News

News, Uncategorized / 14.03.2019

The piezoelectric materials that inhabit everything from our cell phones to musical greeting cards may be getting an upgrade thanks to work discussed in the journal Nature Materials released online Jan 21. Xiaoyu ‘Rayne’ Zheng, assistant professor of mechanical engineering in the College of Engineering, and a member of the Macromolecules Innovation Institute, and his team have developed methods to 3D print piezoelectric materials that can be custom-designed to convert movement, impact and stress from any direction to electrical energy. “Piezoelectric materials convert strain and stress into electric charges,” Zheng explained. The piezoelectric materials come in only a few defined shapes and are made of brittle crystal and ceramic – the kind that require a clean room to manufacture. Zheng’s team has developed...

News, Uncategorized / 14.03.2019

Twenty-nine members of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics were elected as Fellows for 2019 including three current Virginia Tech faculty: Wing Ng, Christopher C. Kraft Endowed Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Rakesh Kapania, Mitchell Professor of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering, and Robert Canfield, professor and assistant department head in the Kevin T. Crofton Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering. Others chosen for the honor this year include Virginia Tech alums Fayette Collier of the NASA Langley Research Center, who earned his BS, MS, and Ph.D.s in aerospace and ocean engineering in 1981, 1982, and 1988 respectively; and Jaiwon Shin of NASA Headquarters, who earned his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering in 1989. Additionally, new AIAA Fellow Hanspeter Schaub of the University of...

News, Uncategorized / 14.03.2019

Xiaoyu ‘Rayne’ Zheng, assistant professor of mechanical engineering in the College of Engineering, has received an Office of Naval Research 2019 Young Investigator award to study rational design and additive manufacturing of 3D piezoelectrics with arbitrary anisotropy for maritime self-sensing structures. The work will be done as part of ONR’s Maritime Sensing Program. The ability to tailor energy transduction materials are critical to meet demanding operational environments where weight, robustness, and performance are equally important. The three-year, $750,000 project aims to develop design and additive manufacturing techniques to advance the knowledge and capabilities for developing novel transducer and sensing platforms. “Traditionally, you would have to deal with the existing properties within the materials you are given and distribute a large number of...

News, Uncategorized / 14.03.2019

In the 2017-2018 academic year, a new sponsor for mechanical engineering senior design teams arrived at Virginia Tech in the form of QL+, a non-profit dedicated to helping veterans and first responders. Teams tackled problems brought forth by challengers and made a difference in their lives. Inspired by the initial challenges, Zackory Biggers, a junior in mechanical engineering from Lovettsville, Virginia answered a call to help form a new student organization, Quality of Life Plus Student Chapter at Virginia Tech, to help people in the New River Valley. “Last year’s senior design team really got the student organization started,” Biggers said. “This is the first year we’ve been in action, with an executive board and working on projects.” Biggers is the president of...

News, Uncategorized / 11.06.2018

The evolution of bipedal robots may follow a road once traveled by living species – the inclusion of a tail. In the Robotics and Mechatronics Lab of Pinhas Ben-Tzvi, associate professor of mechanical engineering in the College of Engineering, the tail has become a captivating solution for the problem of bipedal and quadrupedal robot stabilizing and maneuvering. “If you’ve seen robotic quadrupeds, they are very big and very expensive, with articulated legs incorporating multiple degrees of freedom,” said Ben-Tzvi. “The machines use the leg’s multiple degrees of freedom to maneuver and stabilize so if they are pushed from the side, the legs adjust like a human to keep it from falling.” The problem is that with legs so complex, they are large and...