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November 2014

From the Dean

As you'll read in this issue of Momentum!, the OSU College of Engineering trains a unique class of engineers — who acquire a strong technical foundation coupled with well-developed leadership skills and a broad worldview. During marathon team projects, classroom interaction, industry internships, and hands-on lab work, Oregon State Engineers learn the value of clear communication and collaboration, while attaining a breadth of knowledge in engineering fundamentals and a depth of technical expertise in a chosen discipline.

Our graduates are locally conscious, globally aware leaders who think critically, question assumptions, and go on to tackle seemingly unsolvable problems, all while building community and contributing to a better world.

As we enter this season of thanks, I'm grateful to be a part of this college, and I extend my gratitude to everyone in the OSU Engineering community for your ongoing support and your hard work to build a better world.

Go Beavs!

Scott A. Ashford, Ph.D.
Kearney Professor and Dean
College of Engineering
Oregon State University

Research

After dam removal, rivers quickly return to natural state
Ecologists have worried the release of sediment behind dams slated for removal might harm habitat and cause flooding, but a new study by Desirée Tullos, associate professor in the School of Biological and Ecological Engineering, finds that from a biological and physical perspective, rivers return to their natural state surprisingly quickly after dams are removed. Read more here, and download the paper...

Life cycle analysis of wind turbines shows 6-month payback
Critics contend renewable energy is no better than fossil fuels when the entire life cycle of manufacturing and installation is factored in, but Karl Haapala, assistant professor in the School of Mechanical, Industrial, and Manufacturing Engineering, and Preedanood Prempreeda, ('12 M.S. Industrial Engineering) found that, during the first six months of operation, a wind turbine produces the same amount of energy required to build and install it. More…

Tomorrow's robots might mimic ostriches
Jonathan Hurst, an associate professor in the School of Mechanical, Industrial, and Manufacturing Engineering, and collaborators have demonstrated how an ostrich's speed, energy conservation, and ability to stay upright is unmatched in other animals, including humans. The findings, published in the Journal of Experimental Biology, might influence development of future bipedal robots. More…

Professors participate in post-earthquake reconnaissance
André Barbosa and Ben Mason, assistant professors in the School of Civil and Construction Engineering, participated in a post-earthquake reconnaissance effort following the August 24, 6.0 magnitude South Napa earthquake in California. Barbosa was named the Structures Lead on the just-published Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) Special Earthquake Report, which contains data related to the seismic hazard, behavior of structures and lifelines, and other information for improving the seismic resilience of communities. Download the report…

Tips from the sidewinder rattler helps develop robot snakes
A team of researchers that includes Ross Hatton, an assistant professor in the OSU School of Mechanical, Industrial, and Manufacturing Engineering, has published a study in Science about the sidewinder snake's ability to quickly and efficiently climb sandy hills and slopes. The team hopes to mimic that ability in robotic snakes that could one day help locate people in collapsed buildings, inspect nuclear power plants, and more. More…

Portable signs, lighting boost safety during highway construction
John Gambatese, a professor in the School of Civil and Construction Engineering, conducted a study that found using sufficient lighting, portable signage (including changeable message signs in combination with radar speed displays), and a visible police presence are among several contributing factors that improve worker safety on highway paving project. Read more here, and download the report…

Faculty & Staff

Barbosa named Kearney faculty scholar
André Barbosa, an assistant professor in the School of Civil and Construction Engineering, whose research focuses on structural performance and resilience of the built environment in response to earthquakes, fires, and tsunamis, has been named the new Kearney Faculty Scholar in Civil and Construction Engineering. The 3-year endowed position was established through the generosity of Lee ('63 Civil Engineering) and Connie Kearney, who committed $2.5 million in 2010 to create two faculty endowments.

Prioritizing pedestrians at intersections
David Hurwitz, an assistant professor in the School of Civil and Construction Engineering, is working to make pedestrian crossings safer at intersections where vehicle left turns are permitted while pedestrians are trying to cross. Adding a small green arrow at these intersections to create "permitted left turns" is a relatively quick and inexpensive fix that could save lives. More…

Tiny reactor could help farmers make biofuel
Goran Jovanovic, a professor in the School of Chemical, Biological, and Environmental Engineering, has developed a credit card-sized chemical reactor that uses microchannels to quickly convert vegetable oil into biodiesel. The technology could help farmers convert a portion of their crops into homegrown biofuel to operate agricultural equipment instead of relying on fossil fuel. More…

Integrating high school students into research labs
Every year, Margaret Burnett, a professor in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, invites a handful of students, both current high schoolers and recent graduates, to work side-by-side with her graduate students in her lab, where the students become fully integrated into her established research team and gain skills and experience not available in K-12 classrooms. More…

Marine researcher takes helm at wave lab
Pedro Lomónaco, an expert in coastal and maritime engineering, has been named the director of OSU's O.H. Hinsdale Wave Research Laboratory. Previously the director of a marine research facility at the University of Cantabria in Spain, Lomónaco has co-authored more than 60 publications on wave generation and propagation, the stability of coastal and submarine structures, the behavior of floating structures, and other topics. More…

How the "Big One" could impact Central Oregon
Scott Ashford, dean of the College of Engineering and chair of the Oregon Resilience Task Force studying the state's earthquake preparedness, told an audience in Central Oregon that although the region will not bear the brunt of an earthquake in the Cascadia subduction zone off the Oregon Coast, it will play a critical role in relief efforts, including the Redmond airport temporarily serving as the state's primary airport. More…

Robots go to war against Ebola
William Smart, associate professor of mechanical engineering at Oregon State University, presented a video of a robot that can remove sheets from a patient's bed and discard contaminated linen. More…

OSU Researchers Create Thought-Controlled Robot Limbs
Ravi Balasubramanian, an assistant professor in the School of Mechanical, Industrial, and Manufacturing Engineering, and his team are developing mechanical components — pulleys and gears — to be used in prosthetic devices. The goal of his researchers is to gain a deeper understanding of how robotics can be controlled by the human body and mind. More…

Students

Beavers' starting punter applies an engineering mind to fourth-and-long
Oregon State's walk-on starting punter Keith Kostol taps his engineering mind when booting ideal-distance punts with long hang times. Kostol grew up tearing apart everything from appliances and a city bus to television sets and lawnmowers, and he's now an electrical engineering major at OSU, and the go-to kicker for the Beavers on fourth down. More…

Industry

Puralytics nets $1.1M, tests device at new Oregon BEST lab at OSU
Beaverton water purification startup Puralytics has raised $1.1 million from investors and is using additional funding from Oregon BEST to test its solar-activated 'LilyPad' stormwater treatment technology in the new OSU-Benton County Green Stormwater Infrastructure Research Facility, an Oregon BEST Lab located at the Benton County Public Works Dept. More…

Take a tour of the NuScale control room and test facility
OSU nuclear energy spinoff NuScale Power has approximately 380 workers in three cities (including 200 in Corvallis) and has spent $230 million developing its modular nuclear reactor technology, the NuScale Power Module. Take a tour of NuScale's control room with José Reyes, the company's chief technology officer and Oregon State professor in the department of Nuclear Engineering and Radiation Health Physics. More…

Programs

Making way for BYOx at CoE (where x is any technology solution)
Three years ago, the College of Engineering's IT team, led by Todd Shechter, turned to XenApp and XenDesktop to give engineering students and faculty browser-based, device-agnostic access to learning resources, and doing so has added benefits, including enabling students to view computer lab desktops from any device. Their efforts are featured in EdTech. More…

Students spend sleepless weekend doing marathon design
On October 18-19, during 30 sleepless hours at OSU's second hardware development competition called Hardware Weekend (HWeekend), diverse teams of OSU students completed projects such as a prosthetic hand and a spinning LED display — feats that amazed everyone involved, including representatives from the sponsoring company, Rockwell Collins. More…

Alumni

OSU dedicates newest residence hall in honor of Salem engineer
Music, laughter, and tears were all part of a dedication celebration for the William H. Tebeau Hall, Oregon State's newest residence hall on campus, named after the late engineering alumnus William Tebeau ('48 B.S. Chemical Engineering).
Read the full story and see photographs here…

The amazing story of the blind engineer (who is also a triathlete)
Patricia Walsh ('06 B.S. Computer Science) excels at everything she does — had successful stints at Microsoft and Mozido, broke records in a triathalon, launched a motivational speaking business, and wrote a book. She's also blind. She says it's tough to make math accessible to blind people, especially advanced math, where seeing problems and figures is an important part of learning. More…

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