Event Calendar

Mechanical Engineering 2020 Spring Seminar Series: Class 530.804 @ 210 Hodson Hall
Jan 30 @ 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm

“Thermal Photonics: Controlling the Light and Heat Around Us”

Presented by Professor Aaswath Raman
Materials Science and Engineering Department, UCLA

Metamaterials and nanoscale photonic structures, by their sub-wavelength feature sizes, can manipulate light and heat in unprecedented ways, thereby enabling new technological possibilities for energy efficiency and generation, heat transfer, sensing and imaging. In this talk, I will show how metamaterial and photonic approaches can control the broadband electromagnetic fields associated with thermal radiation – in particular the long-wave infrared thermal radiation associated with room temperatures – in unexpected ways to enable important new technological capabilities.  I will introduce the concept of radiative sky cooling and present our pioneering body of theoretical and experimental results since 2013 that have enabled this passive cooling approach both during the day and night. Applications to building-scale energy efficiency as well as new energy generation possibilities, including electricity generation at night, will be highlighted. I will also discuss new experimental results that demonstrate broadband beaming of thermal radiation by exploiting epsilon-near-zero materials, as well as numerical work highlighting the energy savings potential of newly emerging tunable emissivity materials in the long-wave infrared. Finally, I will highlight new machine learning-driven approaches we have developed to facilitate the design of complex thermal photonic structures.

Aaswath Raman is Assistant Professor with the Materials Science and Engineering Department at UCLA. His research interests include nanophotonics, metamaterials, thermal sciences, energy systems, and machine learning. He is also Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer of SkyCool Systems, a startup commercializing technology related to radiative sky cooling that he pioneered as a Research Associate at Stanford University. Aaswath received his Ph.D. in Applied Physics from Stanford University in 2013, and his A.B. in Physics and Astronomy, and M.S. in Computer Science from Harvard University in 2006. He is the recipient of the SPIE Green Photonics Award (2011), the MIT Technology Review Innovators Under 35 (TR35) Award (2015), the Materials Research Society Robinson Award for Renewable Energy (2019), the Sloan Research Fellowship in Physics (2019), and was an invited speaker at TED 2018.

Mechanical Engineering 2020 Spring Seminar Series: Class 530.804 @ 210 Hodson Hall
Feb 6 @ 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm

“Granular Matter by Design”

Presented by Professor Heinrich Jaeger
Sewell Avery Distinguished Service Professor of Physic, University of Chicago

Design is a process that proceeds from a desired overall outcome to the specifications for the individual components that enable the outcome.  For materials science, design is a major challenge, because it requires us to invert the typical modeling approach, which starts from microscale components in order to predict macroscale behavior. For granular matter additional complications arise from the fact that these materials are inherently disordered and typically far from equilibrium.  This talk will discuss recent progress in tackling this inverse problem and show how concepts from artificial evolution make it possible to identify with high efficiency particle-scale parameters that produce targeted macroscale behavior. In particular, I will show how one can find particle shapes that are optimized for specific desired behavior of a granular material, such as low porosity or adaptive compliance under compression.  The discussion will be embedded in the context of emergent applications for designed granular matter, ranging from soft robotics to aleatory architecture.

Heinrich Jaeger is the Sewell Avery Distinguished Service Professor of Physics at the University of Chicago. He received his Ph.D. in physics in 1987 from the University of Minnesota and has been on the faculty at U Chicago since 1991, directing the Chicago Materials Research Center from 2001 – 2006, and the James Franck Institute from 2007-2010. Jaeger’s current research focuses on self-assembled nanoparticle-based structures, on the rheology of concentrated particle suspensions, and on studies of the packing and flow properties of granular materials.

Mechanical Engineering 2020 Spring Seminar Series: Class 530.804 @ 210 Hodson Hall
Feb 27 @ 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm

“Neuromechanics and biorobotics: achieving stability and robust control for navigating complex environments”

Presented by Professor Andrew Biewener
Charles P. Lyman Professor of Biology and Faculty Director of the Concord Field Station, Harvard University

Animals move with economy and speed.  Most animals are also robustly maneuverable and stable.  Studies of terrestrial legged locomotion in running avian bipeds and mammalian quadrupeds reveal neuromuscular and biomechanical capabilities for stability and economy of movement.  Mechanical properties of muscles, as actuators, provide intrinsic stabilization in addition to effective power generation. Perturbation studies of running animals indicate that passive-dynamics likely underlie stabilization, supplemented by neuromuscular feedback control. Studies of quadrupedal animals show how center of mass moments are reduced during trotting and controlled during galloping, influencing the design of quadrupedal robots, such as BigDogTM.  Our work on bird flight designed to inform robust control of UAVs reveals how birds successfully navigate cluttered aerial environments and guide turning by means of visuomotor control of head and body movements.

Andrew A. Biewener is the Charles P. Lyman Professor of Biology and Faculty Director of the Concord Field Station at Harvard University. He is Deputy Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Experimental Biology. His research group focuses on the biomechanics and neuromuscular control of terrestrial and aerial locomotion, with relevance to biorobotics, musculoskeletal modeling, and biomedical engineering. His laboratory emphasizes in vivo methods for studying muscle function during animal movement in relation to body dynamics. This work has involved collaborations with modelers, roboticists, mechanical engineers, and computer scientists. He is an elected AAAS Fellow, and has published over 165 research papers, trained 18 PhDs and 16 post-doctoral scholars, and co-authored two recent textbooks (Animal Locomotion 2nd ed., 2018 Oxford Univ. Press; and How Life Works 3rd ed., 2018 Macmillan Press).

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