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What's Front and Center:

What Lies Beneath Crossing the Divide People Mover Elias Dies
It IS a Small World Civil Engineering Professor Receives National Honors Wentz Named ASHRAE Fellow
Yoder Takes BSE Helm Stansbury, Dvorak Named Associate Chairs in Civil Engineering Engineering major receives homeland Security Scholarship
Rajurkar Looks Forward to Serving the College New Faculty New Staff
SAFER Barrier Receives More Recognition Kudos Bringing Up the Dead

What Lies Beneath

When Ece Erdogmus, assistant professor of architectural engineering, looks at an old building, she sees past the brick and mortar and windows of glass. She looks past the dirt clinging to a stone wall and the awkward lean of an ancient pillar. When Erdogmus looks at a building, she is looking into its past—pulling that past forward—so engineers can have a better understanding of historic structures. Her energies are devoted to the preservation, rehabilitation and analysis of historic masonry structures. “I use reverse engineering to understand medieval design and architecture,” Erdogmus said. “I’ve always been interested in how architecture and engineering intersect.”

This intersection has allowed Erdogmus to travel the world extensively, from her native Turkey to the United States, where she received her doctoral degree, from Pennsylvania State University to Italy and France, where she conducted research on gothic structures. Gothic architecture is a European style that arose in the 12th century. The style emphasizes verticality and skeletal stone structures interrupted by expanses of glass. Sharply pointed spikes, cluster columns, flying buttresses, ribbed vaults and intricate sculptural detail also mark gothic structures. Gothic architecture was predominately used in churches and stood to represent the greater glory of God and the accomplishment of man. “Gothic architecture is aesthetically beautiful, but the structures are also engineering marvels,” Erdogmus said.

While we know a great deal about gothic architecture, many mysteries remain. Erdogmus has been able to combine her interests in masonry structures and rehabilitation with uncovering clues to some of these mysteries. She analyzes gothic structures from the outside, in. This analysis begins with a computer and a three-dimensional finite element model based on scaled drawings. Finite element models have proven useful tools in modeling complex geometries, such as those expressed by gothic architecture. Once the model has been created, parameters for material properties and boundary conditions are added to the model to assist in structural analysis. But this model, however thorough, only presents half a picture. To further calibrate the model, physical testing of a structure must be conducted. “I use nondestructive testing methods—generating a vibration with an impulse hammer. Sensors are located at different points on a structure and we can then measure the acceleration,” Erdogmus said. “It is a technique of calibrating the three-dimensional models of such complex structures I’ve developed with Tom Boothby at Penn State but improvements are still needed for it to be more effective.”

Thus far, Erdogmus has studied the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., the Cathedral of Auxerre in France and the Santa Maria Novella, a basilica in Florence, Italy. She used the calibrated computer models to compare the structural designs of Italian and French Gothic styles. Erdogmus concluded that the differences between the two originated primarily from cultural and religious differences. She firmly believes in the importance of such interdisciplinary studies. In this instance, an engineering study was used to answer questions raised by art historians. Erdogmus also applied her expertise to preserving and strengthening arch bridges in rural Pennsylvania. Now that she has settled in Nebraska, Erdogmus will be embarking on a project at the state capital. “I will be studying Guastavino tiles, unique structural tiles and construction techniques from the early 20th century,” Erdogmus said. “The Nebraska Capitol has some of the best examples of their use.”

Once she has built a computer model of one of the vaulted ceilings in the Capitol where Guastavino tiles are used, she will perform non-destructive tests for dynamic properties, in situ, to further validate and calibrate her model. She also plans to construct a physical model of this vault with her graduate students and compare the laboratory test results to results from in situ experiments and computer models. True to her interdisciplinary nature, Erdogmus will be exploring her interest in transportation engineering, where she can contribute her previous experience in bridge engineering, soil structure interaction systems and experimental and analytical techniques. She is embarking on collaborative projects with Maher Tadros, professor of civil engineering; the Nebraska Department of Roads; and other national organizations on buried structures.

While the purpose of the analyses Erdogmus conducts differs from one project to the next, her ambition is singular. “Few people work on masonry in existing structures. It is an important area of study,” she said.

—Roxane Gay
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Crossing the Divide

Students take classes while studying abroad. But they also learn about the many different cultures in the world—and have a lot of fun.

Engineering is global. Enter a career in engineering and you will likely work with people of different nationalities. You may even find yourself in another country. This is one of the many reasons why Nebraska Engineering has developed a study abroad program to introduce engineering students to the world around them.

Marilena Carvalho is a graduate student from Fortaleza, Ceará, in northeastern Brazil. She also is the study abroad coordinator for the College of Engineering & Technology. Her responsibilities range from educating students about the programs offered by the college, to booking hotel and flight reservations, to accompanying students on trips overseas.
“For an engineering student, this is probably the best study abroad setup,” Carvalho said. Students accompany a University of Nebraska–Lincoln engineering professor on trips to one of four different countries: The United Kingdom, Brazil, France or Italy. While abroad, students take UNL classes from UNL professors, and therefore do not need to worry about credit transfer.

“There is no way in the world I could achieve my career goals without this,” said Leslie Gutschow, a senior electrical engineering major. Gutschow aspires to be a Special Technical Officer for the CIA, a job that requires international experience. He went on a four and a half week study abroad trip to Brazil in the summer of 2004, taking Intercultural Engineering and Portuguese. Having completed this program with the college, Gutschow was then eligible to participate in a six-month long semester abroad paid for by the Fund for the Improvement of Post Secondary Education (FIPSE) Grant. Gutschow departed again for Brazil in January 2005, along with five of his UNL classmates.

David Allen, dean of the college, developed the study abroad program for Nebraska Engineering in 2003. The greater purpose of this program, he said, is to inspire. “The word engineer comes from the Latin word meaning ingenious,” Allen said. “This has within it an implied context of creativity. There is a necessary part of that creativity missing in the classroom. This international cultural learning experience helps our students develop the creative part of them that is essential to the well-rounded engineer.”

Allen’s goal is for 25 percent of Nebraska Engineering students to possess an international educational experience by graduation. Augmenting the college’s study abroad program is the new student chapter of the International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience (IAESTE). IAESTE allows engineering students to participate in internships around the world, gaining technical and professional experience, and promoting international understanding and goodwill.

International internship experience will certainly stand out on a resume. And classes abroad such as Global Experiences in Engineering in Brazil or the History of Engineering in Italy are positive additions to the curriculum. But it is the international experience itself that is perhaps the most beneficial to students.
“We all have a place in history,” Allen said, “and I believe this is my place in history. This is the most important and satisfying educational experience I’ve ever had.”

—Chris Bainbridge
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People Mover Elias Dies

In the world of engineering, Samy Elias was a pioneer. He designed and implemented the first personal rapid transit system (PRT) in the world in 1971 at West Virginia University (WVU); established an industrial engineering unit while director of transit engineering and safety for the Washington Metropolitan Area; and had been involved for several years in ground-breaking research in railway safety. In his 16 years at UNL, he increased research funding in the College of Engineering & Technology by more than 500 percent.
“Dr. Elias’ work on the PRT in Morgantown, Va., was well-known to anyone who worked in transportation-related fields of engineering,” said David Allen, dean of the college. “The importance of his contributions to the college cannot be overstated.”

Elias worked with several college faculty members on track stability research and transient risks factors among railroad engineers, helping secure more than $1 million in funding from the Federal Railroad Administration. “He was the master at setting up the FRA grant for this project,” said Shane Farritor, associate professor of mechanical engineering. “He was a real mentor.”

Elias’ work garnered him much recognition. Earlier this year, WVU renamed the PRT engineering station after Elias. He received the first Henry Gantt Medallion Award from the Institute of Industrial Engineers for his innovative design of the PRT, the first Tibbetts Award from the Small Business Administration’s innovative research program, the first IEE Transportation and Distribution Award and the DAR Americanism Medal.

But most people who worked with him, remember his willingness to help, advise and just listen. “Dr. Elias was a good friend,” said Maher Tadros, professor of civil engineering. “I have always respected him and what he stood for. He was a very kind and generous man and would help anyone.”

Stan Liberty, President, Kettering University in Flint, Mich., and former dean of the college, said Elias “had great integrity and was a most trusted and valued colleague. Samy always made the interests of the College and UNL his first priority. Because of that, and his clear thinking, I frequently asked him for advice on important matters before making decisions. He was a true friend.”

Ram Narayanan, former professor of electrical engineering at UNL and currently a professor at Penn State, who worked with Elias for several years on railway safety research, agrees. “He was always willing to help with research—with advice and guidance. He also helped me when I was having personal difficulties. His ideas and principles will guide me for the rest of my life.”

—Constance Walter
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It IS a Small World

Think small...very small. The future is bright for nanotechnology, but it certainly isn’t big. Nanotechnology seems to be the future of everything these days. From medicine to clothing to spaceflight, nanotechnology now infiltrates a multitude of research areas. And it is being applied in ways most would find difficult to comprehend.
More than 40 years ago, Nobel-winning scientist, Richard P. Feynman said, “In the year 2000, when they look back at this age, they will wonder why it was not until the year 1960 that anybody began seriously to move in this direction.” The direction he referred to was down. Down in size, down in scale, but up in possibility.

So what is nanotechnology? A nanometer is one billionth of a meter—1/80,000 the width of a human hair or about the combined diameter of ten hydrogen atoms. Nanotechnology is broadly defined as the purposeful manipulation of matter at the atomic scale, otherwise known as the nanoscale. This emerging field involves scientists from many different disciplines, including physicists, chemists, biologists and engineers. The areas of application are as varied as the fields themselves.

Nanoscale materials will play a key role in the evolution of nanotechnology and its applications. The bulk of the nanomaterials research to date has focused on nanoparticles and carbon nanotubes. One relatively new class of nanomaterials expected to play an increasingly important role in nanotechnology is that of continuous nanofibers. One man revolutionizing this class of materials is Yuris Dzenis, the Robert C. McBroom Professor of Engineering Mechanics at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.

To read more on nanotechnology, go to Lab Notes, the college’s online research newsletter, at http://www.nuengr.unl.edu/cet/Research/LabNotes/features2.html

—Chris Bainbridge
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Civil Engineering Professor Receives National Honors

Maher Tadros is a Titan—at least according to the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI). The national organization contacted Tadros in July to inform him he had been recognized as a “Titan” of the industry.

“I just felt grateful, happy, and mostly very surprised,” said Tadros, a civil engineering professor. As part of the criteria for the award, recipients must have made an industry-altering, positive contribution to the North American precast and prestressed concrete industry within the time period of 1949 to 2004. PCI Chairman, Fred W. Heldenfels IV, said Tadros received the honor because “he is the principal author of the PCI Bridge Design Manual, the most authoritative design guide for bridge designers. He is the developer of new precast, prestressed concrete products. Significantly, these include the industry popular NU I-girder, the Inverted Tee and, most recently, the NU Bridge Deck.”

Tadros was recognized at PCI’s 50th Anniversary Convention on October 19th, at which 50 awards were given. He was one of only three academics named Titans.

Two other Huskers shared the stage that night: UNL graduates and Titans Leslie Martin and Norm Scott, of the Consulting Engineering Group, headquartered in Chicago. Rounding out the Nebraska group of recipients was Charles Wilson, former owner of Wilson Concrete Company of Omaha and past President of PCI. Of the 32 living Titans, four were from Nebraska.

“We were absolutely elated,” said Mohamed Dahab, Chair of the Department of Civil Engineering Chair.

“This kind of recognition shows that in the department and in the college we have the principal people in the industry.”

—Chris Bainbridge
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Wentz Named

Tim Wentz, interim chair and associate professor of the Department of Construction Management, recently was elevated to the grade of Fellow in ASHRAE by the organization’s Board of Directors, on the recommendation of the Honors and Awards Committee. Wentz received a plaque and a pin at ASHRAE’s Feb. 5 winter meeting in Orlando, Fla.

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Yoder Takes BSE Helm

Ron Yoder recently joined the Department of Biological Systems Engineering after spending his last 13 years at the University of Tennessee. “I’m delighted to be here,” Yoder said. Yoder, the head of BSE and professor of biological systems engineering, earned a Ph.D. from Colorado State University, and conducts research in crop water use and vadose zone transport of water and solutes. His professional career began in Wyoming, and his work often brought him to western Nebraska.

It was here that Yoder first noticed the “tremendous work ethic” of the people in Cornhusker country. When the position in BSE became available, Yoder was drawn by the combination of agricultural and biomedical engineering. “I knew that the department offered very good opportunities and very good students,” Yoder said.

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Stansbury, Dvorak Named Associate Chairs in Civil Engineering

John Stansbury, associate professor of civil engineering, was named the new associate chair for civil engineering on the Omaha Campus. Stansbury will be taking care of daily chair duties in Mohamed Dahab’s absence, including advising, scheduling and preparing information for the student bulletin. Stansbury will continue his teaching and research duties, which include water resources and environmental engineering.

Bruce Dvorak, associate professor, will be the associate chair on the Lincoln campus. Dvorak specializes in environmenal engineering, environmental infrastructure, drinking water and hazardous waste water processes and pollution prevention.

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Engineering major receives homeland security scholarship

In the war against terrorism, the United States Department of Homeland Security has enlisted the help of college students.

Preston Mesick, a University of Nebraska–Lincoln junior, is one of them.

Mesick, an Omaha native and computer engineering major, was chosen as a recipient for the 2004 U.S. Department of Homeland Security Scholarship.

“I’m ecstatic,” he said. “This will give me opportunities to work with a national government office to counter terrorism, a hands-on experience.”

Mesick will receive $1,000 each month over the next two academic years, as well as tuition and fees. He also will receive a stipend during summer internships in 2004 and 2005 with the Department of Homeland Security.

The department, formed in 2002, with co-sponsor Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education of the Department of Energy, established a program after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to help counter terrorism in the United States.

To be eligible for this scholarship, candidates need to be a U.S. citizen, maintain a G.P.A. of 3.3 or higher on a 4.0 scale, be a full-time student at an accredited college and be a science or engineering major.

“This is an honor for the student,” said Laura Damuth, UNL academic programs coordinator.

With this scholarship, Mesick hopes to find a job in one of the government agencies.

Mesick is a Regents scholar and has worked in the Undergraduate Creative Activities and Research Experiences (UCARE) program, studying data mining with Leen-Kiat Soh, assistant professor of computer science and engineering.

—Nikki Gollner / Daily Nebraskan, August 19, 2004

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Rajurkar Looks Forward to Serving the College

Dr. K.P. Rajurkar of the Department of Industrial and Management Systems Engineering assumed the position of interim associate dean for research on Jan. 1. Rajurkar will direct research activities for the college until a national search yields an appropriate permanent replacement.

He says:
Dean Allen invited me to take up the responsibilities of the College of Engineering & Technology Associate Dean for Research. I consider this to be an opportunity for me to serve the college community. My goals during my term in this interim position include:

1. Review and modify (if necessary) the pre-award and post-award proposal processes (specifically technical development including writing, routing and required forms). I will seek guidance and assistance from all faculty, Dean Allen, Associate Deans Ballard and Moore, Assistant Deans Adams and Butler and staff to accomplish the related tasks.

2. Assist faculty in enhancing the overall research productivity of the college.

3. Provide mentoring to new ollege faculty to accomplish their research objectives, specifically external and internal proposals and funding.
Dean Allen also is allowing me to continue my teaching and research activities and my commitments to the professional societies during the time I serve as Interim Associate Dean for Research.
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New Faculty

Construction Management Jerold D. Stegeman, Ph.D., P.E., Assistant Professor. Jerold Stegeman received his Ph.D. from the University of Nevada Las Vegas in Civil and Environmental Engineering. Over the past 26 years he held several positions in public works and civil engineering, and operated his own engineering consultant firm. Stegeman taught at Louisiana Tech University and Grambling State University. His research interests involve the performance of bituminous asphalt pavements.

Biological Systems Engineering and Food Science & Technology Jeyamkondan Subbiah, Ph.D., Assistant Professor. Subbiah has a joint appointment with the Biological Systems Engineering and Food Science & Technology departments as an assistant professor. He received a Ph.D. in Biosystems Engineering from Oklahoma State University in 2004. Subbiah’s research interests include developing instrumentation and sensors for predicting food quality and safety.
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New Staff

Kaylea Dunn is the new Assistant Director for College Relations and Student Programs. She received her bachelor of science from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln in Business Administration, and is currently pursuing her masters in Leadership Education. Dunn is in charge of recruitment and prospective student relations for the College of Engineering & Technology. She also works with student programs. Stuart Hoff is the new University Research Farm Manager for the Department of Biological Systems Engineering. Teresa Loseke is the new Faculty Service Representative for the Business and Financial Department. Sarah Sedlacek is the new secretary-receptionist for the Department of Biological Systems Engineering.
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SAFER Barrier Receives More Recognition

The MwRSF car after a crash test.
Dr. John Reid, Prince Mohammed Al Khalifa and Tony George.

The SAFER system is quickly becoming standard for racetracks of NASCAR’s Nextel Cup and the IRL IndyCar Series, and is a huge step forward in speedway racing safety technology. Prince Salman Bin Mohammed Al Khalifa, the man behind the Bahrain International Grand Prix circuit, gave the trophy to IRL president and Indianapolis Motors Speedway owner, Tony George, who accepted the award on behalf of the Nebraska Engineering creators of the SAFER system. George’s Indianapolis circuit was the first to install the SAFER system.

“After several years of hard work we called upon the expert advice of the people at Nebraska University,” George said. “They have done a great job helping us in the development of this system.”
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Sohrab Asgarpoor, electrical engineering, received an “Outstanding Member” award from Region 4 of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. The award recognizes members who make outstanding and noteworthy
contributions to the Institute, their communities, fellow professionals and fellow man. Jiashi Yang, engineering mechanics, recently was nominated to the editorial board of IEEE Transactions on Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control. He will serve on the editorial boards of three journals. Timothy G. Wentz, construction management, was named an American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Fellow. Wentz serves as an ASHRAE Director and Chair for Region IX. The award was presented during ASHRAE’s conference in February. Together with Moncef Krarti, Ph.D., P.E. and Guo Zhou of the University of Colorado at Boulder, Gregor P. Henze, architectural engineering, won the 2004 ASME Best Paper Award in the category “Fundamentals and Theory” at the 2004 International Solar Energy Conference in Portland, Ore., for their paper titled “Parametric Analysis of Active and Passive Building Thermal Storage Utilization.” This is Henze’s third ASME Best Paper Award. Byrav Ramamurthy, associate professor in computer science and engineering, and two collegues, Xukai Zou of Indiana University-Purdue and Spyros S. Magliveras of Florida Atlantic University, recently had their book, “Secure Group Communications over Data Networks,” published by Springer. The book provides a survey of principles and state-of-the-art techniques for secure group communications (SGC) over data networks and an overview of secure algorithms and protocols for linking areas such as applied cryptography and computer networking. It also looks at the challenges in deploying such applications over wireless networks. See the article on Ramamurthy on Page 14 of the magazine. Recently MwRSF researchers received the 2004 Best Paper Award for “Midwest Guardrail System for Standard and Special Applications,” presented and published at the Annual Transportation Research Record meeting in Washington, D.C., and sponsored by Committee AFB20–Roadside Safety Design. Authors are: Ron K. Faller, Karla A. Polivka, Bob D. Bielenberg, John R. Reid and Dean L. Sicking. All are with UNL’s Midwest Roadside Safety Facility. Wayne Jensen, assistant professor construction management, received the university’s 2005 Student Foundation/Builders Award for Outstanding Academic Advising. “This award is one of the highest tributes UNL students and faculty members can pay to a professor,” said Barbara Couture, senior vice chancellor for academic affairs.
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Bringing Up the Dead

Not too long ago, Steve McNeil, a recent Nebraska Engineering graduate received a rather odd request when Jerry Hudgins, chair of the electrical engineering department, contacted him. It was a request that would take him to the Fairview Cemetery, using an application of a technology he had studied for years—an application he had never quite considered using to search for physical remains.

McNeil and research partner Brian Corner used ground penetrating radar (GPR) to survey the cemetery on behalf of W
yuka Cemetery to verify spotty records. “We used ground penetrating radar because GPR looks for differences in materials. We were able to accurately locate things without resorting to invasive measures,” McNeil said. Although this was the first McNeil had heard of using GPR to survey a cemetery, he acknowledged that it was the best technology for such work. “GPR has many uses and does get some use as an archaeological tool.”

While a UNL student, McNeil worked in the Environmental Remote Sensing Lab where GPR was used for the Federal Railroad Administration research project, investigating rail bed soil shift and track degradation. It was doing this work that he became familiar with the versatility of GPR technology. At the Fairview Cemetery, McNeil and Corner spent a week running survey plots across areas of land to find indications of human remains or the absence thereof. “The antenna from the GPR unit emits electromagnetic energy into the ground and then we analyze the data that comes back from the reflection,” said McNeil. They created a map from their results that was turned over to Wyuka. “It was difficult to characterize or fully analyze the data so we marked the areas of land appropriately,” he said.

It has been several months since McNeil undertook this project. He is now working for Information Systems Laboratories in Virginia, doing signal-processing work, but will never forget the unusual assignment. “It gave me the willies, knowing what we were doing, but I also thought it was interesting because this technology had a practical purpose. Someone came to us with a problem and we were able to solve it.”

–By Roxane Gay

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