Tuesday, December 20, 2011

23 Students Inducted in Tau Beta Pi at Brown

Tau Beta Pi, the engineering honor society, inducted 23 new members into the Rhode Island Alpha chapter at Brown University on Saturday, December 3. Fourteen juniors were inducted along with nine seniors.

Among the 14 juniors elected were: Ross J. Browne ’13, Derek  Croote ’13, Eric C. Greenstein ’13, Kaan T. Gunay ’13, Mia M. Helfrich ’13, Steven I. Klurfeld ’13, Max Y. Liberman ’13, Visarute Pinrod ’13, Patipan Prasertson ’13, Rebecca R. Reitz ’13, Sahar Shahamatdar ’13, Jeremy R. Wagner ’13, Kasey A. Wagner ’13, and Adam D. Wyron ’13.

The eight seniors elected included: Anastassia Astafieva ’12, Natalie E. Bodington-Rosen ’12, Karine Ip Kiun Chong ’12, Kelsey J. MacMillan ’12, Henry H. Mattingly ’12, Emir V. Okan ’12, Alejandro Rivera Rivera ’12, Pablo L. Sanchez Santaeufemia ’12, and Reid T. Westwood ’12.

Tau Beta Pi, founded in 1885, is the second oldest Greek-letter honor society in America; the oldest is Phi Beta Kappa. While Phi Beta Kappa is restricted to students in the liberal arts, Tau Beta Pi is designed to “offer appropriate recognition for superior scholarship and exemplary character to students in engineering.”

In order to be inducted into the prestigious honor society, juniors must rank in the top eighth of their class and seniors must rank in the top fifth of their class. Graduate students who have completed at least 50% of their degree requirements and who rank in the top fifth of their class are also eligible to become candidates for membership.

The Rhode Island Alpha chapter is not only an honor society to pay tribute to outstanding students, it also provides a vehicle for these students to assume a role of leadership at Brown and to be of distinctive service. Tau Beta Pi members are active in engineering student publications, the engineering recruiting project, and in a variety of other organizations.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Professor Huajian Gao to Receive Rodney Hill Prize from IUTAM

Huajian Gao, Walter H. Annenberg Professor of Engineering at Brown University, will receive the 2012 Rodney Hill Prize from the International Union of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics (IUTAM). The prize, which consists of a plaque and a check for $25,000, is awarded in recognition of outstanding research in the field of solid mechanics and is awarded only once every four years in conjunction with the International Congress of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics (ICTAM). The initial prize was awarded at ICTAM 2008 in Adelaide, Australia. Professor Gao will receive his award during ICTAM 2012 which will be held in Beijing, China, from August 19-24, 2012.

Professor Gao receives the prize for his deep and broad scientific achievements in basic solid mechanics and its bridge to other fields, which has re-defined the modern frontiers of mechanics research. His work includes fundamental theory as well as applications to materials science, nanotechnology, and bioengineering. His highly cited publications appear not only in the major solid mechanics journals but also in many high-profile, cross-disciplinary journals.

"I want to warmly congratulate Professor Gao on this prestigious and well deserved award," said Dean Larry Larson. "His groundbreaking work shows how the field of solid mechanics - an area of historic national leadership at Brown - can have an impact on fields as diverse as health care, the environment and information technology."

Professor Gao received his B.S. degree from Xian Jiaotong University of China in 1982, and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in engineering science from Harvard University in 1984 and 1988, respectively. He served on the faculty of Stanford University between 1988 and 2002, where he was promoted to associate professor with tenure in 1994 and to full professor in 2000. He was appointed as Director and Professor at the Max Planck Institute for Metals Research in Stuttgart, Germany between 2001 and 2006. He joined Brown University in 2006. Professor Gao has a background in applied mechanics and engineering science. He has more than 25 years of research experience and more than 300 publications to his credit.

Professor Gao’s research group is generally interested in understanding the basic principles that control mechanical properties and behaviors of both engineering and biological systems. His current research includes studies of how metallic and semiconductor materials behave in thin film and nanocrystalline forms, and how biological materials such as bones, geckos, and cells achieve their mechanical robustness through structural hierarchy.

About IUTAM and its Congress
The International Union of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics (IUTAM) is an international non-governmental scientific organization belonging to the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU), which was formed in 1946 and founded in 1948, with the objectives to form a link between persons and organizations engaged in scientific work in mechanics and related fields, and to promote the development of mechanics, both theoretical and applied, as a scientific discipline.

IUTAM achieves this aim mainly by organizing international meetings to deal with scientific problems. An International Congress on Theoretical and Applied Mechanics (ICTAM), including mini-symposia and pre-nominated sessions, is held every four years. It is organized by the Congress Committee, established by the IUTAM General Assembly.

Novel device removes heavy metals from water

Engineers at Brown University have developed a system that cleanly and efficiently removes trace heavy metals from water. In experiments, the researchers showed the system reduced cadmium, copper, and nickel concentrations, returning contaminated water to near or below federally acceptable standards. The technique is scalable and has viable commercial applications, especially in the environmental remediation and metal recovery fields. Results appear in the Chemical Engineering Journal.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — An unfortunate consequence of many industrial and manufacturing practices, from textile factories to metalworking operations, is the release of heavy metals in waterways. Those metals can remain for decades, even centuries, in low but still dangerous concentrations.

Ridding water of trace metals “is really hard to do,” said Joseph Calo, professor emeritus of engineering who maintains an active laboratory at Brown. He noted the cost, inefficiency, and time needed for such efforts. “It’s like trying to put the genie back in the bottle.”
That may be changing. Calo and other engineers at Brown describe a novel method that collates trace heavy metals in water by increasing their concentration so that a proven metal-removal technique can take over. In a series of experiments, the engineers report the method, called the cyclic electrowinning/precipitation (CEP) system, removes up to 99 percent of copper, cadmium, and nickel, returning the contaminated water to federally accepted standards of cleanliness. The automated CEP system is scalable as well, Calo said, so it has viable commercial potential, especially in the environmental remediation and metal recovery fields. The system’s mechanics and results are described in a paper published in the Chemical Engineering Journal.
A proven technique for removing heavy metals from water is through the reduction of heavy metal ions from an electrolyte. While the technique has various names, such as electrowinning, electrolytic removal/recovery or electroextraction, it all works the same way, by using an electrical current to transform positively charged metal ions (cations) into a stable, solid state where they can be easily separated from the water and removed. The main drawback to this technique is that there must be a high-enough concentration of metal cations in the water for it to be effective; if the cation concentration is too low — roughly less than 100 parts per million — the current efficiency becomes too low and the current acts on more than the heavy metal ions.
Another way to remove metals is through simple chemistry. The technique involves using hydroxides and sulfides to precipitate the metal ions from the water, so they form solids. The solids, however, constitute a toxic sludge, and there is no good way to deal with it. Landfills generally won’t take it, and letting it sit in settling ponds is toxic and environmentally unsound. “Nobody wants it, because it’s a huge liability,” Calo said.

Novel device removes heavy metals from water from Brown PAUR on Vimeo.

The dilemma, then, is how to remove the metals efficiently without creating an unhealthy byproduct. Calo and his co-authors, postdoctoral researcher Pengpeng Grimshaw and George Hradil, who earned his doctorate at Brown and is now an adjunct professor, combined the two techniques to form a closed-loop system. “We said, ‘Let’s use the attractive features of both methods by combining them in a cyclic process,’” Calo said.
It took a few years to build and develop the system. In the paper, the authors describe how it works. The CEP system involves two main units, one to concentrate the cations and another to turn them into stable, solid-state metals and remove them. In the first stage, the metal-laden water is fed into a tank in which an acid (sulfuric acid) or base (sodium hydroxide) is added to change the water’s pH, effectively separating the water molecules from the metal precipitate, which settles at the bottom. The “clear” water is siphoned off, and more contaminated water is brought in. The pH swing is applied again, first redissolving the precipitate and then reprecipitating all the metal, increasing the metal concentration each time. This process is repeated until the concentration of the metal cations in the solution has reached a point at which electrowinning can be efficiently employed.
When that point is reached, the solution is sent to a second device, called a spouted particulate electrode (SPE). This is where the electrowinning takes place, and the metal cations are chemically changed to stable metal solids so they can be easily removed. The engineers used an SPE developed by Hradil, a senior research engineer at Technic Inc., located in Cranston, R.I. The cleaner water is returned to the precipitation tank, where metal ions can be precipitated once again. Further cleaned, the supernatant water is sent to another reservoir, where additional processes may be employed to further lower the metal ion concentration levels. These processes can be repeated in an automated, cyclic fashion as many times as necessary to achieve the desired performance, such as to federal drinking water standards.
In experiments, the engineers tested the CEP system with cadmium, copper, and nickel, individually and with water containing all three metals. The results showed cadmium, copper, and nickel were lowered to 1.50, 0.23 and 0.37 parts per million (ppm), respectively — near or below maximum contaminant levels established by the Environmental Protection Agency. The sludge is continuously formed and redissolved within the system so that none is left as an environmental contaminant.
“This approach produces very large volume reductions from the original contaminated water by electrochemical reduction of the ions to zero-valent metal on the surfaces of the cathodic particles,” the authors write. “For an initial 10 ppm ion concentration of the metals considered, the volume reduction is on the order of 106.”
Calo said the approach can be used for other heavy metals, such as lead, mercury, and tin. The researchers are currently testing the system with samples contaminated with heavy metals and other substances, such as sediment, to confirm its operation.
The research was funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, a branch of the National Institutes of Health, through the Brown University Superfund Research Program.

by Richard Lewis

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Philippe Fauchet ScM '80 named dean at Vanderbilt School of Engineering

Philippe Fauchet ScM '80 will be the new dean of the school of engineering at Vanderbilt University.

Fauchet, currently chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Rochester, begins work at Vanderbilt July 1, pending approval by the Vanderbilt Board of Trust.

He graduated from Brown University in 1980 with a master’s in engineering. Fauchet earned his Ph.D. in applied physics from Stanford University in 1984.

“This is an important moment of transition for the School of Engineering,” said Vanderbilt Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos. “Philippe Fauchet is already well-known and respected at Vanderbilt because of his accomplishments at the University of Rochester, and we anticipate great success as he brings his dynamic leadership to our campus.”

Fauchet will succeed Dean Kenneth Galloway, who is returning to the faculty at the end of the current academic year after serving as dean since 1996.

“The engineering school is getting a visionary leader in Philippe Fauchet to build on the impressive contributions of Dean Ken Galloway,” said Richard McCarty, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs. “Philippe has broad experience as a researcher and he is a dedicated teacher and university citizen. I look forward to his arrival on campus with great excitement.”

Galloway disclosed to members of the engineering faculty last spring that the 2011-2012 academic year would be his last as dean. Fauchet was named his successor after a national search by a provost-appointed committee.

During Galloway’s tenure, research expenditures from external sources grew from less than $10 million to more than $60 million annually, according to Art Overholser, senior associate dean and professor of biomedical engineering and chemical engineering. The school has also experienced a steady rise in national rankings, facilities have been upgraded and outstanding faculty have been retained and recruited.

“I intend to build on the strong foundation laid by Dean Galloway and help the School of Engineering become a national leader that attracts the very best minds from the United States and abroad,” Fauchet said. “I think Vanderbilt can have important impact on issues including improving health for our aging population, energy production, the environment and security.”

Fauchet, 56, is the founder of Rochester’s Center for Future Health, where engineers and physicians work to develop affordable technology that can be used in the home. He is also the founder of the Energy Research Initiative, a university-wide effort at Rochester to coordinate and expand the university’s research and educational activities in all areas related to energy.

“With his considerable administrative experience and leadership skills, Philippe Fauchet will be a great fit for our School of Engineering and Vanderbilt University,” said M. Douglas LeVan, the J. Lawrence Wilson Professor of Engineering at Vanderbilt and chair of the committee that recommended Fauchet. “The range of his research interests is extraordinary.”

Fauchet has been the primary adviser of Ph.D. students in six different academic disciplines and is the author of 400 technical articles. He became the chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Rochester in July 2010.

“I have known Philippe for some 27 years,” said Dennis Hall, vice provost for research and dean of the Graduate School at Vanderbilt. “His collaborative style, his record as a fine classroom teacher, and his history of personal engagement with productive research related to energy, health care, nanoscience and more, make him an excellent match and catch for Vanderbilt.”

Fauchet and his wife, Melanie, a nurse practitioner, have 13 children ranging in age from 2 to 22. Eight of their children are adopted and five are biological.

The Vanderbilt School of Engineering, founded in 1886, is celebrating its 125th anniversary. It ranks No. 34 in U.S. News and World Report’s evaluations of engineering programs nationwide. While retaining its strong focus on teaching, leaders at the school have dramatically expanded its research component, with an emphasis on the development of technology that is useful and accessible to the general public.

“I am especially looking forward to working with other academic units at Vanderbilt and also with the federal and state government, industry and our alumni,” Fauchet said. “Together we can develop research and educational initiatives that will contribute to solve the most pressing societal problems the United States and the world are facing.”

- by Jim Patterson/Vanderbilt University News

Friday, December 9, 2011

Kipp Bradford ’95 ScM ’96 Wins Elevator Pitch Contest

Brown alumni and students had another strong showing at the sixth annual Rhode Island Elevator Pitch contest. The event, sponsored by the Rhode Island Business Plan Competition, was held at the Rhode Island Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (RI-CIE) and included 48 presenters.

The winner was Kipp Bradford ’95 ScM ’96, a Brown engineering alumnus and current faculty member, who pitched the KippCool Medical Cooling System, an ambulance-based emergency cooling system that could help improve the chance of survival for heart attack and stroke victims. According to Bradford, research has shown that cooling the body could reduce mortality by 50 percent. The device is currently in production and could be deployed in more than 35,000 ambulances across the country. Bradford and his company Kippkitts LLC took home the $300 first prize. Bradford described Kippkitts as a company that invents products that “solve problems that matter” in medical, engineering and design fields.

In total, four of the nine finalists had Brown connections. Two students from Steve Petteruti’s Entrepreneurship I class, Engineering 1930G, were also finalists. James McGinn ’12, a biomedical engineering concentrator, pitched JCD Wind, which aims to make seamless, high strength lightweight carbon fiber turbine blades. Han Lee ’12, a commerce, organizations, and entrepreneurship (COE) concentrator, pitched GLS Mobile Board, a solar-powered mobile display that will project on location-specific billboards, including the backs of trucks. Both of them won $50 each. In addition Brown student Brielle Friedman pitched BodyRox Fitness, a dance fitness company.

The contest required the competitors to pitch their business idea to a panel of six expert judges from the Rhode Island business community in 90 seconds. The contest is a prelude to the annual Rhode Island Business Plan Competition, which features more than $200,000 in cash and prizes. Applications for the business plan competition close on April 2. Winners will be announced on May 3. Please go to www.ri-bizplan.com for more details.

For the official RI Business plan release on the competition, please go to:

For the Providence Business News story on the event, please go to:

Monday, December 5, 2011

Extreme Gingerbread Competition a Success

The Brown University Society for Women Engineers held its fifth annual "Extreme Gingerbread House Competition" on Friday, December 2. Twenty-one teams of three to five students participated. The designs ranged from the traditional to the modern, and included a rugby stadium and a house with a windmill.

This year, the teams were challenged to build earthquake resistant gingerbread houses out of graham crackers, icing, candy canes, pretzels, gummy bears and other supplied materials in a one-hour time period. Houses were required to be hollow with a maximum wall thickness of one inch, and had to exceed 6” x 6” x6”. The houses were judged both for aesthetics, and amount of time without breaking on a shake table.

Team six, the Band (Rebecca Corman ’13, Rebecca Reitz ’13, David Emanuel ’13, Yukun Gao ‘13), won the competition with a score of 64.67 (20.67 appearance score and 44 structure score), while team ten, the Competition (Dingyi Sun ’12, Bao-Nhat Nguyen ’12, Lingke Wang ’12, Mike Caron ’12, Anand Desai ’12), was close behind with a total score of 63 (13 for appearance plus 50 for structure). Team 17, who built a replica rugby stadium, (Emily Hsieh ’12, Zuleyka Marquez ‘15, Natalie Klotz ‘14, Marissa Reitsma ‘14, Blair Station ‘12), finished in third with a score of 62 (20.67 for appearance and 41.33 for structure). In all, only one of the 21 teams, team ten, survived the maximum time on the shake table.

Ares Rosakis Receives Eringen Medal from Society of Engineering Science

Ares Rosakis Sc.M.’80 Ph.D.’83 was awarded the 2011 A. Cermal Eringen Medal of the Society of Engineering Science (SES) in recognition of his sustained contributions to dynamic fracture mechanics and methods to determine stresses in thin film structures. Medalists for 2011 were announced at the recent 48th Annual Technical Meeting of SES at Northwestern University. 

Rosakis is the Theodore von Kármán Professor of Aeronautics and Professor of Mechanical Engineering at California Institute of Technology. He is presently Chair of the Division of Engineering and Applied Science at Caltech, where he previously served as Director of the Graduate Aerospace Laboratories between 2004 and 2009. He is a member of the US National Academy of Engineering and American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He received his BA and MA degrees in engineering science from Oxford University, and his Sc.M. and Ph.D. degrees in solid mechanics from Brown University.  

Rosakis has received numerous honors  including the Hetényi Award (1991, 2008), the B.L. Lazan Award (1996), the Frocht Award (2003), the Murray Medal and Lecture (2005) and the Harting Award (2007) from the Society of Experimental Mechanics, the Brown University Engineering Alumni Medal and the Robert Henry Thurston Lecture Award from ASME (2010).

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Professor Thomas Webster Elected to College of Fellows of AIMBE

Thomas Webster, associate professor at the School of Engineering and the Department of Orthopaedics at Brown University, has been elected to the College of Fellows of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE). Located in Washington D.C., AIMBE is the leading advocacy group for medical and biological engineering and is comprised of some of the most important leaders in science and engineering, the top 2% of medical and biological engineers.

The College of Fellows of AIMBE is comprised of an exemplary group of approximately 900 medical and biological engineers. Founded in 1991, AIMBE has earned a reputation as a prestigious public policy leader on issues impacting the medical and biological community and is regarded as the preeminent voice in the field.

Webster received his bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering from the University of Pittsburgh, and his master’s degree and and Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Professor Webster directs the Nanomedicine Laboratory which designs, synthesizes, and evaluates nanophase materials for various implant applications. Nanophase materials are central to the field of nanotechnology and are materials with one dimension less than 100 nm. Materials investigates to date include nanophase ceramics, metals, polymers, carbon fibers, and composites. Organ systems evaluated to date include orthopedic, cartilage, vascular, bladder, and the central and peripheral nervous systems.

His lab group has generated four books, 33 book chapters, 85 invited presentations (including tutorials), 215 literature articles and/or conference proceeding, and 245 conference presentations. Professor Webster has been awarded 11 full patents plus four provisional patents in his 11 years in academics (five years at Brown and six years at Purdue). His technology has resulted in one start-up company. He is the founding editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Nanomedicine and is on the editorial board of ten other journals. He has organized over 25 symposia at academic conferences. Dr. Webster was the 2002 recipient of the Biomedical Engineering Society Rita Schaffer Young Investigator Award, the 2004 recipient of the Outstanding Young Investigator Award for the Schools of Engineering at Purdue University, the 2004 finalist for the Young Investigator Award of the American Society for Nanomedicine, and the 2005 recipient of the Wallace Coulter Foundation Early Career Award.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Anastassia Astafieva ’12 and Karine Ip Kiun Chong ’12 Win Halpin Prize

Thanks to the generosity of Doris M. and Norman T. Halpin, the Brown University School of Engineering Executive Committee provides research awards for exceptional undergraduates. Projects are awarded based on how well they demonstrate the power of interdisciplinary thought in engineering science and design. This year's winners of the Halpin Prize for Interdisciplinary Senior Capstone Projects are Anastassia Astafieva ’12 (advisors Christian Franck and Domenico Pacifici) and Karine Ip Kiun Chong ’12 (advisor Shreyhas Mandre). Each winner will receive a $750 student prize and a $2500 research fund.

From Ana’s Nomination:
Right from the start, Ana showed a strong interest in the interdisciplinary nature of a biomedical engineering design project that lies at the intersection of electrical, mechanical and biomedical engineering. After several discussions and conversations with Professor Pacifici and Professor Franck, Ana began the groundwork on her project to measure hydrogel and tissue scaffold deformations under spatially controlled applied electromechanical forces. Her project builds upon concepts from chemistry, cell biology, materials science and mechanical and electrical engineering, and is a genuinely innovative and interdisciplinary project.

The design of her senior capstone project features an in-vitro test bench or assay to apply spatially controlled forces to tissue mimicking hydrogels and scaffolds in all three dimensions. The mechanical properties of tissues and synthetic implant materials are extremely important in achieving proper physiological homeostasis in the human body, which requires experimental techniques to quantify them. The last decade has urged the scientific community to develop in-vitro methodologies that are able to measure quantities of interest in three dimensions thus representing a more realistic in-vivo or body-like setting. While three-dimensional measurements are intrinsically more challenging that traditional two-dimensional data collection and experimental design, Ana has accepted the challenge to do just that.

She is in the process of developing an electromagnetic field assay to generate physical forces inside tissue-mimicking hydrogels. By applying a magnetic field similar to that in a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner to micron-sized magnetic particles inside a hydrogel, Ana will determine the three-dimensional displacements that these magnetic particles undergo. Utilizing her Newtonian mechanics and electrostatics and magnetism principles, Ana will be able to determine the mechanical properties of these gels and tissues at micron and nanometer length scales in all three dimensions. Thus, through her capstone project she will be able to deliver a powerful characterization tool to the biomedical and engineering communities to aid in the development of improved implant materials and artificial tissues.

From Karine’s Nomination:
Karine is a talented mechanical engineer interested in a variety of subjects with sound understanding of mathematics, physics and engineering. She came up with her own research program about six months ago, and has since not only demonstrated successful technical expertise in executing the research but also has managed to disseminate the results.

Karine’s project is about bio-inspired desalination. The largest source of fresh water on this planet comes from natural desalination of ocean water through rain. Artificial desalination using various technologies also provides a small portion of the fresh water humans use. Karine asked herself, how do we create rain in a small container in our living room, and came up with quite interesting ideas. Her first idea was the observation that plants are very efficient at evaporating water from the soil. Is it possible to design an engineering process that mimics plants in transporting and evaporating water? Karine's second idea for condensing the water was to mimic Namibian fog-harvesting beetles. Tiny bumps on the backs of these fog-harvesting beetles have a special surface chemistry that facilitates the condensation of water, and moreover forms structures that channels the condensed water straight to the beetle’s mouth. Karine brought both these ideas to her advisor as a proposal for her 2011 summer Undergraduate Teaching and Research Award (UTRA). Karine’s proposal secured the summer UTRA and she demonstrated her technical expertise during the summer research. She carried out a computational simulation of a toy mathematical model to demonstrate the principle reason behind the efficient evaporation through plant leaves. This result has increased her confidence in the research program and she has now designed a set of microfluidic devices to test her result experimentally. These devices mimic the properties of the leaves, especially the distribution of stomata on a leaf surface, to assist evaporation.

Karine actively participates in the scientific community and disseminates her research discoveries. She presented a poster on this in the Undergraduate Summer Research Symposium at Brown, and is scheduled to present a poster at the New England Workshop on Mechanics of Materials and Structures. She acquired a partial travel grant from the American Physical Society to present a poster of her results at the annual meeting of the Division of Fluid Dynamics in Baltimore in November. The prize funds for the project will be used to experimentally test the principle Karine has discovered. The experiment essentially consists of subjecting the microfluidic devices Karine designed to air flow in a small wind tunnel and measuring the evaporation rate through each. Her prediction is that the evaporation rate will increase with the air flow but reach a state of marginal returns as the air speed is increased beyond a critical value, and this critical value is different for each of Karine’s devices. The results from these experiments can be directly compared with evaporation from leaves to check if the leaves are optimized for particular wind speeds.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Fifth Annual SWE Extreme Gingerbread House Competition

The Brown University Society for Women Engineers will be sponsoring its fifth annual "Extreme Gingerbread House Competition" on Friday, December 2, from 5:00 - 7:00 in the lobby of the Barus and Holley building on 184 Hope Street.

Twenty-two teams of 3-5 students and professors will be allowed to pre-register for the competition. Any additional teams that express interest will be placed on a waitlist in the event that a team does not arrive. If the team has not arrived within five minutes of the beginning of the event, their spot will be given to a team on the waitlist or a team that has shown up at the event without registering.

Each team will be supplied with two boxes of graham crackers, two Ziploc bags of royal icing, and a tray on which to construct their house. Additionally, all teams will be provided with an empty sandwich size Ziploc bag for taking the communal supplies. Foods such as candy canes, M&Ms, teddy grahams, shredded coconut, etc., will be kept on a central table. At the start of the one hour time slot of building, one member of each team will be allowed to take the empty Ziploc bag to the communal table and fill the bag with whatever supplies they feel are most valuable for their team’s house. All food items will be provided by SWE at the event; teams are NOT allowed to bring any of their own food.

The teams will have one hour to construct their houses out of the provided food. Houses should be designed to follow the criteria listed below:
- The house must fit on the provided tray and not cover the drilled-in holes.
- House dimensions must exceed 6”x6”x6”.
- The house must be hollow.
- The maximum wall thickness is 1”.
- The house must be glued/pasted to the tray; the house may not slide around the tray.
- The house should be designed to withstand earthquakes.

Teams are allowed to bring any tools that they think will be helpful such as knives, drills, etc. Teams are responsible for bringing the necessary power connections/extension cords. If you plan on using tools, please ensure you know how to use them safely and plan on bring the necessary personal protective equipment, such as safety glasses. No chemicals can be used during the manufacturing of the house; the house and all its contents must remain edible at all times.

After exactly one hour, the teams will be forced to stop construction on their houses. The houses will initially be judged before a panel of three faculty judges on (1) Attractiveness of the House [1-10 points] (2) Novel use of Building Materials [1-5 points] (3) Use of Available Space (ie decorations other than the house) [1-5 points]. Additionally, judges will have the option to select one “wildcard” house after viewing all the completed houses. Judges will award a bonus of three points to the house if they feel that one house was exceptional in a way that was not represented in the other scores; this is optional and at the judges discretion. The sum of these components will be used as the team’s aesthetic score.

The second portion of judging will be on the ability of the house to withstand a simulated earthquake. The tray will be attached to a shake table and cycled through a regimen moving from a low frequency to a high frequency. After every 15 seconds, the frequency will increase. Time will start when the shake table is turned on, and will be stopped when part of the house falls off the main structure; this includes decorations attached to the house, but not “environmental decorations” that are simply on the tray. The final call on whether a house has "failed" will be at the judges' discretion. Houses will not be judged until tables and floors are clean.

After all the houses have been tested, the maximum amount of time on the shake table to make a gingerbread house break will be used to calculate the scores, as shown below:

----------------------- x 50 = Total
Maximum Group Time

Total group scores will be calculated by combining the aesthetic score (out of 25 points) and the stability score (out of 50 points) for a total score out of 75 points. The team with the most points will be considered the winner. The team with the second highest number of points will be given second place and so forth. The top three teams will be awarded a prize.

When registering, each team will be asked to pay a registration fee of $6.00 to enter the event.

Nanowrinkles, nanofolds yield strange hidden channels

Wrinkles and folds, common in nature, do something unusual at the nanoscale. Researchers at Brown University and in Korea have discovered that wrinkles on super-thin films have hidden long waves. The team also found that folds in the film produce nanochannels, like thousands of tiny subsurface pipes. The research could lead to advances in medicine,  electronics and energy. Results appear in Proceedings of the Royal Society A.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Wrinkles and folds are ubiquitous. They occur in furrowed brows, planetary topology, the surface of the human brain, even the bottom of a gecko’s foot. In many cases, they are nature’s ingenious way of packing more surface area into a limited space. Scientists, mimicking nature, have long sought to manipulate surfaces to create wrinkles and folds to make smaller, more flexible electronic devices, fluid-carrying nanochannels or even printable cell phones and computers.

A subsurface system of nanopipesResearchers at Brown University and in Korea used focusedion beams to extract a cross-section of compressed goldnanofilm. When tips of regular, neighboring folds touched,nanopipes were created beneath the surface.Credit: Kim Lab/Brown University
But to attain those technology-bending feats, scientists must fully understand the profile and performance of wrinkles and folds at the nanoscale, dimensions 1/50,000th the thickness of a human hair. In a series of observations and experiments, engineers at Brown University and in Korea have discovered unusual properties in wrinkles and folds at the nanoscale. The researchers report that wrinkles created on super-thin films have hidden long waves that lengthen even when the film is compressed. The team also discovered that when folds are formed in such films, closed nanochannels appear below the surface, like thousands of super-tiny pipes.
“Wrinkles are everywhere in science,” said Kyung-Suk Kim, professor of engineering at Brown and corresponding author of the paper published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society A. “But they hold certain secrets. With this study, we have found mathematically how the wrinkle spacings of a thin sheet are determined on a largely deformed soft substrate and how the wrinkles evolve into regular folds.”
Wrinkles are made when a thin stiff sheet is buckled on a soft foundation or in a soft surrounding. They are precursors of regular folds: When the sheet is compressed enough, the wrinkles are so closely spaced that they form folds. The folds are interesting to manufacturers, because they can fit a large surface area of a sheet in a finite space.
Kim and his team laid gold nanogranular film sheets ranging from 20 to 80 nanometers thick on a rubbery substrate commonly used in the microelectronics industry. The researchers compressed the film, creating wrinkles and examined their properties. As in previous studies, they saw primary wrinkles with short periodicities, the distance between individual wrinkles’ peaks or valleys. But Kim and his colleagues discovered a second type of wrinkle, with a much longer periodicity than the primary wrinkles — like a hidden long wave. As the researchers compressed the gold nanogranular film, the primary wrinkles’ periodicity decreased, as expected. But the periodicity between the hidden long waves, which the group labeled secondary wrinkles, lengthened.
“We thought that was strange,” Kim said.
It got even stranger when the group formed folds in the gold nanogranular sheets. On the surface, everything appeared normal. The folds were created as the peaks of neighboring wrinkles got so close that they touched. But the research team calculated that those folds, if elongated, did not match the length of the film before it had been compressed. A piece of the original film surface was not accounted for, “as if it had been buried,” Kim said.
Indeed, it had been, as nano-size closed channels. Previous researchers, using atomic force microscopy that scans the film’s surface, had been unable to see the buried channels. Kim's group turned to focused ion beams to extract a cross-section of the film. There, below the surface, were rows of closed channels, about 50 to a few 100 nanometers in diameter. “They were hidden,” Kim said. “We were the first ones to cut (the film) and see that there are channels underneath.”
The enclosed nano channels are important because they could be used to funnel liquids, from drugs on patches to treat diseases or infections, to clean water and energy harvesting, like a microscopic hydraulic pump.
Contributing authors include Jeong-Yun Sun and Kyu Hwan Oh from Seoul National University; Myoung-Woon Moon from the Korea Institute of Science and Technology; and Shuman Xia, a researcher at Brown and now at the Georgia Institute of Technology. The National Science Foundation, the Korea Institute of Science and Technology, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy of Korea, and the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology of Korea supported the research.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Qunyang Li ScM ’07 PhD ’08 and Jin Qian ScM ’09 PhD ’10 Recognized by Chinese Government

Dr. Qunyang Li and Dr. Jin Qian, who received their Ph.D. degrees in Engineering (Solid Mechanics) in 2008 and 2010, respectively, from Brown University have been selected among 143 Young Scholars (younger than 40 in Science and Engineering) of 2011 by the Chinese government. Their selection is part of the "Thousand Young Talents Program" of the Chinese government, in which only 25 engineers were selected from all areas of engineering. The program was created by the Chinese government and aims to attract the best global young researchers to work in China. According to the program, each selected awardee will be awarded 500,000 RMB of living subsidies and up to 3,000,000 RMB for scientific research funding.

Qunyang Li
Li also received his master’s degree (2007, Applied Math) from Brown University and had been a post doctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania since 2008 until he was appointed as an associate professor at Tsinghua University this summer. Li received his bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from Tsinghua University. During his time at Brown, Li won numerous awards, including the prestigious William N. Findlay Award in 2006 and the Outstanding Thesis Award in 2008.

Jin Qian
Qian had been a post doctoral fellow at Georgia Institute of Technology since September 2009 until he was appointed as an associate professor at Zhejiang University a month ago. Qian received his bachelor’s degree from Beijing University and a master’s degree from Institute of Mechanics of Chinese Academy of Sciences in addition to a master’s degree from Brown (Applied Math).

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Erik Taylor Wins BMES Graduate Student Award

At the annual meeting of the Biomedical Engineering Society, Brown University graduate student Erik Taylor won the Graduate Student Extended Abstract Award for outstanding research. His submission, “Superparamagnetic Iron Oxide Nanoparticles Could Be Better than Antibiotics at Reducing Biofilm Produced by Staphylococcus Aureus” was considered by the committee strong enough to be only one of ten such awards presented.

This award consists of a certificate, a stipend of $500, and complimentary registration for the 2011 BMES Annual Meeting. The certificate was presented at the awards ceremony at the BMES Business Meeting on Thursday, October 13, 2011, in Hartford, Conn. The award has been presented each year since 1992 in recognition of outstanding biomedical engineering research.

Taylor, who was selected for a Fulbright Fellowship, will be leaving for India next semester to work on biofilm research and anti-infection strategies at IIT-Bombay in Mumbai for nine months. He will be working with Dr. Rinti Banerjee from IIT-Bombay through the Indo-U.S. Center for Biomaterials for Healthcare, co-directed by professors Bikram Basu and Thomas Webster.

Brown University and University of Rhode Island Team Wins $6.17 Million DOE EPSCoR grant

Brown University and University of Rhode Island researchers led by principal investigator Pradeep R. Guduru, James R. Rice Associate Professor of Engineering at Brown, have won a three-year, $6.17 million grant from the Department of Energy (DOE) Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR). The project, “Fundamental Investigations of Mechanical and Chemical Degradation Mechanisms in Lithium Ion Battery Materials” will also involve Brown professors Allan Bower and Vivek Shenoy from the School of Engineering and Li-Qiong Wang from the Department of Chemistry; and Professors Brett Lucht, William Euler and Arijit Bose from the University of Rhode Island.
Electron microscopy images of the phase boundary between crystalline
silicon and amorphous lithiated silicon, revealing its atomic structure.
The sharp jumps in stress, composition and atomic structure across the
phase boundary play an important role in determining the mechanical
damage that results in silicon crystals during the initial charge cycle.

“This award represents a truly interdisciplinary research effort that brings together solid mechanics, chemistry and materials science,” said Guduru. “The research effort presents an opportunity for Brown and URI researchers to contribute to a technological area of national importance and forge strong collaborations with national labs and industry.”

“This new award contributes to the growing portfolio of engineering research at Brown in the energy and nanoscience fields,” said Dean Larry Larson. “These new fields are changing the way we live in thousands of different ways. Congratulations to all the faculty, post-docs, staff and students involved in these successful efforts.”

Electron microscopy images of the phase boundary between crystalline
silicon and amorphous lithiated silicon, revealing its atomic structure.
The sharp jumps in stress, composition and atomic structure across the
phase boundary play an important role in determining the mechanical
damage that results in silicon crystals during the initial charge cycle.

Despite the rapid advances in lithium ion battery (LIB) technology in recent years, major obstacles remain for vehicular applications of LIBs. It is widely recognized that further critical breakthroughs in the science and technology of lithium ion battery materials are necessary to develop the next generation of low-cost, long-life, higher energy density batteries for extended range electric vehicles.

The objective of the reserach funded under the DOE EPSCoR grant is to establish a comprehensive research program at Brown University and University of Rhode Island to develop fundamental and quantitative understanding of degradation mechanisms that limit the performance and cycle life of LIBs; and use the insights gained to help develop materials and architectures with significantly improved performance.

The research program encompasses critical challenges in the three major battery components: anodes, electrolytes and cathodes. Mechanical and chemical degradation of electrodes associated with large volume changes during charging and discharging is a critical factor that limits their capacity and lifetime. However, the degradation mechanisms are not well-understood quantitatively, which is a critical obstacle in developing the next generation of LIBs. The research team will address the fundamental issues of mechanical behavior & performance, controlling electrochemical side-reactions, formation and stability of solid-electrolyte interphase (SEI) layers. Through a combined experimental and computational approach, the team plans to develop the necessary quantitative understanding, which can help make battery materials design a well-controlled, principle-based process with predictable outcomes, in contrast to the largely trial and error based empirical approach being followed currently. The PIs will work with collaborators in national laboratories and battery industry in addressing the relevant problems of highest impact for developing the next generation of higher energy density battery systems.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Brown University Wins $6.25 Million MURI grant from Army Research Office

Brown and Cal State Northridge are teaming up on a $6.25 million Multi-University Research Initiative (MURI) grant from the Army Research Office (ARO) to study “Stress Controlled Catalysis via Engineering Nanostructures”. The five-year project will be led by principal investigator Bill Curtin, with collaborators Pradeep Guduru and Sharvan Kumar in the School of Engineering, Shouheng Sun in Chemistry and Engineering, and Gang Lu in Physics at Cal State Northridge. Four graduate students and six postdocs will join the faculty in executing the research.

Professor Bill Curtin '81
“This new award contributes to the growing portfolio of engineering research at Brown in the energy and nanosciences fields,” said Dean Larry Larson. “These new fields are changing the way we live in thousands of different ways. Congratulations to all the faculty, post-docs, staff and students involved in these successful efforts.”

The goal of the research is to demonstrate that macroscopic applied mechanical loading can be used to actively control and tune catalytic reactions through the use of innovative nanoscale material systems.

The challenge lies in obtaining stresses in the catalytic metal materials that are large enough to significantly influence the rates of selected chemical reactions in an overall catalytic process.

Associate Professor Pradeep Guduru
Professor Sharvan Kumar
Brown researchers will accomplish this by creating ultra-strong nanostructured materials in novel geometries where the mechanical load can be controlled and varied, also serving to isolate strain as the only experimental variable.

If the principle is demonstrated, then it may be possible to increase catalytic efficiencies by using time-varying stresses to actively control the reactions during operation, opening up the field of catalysis to an entirely new space of materials design.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Nanomaterials Studies Advance Cancer Research

Graduate student Lijuan Zhang and associate professor Thomas Webster have conducted research with nanomaterials that may lead to a potential breakthrough in cancer research. Their recent research, "Decreased lung carcinoma cell functions on select polymer nanometer surface features" was published in Journal of Biomedical Materials Research A.  

Behind the purple doors of a sixth-floor Barus and Holley Lab, Thomas Webster, associate professor of engineering, works small but thinks big. His work with nanomaterials, tiny devices implanted into the human body, has led to a potential breakthrough in cancer research.

Webster, director of the University's NanomedicineLaboratory, has been studying and developing nanotech implants for the past 11 years. His team had created rough implants covered in tiny "nano-features"— microscopic bumps ­— to "mimic the natural roughness of healthy skin," he said. "Current orthopedic implants are flat and smooth, but healthy skin and bone have bumps."

Two years ago, graduate student Lijuan Zhang approached Webster with a radical idea — exploring how nano-features would interact with cancer cells.

"Being the adventurous person I am, I said, ‘Let's try it,'" Webster said. It was completely new territory for Webster, but he said he was excited to see what would happen.

Within a year of research, a blink of an eye in lab time, Zhang approached Webster with results they both found fascinating. The addition of 23nm nano-features to a petri dish with both cancerous and healthy cells caused a significantly lower density of cancer cells over time.

Webster said he was pleased and intrigued by the results, but he knew the tests needed to be run at least three more times to verify any findings.

Zhang ran another trial and again found a lower density of cancer cells, but she also found something new — the nano-features inhibited the synthesis of a protein that aids in tumor growth.

The tests had initially been conducted with lung cancer cells, but later tests used breast cancer and bone cancer cells. Both reacted in the same manner — the nano-features lowered the density of cancer cells and decreased the synthesis of the tumor growth protein.

The next step is finding real-world applications, Webster said. "In order for any of this research to be useful, we need a company. We need to transition from the lab bench to a real product."

Webster said he hopes to apply their discovery to animal models and eventually human trials. "If all goes well, a product could appear in five years," he said.

By Hannah Kerman/BDH

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Rick Fleeter ’76 PhD ’81 Publishes Third Book

Rick Fleeter ’76 PhD ’81, a Brown University engineering alumnus and an adjunct associate professor in the School of Engineering at Brown, has recently published his third book, Love Is Strong As Death. Written with his late wife Nancy, the book discusses their 15-year battle with cancer.

“This book is our experience, two innocent novices, in dying, death and rebuilding one life where once there had been two,” said Fleeter. “It offers no advice, only a window into this most personal, and at the same time universal, of human experiences.”

Rick and Nancy were both professionals whose work took them all over the world. He founded and managed the aerospace engineering company AeroAstro, while Nancy managed arts organizations including American Ballet Theater and the J.F. Kennedy Center. Rick also wrote books and taught aerospace engineering as an adjunct professor, while Nancy continued to practice and teach ballet.

They lived at various times, sometimes simultaneously, in suburban Washington, D.C., Manhattan, Charlestown, R.I., Rome, Tokyo, and Gold Coast, Australia.

In addition to this book written with Nancy, Rick has written several books and book chapters on the engineering and management of miniature spacecraft and on cycling, triathlon and living nomadically for business and pleasure.

Rick now writes and is a professor in Rome and Rhode Island, teaching at The University of Rome La Sapienza and Brown University.

Rick also blogs at: http://rfleeter.wordpress.com

Friday, October 21, 2011

Brown University Engineering Ranked Among Top 50 Engineering Universities in the World; Top 3 in Ivy League

Times Higher Education has released its 2011-12 top 50 world university engineering and technology rankings, and Brown was ranked No. 45 in the world. There were a total of 22 U.S. universities on the prestigious list, including three Ivy League universities: Princeton, Cornell and Brown.

For the full list of the engineering and technology rankings, please go to:

“We are proud to have been recognized as among the top engineering schools in the world,” said Associate Dean Eric Suuberg. “Considering that we have had the status of a School of Engineering for only a few months, and particularly noting that virtually all of the institutions that ranked ahead of us have much larger programs than do we at Brown, we are very pleased with the result.”

“It is particularly gratifying to see that we are one of the three top-ranked engineering schools among our Ivy League peers, a group that is somewhat distinct from many of the other highly ranked schools,” said Dean Larry Larson. 

For the full list of the overall college rankings, please go to:

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Brown Engineer Nathanial Cooper ’12 Finishes Third at AIChE Competition

Students in the Brown chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) traveled to Minneapolis, Minnesota, to attend the national AiChE meeting and compete in a student poster competition.

In the environmental category, Nathanial Cooper ’12 won a third place award. His poster was entitled, “Agricultural Waste Based Bio-Char Sorption Potential”. Last year, Cooper finished second in the poster competition.

Four students represented Brown at this year’s competition, including: Henry Mattingly ’12 (supervisor Robert Hurt), William Trinh ’12 (supervisor Indrek Kulaots), Cooper (supervisor Indrek Kulaots), and Ellison Kandler ’13 (supervisors Steve Greenbaum of the City University of New York and Eric Suuberg).

“As I've attended these student conferences over many years, and I do carefully review most of these posters presented, I must say that this year was even beyond what I have seen before,” said Kulaots. “The competition has gotten more and more competitive every year, and the level of science presented by undergraduates is remarkable.”

Friday, October 14, 2011

Ancient Lamps, Earrings Yield Their Secrets Under Neutron Imaging

“Neutron imaging gives researchers new tools for exploring artifacts and ancient technology”

Brown University School of Engineering Professor Brian Sheldon is the co-principal investigator on an exciting colloborative project that also includes Brown's Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology

For the first time at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), neutron images in three dimensions (3-D) have been taken of rare archaeological artifacts. Bronze and brass artifacts excavated at the ancient city of Petra, in present day Jordan, were recently imaged in 3-D using neutrons at the High Flux Isotope Reactor’s CG-1D neutron imaging instrument.

The neutron imaging technique gives eager archeologists and ancient historians significant, and otherwise wholly inaccessible, insight into the manufacturing and lives of cultures that once occupied settlements within the Roman Empire, Middle East, and Colonial-Period New England.  
The samples imaged in 3D in August came from the collections of the Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World at Brown University. They include an elaborate hanging bronze oil lamp, a large Roman coin, and—most charmingly—a standing dog figure, which might have been either a religious dedication or perhaps a toy. Although their original provenance is unknown, they are all excellent examples of common metal finds from antiquity.
Principal investigator (PI) Krysta Ryzewski, an assistant professor of anthropology at Wayne State University, and her co-PI Brian W. Sheldon, professor of engineering at Brown University, were loaned the artifacts for study from professor Susan E. Alcock, director of Brown’s Joukowsky Institute. 
In earlier work, the team conducted two-dimensional imaging of copper alloy (bronze and brass) artifacts both from Petra and from Greene Farm, a colonial-period plantation in Rhode Island. The samples include artifacts from daily life: a clothing buckle, a knife, and some building hardware.
Photo and neutron radiograph of ancient Greek lamp
Top: photo of ancient Greek lamp. Bottom: neutron radiograph of the same lamp.
One circular object from Petra was so corroded that it was unidentifiable. But when it was imaged with neutrons, underneath was a piece of jewelry, probably an earring. Petra is most famous as a trading center in ancient times, connecting the Mediterranean world with places as far away as India and China. It was the capital of an independent kingdom of the Nabataeans, until the emperor Trajan incorporated it into the Roman Empire in the early second century A.D.
The earlier imaging and analysis resolved some questions of object identity and raised many new ones about the techniques and materials that crafts people in the past used to make these objects. “We can also examine certain objects (such as the knife or the bronze lamp) to look for trace residues of the oil once burned in the lamp or what the knife was used to cut,” says Ryzewski.
“I first learned of the developing neutron imaging instruments at Oak Ridge in my conversations with Hassina Bilheux (lead instrument scientist for CG-1D). At the time I was a postdoctoral fellow in archaeology and engineering at Brown. I attended a neutron imaging workshop at SNS in November 2008, and became the only archaeologist to be part of the VENUS instrument development team. Brian Sheldon at Brown also joined then. We have been collaborating on all of the experiments with Hassina at SNS and HFIR,” she says.
The neutron imaging beam line is a huge step forward for these scholars. “Archaeologists and scientists can obtain relatively little information about the manufacture of archaeomaterials, ancient objects, and the materials from which they are constructed from external surfaces alone,” says Ryzewski. “Very few historical accounts describe the construction of such objects and archaeomaterials, ancient bronzes, or ceramic vessels. The only source of information about how these objects were constructed comes from their material properties and composition.”
Archaeological objects are reviewed as unique cultural resources. Earlier analysis often entailed extracting a sample from such an object, which meant damage and sometimes even wholesale destruction of an artifact so it could be mounted effectively for analysis. Analysts’ necessarily conservative treatment of archaeomaterials left many questions unanswered.
Imaging archaeological objects comprehensively and systematically with neutrons only became possible with the development of the CG-1D prototype beam line. Neutron activation analysis and neutron imaging at Oak Ridge means scholars can now conduct detailed, nondestructive analysis of samples. “There currently exist a vast array of archaeological objects and research questions about ancient and historical technological development that can now be posed,” says Ryzewski. “The CG-1D beam line has offered us an invaluable alternative for performing nondestructive, noninvasive analysis.”
CG-1D data can reveal the raw materials used, the manufacturing techniques, the historical development of alloys and composite materials and the geological origins of ores and clay. On the cultural side, researchers can learn about the activities of ancient people’s daily lives that such objects served.
“Archaeologists can now begin to precisely reconstruct past networks and patterns of resource extraction, trade and exchange, environmental impacts of industrial activities on ancient landscapes, and the transmission of craft production traditions over time,” Ryzewski says. “These are some of the sorts of questions that our current research and experiments are designed to address.“
The 3-D neutron imaging and quantitative analysis occurs at an instrument that is a time-of-flight beam line, with a chopper for producing pulses of neutrons to take noninvasive images. Neutrons, rather than x-rays, do the work.
“Part of our early work was to test the parameters of the instrument and how we might need to adjust the instrumentation to suit the artifacts, which tend to vary in composition, size, and density,” Ryzewski says. 
“We anticipated that we would be able to see beneath the surface and find evidence of manufacturing steps (mold seams), impurities or other organic inclusions in the metals, residue from the objects’ use, and microstructural or compositional elements,” she says.
Their data are still being processed, but preliminary results from the bronze lamp suggest that they will be able to see and examine aspects of all of these areas of interest once the 3-D data are compiled. 
“Our work is still in its early stages. We hope to reexamine these objects in further rounds of testing in 2012. We will expand our sample base to other types of metal artifacts, perhaps some excavated from shipwrecks. We hope to examine ceramic artifacts as well, Ryzewski says.
More broadly, the scholars may be in a position to offer information to scientists who specialize in the conservation and stabilization of museum collections. Other findings may provide insights into materials behavior of interest to materials science. “Each round of experiments raises many more questions about the materials in the object and about the instrumentation itself,” Ryzewski says.
This fall the researchers will return to HFIR to image some of the bronze objects for Bragg-edge peaks in the materials. Collaborating with Ryzewski and Sheldon are Bilheux and Lakeisha Walker of SNS and Susan Herringer, a doctoral student in materials science engineering at Brown and the Joukowsky Institute.
The group will publish their results in both archaeological and neutron sciences academic publications. In addition, they will present their initial findings at the annual Society for American Archaeology meetings in Memphis in April 2012.

Courtesy of Oak Ridge National Laboratory/Written by Agatha Bardoel