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Microstructures Self-Assemble into New Materials

03-03-20

A new process developed at Caltech makes it possible for the first time to manufacture large quantities of materials whose structure is designed at a nanometer scale—the size of DNA's double helix. Pioneered by Professor Julia R. Greer, "nanoarchitected materials" exhibit unusual, often surprising properties—for example, exceptionally lightweight ceramics that spring back to their original shape, like a sponge, after being compressed. Now, a team of engineers at Caltech and ETH Zurich have developed a material that is designed at the nanoscale but assembles itself—with no need for the precision laser assembly. "We couldn't 3-D print this much nanoarchitected material even in a month; instead we're able to grow it in a matter of hours," says Carlos M. Portela, Postdoctoral Scholar. "It is exciting to see our computationally designed optimal nanoscale architectures being realized experimentally in the lab," says Dennis M. Kochmann, Visiting Associate. [Caltech story]

Tags: APhMS research highlights GALCIT MCE Julia Greer Dennis Kochmann Carlos Portela

Gwynne Shotwell of SpaceX Receives International von Kármán Wings Award

02-14-20

This 2020 International von Kármán Wings Award honoree is Gwynne Shotwell, President and COO, SpaceX. The von Kármán Wings Award acknowledges outstanding contributions by international innovators, leaders, and pioneers in aerospace and is presented by the Aerospace Historical Society, which is part of the Graduate Aerospace Laboratories at Caltech (GALCIT). Dr. Shotwell was honored for her contributions to commercial aerospace, and in particular, the Falcon vehicle program. The ceremony also featured the presentation of three scholarships to honor top graduate students in aerospace.

Tags: honors GALCIT Gwynne Shotwell

Michael Brown Receives Matthew Isakowitz Fellowship

02-12-20

Junior undergraduate student Michael Brown, studying Mechanical Engineering and Aerospace Engineering, has been awarded a Matthew Isakowitz Fellowship. The fellowship recognizes exceptional college juniors, seniors, and graduate students pursuing aerospace careers and includes a paid internship at a commercial space company. Michael will be interning at The Spaceship Company. The Program honors the memory of an engineer, entrepreneur, and extraordinary individual whose passion for commercial space exploration led to great strides in the industry. [2020 class of fellows] [News release]

Tags: honors GALCIT MCE Matthew Isakowitz Fellowship Michael Brown

Ultrasound Can Selectively Kill Cancer Cells

02-05-20

Professor Michael Ortiz and Professor Morteza Gharib are exploring a new technique that could offer a targeted approach to fighting cancer. Low-intensity pulses of ultrasound have been shown to selectively kill cancer cells while leaving normal cells unharmed. In the past, ultrasound waves have been used as a cancer treatment with high-intensity bursts resulting in killing cancer and normal cells. [Caltech story]

Tags: research highlights GALCIT MedE MCE Morteza Gharib Michael Ortiz

Professor Rosakis Elected Laureate of the Aurel Stodola Lecture

02-05-20

Ares J. Rosakis, Theodore von Karman Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering has been elected as the Laureate of the Aurel Stodola Lecture and presented with the Aurel Stodola Medal. The Aurel Stodola Lecture Series commemorates the contributions of Professor Aurel Stodola in the early 20th century whose work on applied thermodynamics has guided many engineers and engineering developments worldwide. "Ares Rosakis possesses this unique ability to develop new experimental methods to make extremely fast mechanical processes (such as those occurring during earthquakes) tangible and observable in the laboratory," says Bradley Nelson, Professor of Robotics and Intelligent Systems and Head of D-MAVT. [Past Awardees]

Tags: honors GALCIT Ares Rosakis

Beverley McKeon Elected AIAA Fellow

02-03-20

Professor Beverley J. McKeon, Theodore von Karman Professor of Aeronautics, has been elected as a Fellow in the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). AIAA confers the distinction of Fellow upon individuals in recognition of their notable and valuable contributions to the arts, sciences or technology of aeronautics and astronautics. [AIAA press release]

Tags: honors GALCIT Beverley McKeon

Bionic Jellyfish Swim Faster and More Efficiently

01-30-20

John Dabiri, Centennial Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering, has developed a tiny prosthetic that enables jellyfish to swim faster and more efficiently than they normally do, without stressing the animals. Dabiri is envisioning a future in which jellyfish equipped with sensors could be directed to explore and record information about the ocean. "Only five to 10 percent of the volume of the ocean has been explored, so we want to take advantage of the fact that jellyfish are everywhere already to make a leap from ship-based measurements, which are limited in number due to their high cost," Dabiri says. "If we can find a way to direct these jellyfish and also equip them with sensors to track things like ocean temperature, salinity, oxygen levels, and so on, we could create a truly global ocean network where each of the jellyfish robots costs a few dollars to instrument and feeds themselves energy from prey already in the ocean." [Caltech story]

Tags: research highlights GALCIT MCE John Dabiri

Students Receive KPMG Innovation Award

11-21-19

Amanda R. Bouman and Elena-Sorina Lupu, students in Caltech's Center on Autonomous Systems and Technology (CAST) program, receive the 2019 KMPG Innovation Award. The students are recognized for their extraordinary efforts in exploring interdisciplinary research in the field of autonomy.

Tags: honors GALCIT MCE Amanda R. Bouman Elena-Sorina Lupu

Bees "Surf" Atop Water

11-20-19

Chris Roh, Research Engineer, working with Professor Morteza Gharib, discovered a unique way that bees navigate the interface between water and air. When a bee lands on water, the water sticks to its wings, robbing it of the ability to fly. However, that stickiness allows the bee to drag water, creating waves that propel it forward."I was very excited to see this behavior and so I brought the honeybee back to the lab to take a look at it more closely," Roh says. [Caltech release]

Tags: research highlights GALCIT Morteza Gharib Chris Roh

Professor McKeon Unlocked Secrets Behind Turbulence

11-06-19

Beverley McKeon, Theodore von Karman Professor of Aeronautics, has unlocked some of the secrets behind turbulence, a much-studied but difficult-to-pin-down phenomenon that mixes fluids when they flow past a solid boundary. "We knew that, underlying these very complicated structures, there had to be a very simple pattern. We just didn't know what that pattern was until now," says McKeon. [Caltech story]

Tags: research highlights GALCIT Beverley McKeon