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]
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]
New Senior Director of Development for EAS
Phil Bonfiglio is the new Senior Director of Development for the Division of Engineering and Applied Science. Phil will provide overall direction for advancement in the EAS Division by providing leadership in fundraising to advance the mission and goals of the Division and the Institute. Phil comes to Caltech from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta as the Director of Development for the College of Sciences where he led the college advancement activities for seven academic schools and 30 research centers that housed over 220 faculty.
Talking to Turbulence
Beverley McKeon, Professor of Aeronautics and Associate Director of GALCIT, and her colleagues have developed a new and improved way of looking at the composition of turbulence near walls, the type of flow that dominates our everyday life. "This kind of turbulence is responsible for a large amount of the fuel that is burned to move humans, freight, and fluids such as water, oil, and natural gas, around the world," Professor Mckeon describes. They have devised a new method of looking at wall turbulence by reformulating the equations that govern the motion of fluids—called the Navier-Stokes equations—into an infinite set of smaller, simpler subequations, or "blocks," with the characteristic that they can be simply added together to introduce more complexity and eventually get back to the full equations. [Caltech Release]