News about
The University of Iowa College of Engineering
Week of May 22, 2016

E/WEEK College Staff:
Editor:  Wendy Brentner, director of alumni relations and communications
Contributing Writer:  Andrea Zeek, UI News Services
College Web Site:  www.engineering.uiowa.edu


1. Ohrt Awarded Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship
2. Carmichael Co-Authors Paper Calling for Collaboration to better Understand How Air Pollution Impacts Health
3. Villafana To Receive 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award from MDEA
4. Chemical Engineering Faculty and Graduate Students Present at 2016 Radtech Conference
5. Understanding Changes in Raccoon River Nitrate
6. Grants and Contracts
7. About E/Week

1. Ohrt Awarded Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship

Jacob Ohrt, a senior in mechanical engineering, is one of three University of Iowa students to have been awarded the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. 

Ohrt of Iowa City will spend the summer in China interning at YingChuang 3D Printed.  He will serve as a communication bridge between engineers at the company and their overseas customers. 

Through this experience, he hopes to gain a better understanding of Chinese culture and to use the experience gained to obtain a job in foreign relations. 

His advice for others applying for the Gilman International Scholarship is start the process early, attend the information sessions, and use the writing resources available on the University of Iowa campus. 

2. Carmichael Co-authors Paper Calling for Collaboration to better Understand How Air Pollution Impacts Health

Greg Carmichael, Karl Kammermeyer Professor of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, co-director of the UI Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research, and director of the UI Informatics Initiative, is co-author of a paper published in Environmental Science & Technology, calling for collaboration to better understand how air pollution impacts health.

The article is led by Jason West, PhD, associate professor of environmental sciences and engineering at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health.
The paper is one product of a workshop involving leading researchers from two communities – air pollution science and air pollution health effects science – who traveled from multiple countries in North America, Europe and Asia to discuss new opportunities to improve the global understanding of air pollution’s health effects.
According to the paper’s authors, future policy decisions will benefit from the improved understanding such research can offer, especially when it comes to the interactions and health effects of different chemical species and source categories. Achieving this increased understanding will require air pollution scientists and engineers to work increasingly closely with health scientists.

To read the complete paper, go to http://pubs.acs.org/doi/pdf/10.1021/acs.est.5b03827.

3. Villafana To Receive 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award from MDEA

Minneapolis business leader Manny Villafana has been named the 2016 Medical Design Excellence Awards (MDEA) Lifetime Achievement Award recipient for his many significant contributions to the medical device industry.  Villafana will be honored June 14 at a special ceremony held in conjunction with the Medical Design & Manufacturing (MD&M) East Conference and Expo.

In 2014, Villafana received a University o Iowa Honorary Doctor of Science degree in recognition of his contributions to biomedical device development, biomedical engineering, civic leadership, and student success.

Villafaña, proclaimed a "Living Legend of Medicine," founded seven public companies, including Cardiac Pacemakers Inc., St. Jude Medical, and ATS Medical. He also co-invented the first lithium-powered pacemaker, co-developed the first St. Jude heart valve, and owns a number of pacemaker, heart-valve, and stent patents. Along with his contributions to medtech, Villafaña is known for his philanthropic efforts, especially his generous gifts to the Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club, which he spent time at growing up.

4. Chemical Engineering Faculty and Graduate Students Present at 2016 Radtech Conference

The RadTech Technology Expo and Conference was held May 16-18 at the Hyatt Regency, O’Hare, Chicago. Billed as the world’s largest event dedicated to the educational, technical, and scientific advancement of ultraviolet (UV) and electron beam (EB) technologies, it featured several faculty and graduate students in the UI College of Engineering Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering.

Julie Jessop, associate professor, served on the RadTech 2016 Technical Conference Review Committee. 

C. Allan Guymon, Sharon K. Tinker Process Safety Professor of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, presented a short course on Design of Experiments for UV/EB Scientists and Engineers. Guymon also presented a session on “Nanostructure hydrogels through photopolymerization in lyotropic liquid crystals.”

Sara Kaalberg, graduate research assistant, presented a short course on “Combining oxiranes and oxetanes to enhance kinetics and improve physical properties.” 

Jon Scholte, graduate research assistant, presented a session on “Controlled monomer architecture for property enhancement in photocured thin films.”

Chemical engineering students collaborated with Professor Brad Dicharry and his graphic art students in submitting posters for the RadTech 2016 competition.  Austin Smoldt-Saenz placed first and Maria Padron placed second. 

5. Understanding Changes in Raccoon River Nitrate

As Iowa farmers have planted more acres of corn to meet the demand driven by the corn-based ethanol industry, many models predicted that nitrate concentrations in Iowa streams would increase accordingly. However, recent IIHR research based on water monitoring and published in the Journal of Soil and Water Conservation casts doubt on these predictions.

IIHR—Hydroscience & Engineering researchers Chris Jones, Keith Schilling, and Kung-Sik Chan, along with colleagues at the Iowa Soybean Association, evaluated water monitoring results from more than 7,000 water samples collected in the Raccoon River watershed of Central Iowa from 1999–2014. The team also had access to fertilization data for 700 fields in the watershed. The information led the researchers to believe that nitrate levels are less dependent on corn production acres than previously thought. As more acres were planted in corn (and fewer in soybeans), fertilizer application increased a whopping 24 percent in the watershed. Interestingly, river nitrate did not increase and may have even decreased slightly at most watershed locations.

“One might conclude from these data that fertilizer use efficiency improved,” Jones says. “But we believe that was not the case. The amount of nitrogen leaving the watershed in the harvested grain actually declined a little bit during our study.”

Where did the additional fertilizer nitrogen go? Jones says that clues can be found in the differences between corn and soybean plant growth, soil chemistry, and the decay of stalks and other crop residues. Nitrate-nitrogen can accumulate and be immobilized in the soil under corn. On the other hand, dead and decomposing soybean plants can increase the amount of nitrate in the soil vulnerable to loss (more so than cornstalks), especially if accompanied by fall tillage. Also, there is evidence that tile discharge may increase under soybean fields as a result of reduced plant evapotranspiration compared to corn.

Therefore, because tile nitrate concentrations are similar under both corn and soybean, more tile flow under soybean can mean more nitrate delivered to streams. As a result, Jones says he and his colleagues believe that declining soybean acres may have reduced the cropped areas most vulnerable to nitrate loss, more than compensating for the increased fertilizer inputs on corn acreage.
Subsequent research conducted by Schilling, Jones, and Gabriele Villarini also supports this idea. A mathematical model developed by Villarini shows Raccoon River nitrate is dependent upon the previous year’s soybean area.

“Understanding this process could prove important as we try to reduce the loss of nutrients to Iowa streams as part of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy,” Jones says. “We know we can’t just focus on fertilization of corn. We need a systems approach to improve water quality. It also demonstrates the power of monitoring water quality. Without this data, we could easily have missed this important and counter-intuitive conclusion.” IIHR is committed to collecting this essential water-quality data and making it easily available to Iowans through its web tool, the Iowa Water-Quality Information System (http://iowawis.org).

6. Grants and Contracts

Troy Lyons, director of engineering services at IIHR—Hydroscience & Engineering, received a $130,000 subcontract for “Baffle drop structure design and hydraulic model studies for the City of Cleveland’s Doan Valley Tunnel.”

Albert Ratner, associate professor of mechanical and industrial engineering, received a $125,000 grant from the US Poultry and Egg Association for “Analysis of poultry gasification parameters for elimination of avian flu exposed birds and manure.”


7. About E/WEEK

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