Texas A&M Engineering News The Look College is one of the largest engineering schools in the country, ranking third in undergraduate enrollment and sixth in graduate enrollment by the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) in its 2011 survey. The Look College also ranked seventh in the number bachelor's degrees awarded, 13th in master's degrees awarded and 10th in doctoral degrees awarded. And our college consistently ranks among the nation's top public undergraduate and graduate engineering programs, according to U.S. News & World Report. http://engineering.tamu.edu Fri, 21 Nov 2014 00:00:00 CST Fri, 21 Nov 2014 00:00:00 CST Industrial engineering loses an icon Jose Vazquez <jvazquez@iemail.tamu.edu> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2014/11/21/farewell-to-dr-ralph-l-disney <p>Dr. Ralph Lynde Disney Jr., professor emeritus of industrial engineering at Texas A&amp;M University, died on Nov. 11.</p> <p>Born in 1928 in Baltimore, Disney joined the faculty at Texas A&amp;M in 1988 and was considered a world leader in queueing theory, a branch of applied probability and stochastic processes mathematics. He authored or co-authored more than 70 research articles, three books and numerous chapters in compendia in his field.</p> <p>He was also considered a prolific reviewer of articles both pre- and post-publication, including more than 150 reviews for the Mathematics Reviews. He advised and mentored more than 20 doctoral students from around the world and in different academic disciplines.</p> <p>Disney earned his bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering in 1952 and a master’s degree in systems engineering in 1955, both from Johns Hopkins University. He earned his engineering doctorate from the university in 1964. He retired from Texas A&amp;M in 1996.</p> <p>Throughout his career, Disney earned many honors for his work including the David F. Baker Award and the Albert E. Holzman Award from the Institute of Industrial Engineers for teaching, research and other contributions to his field. He was also a recipient of the prestigious Frank and Lillian Gilbreth Award in 1993.</p> <p>He is survived by his sister, daughters and grandchildren.</p> <p>(This article originally appeared on the Institute of Industrial Engineers website</p> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2014/11/21/farewell-to-dr-ralph-l-disney http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2014/11/21/farewell-to-dr-ralph-l-disney Fri, 21 Nov 2014 00:00:00 CST Zachry Department of Civil Engineering Begins Tenure-Track Faculty Searches Sarah Curylo <> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2014/11/21/zachry-department-of-civil-engineering-begins-tenure-track-faculty-searches <p>The Zachry Department of Civil Engineering at Texas A&amp;M University announces the opening of two full-time faculty positions at the assistant professor level in the areas of geotechnical engineering and transportation engineering, respectively. Both positions have an anticipated start date of fall 2015. For more information and to apply, please visit <a href="/civil/careers/faculty">/civil/careers/faculty</a>.<a href="/civil/careers/faculty"><br /></a></p> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2014/11/21/zachry-department-of-civil-engineering-begins-tenure-track-faculty-searches http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2014/11/21/zachry-department-of-civil-engineering-begins-tenure-track-faculty-searches Fri, 21 Nov 2014 00:00:00 CST Counter diffusion: Jeong optimally isolates propylene for commercial use Kidron Vestal <kidron@tamu.edu> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2014/11/20/counter-diffusion-jeong-optimally-isolates-propylene-for-commercial-use <p class="p1">Many people are familiar with the natural compound known as propane, used often as fuel, but less is discussed about propylene (or propene), with which propane is closely tied.</p> <p class="p3">The central focus of the research team led by <a href="/chemical/people/hkjeong">Dr. Hae-Kwon Jeong</a>, associate professor of chemical engineering, is an optimal isolation of propylene from propane, with the intention to produce only propylene. “There is a huge demand for propylene, but to separate these gas molecules takes a lot of energy,” said Jeong.</p> <p class="p3">Propylene has many commercial purposes, including being a key compound in over two thirds of the world’s plastics. Intentional production of propylene in 2013 accounted for 12 percent of worldwide propylene production, compared to three percent in 2003, according to the <a href="http://press.ihs.com/press-release/chemicals/natural-gas-liquids-challenging-oil-petrochemical-feedstock-north-america-in">IHS Chemical North American Propylene Supply Study</a>. Furthermore, by 2023, the study finds <span class="s1">that the amount of intentional global propylene production will</span> grow from 90 million tons to 130 million tons.<img width="233" height="214" src="/media/1927302/jeong3_233x214.jpg" alt="Jeong3" style="float: right;"/></p> <p class="p1">In the production process, the gasses are converted into liquid and then distilled, utilizing the slightly different boiling points of propylene and propane. Then, the use of a membrane allows for the smaller propylene to be sieved (restricting the larger propane) in a metal-organic framework (MOF), said Jeong.</p> <p class="p3">“This is the first report where we demonstrate that a very high selectivity and a very high flux of these gas molecules is possible," said Jeong. "This is a simple technique that allows us to prepare high-quality, very-thin sieve MOF membranes in a potentially economic and scaleable manner."</p> <p class="p3">Jeong’s method of counter diffusion involves individual applications of metal ions and organic ligands (linkers that bond to the metal) to the support or film, as opposed to using a mixture to coat the film. The high metal ion concentration is inside the film while the ligands remain highly concentrated outside of the film and counter diffuse in different directions. </p> <p class="p3"><img width="410" height="150" src="/media/1927303/jeong2.png" alt="Jeong2" style="float: left;"/></p> <p>“The objective is to be able to make small, thin films in a rapid manner, but also to be able to make the grain boundary very intimate,” said Jeong.</p> <p>This technique is not only more efficient, but also more environmentally friendly because less carbon-based fuels are required for distillation. “Up to 80 percent of energy costs go just to separating chemicals, often using conventional distillation,” said Jeong. </p> <p class="p1">Jeong said that if the industry can replace some of the highly intensive energy processes with simple sieving techniques, great progress could be made.</p> <p class="p1">“Opportunities of this research are tremendous. We are getting interest from industry and plan to continue the research,” said Jeong. </p> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2014/11/20/counter-diffusion-jeong-optimally-isolates-propylene-for-commercial-use http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2014/11/20/counter-diffusion-jeong-optimally-isolates-propylene-for-commercial-use Thu, 20 Nov 2014 00:00:00 CST Taylor featured in Notable Women in Computing playing card deck LaShanta Green <lashanta@tamu.edu> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2014/11/20/taylor-featured-in-notable-women-in-computing-playing-card-deck <p>Dr. Valerie Taylor, senior associate dean for academic affairs and Royce E. Wisenbaker Professor in the Department of Computer<img width="200" height="272" src="/media/1652327/taylor-1_200x272.jpg" alt="Taylor -1" style="float: right;"/><br />Science and Engineering, is featured in the recently funded Kickstarter project, Notable Women in Computing playing card deck. The project was started to spread the history of women in computing. </p> <p>Each deck contains information about 54 women who represent the past, present and future of computer science. Taylor is included for her research in high-performance computing and her dedication to increasing diversity in computing. Other notable women include Dr. Fran Allen, a pioneer in the field of optimizing compilers and programming languages. Allen was the first female IBM Fellow and the first women to win the Turing Award, which is the highest distinction given in computing. </p> <p>The back of every card includes a picture of Dr. Grace Murray Hopper, who invented the first compiler and achieved the rank of Rear Admiral in the US Navy. The first edition of the cards was available during the 2014 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing Conference (GHC). GHC is the largest conference for women in computing.</p> <p>Kickstarter was created to support the second edition of the playing card deck. With an initial goal of $3,000, 392 supporters of the project raised a total of $15,010. Backer incentives included a Give one/Get one initiative, where supporters had the option of receiving a deck of playing cards for themselves and having a deck donated to an educator.</p> <p>Susan H. Rodger, professor of the practice at Duke University, Katy Dickinson, vice president -mentoring, Everwise, and Jessica Dickinson Goodman collaborated on this project. Duke University and Everwise contributed as the project's sponsors.  </p> <p>“The deck of cards provides a unique method of making known the great contributions of women in computing,” Taylor said.</p> <p>“We are honored to have one of our faculty included with the deck of cards,” added Dr. Dilma Da Silva, department head of computer science and engineering at Texas A&amp;M.</p> <p>For more information visit the official <a href="https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jessidg/notable-women-in-computing-card-deck" target="_blank">Kickstarter page</a>. </p> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2014/11/20/taylor-featured-in-notable-women-in-computing-playing-card-deck http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2014/11/20/taylor-featured-in-notable-women-in-computing-playing-card-deck Thu, 20 Nov 2014 00:00:00 CST Petroleum Engineering Awardees Honored at Recent SPE Conference Nancy Luedke <> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2014/11/20/petroleum-engineering-awardees-honored-at-recent-spe-conference <p>The Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) recently honored four members of the Harold Vance Department of Petroleum Engineering at Texas A&amp;M University with SPE international awards during the SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition held 27-31 Oct. in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The international award presentations were made at the Annual Reception and Banquet, held on Tuesday evening, 28 Oct., where SPE recognizes outstanding SPE members who have made significant contributions to the industry.</p> <p>“SPE international award winners were nominated by their colleagues and selected by their peers for their achievement and contributions,” said Jeff Spath, 2014 SPE President. </p> <p><em><img width="302" height="270" src="/media/1959109/spe-atce_hill_spath.jpg" alt="2014 SPE-ATCE_Hill_Spath"/> Hill and Spath</em></p> <p>Dr. Alfred Daniel Hill was presented with the SPE John Franklin Carll Award.  This award recognizes distinguished contribution in the application of engineering principles to petroleum development and recovery. Hill is the Head of the Harold Vance Department of Petroleum Engineering at Texas A&amp;M. He is also a professor and holder of the Noble Endowed Chair. His technical applications and professionalism in petroleum development and recovery are widely recognized. Hill has worked to advance the petroleum engineering profession worldwide, most significantly by actively sharing his research through his extensive SPE service and committee work, and through his teaching and training of petroleum engineers and students. </p> <p><em><img width="305" height="270" src="/media/1959106/spe-atce_blasingame_spath.jpg" alt="2014 SPE-ATCE_Blasingame_Spath"/> Blasingame and Spath</em></p> <p>Dr. Thomas A. Blasingame received the SPE Distinguished Achievement Award for Petroleum Engineering Faculty. This award recognizes superiority in classroom teaching, excellence in research, significant contributions to the petroleum engineering profession and/or special effectiveness in advising and guiding students. Blasingame, a professor and holder of the Robert L. Whiting Endowed Professorship, is extremely passionate about education. His focus on petrophysics, reservior engineering, analysis/interpretation of well performance, and technical mathematics have been extremely effective in shaping the education of petroleum engineers and students throughout the world. Blasingame believes that service is one of the most important components of a professional’s credentials, and he has demonstrated this through his countless contributions to SPE as well as his dedicated service to his students both inside and outside of the classroom.</p> <p>Dr. David S. Schechter and Mr. David B. Burnett were awarded a SPE Distinguished Membership. Established in 1983, the Distinguished Member award recognizes SPE members who achieve distinction deemed worthy of special recognition. This award acknowledges members who have attained eminence in the petroleum industry or the academic community, or who have made significant contributions to SPE. Distinguished Membership is restricted to not more than 1% of SPE membership, and is equivalent to Fellow status in other professional societies.</p> <p><em><img width="270" height="270" src="/media/1959108/spe-atce_schechter_spath.jpg" alt="2014 SPE-ATCE_Schechter_Spath"/> Schechter and Spath</em></p> <p>Schechter, an associate professor and the Aghorn Energy Career Development Professor, has become a leading expert in naturally fractured reservoirs, which includes extensive work on unconventional liquid reservoirs, and enhanced oil recovery using CO2 and unconventional liquid reservoirs. Schechter’s  research in the area of enhanced oil recovery in unconventional liquid reservoirs is cutting edge research, which cannot be found at any other university.</p> <p><em><img width="265" height="270" src="/media/1959107/spe-atce_burnett_spath.jpg" alt="2014 SPE-ATCE_Burnett_Spath"/> Burnett and Spath</em></p> <p>Burnett is the Director of Technology of the Global Petroleum Research Institute at Texas A&amp;M University. He has been an active and exemplary member of SPE since 1971, and has had a career that exemplifies excellence in research, and service. As a part of the department of  petroleum engineering, Burnett was instrumental in the development of the concept of environmental stewardship in drilling and production operations through the Environmentally Friendly Drilling Program.</p> <p>SPE serves more than 124,000 members worldwide, sharing technical knowledge for the benefit of our industry. Each year, SPE presents awards that recognize members whose efforts have advanced petroleum technology, as well as their professional achievements and contributions to the industry and the society.</p> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2014/11/20/petroleum-engineering-awardees-honored-at-recent-spe-conference http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2014/11/20/petroleum-engineering-awardees-honored-at-recent-spe-conference Thu, 20 Nov 2014 00:00:00 CST Look College honors outstanding seniors Timothy Schnettler <tschnettler@tamu.edu> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2014/11/19/look-college-honors-outstanding-seniors <p>The Dwight Look College of Engineering at Texas A&amp;M University honored five students with is Craig C. Brown Outstanding Senior Engineering Award during a banquet, Nov. 13 at the Memorial Student Center on the Texas A&amp;M campus.</p> <p>Seniors Laura Bolling, Matthew Giglio, Eric Gil, Lauren Lauher and David Quiroz received the annual award because of their academic achievement, character and leadership abilities.</p> <p>Laura Bolling, a senior chemical engineering major, is from Sugar Land, Texas. Her diverse college experiences have shaped her into a well-rounded young woman who is not afraid of challenges. She has participated in the study abroad program, volunteered with charitable organizations and interned in diverse industries, all of which have taken her across the country and the world. Bolling has received numerous scholarship and leadership awards and was selected to participate in Spring 2012 Leadership Exchange with Texas A&amp;M University at Qatar.</p> <p>Matthew Giglio, is a senior civil engineering major from Shreveport, Louisiana, and his determination, work ethic and character have set him apart from his peers during his time at Texas A&amp;M. While maintaining a 4.0 GPA, he has held leadership positions in several student organizations, incuding the Student Engineers’ Council, Steel Bridge Team, Concrete Canoe Team and the American Society of Civil Engineers. He has worked on numerous community service projects and events and has been recognized with multiple academic honors including scholarships and membership in the honor societies Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society, Chi Epsilon Civil Engineering Honor Society and the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society.</p> <p>Eric Gill, a senior industrial and systems engineering major from Poway, California, has been highly involved in the Corps of Cadets, where he has been consistently recognized for his leadership contributions. He served as corps commander for the largest corps since 1971 and was awarded numerous accolades including the prestigious General Douglas MacArthur Award, which is given to the most outstanding senior cadet at a senior military college. Gill has participated in the study abroad program, travelled on a Corps of Cadet international excursion to South Korea and participated in several community service programs.</p> <p>Lauren Lauher is a senior chemical engineering major from El Paso, Texas. Lauher has participated in three summer internships, one international mission trip, five Texas A&amp;M affiliated international programs — including three leadership programs, one reciprocal exchange and one study abroad trip. The trips have taken her to Italy, Greece, Costa Rica and Qatar. Lauren has received numerous scholarships and academic achievement awards.</p> <p>David Quiroz is a chemical engineering major from Houston who has approached his career at Texas A&amp;M with passion. Quiroz has served as Fish Camp counselor, volunteered at Big Event, participated in numerous degree-related activities and organizations and has received multiple academic scholarships. Quiroz has earned valuable professional experience with companies such as Marathon oil and Exxon Mobil.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2014/11/19/look-college-honors-outstanding-seniors http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2014/11/19/look-college-honors-outstanding-seniors Wed, 19 Nov 2014 00:00:00 CST CRASAR holds robotics workshop aimed at medical disasters Rachel Rose <rdaggie@tamu.edu> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2014/11/18/crasar-holds-robotics-workshop-aimed-at-medical-disasters <p><img width="313" height="209" src="/media/1949490/ebola_313x209.jpg" alt="ebola workshop" class="leftalign"/></p> <p>The Texas A&amp;M Engineering Experiment Station’s Center for Robotic-Assisted Search and Rescue (CRASAR), with funding from the Center for Emergency Informatics and the Texas A&amp;M Engineering Extension Service’s (TEEX) Product Development Center, recently held two days of robotics workshops specifically geared toward medical disasters.</p> <p>The first day’s activities were hosted by CRASAR and held at the National Center for Therapeutic Manufacturing. The day was separated into two portions. The first was a simulcast of shared presentations with the other three sites and brainstorming as part of the planning workshops on Safety Robotics for Ebola Workers for the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy National Robotic Initiative.</p> <p>The Texas A&amp;M Workshop on Robotic, Automation and Cyber Physical Systems for Medical Response to Disasters was held during the second portion of the day and provided additional discussions and brainstorming on general domestic medical response. These covered the state of the practice in Department of Defense robots and casualty evacuation systems that can be repurposed, lessons learned so far in using robots at the Fukushima Daiichi decommissioning (University of Tokyo) and opportunities for community recovery (Texas A&amp;M Hazards Reduction and Recovery Center). The day concluded with a reception and a keynote talk by Andrew Natsios from Texas A&amp;M’s Bush School of Government and Public Service, who served as administrator of USAID for several years.</p> <p>The Infectious Disease Response Workshop, hosted by Caleb Holt and the TEEX Product Development Center, was held at the TEEX Emergency Operations Training Center/Disaster City® complex the second day. Various aspects of medical response were the emphasis of the day and are included in many of the TEEX courses taught.</p> <p>A major portion of the day was spent demonstrating the current practices in medical response by walking participants through various scenarios including a field hospital and showing how contaminated waste is stored and over-packed and how first responders, equipment and vehicles are decontaminated.</p> <p>“The major takeaway was that robots do exist that could be immediately repurposed now to protect Ebola health workers, but how robots fit into the medical response enterprise is as important as what the robots can actually do,” said Dr. Robin Murphy, Raytheon Professor and director of CRASAR.</p> <p>"It was an honor to be one of the four sites hosting a workshop with the White House Office of Science, Technology and Policy, and it is another example of how Texas A&amp;M is a leader in emergency informatics and field robotics,” Murphy said.</p> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2014/11/18/crasar-holds-robotics-workshop-aimed-at-medical-disasters http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2014/11/18/crasar-holds-robotics-workshop-aimed-at-medical-disasters Tue, 18 Nov 2014 00:00:00 CST Texas A&M System’s LSAMP program renewed for another five years Amy Halbert http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2014/11/18/texas-am-systems-lsamp-program-renewed-for-another-five-years <p>The Texas A&amp;M University System Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (TAMUS LSAMP) program has received funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for another five years. TAMUS LSAMP is a partnership between Texas A&amp;M University, Texas A&amp;M University-Corpus Christi and Prairie View A&amp;M University (PVAMU) focused on increasing the number of underrepresented students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.  </p> <p>With the grant renewal, TAMUS LSAMP will continue its work to increase STEM enrollment and Bachelor of Science graduation rates, and also to prepare qualified candidates for graduate school. “We are happy to have the opportunity to continue partnering with our Alliance campuses and college partners at Texas A&amp;M,” said Dr. Karen Butler-Purry, associate provost for graduate studies and project co-principal investigator. “We look forward to continued efforts to support underrepresented minority students in obtaining degrees in the STEM fields.”</p> <p>The program is open to STEM students from underrepresented minority (URM) groups currently enrolled at any of the three partner institutions. LSAMP students are involved in academic, professional and leadership development activities including participation in cohort-based learning communities and faculty and peer mentoring.</p> <p>At Texas A&amp;M, LSAMP partners with four STEM colleges, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the Dwight Look College of Engineering, the College of Geosciences and the College of Science, to (1) institutionalize successful recruitment and retention efforts for URM STEM majors; (2) sustain STEM student transfer through continued and new relationships with community colleges and the three Alliance campuses; (3) increase participation in STEM undergraduate research, including international experiences, to stimulate interest and enrollment in graduate programs and create a model program that increases the number of globally competitive URM STEM graduates; and (4) link and leverage other NSF projects at Alliance partner institutions, especially those involving veterans as STEM students, for synergy and to disseminate findings.<br /> <br /> TAMUS LSAMP was one of the first six LSAMP programs to receive funding in 1992. The project has been continuously funded since. The Bridge to the Doctorate (BTD) component of the program has provided more than $9 million in fellowship funding for the first two years of graduate studies for 120 Texas A&amp;M and PVAMU engineering, science, agriculture and life sciences, and geosciences students. To date, 25 BTD Fellows have completed doctorates at Texas A&amp;M or other institutions.</p> <p>The principal investigator for TAMUS LSAMP is Dr. Karan Watson, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at Texas A&amp;M. Co-principal investigators Purry and Dr. Shannon Walton, director of graduate and professional studies and director of TAMUS LSAMP, and Dr. Samuel Merriweather, associate director of TAMUS LSAMP, complete the leadership team at Texas A&amp;M. Other co-principal investigators are Dr. Kendall Harris, professor and dean of the College of Engineering at PVAMU; and Dr. Frank Pezold, dean of the College of Science and Engineering at A&amp;M-Corpus Christi. </p> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2014/11/18/texas-am-systems-lsamp-program-renewed-for-another-five-years http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2014/11/18/texas-am-systems-lsamp-program-renewed-for-another-five-years Tue, 18 Nov 2014 00:00:00 CST Texas A&M-MIT-Harvard team developing injectable treatment for soldiers wounded in battle Ryan Garcia <ryan.garcia99@tamu.edu> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2014/11/18/gaharwar-wound-treatment <p>Internal bleeding is a leading cause of death on the battlefield, but a new, injectable material developed by team of researchers from Texas A&amp;M University, Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology could buy wounded soldiers the time they need to survive by preventing blood loss from serious internal injuries.</p> <p>The potentially life-saving treatment comes in the form of a biodegradable gelatin substance that has been embedded with nano-sized silicate discs that aid in coagulation. Once injected, the material locks into place at the site of the injury and rapidly decreases the time it takes for blood to clot – in some instances by a whopping 77 percent, says Akhilesh Gaharwar, assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Texas A&amp;M and member of the research team. The team’s findings are detailed in the scientific journal “ACS Nano” and supported by the U.S. Army Research Office. </p> <p>Though it’s still in early testing, Gaharwar envisions the biomaterial being preloaded into syringes that soldiers can carry with them into combat situations. If a soldier experiences a penetrating, incompressible injury – one where it is difficult if not impossible to apply the pressure needed to stop the bleeding – he or she can inject the material into the wound site where it will trigger a rapid coagulation and provide enough time to get to a medical facility for treatment, he says.</p> <p>“The time to get to a medical facility can take a half hour to an hour, and this hour is crucial; it can decide life and death,” Gaharwar says. “Our material’s combination of injectability, rapid mechanical recovery, physiological stability and the ability to promote coagulation result in a hemostat for treating incompressible wounds in out-of-hospital, emergency situations,” Gaharwar says. </p> <p><object width="640" height="360"><param name="movie" value="//www.youtube.com/v/KQEVstQKcXk?hl=en_US&amp;version=3&amp;rel=0" /><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always" /><embed width="640" height="360" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" src="http://www.youtube.com/v/KQEVstQKcXk?hl=en_US&amp;version=3&amp;rel=0" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" /></object></p> <p>Unlike some injectable solutions, which pose the risk of flowing to other parts of the body and forming unintended and potentially harmful clot formations, the material designed by Gaharwar and his colleagues solidifies at the site of the wound and begins promoting coagulation in the targeted area. What’s more, it accomplishes this, Gaharwar explains, without the need for applied pressure, separating it from other types of wound treatments such as tourniquets, patches and sealants.</p> <p>“Most of these penetrating injuries, which today are the result of explosive devices, rupture blood vessels and create internal hemorrhages through which a person is constantly losing blood,” Gaharwar notes. “You can’t apply pressure inside your body, so you have to have something that can quickly clot the blood without needing pressure.”</p> <p>In order to engineer the material, Gaharwar and his fellow researchers went about modifying a substance known as a hydrogel. Hydrogels are biodegradable materials used in a number of biomedical applications because of their compatibility with the body and its processes. By inserting two-dimensional nanoplatelets into the hydrogel, the team was able to tweak the mechanical properties of material. Essentially, they manipulated the material so that it could be injected into the body and then regain its shape once inside the body – something necessary for locking itself in place at the wound site, Gaharwar explains.</p> <p>The use of two-dimensional materials, Gaharwar says, represents a new direction in biomedical engineering. Two-dimensional materials are ultrathin substances with high surface area but a thickness of a few nanometers or less. Think of a sheet of paper but on a much smaller scale. For example, a sheet of paper is 100,000 nanometers thick; Gaharwar’s nanoplatelets are one nanometer thick.</p> <p>Gaharwar and his colleagues employ two-dimensional, disc-shaped particles known as synthetic silicate nanoplatelets. Because of their shape, these platelets have a high surface area, he explains. The structure, composition and arrangement of the platelets result in both positive and negative charges on each particle. These charges, Gaharwar explains, cause the platelets to interact with the hydrogel in a unique way. Specifically, the interaction causes the gel to temporarily undergo a change in its viscosity when mechanical force is applied, much like ketchup being squeezed from a bottle. This change allows the hydrogel to be injected and regain its shape once inside the body, Gaharwar explains.</p> <p>In addition to changing the mechanical properties of the hydrogel, these disc-shaped nanoplatelets interact with blood to promote clotting, Gaharwar says, noting that animal models<i> </i>have shown clot formation occurring in about one minute as opposed to five minutes without the presence of these nanoparticles. Animal model, he adds, also have demonstrated the formation of life-saving clot formations when the enhanced biomaterial was used. </p> <p>“These 2D, silicate nanoparticles are unprecedented in the biomedical field, and their use promises to lead to both conceptual and therapeutic advances in the important and emerging field of tissue engineering, drug delivery, cancer therapies and immune engineering,” Gaharwar says. </p> <p>Encouraged by its results, the team plans on further enhancing the biomaterial so that it can initiate regeneration of damaged tissues through the formation of new blood vessels, Gaharwar says. The result, he adds, could be a two-pronged wound treatment – one that not only aids in damage control but also assists the body’s natural healing process.</p> <p>Members of the research team include <span><span><span>Ali Khademhosseini, professor of medicine at <span>Brigham and Women's Hospital, </span><span>Harvard Medical School; and <span>Bradley D. Olsen, assistant professor of chemical engineering at MIT.</span></span></span></span></span></p> <p align="center">-30- </p> <p>Contact: Akhilesh Gaharwar, assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Texas A&amp;M University, at (979) 458-5540 or via email: <a href="mailto:gaharwar@tamu.edu">gaharwar@tamu.edu</a> or Ryan A. Garcia at (979) 847-5833 or via email: <a href="mailto:ryan.garcia99@tamu.edu">ryan.garcia99@tamu.edu</a>.</p> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2014/11/18/gaharwar-wound-treatment http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2014/11/18/gaharwar-wound-treatment Tue, 18 Nov 2014 00:00:00 CST Researchers build tractor beam to move particles using light Lesley Kriewald <lesleyk@tamu.edu> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2014/11/14/researchers-build-tractor-beam-to-move-particles-using-light <p><em><img width="415" height="273" src="/media/1949488/tractor-beam.jpg" alt="Photo of &quot;Tractor Beam&quot;"/></em></p> <p><em>Optical trapping and manipulation of light-absorbing particles. The particle is visible as bright spot localized in the focal area of the singular beam</em></p> <p> </p> <p>A research team that includes physicists from Texas A&amp;M University at Qatar has taken the “fiction” out of “science fiction.”</p> <p>Laser physicist Dr. Wieslaw Krolikowski, a professor in the Science Program at Texas A&amp;M at Qatar, and his research team in Qatar and at Australian National University (ANU) have moved small glass spheres with a laser beam — much like a tractor beam sci-fi fans have become accustomed to seeing on movie and television screens. The work is published in <a href="http://www.nature.com/nphoton/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nphoton.2014.242.html">Nature Photonics</a>.</p> <p>The team covered small glass spheres, about 50 micrometers in diameter, with a thin gold coating to absorb light. A coated sphere was then placed in a special hollow-beam laser in which a circle of light surrounds a dark center. The sphere sat in the dark center of the beam. Interaction with the light edges of the beam causes the sphere to absorb energy from the laser beam through the special, thin gold layer coating the sphere, raising the temperature and changing the air pressure surrounding the sphere. This change in temperature pushes the sphere either toward or away from the laser.</p> <p>“When we produced light to heat the backside of the sphere,” Krolikowski said, “the higher air pressure at the back of the sphere pushed it towards the light. The opposite occurred when we heated the front of the sphere.”</p> <p>This tractor-beam effect had previously only been observed on the microscopic level using plastic beads that only moved a few nanometers, Krolikowski said. But the Texas A&amp;M at Qatar—ANU research team has managed to move particles up to 20 centimeters.</p> <p>Krolikowski said that this success has potential in the real world, not just Hollywood. In medicine, doctors can use x-ray analysis of viruses and biological specimens. This requires delivering a particle to a very specific spatial location where the laser light will be focused.</p> <p>Another possible application is to use this tractor beam to capture and move particles produced in an experimental chamber into a special area for analysis.</p> <p>“Nanotechnology is a big deal these days,” Krolikowski said, “but very often many of these nanoparticles are produced from carcinogenic materials such as arsenic, so we don’t want to touch it. So light could provide the ability to manipulate particles into a specific location for analysis.”</p> <p>Krolikowski joined the Texas A&amp;M at Qatar faculty in January 2014 and is an expert in nonlinear optics, having worked in the field for more than 30 years. His area of research is in shaping a light beam so that it deposits energy in small, precise locations. He is in the process of setting up his new laser laboratory in the Texas A&amp;M Engineering Building on the Education City campus.</p> http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2014/11/14/researchers-build-tractor-beam-to-move-particles-using-light http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2014/11/14/researchers-build-tractor-beam-to-move-particles-using-light Fri, 14 Nov 2014 00:00:00 CST