Hieu Quang Pham, the Korea Section Student Award winner for 2018.

Nomination Deadline: September 30, 2018

ECS recognizes outstanding technical achievements in electrochemistry and solid-state science and technology through its Honors & Awards Program. There are many deserving members of the Korea Section among us and this is an opportunity to highlight their contributions.

We are currently accepting nominations for the following award:

Korea Section Student Award was established in 2005 to recognize academic accomplishments in any area of science or engineering in which electrochemical and/or solid state science and technology is the central consideration. The award is intended to encourage students who are pursuing a PhD at a Korean university to initiate or continue careers in the field.

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(Learn more about corrosion science and technology, visit us at AiMES 2018 in Cancun, Mexico from September 30 – October 4, 2018.)

Gerald Frankel

Gerald Frankel, a technical editor of the Journal of The Electrochemical Society, corrosion expert, and open access advocate.

The aftereffects of the Flint water crisis is still felt strongly four years later. Just this year, dozens of Flint, Michigan, residents were outraged by the state’s decision to end a free bottled water program. A program that came into effect after it was discovered the water in Flint was unsafe for consumption.

The catastrophe came to fruition when measures were taken by elected officials to cut costs. The result of which led to tainted drinking water that contained lead and other toxins.

Gerald Frankel, a professor of materials science and engineering at The Ohio State University, touched on the matter in an ECS Podcast interview.

“It was avoidable,” says Frankel, who explained that because water is corrosive, drinking water is treated to reduce the corrosive effects on the pipes that carry it. However, due to financial issues the town of Flint was facing, their source of the water changed from Lake Michigan to the Flint River. “And they decided not to do this chemical treatment.”

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Jan Talbot (center) with Wendy Coulson (left) and Nicole Pacheco (right), Talbot’s graduate students.

One of the pioneers for women in engineering, Jan Talbot retired from the University of California San Diego on July 1, 2018.

Talbot was one of two women in her chemical engineering class at Penn State University. In 1970, when she started her program, there were only seven women and nearly 3,000 men in engineering.

According to the National Science Foundation, in 1973, 576 women in the U.S. graduated with a bachelor’s degree in engineering. Two years later, Talbot was one of the 372 women that earned a master’s.

After completing her degrees at Penn State, she became one of two women in her class to graduate from the University of Minnesota in 1986 with a doctorate in engineering and one of 225 women to earn that degree in the whole country.

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RocketA team of engineers from Monash University have successfully test-fired the world’s first 3D printed rocket engine. By utilizing a unique aerospike design, the team, led by ECS fellow Nick Birbilis, was able to increase efficiency levels over that of traditional bell-shaped rockets.

This from The Standard:

Its design works by firing the gases along a spike and using atmospheric pressure to create a virtual bell.

The shape of the spike allows the engine to maintain high efficiency over a wider range of altitude and air pressures. It’s a much more complex design but is difficult to build using traditional technology.

Read the full article.

“We were able to focus on the features that boost the engine’s performance, including the nozzle geometry and the embedded cooling network,” Birbilis says. “These are normally balanced against the need to consider how on earth someone is going to manufacture such a complex piece of equipment. Not so with additive manufacturing. Going from concept to testing in just four months is an amazing achievement.”

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By: Carolyn Conner Seepersad, University of Texas at Austin

Women in engineeringAs millions of students of all ages return to school this fall, they are making important choices that have a strong influence on their eventual career path – which college majors to pursue, which high school classes to take, even which elementary school extracurricular activities to join. Many of them – especially women, girls and members of minority groups – make choices that lead them away from professions in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Women are just 13 percent of mechanical engineering undergraduate students. And women earn only 14.2 percent of doctorate degrees in mechanical engineering. More broadly, women make up 49 percent of the college-educated workforce, but only 14 percent of practicing engineers nationwide.

When these disparities persist, everyone suffers. Women miss out on opportunities in growing and highly paid occupations that require science and engineering skills. Furthermore, diverse design teams are more innovative and often avoid key flaws when designing products and systems with which we interact on a daily basis. Early airbags designed by primarily male design teams worked for adult male bodies, but resulted in avoidable deaths of female and child passengers. Early voice recognition systems failed to recognize female voices because they were calibrated for standard male voices.

How can we get more women into engineering fields, and help them stay for their whole careers? We need their insight and creativity to help solve the problems facing our world.

Options for action

Experts tell us that there are a variety of things that will help. For example, we need to encourage young girls to develop their spatial skills, laying the foundation for further scientific exploration as they grow.

We also need to find ways to help women feel less alone as they help us build a more inclusive engineering community. This includes hosting female-focused engineering interest groups on campuses and in workplaces, and highlighting engineering role models who reflect the true diversity of our population.

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A team lead by Bradley Bundy, chemical engineering associate professor, is paving the way for new life-saving vaccine technology.Image: Mark A. Philbrick

A team lead by Brad Bundy, chemical engineering associate professor, is paving the way for new life-saving vaccine technology.
Image: Mark A. Philbrick

When viruses emerge—spreading in a rapid and extensive way—researchers must scramble to create life-saving vaccines. At Brigham Young University, researchers are working to speed up that process.

A team of chemical engineers has devised a way to create machinery for vaccine production en masse, freeze drying the produced vaccines and stockpiling them for future use. This development could aid in relief efforts when new viruses hit populations, allowing researchers to rapidly produce vaccines.

“You could just pull it off the shelf and make it,” says Brad Bundy, senior author of the study. “We could make the vaccine and be ready for distribution in a day.”

This from Brigham Young University:

Bundy’s idea is a new angle on the emerging method of ‘cell-free protein synthesis,’ a process that combines DNA to make proteins needed for drugs (instead of growing protein in a cell). His lab is creating a system where the majority of the work is done beforehand so vaccine kits can be ready to go and be activated at the drop of a dime.

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Stormwater as a Solution to Water Shortage

Communities are facing pressing water and sanitation issues across the globe. Recently, ECS tackled this issue through a partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to establish the Science for Solving Society’s Problems Challenge. While ECS is working on a global level to encourage life-saving research in water and sanitation, researchers at Stanford University and working on innovative solutions to these issues in their own back yard.

Solving Sanitation

The water infrastructure that is currently in place in many semiarid and highly populated regions is reaching its limit. When taking recent droughts and population booms into consideration, many communities are beginning to fear water shortages. However, environmental engineer and Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment Senior Fellow, Richard Luthy, believes that answer to this problem has been right in front of us all along.

“These are billion-dollar problems,” said Luthy. “Meeting water needs in the future is going to depend a lot on how we reuse water and what we do with stormwater.”

Capture and Reuse Stormwater

Luthy is currently looking at ways to capture and treat stormwater to assist in alleviating current water supply issues in densely populated, semiarid environments. The environmental engineer is proposing a stormwater capture center that would be situated on 50-acres of currently unused space. Not only could the treatment plant help secure water infrastructure and the needs of the community, but it could also help the environment.

With stormwater comes runoff. This runoff is contaminated with harmful chemicals and often makes its way into oceans and streams. By recovering and cleaning a large portion of the stormwater, researchers believe that we will see a decrease in water pollution due to runoff.

Wind Turbine System Recycles Wasted Energy

Wind energy has been rising in the ranks when it comes to renewable energy sources. In the United States alone, wind energy produces enough electricity to power roughly 18 million homes—with about 48,000 utility-scale wind turbines operating nationally. While wind energy shows promising potential, there is still room for scientists to tweak this technology in order to yield higher efficiency levels.

The latest prototype of a new wind turbine system was developed with that goal in mind. The new system from researchers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) is set to yield 8.5 percent more electricity than current wind turbines.

Powering the Future

While wind turbines are a promising source of alternative energy, they tend to produce a decent amount of surplus energy that has not been able to be harvested and utilized. The newly developed turbine prototype examines that issue and can now store surplus energy for later use as electricity.

When comparing the new prototype and current generation wind turbines, the new turbines have the potential to yield up to an extra 16,400 kwh of electricity per month—coming in around 18 times the amount of energy a single United States household uses in a month.

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Lab-on-a-Chip Changes Clinical Practice

Biomedical engineers are getting closer to perfecting novel lab-on-a-chip technology. The latest breakthrough from Rutgers University shows promising results for significant cost cutbacks on life-saving tests for disorders ranging from HIV to Lyme disease.

This from Rutgers University:

The new device uses miniaturized channels and values to replace “benchtop” assays – tests that require large samples of blood or other fluids and expensive chemicals that lab technicians manually mix in trays of tubes or plastic plates with cup-like depressions.

Read the full article.

Changing Clinical Practice 

The new development builds on previous lab-on-a-chip research, such as the device from Brigham Young University to improve and simplify the speed of detection of prostate cancer and kidney disease. Researchers from Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne have also propelled this novel research with their lab-on-a-chip device that can make the study of tumor cells significantly more efficient.

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Lili Deligianni is a Research Scientist and Principal Investigator at IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center. Her innovative work in chemical engineering has led to cutting-edge developments in chip technology and thin film solar cells. Lili has been with ECS for many years and currently serves as the Society’s Secretary.

Listen to the podcast and download this episode and others for free through the iTunes Store, SoundCloud, or our RSS Feed. You can also find us on Stitcher.

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