Ten College of Engineering students from the summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) will be participating in a joint poster session with the Institute for Cellular Engineering and the Collaborative Undergraduate Research in Engineering REU programs on Friday, July 27. The sophisticated research being carried out by our REU students ranges from preventing carcinogens in drinking water, to studying fluid dynamics in space, to creating a sturdy rotating base for CASA’s revolutionary phased array radar. The poster session, which is free and open to the public, takes place in the Campus Center, room 1009, from 10 a.m. until noon. Come see this fascinating research!

Here are some of the details. Under the mentorship of Professor John Tobiason of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, REU student Gary Hinds is exploring the effectiveness of replacing anthracite coal with granular activated carbon in Springfield’s West Parish Filtration Plant to remove organic matter, which can possibly result in carcinogens after it interacts with the chlorination system. The plant draws water from the pristine Cobble Mountain Reservoir/Little River source. The existing system, while achieving very low effluent turbidity levels, is not efficient at removing natural organic matter present in the source water. When filtered water is chlorinated for disinfection, free chlorine reacts with residual organic matter to form disinfection byproducts, which are known carcinogens. These operational difficulties have led Hinds to explore the use of granular activated carbon to improve natural organic matter removal.         

In another REU project, Christina Rizer of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department received a summer fellowship from the Massachusetts Space Grant Consortium to study turbulence within magnetohydrodynamic flows inside molten metals in reduced gravity. This work, mentored by MIE Professor Robert Hyers, supports experiments to be performed on the International Space Station in 2014. Rizer is working with a grad student on fluid dynamics experiments that have been conducted in parabolic flights and sounding rocket flights, and might work with some data from the Space Shuttle as well. The objective is to enhance the scientific return from various experiments conducted on the International Space Station in about two years.

REU student Zachary Veugen, whose faculty mentor is Eric Knapp of CASA, is producing a demonstration prototype of the rotating base for the phased array radar being developed in CASA in conjunction with Raytheon at the Knowles engineering laboratory. The radar is the ultimate accomplishment of CASA during its 10 years of existence. CASA produces radars that can provide high-resolution, near-surface views of hazardous weather events and send out faster, more accurate, storm warnings and forecasts while tracking killer storm where they fall to earth.

“The radar array that’s being developed will be retrofitted on a marine radar base produced by Raytheon, and my main goal is to make sure this base can handle the new loading scenarios produced by the more demanding geometry of the new phased array radar,” writes Veugen. “There are many surfaces that will experience more than three times the load observed by the original radar array.”

In addition to those three, the other REU students this summer are: Hadley Patten, MIE (Erin Baker, faculty mentor); Kevin Okiah, ECE (Christopher Salthouse, faculty mentor); Andrew Santos, ECE (Christopher Salthouse, faculty mentor); Casey Baker, MIE (Sundar Krishnamurty and Ian Grosse, faculty mentors); Dustin Lagoy, ECE (Eric Polizzi, faculty mentor); Frank May, MIE (Joseph Goldstein, faculty mentor); Jamyang Tenzin, ECE (Michael Zink and David Pepyne, faculty mentors). (July 2012)