News & Events


Electrical Vehicle Design and Racing


The students in the CS/EE/ME 75 class, Introduction to Multidisciplinary Systems Engineering, invited industry experts to their midterm design review on the evening of February 11, 2016. The students are currently in the manufacturing phase and plan to finish the vehicle frame this week and attach the mounting brackets shortly thereafter. They aim to have a running prototype electrical vehicle by mid-March to get early testing data before refining their design for the upcoming Formula SAE competition. The course is co-taught by Professors Guillaume Blanquart, Azita Emami, and Richard Murray as well as the Executive Director for the Resnick Institute, Neil Fromer. Several students in the course are also members of the Caltech Sustainable Vehicle Club led by undergraduate student Robert Anderson. [Huffpost Education Blog]

Tags: EE energy MCE CMS Guillaume Blanquart Richard Murray Rob Anderson Azita Emami Neil Fromer

Undergraduate Wins Prestigious Student-Athlete Honor


Rob Anderson, a junior on the Caltech men's basketball team, has been named to the 2015 Allstate National Association of Basketball Coaches Good Works Team. Anderson, who is studying mechanical engineering and business economics and management, was selected for his extensive work researching and designing sustainable energy projects. "After the Solar Decathlon ended in autumn of 2013, I began looking for another engineering sustainability project," Anderson says. "I noticed there were a few empty gas-engine go-karts in Fleming and I realized I could re-engineer them to use electric power… That's basically how the Sustainable Vehicle Club was born.” [Caltech story]

Tags: honors energy MCE Solar Decathlon Rob Anderson

Made-to-Order Materials


Julia R. Greer, Professor of Materials Science and Mechanics, and colleagues have created nanostructured, hollow ceramic scaffolds, and have found that the small building blocks, or unit cells, display remarkable strength and resistance to failure despite being more than 85 percent air. The general fabrication technique the researchers have developed could be used to produce lightweight, mechanically robust small-scale components such as batteries, interfaces, catalysts, and implantable biomedical devices. [Caltech Release]

Tags: APhMS energy research highlights MedE health MCE Julia Greer

Undergraduate Wins Scholarship for Energy and Environmental Science


Hima Hassenruck-Gudipati, an undergraduate student in Mechanical Engineering has won the David E. Lumley Young Scientist Scholarship for Energy and Environmental Science. The scholarship is targeted to high school and undergraduate students and aims to "inspire today’s young minds to work on problems of global importance". Hima will be presenting a paper and participating in various student activities at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union. “Meeting some of the 'giants' of geoscience and getting their feedback on research is a big deal for these young students. We sometimes lose sight of this,” David E. Lumley said.

Tags: honors energy MCE Hima Hassenruck-Gudipati

Solar Decathlon 2013 Construction is Under Way


Last year a group of students in an engineering project course called Introduction to Multidisciplinary Systems Engineering, taught by Professor Melany Hunt, began planning for the Dynamic Augmented Living Environment (DALE), a joint SCI-Arc/Caltech entry in the 2013 Solar Decathlon competition. This type of multidisciplinary and collaborative experience is important for Caltech students, notes Hunt. "Engineering students need experiences in which they design, create, build, and test," she says. "They also should have opportunities in which they work as part of a team. Most engineering projects require multiple perspectives with input coming from a range of individuals with different expertise and vision." [Caltech Release] [LA Times Article]

Tags: energy MCE CMS Solar Decathlon Melany Hunt

Clean-Energy Research Accelerates


Caltech clean-energy research is accelerating thanks to the renovation of the Earle M. Jorgensen Laboratory. Transformed into a cutting-edge facility for energy science, the lab unites two powerhouse programs: the Resnick Sustainability Institute and the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP). "Our researchers are working with Caltech's chemists and chemical engineers to challenge the status quo and translate scientific discovery into clean-energy innovations that will directly benefit society for generations to come," says Chair Ares Rosakis. [Caltech Release]

Tags: energy research highlights Caltech infrastructure Jorgensen Renovation

Self-Contained, Photovoltaic Powered Domestic Toilet


Michael Robert Hoffmann, James Irvine Professor of Environmental Science, and his team of graduate students Asghar Aryanfar, Clement Cid, Kangwoo Cho, Daejung Kwon, and Hao Zhang, along with post doctoral scholar Yan Qu have won the Reinventing the Toilet Challenge issued by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Their winning proposal was to build a toilet that uses the sun to power an electrochemical reactor. The reactor breaks down water and human waste into fertilizer and hydrogen, which can be stored in hydrogen fuel cells as energy. The treated water can then be reused to flush the toilet or for irrigation. [Caltech Feature] [CNN Ideas]

Tags: energy research highlights MCE ESE Michael Hoffmann Asghar Aryanfar Clement Cid Kangwoo Cho Daejung Kwon Hao Zhang Yan Qu

Finalist for Library Senior Thesis Prize


Mechanical Engineering undergraduate student Robert Karol, who is also minoring in Aerospace and Control and Dynamical Systems, was the finalist for the 2012 Friends of Caltech Libraries Senior Thesis Prize. His thesis is entitled “Peak Seeking Controller for Real Time Mobile Satellite Tracking” and was written under the direction of Professor Richard Murray and Mechanical Engineering alumnus Gunnar Ristroph (BS '06) of IJK Controls.

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Tags: energy research highlights MCE CMS Richard Murray Robert Karol

Compaction Bands in Sandstone are Permeable


José E. Andrade, Associate Professor of Civil and Mechanical Engineering, and colleagues have analyzed X-ray images of Aztec sandstone and revealed that compaction bands are actually more permeable than earlier models indicated. Their paper provides the first permeability calculations based on actual rock samples taken directly from the field in the Valley of Fire, Nevada. They conclude that these formations are not as impermeable as previously believed, and that therefore their ability to trap fluids—like oil, gas, and CO2—should be measured based on 3D images taken from the field. [Caltech Press Release]

Tags: energy research highlights MCE Jose Andrade

Caltech Students Meet the Volts


At a special event entitled "Meet the Volts" students had the opportunity to learn about the evolution of electric vehicles from Kent Kresa, Chair of the Caltech Board of Trustees and former Interim Chairman of GM's Board of Directors. Also, presenting at the event was Larry Nitz, GM's Executive Director of Hybrid and Electric Powertrain Engineering, who discussed the propulsion technology that makes the Volt, GM's new electric car, unique. [Watch the Presentations

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Tags: energy Kent Kresa Larry Nitz Tom Mannion electric vehicle