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Student Accomplishments
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Researchers Receive $1.2 Million for Better Explosives Detection

Explosives Detection

Four Texas Tech professors recently received a four-year $1.2 million grant from the Office of Naval Research to develop more effective detection systems for finding explosive material.

The grant funds a project titled “Resolving the Complexity of Hot Spots Caused by Weak Energy Concentration and Coupling in Composite Energetic Materials.”

“In layman’s terms, basically we’re trying to enhance detection for explosives,” said Dr. Louisa Hope-Weeks, an associate professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. “The new technology can be used by the Department of Homeland Security, the Transportation Security Administration and military applications.”

Recipients of the competitive grant also included Drs. Brandon Weeks, an associate professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering; Greg McKenna, a Horn Professor and holder of the John R. Bradford Chair in Engineering in the Department of Chemical Engineering; and Michelle Pantoya, a professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

“We need better, more enhanced sensitivity to keep up with what’s out there,” Weeks said. “Things are changing around the world. The problem now is they’re making homemade explosives that current sensors can’t find.”

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Hope-Weeks Named Associate Dean for Research


Dr. Louisa Hope-Weeks, an associate professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, has been named the new associate dean for research in the Whitacre College of Engineering.

She is among the top researchers in the STEM discipline at Texas Tech and will help the college bring researchers together from both engineering and arts and sciences.

She will begin her role as the associate dean this summer.

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Faculty Recognitions

Lawson Wins Engineering Education Excellence Award


Dr. William Lawson, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, has been awarded the 2011 "Engineering Education Excellence Award" from the Sustaining Universities Program of the Professional Engineers in Higher Education of the National Society of Professional Engineers.

This national award recognizes engineering faculty who have demonstrated the ability to link engineering education with professional practice. The recipients must be licensed and have a tenure-track faculty appointment in an ABET-accredited engineering program.

Student Accomplishments

Students Win "Novel Design" Category at Sandia National Laboratories MEMS Contest

Dragonfly MEMS
Dragonfly MEMS

Texas Tech students won the "Novel Design" Category at the Sandia National Laboratories MEMS Student Design Contest.

Student researchers presented their microelectromechanical system (MEMS) designs to the scrutiny of Sandia engineers. The team included:

Name Major Classification
Sahil Oak (Lead Student) ECE Doctoral
Ashwin Vijayasai (Lead Student) ECE Doctoral
Justin Brough ECE Master's
Jarrod Haning ECE Master's
Gautham Ramachandran ECE Master's
Jeremy White ECE Undergraduate

Texas Tech students won for their MEMS-based dragonfly design. The dragonfly opens new possibilities in the design of aerial surveillance devices, which have many uses, from quantifying the radiation leaking from damaged Japanese nuclear reactors to delineating enemy positions. Components in state-of-the-art micro air machines range from 15 cm to slightly less than 1 cm. The insect-inspired device is smaller, with biologically mimetic wings approximately 0.5 millimeters long (about the width of five human hairs) and 0.1 mm wide. It is intended to generate aerodynamic lift and thrust by flapping its wings instead of a motor-driven propeller or jet thrust. Flapping is achieved when small intermittent electric currents cause thermal expansion and contraction in the wings. Clever engineering uses the wing material's response to create strokes that are more aerodynamic and hence more efficient.

The work was supervised by faculty advisor Dr. Tim Dallas, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering.

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Grants and Contracts

5-24-2011 – 6-19-2011

Chemical Engineering

  • Dr. Brandon L. Weeks was awarded $4,500 by the Dept of Homeland Security/Northeastern University. The title of the proposal was "REU: ALERT: Awareness and Localization of Explosives-Related Threats."
  • Dr. Micah J. Green was awarded $135,560 by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. The title of the proposal was "YIP: Interfacial Engineering for Low-density Graphene Nanocomposites and Fluids."

Civil and Environmental Engineering

  • Dr. Sang Wook Bae was awarded $30,000 by CRSI Education and Research Fdn. The title of the proposal was "Evaluation of the Tensile Mechanical Properties of Coiled Reinforcing Bars."
  • Drs. Priyantha W. Jayawickrama and William D. Lawson were awarded $12,026 by The Reinforced Earth Company. The title of the proposal was "MSE Pullout Testing for RECo HA Ladder and HA Strip Reinforcements."

Center for Multidisciplinary Research in Transportation

  • Dr. William D. Lawson was awarded $72,734 by the Texas Department of Transportation. The title of the proposal was "5-9044 Winter Weather Management and Operations Curriculum Development and Instruction."
  • Micah J. Beierle, Phillip T. Nash, and Dr. Sanjaya P. Senadheera were awarded $49,814 by the Texas Department of Transportation. The title of the proposal was "6735 Best Practices for TxDOT on Handling Wildfires."
  • Dr. Moon-Cheol Won was awarded $5,000 by the Texas Department of Transportation. The title of the proposal was "Technical Support for Rigid Pavement and Concrete Materials Branch 46-IMTIA018."

Electrical and Computer Engineering

  • Dr. Vittal S. Rao was awarded $41,000 by the National Science Foundation. The title of the proposal was "MRI-Development of Real Time Simulator for Smart Grid Systems Integrated with Distributed Renewable Energy Sources."

Industrial Engineering

  • Dr. Timothy I. Matis was awarded $50,000 by CELDi Center-Designated Projects. The title of the proposal was "CELDi: Knowledge Management System."
  • Dr. Iris V. Rivero was awarded $10,000 by FARM Orthopedics. The title of the proposal was "Design and Fabrication of Novel Porous Biodegradable Composite Scaffolds for Articular Cartilage Tissue Engineering."
  • Drs. Jennifer A. Farris and Timothy I. Matis were awarded $48,746 by Medical Center Hospital (Odessa, Tx). The title of the proposal was "Impact of Computerized Physician Order Entry on Workflow and Employee Roles in Inpatient Units."

Mechanical Engineering

  • Dr. Michelle L. Pantoya was awarded $49,999 by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency/WTAMU. The title of the proposal was "Biocidal Energetic Materials."
  • Dr. Alan A. Barhorst was awarded $5,000 by FIRST in Texas. The title of the proposal was "FIRST Tech Challenge Robotics Outreach."

Water Resources Center

  • Drs. Ernest B. Fish, Elma A. Hernandez, Kenneth A. Rainwater, and Richard E. Zartman were awarded $224,230 by the Texas State Soil & Water Conservation Board. The title of the proposal was "Application of the EDYS Decision Tool for Modeling of Target Sites for Water Yield Enhancement through Brush Control."

Publications and Presentations

Dr. Mohamed Soliman


Dr. Mohamed Soliman, department chair and George P. Livermore Chair in Petroleum Engineering, had several papers published recently.

His paper, "Investigation of Effect of Fracturing Fluid on After-Closure Analysis in Gas Reservoirs," was published in the May 2011 issue of SPE Production & Operations.

Soliman presented "Altering Sweep Profiles during Water flooding Using Near-Wellbore and Deep Reservoir Controls" at the SPE/DGS Annual Technical Symposium and Exhibition in Al-Khobar, Saudi Arabia on May 15-18, 2011

He will present "Geomechanical study of the multistage fracturing process for horizontal wells" at the 45th US Rock Mechanics / Geomechanics Symposium in San Francisco, California on June 26–29, 2011.

Dr. Yong Chen


Dr. Yong Chen, an assistant professor of computer science, had several papers presented recently.

His paper, "A Cost-intelligent Application-specific Data Layout Scheme for Parallel File Systems," was presented at the 20th International Symposium on High Performance Distributed Computing (HPDC'11) in San Jose, California on June 8-11, 2011.

Chen presented "LACIO: A New Layout-Aware Collective I/O Strategy for Parallel I/O Systems" at the 25th IEEE International Parallel and Distributed Processing Symposium (IPDPS'11) in Anchorage, Alaska on May 16-20.


Sudqi Alayyan


Sudqi H. Alayyan, associate professor of engineering technology, passed away on Tuesday, June 14, 2011 in Lubbock, Texas. He was 68 years old.

Alayyan began working as a lecturer in the Department of Engineering Technology at Texas Tech in 1978, where he was awarded tenure and made associate professor in 2001. He served as coordinator and undergraduate advisor until his retirement in 2010. In 2011, he was awarded the title of associate professor emeritus.

Events of Interest

June 22 3 p.m. Presentation - Ali Nejat
"Modeling Dynamics of Post Disaster Recovery"
Livermore Center 101
June 30   Summer I Classes End
July 1-2   Summer I Final Exams
July 4   Independence Day Holiday
July 5   Summer II Faculty on Duty
July 6   Summer II Classes Begin
July 17-29   ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp

See more events on the college's online calendar.

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Jul 11, 2014