
- Drs. Hongxing Jiang and Jingyu Lin were awarded $158,000 by the U.S. Dept of Energy. The title of the proposal was "Optical and Electrical Properties of III-Nitrides and Related Materials."
Center for Pulsed Power and Power Electronics
- Dr. James C. Dickens was awarded $50,066 by the Lockheed Martin Corporation. The title of the proposal was "RF Amplifier and HV DC/DC Power Supply Design and Construction."
Electrical and Computer Engineering
- Dr. Changzhi Li was awarded $102,010 by the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of TX. The title of the proposal was "CPRIT: Beam-scanning Radar for Tumor Tracking in Lung Cancer Radiotherapy."
- Dr. Luciano Castillo was awarded $71,577.50 by NSF/Johns Hopkins University. The title of the proposal was "PIRE: USA/Europe Partnership for Integrated Research and Education in Wind Energy Intermittency: From Wind Farm Turbulence to Economic Management."
See a full listing of the college's events on the Engineering Master Calendar.
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