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Wing Ng, the Christopher C. Kraft Endowed Professor of mechanical engineering in the College of Engineering, has been named an Alumni Distinguished Professor by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors. The professorship is a pre-eminent appointment, recognizing remarkable scholarship and service, as well as extraordinary teaching that has influenced the lives of generations of students. The Board of Visitors appoints Alumni Distinguished Professors on a 10-year appointment to fewer than 1 percent of university faculty to recognize outstanding contributions to the instructional program of the...

Walter F. O’Brien Jr., the J. Bernard Jones Professor of Mechanical Engineering, passed away July 25 surrounded by his family. O'Brien, who was born in Roanoke in 1937, received his B.S. and Ph.D. from Virginia Tech in 1960 and 1968, respectively, and he earned his M.S. from Purdue University. He was a member of the Virginia Tech faculty for more than 52 years, and was the first faculty member from the department to receive a named professorship. O'Brien served as an assistant,...

A decade ago a new idea was brought into the general scientific community – shedding water from condensers was more efficient by using surface tension to make microscopic water droplets ‘jump’ off the surface. The idea took the research community by storm. “In the last decade since I discovered the jumping droplets, the debate has been using gravity versus jumping,” said Jonathan Boreyko, assistant professor of mechanical engineering in the College of Engineering. The problem was, because the jumping itself occurs independent...

Anybody who has been passed by an ambulance at high speed has experienced a physical effect called the Doppler shift: As the ambulance moves toward the listener, its motion compresses the siren's sound waves and raises the sound pitch. As the ambulance moves away from the listener, the sound waves get dilated and the pitch is lowered. A listener wearing a blindfold could use this Doppler shift pattern to track the motion of the ambulance. In a paper published by the Proceedings...

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...

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...