Allen’s research group has continued to receive considerable attention for the new analysis method that they created, which they call Quasi-Static Modal Analysis, and which allows them to predict the nonlinear stiffness and damping in structures with frictional contact with a computational cost that is many times less than any method available previously. They have used this to create some of the first predictions of the damping and stiffness of bolted joints and the most rigorous comparisons to date between experiments and
predictions. Allen has also been involved in a collaboration with Thelen’s group which has created a new device for measuring the tension in human tendons and ligaments from vibration measurements. This has
continued to prove robust and effective and is being used in a pilot study to see if it provides information that can guide physicians when deciding on treatments for children who suffer from Polio. Allen also developed a new course this year, EMA 610: Structural Dynamic Finite Element Model Updating, which leverages his consulting and research experience to provide a one-of-a-kind advanced course on vibrations. This course and the curriculum in general has attracted additional attention from employers such as ATA Engineering and the United Launch Alliance.
Submitted papers to Physica-D and Journal of Fluids Engineering. Important because they are the first product of Chris Noble’s work in the shock tube lab and because both were invited contributions to special issues of the journals. Both articles were accepted in 2020. Developed new module for Rocket Propulsion class to demonstrate use of online version of a NASA combustion analysis software (CEA). Important because the software is one of the standards in the rocket industry.
Jen Choy joined EP as an Assistant Professor in January of 2019 and has been building a research program on experimental quantum and optical science. Her lab is focused on the development and applications of quantum sensors based on neutral atoms and solid-state spins. Since the start of her appointment, Jen has recruited the founding group of PhD and undergraduate students to the lab and acquired over $900k in federally funded grants to support her group’s research for the next three years. Her group has moved into the renovated lab space in Engineering Research Building and constructed instrumentation to support experimental capabilities in atomic spectroscopy and laser frequency stabilization, scanning confocal microscopy of single quantum emitters, and vacuum-annealing of solid-state
quantum materials. As the instructor of NE 427 (a laboratory course on nuclear instrumentation) in Spring and Fall semesters of 2019, Jen has revamped the instructional content, especially lecture notes and lab manuals, implemented an electronic lab notebook system, and created in-class demonstrations to complement lectures. Jen has continued to work on her mentoring and instructional skills by participating in the Madison Teaching and Learning Excellence program.
Research: Engineered Cellular Constructs
Crone’s research group has developed an engineered micropatterned substrate optimized for functional cellular readouts to identify electrical, mechanical, and structural toxicity. Using stem cells, which can be differentiated into all cell types present in the body including in the heart, this culture platform bridges the gap between single-cell studies, which do not account for critical mechanical and electrical coupling between cardiomyocytes nor interactions with
other cell types, and engineered three-dimensional heart tissue studies, which are not as amenable to full optical characterization. Using multicellular aggregates in a defined
micropattern offers the advantages of tissue-like connectivity and coordinated cell-cell functionality with optical access enabling quantification of electrophysiological properties,
intracellular calcium dynamics, and contractile mechanics. Their research has shown that immature cardimyocytes patterned this platform repeatability form extremely polarized structures which produce synchronous contraction, highly enhanced sarcomere organization, and anisotropic conduction comparable to the native heart. In addition to its utility in cardiac-related research [Experimental Mechanics, 59(9), 2019], this platform has also been shown to be applicable to skeletal muscle cells as demonstrated by a recent publication selected as the Editor’s Choice Article in Biotechnology & Bioengineering [116(9), 2019].
Teaching: REACH and Mechanics of Materials
Crone and Notbohm, in collaboration with colleagues in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, have launched a combined and restructured course in Mechanics of Materials
(EMA 303 and ME306). This multiyear course redesign effort, supported by the REACH (Redesigning for Active Learning in High-Enrollment Courses) Initiative through the Provost’s Office, merges the two departments’ courses and introduces extensive active learning components. The goals of the restructuring are to improve student learning, foster a
deeper understanding of concepts/content, and have students take ownership of their own learning through active engagement with the course material.
Service: Society for Experimental Mechanics
Crone is a longstanding member and Fellow of the Society for Experimental Mechanics continues. In 2018-2019 she served as its President and lead the Executive Board of the
society. Her duties included overseeing the efforts Society committees, future conference planning, and Society financials. Because of excellent financial stewardship over the past decade and financial decisions undertaken during her Presidency, the Society was in a strong position to weather the cancelation of one of its in-person annual conferences a result of the pandemic.
In 2019, Jennifer Franck received her first federally funded research grant from the National Science Foundation on the modeling of oscillating foils to harvest energy from tidal and
river flows, which is applicable to the development of renewable energy technology development.
Hegna continues to raise visibility to the UW stellarator program as evidenced by his overtalk at the first Collaboration on Hidden Symmetries and Fusion Energy Annual Meeting, two invited talks from members of his group (Bader, Faber) at the 2019
International Stellarator Heliotron Workshop. Additionally, Hegna was selected as the member of the domestic stellarator community to serve on the 2019 Community Planning Process’s Program committee. In 2019, Hegna served as an informal consulting role for the Type One Group, the first domestic private enterprise aiming to bring stellarator fusion to fruition. (Type One will be awarded an ARPA-E grant in 2020. Hegna is to be named one of the founders of Type One in 2020). Two students (McKinney, Cote) had first author publications in 2019. Two students (Cote, Bechtel) will be completing their PhD work in 2020.
Prof. Henderson graduated four PhD students this past year. Two found jobs at National Laboratories (Sandia and Livermore), one was hired by the local startup Phoenix Laboratory, and one had been a returning student who remained with his current job at Phoenix Laboratory. Prof.
Henderson also took on the position as Associate Dean for Faculty Development for the College of Engineering ion July 2019. His initial tasks are the development of strategies for faculty recruitment of individuals from under-represented groups.
In Prof. Notbohm’s teaching, he engaged with the REACH program, which redesigns high enrollment courses to increase active learning in the classroom. The REACH project was conducted in collaboration with a faculty member from Mechanical Engineering to merge and redesign Mechanics of Materials (EMA 303/ME 306). After working with REACH in
the first half of the year, Prof. Notbohm implemented the active learning activities in a new discussion format in fall 2019.
Prof. Notbohm’s research program continues to grow, with publication of several papers and a masters student completing a thesis in 2019. In addition to five graduate students, six undergraduate students, one high school student, and one high school teacher performed research in Prof. Notbohm’s lab. With experience gained in the Notbohm lab, the high school teacher designed two chemistry lab activities that were implemented in Hartford Union High School in the 2019-20 academic year. Notbohm’s contributions have been recognized with a Harvey D. Spangler professorship.
Prof. Schmitz discovered and documented as part of a large international collaboration at the Wendelstein 7-X stellarator in Germany detachment of the plasma from the plasma facing components in the novel divertor configuration of this device. That’s an important finding, because in a fusion energy system the hot plasma medium that produces fusion energy needs to be in close contact with material surfaces to exhaust the helium ash of the fusion process. This causes excessive heat loads onto the materials which are mitigated by dissipating the energy into radiation and molecular/atomic processes. Experiments that were prepared and led by Schmitz together with collaborators of the Max-Planck Institute for Plasma Physics in Greifswald, Germany and the Juelich Research Center, Germany, have shown that a state of
largely reduced heat and particle fluxes to the materials can be accomplished in a stable fashion and the particle exhaust properties of the configuration can be maintained. This was a first time finding for this new stellarator device and leads the path towards stable high-performance operation in the near future. The results were presented as an invited talk on the 2019 conference of the European Physics Society in
Milano, Italy and in a series of invited institute colloquia in Germany and the U.S.. An extended review paper about these findings was published recently in the IoP Journal Nuclear Fusion.
Schmitz is an appointed member of the sub-panel of the DoE Fusion Energy Science Advisory Committee (FESAC) on Long Range Strategic Planning for the U.S. fusion program. Schmitz’s community service expands to being co-chair of the National Stellararor Coordinating committee, elected Secretary and treasurer of the American physics Society, Division of Plasma Physics and deputy director of the U.S.
Burning Plasma Organization. Schmitz organized and chaired the International Stellarator and Heliotron Workshop ISHW 2020 in Madison, WI with 120 participants from all over the world. He also organized a workshop of the U.S. fusion and plasma science community for the long-range planning activity sponsored by APS with more than 250 participants. Schmitz acquired with institute leaders in Germany and at Auburn university a 5 years, $7MUSD program for the German partner institutions, the Helmholtz International
laboratory for Optimized Advanced Divertors in Stellarators (HILOADS). He chairs the steering committee of this newly founded international lab.
Prof. Carl Sovinec’s most important activities for 2019 include research on tokamak disruption physics, program development through his role as the chair of the Graduate Studies Committee, leadership of the University’s Officer Education Program, and accepting an associate editor position for the journal Physics of Plasmas. The research work demonstrates the utility of using fluid-based models of magnetized plasma for simulating disruptive events in the tokamak magnetic confinement configuration.
The international ITER experiment that is under construction in France is a tokamak, and damage and loss of operating time from disruptions are the greatest risks to its success. The extent to which numerical simulations can be developed and deployed to improve operation and to engineer safeguards will have an impact on the experimental program.
Regarding service roles, Sovinec and Prof. Curt Bronkhorst led the Graduate Studies Committee’s effort to develop a new Engineering Mechanics MS named option. This non-pooled tuition program (implying direct revenue for Engineering Physics) started as a general accelerated program but was later made more specific to Aerospace Engineering to
help improve marketing. As the Director of the University’s Office Education Program, Sovinec balanced needs of the three ROTC units with University opportunities, and he oversaw the hiring of two of the three program administrative associates. The Associate Editor position with Physics of Plasmas is a new role, and Sovinec joins the editing team
during a period of policy changes that are aimed to right this important journal’s slumping impact factor.
Paul Wilson's first year as chair of the Department of Engineering Physics coincided with the launch of two large consortia funded by NNSA. He is serving as a thrust area lead in the Enabling Technology and Innovation Consortium based at Georgia Tech, and as the Nuclear Policy cross-cutting lead for the Monitoring Technology and Verification consortium based at the University of Michigan. This marks a substantial shift of his fuel cycle research into the non-proliferation space, with a focus on higher fidelity facility modeling and data science approaches. He continues to expand the reach of the DAGMC software with a first users and developers meeting including scientists from national labs, startups and other universities.
In addition to being a member of its Board of Directors, Wilson's also became the chair of the Fusion Energy Division of the American Nuclear Society. With that role, he has an opportunity to participate as an ex-officio member of the Fusion Energy Sciences Advisory Committee (FESAC) at an important time when they are
compiling the fusion community's interests into a strategic plan for the Office of Fusion Energy Sciences.
Dr. Yongfeng Zhang joined the Engineering Physics Department in August 19, 2019. For his first semester as an assistant professor, he has made good progresses in building up research programs, maintaining a good publication
record, and performing society services. In Fall 2019, he participated in six preproposals to the DOE Nuclear Energy University Program and one full proposal to DOE Office of Science, Basic Energy Science. He had four coauthored
paper published in Fall 2019 and submitted four others including one as the first and corresponding author. He served as the guest editor of a special issue for the journal JOM published by TMS titled “Ceramic Materials for Nuclear
Energy Research and Applications”. He was also having a smooth start on teaching by teaching one graduate level course, and on group building up by hiring a graduate student and a postdoc researcher.