OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

OSU engineer to discuss miniaturization technology

09/27/2002

CORVALLIS - Kevin Drost, a professor of mechanical engineering at Oregon State University and director of the university's microtechnology-based energy and chemical systems (MECS) research program, will discuss the future of miniaturized components at a luncheon in Portland.

Drost's talk, "Honey, Who Shrunk the Fuel Cell?" will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 15, at the Lloyd Center Double Tree, 1000 N.E. Multnomah Blvd. Lunch begins at 11:30 a.m. with Drost's presentation beginning at noon. It is part of the OSU Alumni Association's OSU Over Lunch program. The cost is $16 for OSU Alumni Association members and $18 for non-members. Persons may attend the lecture for free, but still need to register.

The deadline to register for the luncheon is Oct. 8. To register, contact the OSU Alumni Association at 877-305-3759 or online at http://alumni.oregonstate.edu.

Mass production of miniaturized components and devices is considered a key technology for the 21st century. Researchers at OSU recently received a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to team up with Pacific Northwest National Laboratories (PNNL) to develop miniature heat pumps that could revolutionize the way homes are heated and cars are cooled.

The U.S. Department of Defense also provided university and PNNL researchers with a three-year, $6 million grant to develop an effective, lightweight, individual cooling unit using the latest concepts in microtechnology. When perfected, the new system might be of significant value to members of the armed forces, especially soldiers who might be exposed to chemical or biological weapons and must wear airtight protective clothing. In addition, it could assist other emergency personnel who have to work in extremely hot or confining situations - firefighters, people wearing fully-protective outfits to respond to hazardous material spills, police wearing bulky bulletproof vests, and others.

Examples of successful prototype development include miniaturized heat exchangers, evaporators, condensers, gas absorbers, turbines, bioreactors, small-scale chemical reactors, chemical separators, and gas analysis components as well as pumps and valves.