MANE News and Events

More than $2 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy will strengthen nuclear research and education, and help develop the next generation of nuclear technology at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
The grants will support two research projects within the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, & Nuclear Engineering, fund improvements in laboratory space, and provide scholarships in nuclear engineering.

At the 2012 ANS Student Conference, held in Las Vegas Nevada by the UNLV ANS Student Section, seniors Joe Mancuso, Ryan Norval, and Matthew Riblett joined the ranks of RPI students past and present, having won their session in Accelerator Applications.

NASA research pilots Frank Batteas '77, who grew up in New York state and now lives in California, spent his college years at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where he earned a degree in nuclear engineering. Batteas spent 21 years in the Air Force before joining NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., as a test pilot. According to his entry on the NASA website, he has more than 8,000 hours of military and civilian flight time in a variety of aircraft. As a test pilot, Batteas has flown the KC-135, C-17, F/A-18, F-15, B-747 and DC-8.

At the recent School of Engineering Faculty Awards Dinner, Prof Bimal Malaviya received Teaching Excellence Award recognizing his exceptional contribution in his 47-year career at Rensselaer. Prof Emily Liu received Research Excellence Award in the junior faculty category. Profs George Xu and Peter Caracappa received the Team Research Award for their NIH-funded project “Virtual Patients” in collaboration with Prof Suvranu De. Congratulations!

Prof. George Xu is elected Vice Chair and Justin Vazquez, graduate student, is elected a member of Executive Committee of Radiation Protection & Shielding Division, American Nuclear Society.

Institute News

Heat pipes are devices to keep critical equipment from overheating. They transfer heat from one point to another through an evaporation-condensation process and are used in everything from cell phones and laptops to air conditioners and spacecraft.   Normally, heat pipes contain porous metal wicks that return liquid to the heated end of the pipe where it evaporates. But engineers are working to develop wickless heat pipes that are lighter and more reliable. Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute initiated the Constrained Vapor Bubble (CVB) project to study these wickless heat pipes for use in near-zero gravity environments for aerospace applications.  
Aquaporins are proteins that serve as water channels to regulate the flow of water across biological cell membranes. They also remove excess salt and impurities in the body, and it is this aspect that has led to much interest in recent years in how to mimic the biochemical processes of aquaporins potentially for water desalination systems.   An international team of researchers co-led by Georges Belfort has discovered water, in the form of “water wires,” contained in another molecule—the imidazole—a nitrogen-based organic compound that could be used as a potential building block for artificial aquaporins. The findings were recently published in Science Advances by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Belfort is Institute Professor and professor of chemical and biological engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Jennifer Pazour, assistant professor of industrial and systems engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, has been named an inaugural recipient of the Johnson & Johnson Women in STEM2D (WiSTEM2D) Scholars Award.
Nanomaterials expert Ganpati Ramanath, the John Tod Horton ’52 Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, has been named a fellow of the Materials Research Society (MRS) “for developing creative approaches to realize new nanomaterials via chemically directed nanostructure synthesis and assembly and for tailoring interfaces in electronics and energy applications using molecular nanolayers.”
Michael “Miki” Amitay, the James L. Decker ’45 Endowed Chair in Aerospace Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, has received a grant from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research to study the phenomenon of flow separation on aircraft wings, which could lead to improved aerodynamic performance in future-generation air vehicles.