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Innovation at work: ASU college students conduct impactful analysis


April 19, 2022

Preventing battery degradation with additive manufacturing, making concrete with plastic waste, creating electrical energy with micro organism, designing nanoparticles for drug supply and serving to farmers markets with information science are simply a few of the methods college students within the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University are making real-world influence by way of analysis.

Enhancing classroom data with hands-on analysis is a signature a part of the engineering expertise at ASU by way of the Fulton Undergraduate Research Initiative, or FURI, and the Master’s Opportunity for Research in Engineering, or MORE, packages. 
Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering Assistant Professor Kenan Song and mechanical systems engineering major Nathan Fonseca work on research in the lab.
Arizona State University mechanical techniques engineering main Nathan Fonseca (proper) conducts analysis to stop battery degradation with additive manufacturing know-how with Assistant Professor Kenan Song. Fonseca is conducting this analysis as a part of the Fulton Undergraduate Research Initiative program, one of many signature pupil analysis packages within the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at ASU through which college students conduct hands-on analysis to resolve real-world challenges. Photo by Erika Gronek/ASU
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FURI and MORE pupil researchers spend a semester conceptualizing an concept, growing a plan and investigating their analysis query with a school member.

The Grand Challenges Scholars Program, or GCSP, additionally encourages college students to conduct analysis initiatives associated to their chosen National Academy of Engineering grand problem theme.

These alternatives for Fulton Schools undergraduate and graduate college students present new views for locating options in information science, schooling, vitality, well being, safety and sustainability. Students additionally develop independent-thinking and problem-solving abilities to assist their future careers and better schooling pursuits. 

FURI, MORE and GCSP college students are invited to take part within the FURI Symposium, an occasion held close to the tip of every semester through which pupil researchers current their findings in a poster session.

Learn about 5 Fulton Schools college students who’re taking part within the spring 2022 FURI Symposium. Meet these college students and 115 different pupil researchers on the public occasion from 1–3 p.m. on Friday, April 22, on the Sun Devil Fitness Complex on the ASU Tempe campus.

Raphael David

Industrial engineering major Raphael David.

Industrial engineering main Raphael David on the Tempe Farmers Market. David helps farmers markets optimize income by exploring monetary fashions utilized by inventory market managers. Photo by Erika Gronek/ASU

Industrial engineering senior Raphael David explored how the monetary fashions utilized by inventory market managers may assist optimize the income of farmers markets in Phoenix. He performed this work in an interdisciplinary mission with Lauren Chenarides, an assistant professor on the Morrison School of Agribusiness within the W. P. Carey School of Business at ASU, as a part of the Grand Challenges Scholars Program. 

Q: What made you wish to get entangled in GCSP, and why did you select the mission you’re engaged on?

A: I joined GCSP by way of an invite as a freshman. I used to be excited to work on interdisciplinary initiatives that may very well be of use to a big group of individuals. I selected to check the profitability of farmers markets by way of the steering of my college mentor, Dr. Lauren Chenarides, who had this mission in thoughts and wanted a pupil to hold out the technical evaluation and information assortment.

Q: How will your analysis mission influence the world?

A: Farmers markets are vital as a result of they’re the hyperlink between small farmers and their communities. Many farmers markets right now are failing as a result of they wrestle to make sufficient earnings to pay for issues resembling lease. By serving to farmers markets thrive, we’re giving small farmers an opportunity to compete with large retailers. 

Q: What has been your most memorable expertise as a pupil researcher?

A: My most memorable second was lastly getting the portfolio mannequin to work and seeing the true environment friendly mixture of distributors that might assist maximize earnings on the farmers market.

Q: Have there been any surprises in your analysis?

A: One farmers market we studied was extraordinarily inefficient in optimizing its income. I’ve been engaged on this mission since I used to be a freshman, and this 12 months I noticed the market need to relocate as a result of they might not afford lease. This makes my analysis much more significant, as a result of I can assist them plan higher for his or her new location.

Learn extra about David’s spring 2022 GCSP mission.

Nathan Fonseca

Mechanical systems engineering major Nathan Fonseca.

Mechanical techniques engineering senior Nathan Fonseca works on analysis within the FURI program through which he makes use of additive manufacturing strategies to stop battery degradation. Photo by Erika Gronek/ASU

Mechanical techniques engineering senior Nathan Fonseca is exploring additive manufacturing strategies to stop degradation in solid-state lithium-ion batteries in a FURI mission with Assistant Professor Kenan SongFonseca received concerned in FURI for the chance to work on a sustainability-related mission and since he wished to current his findings.

Q: What made you wish to get entangled in FURI? Why did you select the mission you’re engaged on?

A: I joined FURI to additional improve my analysis curriculum whereas representing holistic improvement in range. My motivation for this mission got here from beforehand working with the Summer Research Internship program, the place I developed standard solid-state electrolytes for lithium-ion batteries. However, the method required a number of steps, and the design was constrained to fundamental geometries and random porosities. This led me to change from the standard methodology of chilly urgent pellets to additive manufacturing strategies, that are more practical. 

Q: How will your analysis mission influence the world?

A: My mission focuses on making a safer battery by way of 3D printing. Researchers on this area know that the propagation of dendrites (branching crystalline constructions) is likely one of the essential issues that lithium-ion batteries face. Oftentimes, dendrite penetration results in batteries degrading or internally turning into explosive. Therefore, finding out the results of various hierarchies designs by way of 3D printing can assist mechanically suppress dendrite propagation. This in impact will result in a extra sustainable and degradable battery with excessive security traits. Furthermore, by validating its greater security issue, the promotion to bridge lab manufacturing to industrial commercialization may have a better influence on the battery world. 

Q: How do you see this expertise serving to along with your superior diploma objectives?

A: My “aha!” second throughout this mission was realizing that I wish to proceed my graduate faculty and hold cherishing memorable moments such those on the American Chemical Society assembly.

As I pursue my doctoral diploma, FURI has allowed me to attach with many college members and study from them. I’ve come to the conclusion that I wish to be somebody that promotes the holistic improvement of minorities. My finish objective is to proceed to develop groundbreaking applied sciences the place the range of colour, tradition, background and lots of different elements doesn’t matter, however the harmonious objective to positively influence our society and play a significant function on this planet do. 

Learn extra about Fonseca’s spring 2022 FURI mission

Susanna Westersund

Civil engineering major Susanna Westersund.

Civil engineering junior Susanna Westersund is researching methods to create extra sustainable concrete by utilizing waste plastic instead of carbon-emitting cement. Photo by Erika Gronek/ASU

Civil engineering junior Susanna Westersund is making concrete extra sustainable and decreasing plastic in landfills by growing a way to switch a few of the carbon-emitting cement with plastic waste. Westersund is conducting this analysis together with her college mentor, Assistant Professor Christian Hoover, and thru this expertise has gained confidence in herself and her skills as an engineer. 

Q: What has been your most memorable expertise as a FURI pupil researcher?

A: The largest factor I’ve observed since being on this program is that I now see functions of issues I’m studying in my lessons. There are additionally issues I’ve discovered within the lab that I’ve been in a position to apply in my programs. 

Q: How will your engineering analysis mission influence the world?

A: My mission may influence the world as a result of it’s a resolution to plastic waste and recycling. Concrete manufacturing is likely one of the main causes of carbon dioxide emissions within the ambiance, so by changing a few of the cement with plastic particles, it’s higher for the surroundings. Plus, this may permit for a brand new end-of-life for these plastics.

Q: How do you see this expertise serving to along with your profession objectives?

A: This mission has helped me as a result of I now have expertise working in a crew together with expertise in many various lab settings. When I am going into job interviews, I’ve the power to speak about my mission and the way I’ve utilized myself exterior of sophistication.

Q: What is the perfect recommendation you’ve gotten out of your college mentor, Christian Hoover?

A: One of the perfect items of recommendation I’ve gotten is to belief in my skills. I all the time second-guess myself, however by way of working with him, I’ve begun to belief in my very own data and opinions.

Learn extra about Westersund’s spring 2022 FURI mission.

Anna Mangus

Chemical engineering graduate student Anna Mangus.

Chemical engineering graduate pupil Anna Mangus is finding out how a species of micro organism can produce electrical currents to be used in gas cells and different functions. Photo by Erika Gronek/ASU

Chemical engineering graduate pupil Anna Mangus is conducting analysis within the MORE program to know how micro organism can convert carbon molecules to electrical energy with Associate Professor César Torres. Mangus participated in FURI for 2 semesters as a junior and is now taking part within the MORE program whereas she finishes her graduate research within the 4+1 accelerated grasp’s diploma program. 

Q: How will your analysis mission influence the world?

A: My present analysis is targeted on finding out species of micro organism known as geobacter sulfurreducens, which have the pure means to supply electrical currents. They have filaments known as microbial nanowires that conduct electrical energy to exterior electron acceptors, resembling electrodes. As such, this micro organism is a mannequin organism for applied sciences like microbial gas cells and microbial electrochemical cells, that are sustainable methods of manufacturing electrical energy and high-value chemical merchandise. These microbial nanowires are additionally broadly used and studied within the advancing area of bioelectronics.

Q: Have there been any surprises in your analysis?

A: In pursuit of our authentic analysis plan, we stumbled throughout an undocumented construction within the micro organism we work with, so a big a part of my analysis has been devoted to classifying and finding out what this construction is and what operate it serves for these micro organism. 

As an engineer, I used to be solely ever anticipating to work in application-related analysis, so to finish up contributing to the invention aspect of analysis has been what Bob Ross would name a “happy accident.” Trying to find out about one thing so new that you could’t even provide you with a speculation for it has been difficult, however extra enjoyable and rewarding.

Q: How do you see this expertise serving to you along with your superior diploma and profession objectives?

A: FURI and MORE allowed me to attempt issues I had by no means executed earlier than, and I ended up falling in love with analysis. They additionally gave me the chance to work on a number of analysis initiatives, which has allowed me to know the place my private analysis pursuits lie. The abilities I gained and the mentorship I obtained throughout these occasions are what make me assured and excited to proceed my graduate schooling to get my doctorate and hopefully change into a professor sometime.

Learn extra about Mangus’s spring 2022 MORE mission.

Christabel Wireko Arthur

Materials science and engineering graduate student Christabel Wireko Arthur.

Materials science and engineering graduate pupil Christabel Wireko Arthur is synthesizing a nanoparticle for diagnostics and drug supply functions. Photo by Erika Gronek/ASU

Materials science and engineering graduate pupil Christabel Wireko Arthur is bettering the way forward for well being care by synthesizing a brand new nanoparticle product of gold and mesoporous silica to assist advance medical diagnostics and drug supply functions. She is conducting this analysis within the MORE program with Assistant Professor Sui Yang

Q: Why did you select the mission you’re engaged on in MORE?

A: What made me select my mission is its utility. I’m synthesizing a Janus particle — a particular kind of nanoparticle or microparticle with two faces, every with totally different bodily and chemical traits that endow it with distinctive properties, resembling optical, thermal and electrical properties. My Janus particle will encompass a gold nanoparticle and vesicle-shaped (or onion-shaped) mesoporous silica. The materials I plan to synthesize is a wonderful well being care materials that can be utilized to ship remedy and in addition serve totally different functions within the well being care business.

Q: How will your engineering analysis mission influence the world?

A: Being in a position to detect biomarkers for most cancers, coronary heart illnesses and infections brokers will assist remedy quite a few issues in diagnostics and drug supply. The vesicle-like mesoporous silica has distinctive geometries and are anticipated to show novel bodily and chemical traits that may give rise to new applied sciences within the fields of biosensors, drug supply, catalysis and organic separation. The fusion of the gold nanoparticles with the mesoporous silica to type a Janus particle could produce a brand new know-how that shall be an answer to the constraints in present nanoparticle know-how, resembling accuracy, harm to non-targeted surrounding tissues and invasive needle placement for biosensing and diagnostics.

Q: Why ought to different college students get entangled on this program?

A: Students ought to get entangled in MORE as a result of it is a one-time alternative that lets you have hands-on expertise within the theories you examine at school. It can also be a possibility to study and influence the world in your personal little manner.

Learn extra about Wireko Arthur’s spring 2022 MORE mission.



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