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December 2014

From the Dean

As the Winter Solstice approaches and 2014 draws to a close, I'm excited about the innovations the coming year will bring here at the college as we continue to educate globally aware engineers, undertake vital research, and transform our research results into solutions that address a wide range of global problems.

Below, you'll read about some of these solutions, including a faster way to thaw frozen blood to speed emergency transfusions, using radar to track hazardous waves and keep ships safe, new methods for analyzing the risk of landslides, maintaining privacy in homes and offices cleaned by robots, and much more.

We're also very excited to announce our inaugural Engineering Research Expo coming up on March 4th at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland. This event is another way we demonstrate the contributions our graduate students make in discovering solutions to the world's pressing challenges. I hope you can join us there. The event is free and open to the public but registration is required.

In the meantime, I wish you and yours a holiday season of connection and community. And I thank you for being a part of the community that is Oregon State Engineering.

Go Beavs!

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


Microfluidic device might speed transfusions, improve global blood supplies
OSU bioengineers, led by Adam Higgins, an associate professor in the School of Chemical, Biological, and Environmental Engineering, have identified a way to use a membrane-based, microfluidic device to rapidly prepare frozen red blood cells for transfusions, which might improve management of the world’s blood supply. More…

See also article in The Scientist.

Keeping ships safe at sea by tracking hazardous waves
A team of OSU researchers led by Merrick Haller, an associate professor in the School of Civil and Construction Engineering, is exploring the use of radar to keep track of rogue waves and hazardous currents at locations like the mouth of the Columbia River, where its fast-flowing current collides with the Pacific's waves and wind gusts in a deadly mix that has killed some 700 people and sunk 2,000 ships since 1792. More…

New findings about water's behavior on surfaces
A new study by a research team that includes Líney Árnadóttir, an assistant professor in the School of Chemical, Biological, and Environmental Engineering, answers key questions regarding water's behavior on metal surfaces — findings that contradict older theoretical studies and can help improve surface chemistry modeling methods used for interpreting experimental measurements and predicting surface phenomena. More…

A faster way to spot landslide risks
A new technology developed in part by Michael Olson, an assistant professor of geomatics in the School of Civil and Construction Engineering, uses lidar surveying systems to identify and classify landslide risks in a matter of minutes instead of weeks or months — a breakthrough that might revolutionize the understanding of landslides and reveal them to be far more common and hazardous than often understood. More…

Faculty & Staff

Addressing privacy concerns for robots that clean offices and homes
Bill Smart, an associate professor of robotics in the School of Mechanical, Industrial, and Manufacturing Engineering, is included in a New Scientist article about privacy issues for robots that clean homes and offices. Smart, whose research includes telerobotic privacy, has designed a system to change bed sheets using a PR2 robot that allows homeowners to specify 3D areas to censor. More…

Conley named 2015 IEEE fellow for outstanding research record
The Institute of Electronics and Electronics Engineers has named John Conley, a professor in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, a 2015 IEEE Fellow for his contributions to semiconductor process technology to improve radiation hardening of MOS devices. More on Conley’s research… and More about the IEEE fellow program…

Energy lab lands $500K to study residential natural gas generators
Chris Hagen, an assistant professor in the School of Mechanical, Industrial, and Manufacturing Engineering and director of the Energy Systems Laboratory at the OSU-Cascades Campus in Bend, has received a $500,000 grant to lead a research project to benchmark home natural gas-fueled generators, which rely on residential natural gas to create electricity for home use. More…


Hybrid energy systems key to future of weather-reliant renewable energy
Joshua Merritt, a graduate student in the School of Mechanical, Industrial, and Manufacturing Engineering, has co-authored an analysis that shows much of the weather-reliant issues surrounding renewable energy from wind and solar could be overcome by developing “hybrid” energy systems that, in tandem with a smart grid and enhanced energy storage, combine two forms of energy generation so one is able to cover the other. More…


NuScale Power inks agreement with UK group for collaboration
The UK's Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, part of the University of Sheffield, has signed an agreement to work with College of Engineering spinout company NuScale Power on its 50 MW small modular reactor. The agreement opens the way for potential collaboration in the development and manufacture of the NuScale technology. More…

Two tough hurdles to wave energy development: funding and patience
In an article about the challenges of wave energy, Ted Brekken, an associate professor of energy systems in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, says engineering isn't the most challenging aspect of marine hydrokinetic development — money and patience are more important. More…

Making a Difference

New gift from NuScale Power launches UK-U.S. internships
NuScale Power, an OSU College of Engineering spinout company, has provided a $45,000 gift to the OSU Foundation to establish the NuScale Power Research Fund, aimed at launching collaborative research and education programs related to small-scale, modular nuclear reactor design, NuScale’s technology development focus. More…

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