college of engineering

Cox named director of Cascadia Lifelines Program

CORVALLIS, Ore. - Dan Cox, professor of civil and construction engineering in the College of Engineering at Oregon State University, has been named as the new director of the Cascadia Lifelines Program.

The mission of this research consortium, which was begun by OSU, is to implement value- and cost-informed decisions to mitigate damage to Pacific Northwest infrastructure from a major future earthquake on the Cascadia subduction zone.

“Dan has a wealth of experience with research focused on community resilience to coastal hazards, a deep understanding of the potential impact of such events, and a steadfast drive to help our communities prepare,” said Scott Ashford, Kearney Professor and dean of the College of Engineering.

“This program was created to provide a means to critical infrastructure improvements by bringing together leaders in the industry, and I’m excited to watch it happen under Dan’s leadership.”

A Cascadia subduction zone earthquake could be catastrophic, and this consortium is working toward infrastructure improvements to provide a safer environment and mitigate damage. OSU researchers are studying soil liquefaction, which can lead to failure of roads, bridges, buildings, and other critical structures; landslide prediction and mitigation; cost-effective improvements to existing infrastructure; evacuation routes; and tools to plan for hazards and anticipate risks.

Consortium members include Bonneville Power Administration, Northwest Natural Gas, Oregon Department of Transportation, Port of Portland, Portland General Electric, Eugene Water and Electric Board, Portland Water Bureau, and Tualatin Valley Water District.

Cox joined OSU in 2002, and was the recipient of the College of Engineering Outstanding Research Leadership Award in 2013. He is the principal investigator on a project that received a $3.8 million award from the National Science Foundation to increase the resilience of the nation’s coastal communities, and is the lead organizer for a new engineering short course titled “Cascadia Resilience.”                 

More information about the program is available online at Cascadia.oregonstate.edu.

Media Contact: 

Krista Klinkhammer, 541-737-4416


Dan Cox, 541-737-3631


Sixth cohort begins work with OSU Advantage Accelerator

CORVALLIS, Ore. - The sixth and newest cohort is beginning Accelerate, a program that helps fledgling or startup companies accelerate their products or services into the marketplace.

The cohort includes companies from across Oregon - in Corvallis, Albany, Newport, Eugene, Aurora and Portland – that will work with the Oregon State University Advantage Accelerator/RAIN Corvallis.

“Our ability to draw companies from across the region speaks to our strong reputation in the market, especially within the hard sciences and industrial technology products and services,” said Mark Lieberman, chief startup officer for the Advantage Accelerator.

Accelerate is for community members and OSU students, staff, and researchers who intend to establish a privately held, for-profit organization.

The 12 Accelerate companies, which began their 10-week program last week, represent a wide variety of industries and technologies from medical devices to smart home products. They include:

  • Oregon Automation, from Albany, which makes smart home products such as WattWise and WaterWise;
  • JULVIA Technologies Inc., from Corvallis, which is developing sophisticated wound closure technology;
  • Reactor Safety Consulting, from Corvallis, which develops probabilistic risk assessments to evaluate the safety of nuclear reactors;
  • Holistic Dental Repair, from Corvallis, which manufactures a natural teeth-cleansing powder;
  • Keil Estate Charitable Wines, from Aurora, which sells wines with non-profit organizations;
  • SEIJI'S BRIDGE LLC, from Portland, which sells the world's first flying speaker — built into a flying disc;
  • N-Ovative Technologies, from Corvallis, which gives athletes the opportunity to enhance sports performance through holographic technology;
  • Nano3DSystems LLC, from Corvallis, which makes ecologically clean insulator material to advance green buildings;
  • BipH Cell, from Corvallis, which produces electrical capacitors from plentiful, sustainable materials;
  • Tone Command, from Newport, which has created a smartphone app called "ToneTip" enabling media producers to add audio hyperlinks into nearly any audio or video source;
  • Hytchr, from Portland, which is an on-demand photo messaging service powered by blockchain technology; and
  • WildwoodTowers, from Eugene, which makes wooden-based beer towers for tableside service.

“We are very excited about this new cohort,” Lieberman said. “This is a very innovative group of entrepreneurs.

“All the clients in our program receive access to a number of great resources, including quality mentorship and business advice, a top notch intern program, Executives in Residence and a powerful network. All these assets work to increase the odds of success and accelerate the speed of bringing products to market.”

The OSU Advantage Accelerator is one component of the Oregon Regional Accelerator and Innovation Network, or Oregon RAIN. With support from the Oregon legislature, collaborators on the initiative include OSU; the University of Oregon; the cities of Eugene, Springfield, Corvallis and Albany; and other economic development organizations.



Anna Walsh, 541-368-5206


OSU robotics program ranked best in West, fourth in nation

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University’s graduate robotics program in the College of Engineering has been ranked as the best in the western United States and fourth in the nation, according to Grad School Hub.

Organization officials say the rankings are based on the specificity of the degrees offered and the quality of the research programs.

“This is a great acknowledgment of our strong start,” said Jonathan Hurst, OSU associate professor of mechanical engineering and College of Engineering Dean’s Professor.

“We are building our program in a very entrepreneurial way, like a startup company. Robotics is a relatively new field, and our students have the opportunity to conduct truly revolutionary research. They will go on to start new businesses, lead new efforts at established companies, and lead new academic programs at other universities.”

In this ranking, programs offering more focused degrees, such as the one at OSU, scored higher than those favoring comprehensive degrees. The rankings also reflected a school’s research program, which the report called “an extremely important consideration for graduate students — especially Ph.D. students, and especially robotics engineers.” Consideration was given to the number of faculty conducting work in robotics or related fields, and the number of focus areas and major labs included under the robotics program umbrella.

The graduate robotics program at OSU was established in the fall of 2014. It spans several departments in the College of Engineering, with core faculty from mechanical engineering, computer science, and electrical and computer engineering. Students may earn doctoral, master’s, or master of engineering degrees in robotics; or choose an appropriate double major, such as robotics and computer science.

The growing OSU program includes core areas of robotics, including actuation, locomotion, manipulation, dynamics, control, sensing, artificial intelligence, and human/robot interaction.

Grad School Hub officials say their rankings provide the latest information about the top master’s, doctoral, and professional degrees offered by the nation’s best universities, to help students find the programs that fit their needs. To see the complete rankings, visit http://www.gradschoolhub.com/best/robotics-engineering-schools/  

More information about the OSU graduate program in robotics is available online at http://robotics.oregonstate.edu/graduate-program-robotics

Media Contact: 

Steve Frandzel, 541-737-1082

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Walking robot
Walking robot

Explosive noises may originate from west side of OSU campus

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Some loud and explosive noises may come from the Aero Laboratory at Oregon State University, west of Reser Stadium, occasionally during work hours over the next two years or more.

The noises, which could resemble that of an explosion, loud firecracker or gunshot, will be associated with work to test rocket motors and propulsion devices at the university’s propulsion laboratory, on 30th Street just west of Reser Stadium. The noises will usually be heard no more than twice a week, and will be of a short duration during a 1-2 hour period. The testing will occur during daylight, weekday hours from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The work is related to research being conducted by both undergraduate and graduate students in the OSU College of Engineering. Although propulsion devices are being studied, no rockets are being shot into the air.

University officials and local police have been notified of the potential for the infrequent, but loud noises.

Story By: 

David Blunck, 541-737-7095

After year of work, OSU electric car team places second in inaugural EcoMarathon

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Last summer, a team of dedicated Oregon State University engineering students began work on a brand-new electric racing car named the Beaver Bolt. They worked through the school year to complete the vehicle, which debuted in its first big race April 23-24.

The team placed second in the Shell EcoMarathon in Detroit, Michigan, competing against 13 other teams. The Beaver Bolt traveled with an efficiency of 8600 mpg equivalency (414 km/kWH).

Led by advisor Christopher Hoyle from the College of Engineering’s School of Mechanical, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering , the crew was comprised of members of the Oregon State American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) club, led by Chase Jones and Austin Sandifer, as well as Mechanical and Industrial and Electrical Engineering capstone team members.

“This is a great showing for their first year,” Hoyle said. “They worked hard and were well organized, and it paid off.”

The marathon challenges students around the world to design, build and drive the most energy-efficient car possible. There are three international marathons, with the American version taking place in Detroit. The Beaver Bolt team competed in the prototype/battery-electric category.

During the event, team members also gave back to fellow competitors. Senior electrical engineer Brian Bove used his down time during the marathon to assist other competitors with electrical issues, without which help they may have missed the chance to race.

The students’ participation in the competition was made possible by a number of fundraising efforts, as well as round-the-clock work before the marathon to complete the project. The team raised $25,000 in cash and materials from donors. Members of MIME, EECS and the College of Business also worked together to make the event a reality for the students.

“This competition challenges engineering students to design a vehicle that is relevant to the technological needs on the national agenda,” Hoyle said, “green, sustainable and efficient transportation.”

Story By: 

Christopher Hoyle, 541-737-7035; chris.hoyle@oregonstate.edu

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Engineers create a better way to boil water – with industrial, electronics applications

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Engineers at Oregon State University have found a new way to induce and control boiling bubble formation, that may allow everything from industrial-sized boilers to advanced electronics to work better and last longer.

Advances in this technology have been published in Scientific Reports and a patent application filed. 

The concept could be useful in two ways, researchers say – either to boil water and create steam more readily, like in a boiler or a clothing iron; or with a product such as an electronics device to release heat more readily while working at a cooler temperature.

“One of the key limitations for electronic devices is the heat they generate, and something that helps dissipate that heat will help them operate at faster speeds and prevent failure,” said Chih-hung Chang, a professor of chemical engineering in the OSU College of Engineering. “The more bubbles you can generate, the more cooling you can achieve. 

“On the other hand, if you want to create steam at a lower surface temperature, this approach should be very useful in boilers and improve their efficiency. We’ve already shown that it can be done on large surfaces and should be able to scale up in size to commercial use.”

The new approach is based on the use of piezoelectric inkjet printing to create hydrophobic polymer “dots” on a substrate, and then deposit a hydrophilic zinc oxide nanostructure on top of that. The zinc oxide nanostructure only grows in the area without dots. By controlling both the hydrophobic and hydrophilic structure of the material, bubble formation can be precisely controlled and manipulated for the desired goal. 

This technology allows researchers to control both boiling and condensation processes, as well as spatial bubble nucleation sites, bubble onset and departure frequency, heat transfer coefficient and critical heat flux for the first time.

In electronics, engineers say this technology may have applications with some types of solar energy, advanced lasers, radars, and power electronics – anywhere it’s necessary to dissipate high heat levels. 

In industry, a significant possibility is more efficient operation of the steam boilers used to produce electricity in large electric generating facilities.

This work was supported by the OSU Venture Development Fund and the Scalable Nanomanufacturing Program of the National Science Foundation.

Story By: 

Chih-hung Chang, 541-737-8548 or changch@che.orst.edu

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Researchers at Oregon State University use new technology to control the formation and release of bubbles. Here that technology is illustrateewith the letters "OSU" printed on a substrate.

Bubble control

New type of cement could offer environmental protection, lower cost

CORVALLIS, Ore. – If widely adopted, a new approach to making cement could significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption, help address global warming, produce a more durable concrete, and save industry time and significant costs.     

The findings of a recent study show great potential for a type of cement that gains strength through carbonation, rather than the use of water. Concrete made with this cement also appears to better resist some of the most common de-icing salts that can lead to failure and dramatically reduce the lifespan of roads.

The research was published in Construction and Building Materials, by engineers from Oregon State University, Purdue University and Solidia Technologies. This work was supported in part by Solidia Technologies, which licensed core technology from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. 

“Instead of water reacting with cement, this carbonated cement reacts with carbon dioxide and calcium silicate,” said Jason Weiss, the Miles Lowell and Margaret Watt Edwards Distinguished Chair in the OSU College of Engineering.

“This new product at first blush looks like conventional concrete, but it has properties that should make it last longer in some applications,” Weiss said. “In addition, use of it could reduce carbon dioxide emissions, which is an important goal of the cement industry.” 

Crude cement was used by the Egyptians to build the pyramids, improved during the time of the Roman Empire, and reached its modern form around 180 years ago. When used to make concrete – a combination of cement, sand and crushed rock - it’s one of the most proven building materials in human history.

This is actually part of the problem – concrete works so well, for so many uses, that 2-4 tons per year are produced for every person on Earth. It’s popular, plentiful, cost effective, and research is continuing to reduce its environmental impact. Production of the cement used in concrete is believed to be responsible for 5-8 percent of the global emissions of carbon dioxide, largely just because so much concrete is used. 

The cement industry has committed itself to the goal of cutting those emissions in half, and this new approach might help. Beyond that, the new research shows the ability of this “carbonated calcium silicate-based cement,” or CCSC, to be far more resistant to degradation from deicing salts such as sodium chloride and magnesium chloride.

“In places where deicing salts are routinely used, they can cause damage to roadways that cost about $1 million a mile to fix, and can reduce a 40-year lifespan of a surface to as little as 8-10 years,” Weiss said. “By using a type of cement that requires carbon dioxide to make, and in turn greatly extend the lifespan of some roads, the environmental benefits could be enormous.” 

These products are just now being developed and tested, Weiss said, and some obstacles exist to their widespread, global use. New construction codes and standards would need to be developed. However, the new approach has already been adapted to existing raw materials, formulas and equipment.

Some of the first uses of these products, Weiss said, will be in pre-cast concrete products that can be created in a factory and transported to where they are needed. More ambitious and widespread use of the new approach may take longer. Other technologies, such as topical treatments to resist deicing salts, or the use of waste products to produce supplemental cements, may gain earlier use to address some of these issues. 

In the latest research, the new CCSC concrete was shown not to react with deicing chemicals in the way that conventional concrete does. Such chemicals can cause a serious and premature deterioration in concrete pavements, even if the concrete does not experience freezing and thawing.

Story By: 

Jason Weiss, 541-737-1885 or Jason.weiss@oregonstate.edu

Culture, crowding and social influence all tied to aggressive driving behavior

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A study of angry, competitive and aggressive driving suggests that these dangerous behaviors are becoming a worldwide phenomenon of almost epidemic proportions, and are a reflection of a person’s surrounding culture, both on the road and on a broader social level.

The research was done with drivers in China where competitive driving is very common. It concluded that such behavior is more pronounced in men than in women, and is partly a reaction to overcrowded road networks. The study also implies that different social conditions might ultimately translate into better drivers. 

The findings have been published in Procedia Engineering by researchers from Oregon State University, the Beijing University of Technology, and the Ministry of Transport of the People’s Republic of China. It was supported by the Beijing Municipal Education Commission.

At its worst, aggressive driving can be seen as “road rage” leading to serious or fatal accidents. In lesser forms it is viewed as “competitive” behavior that includes speeding, crowding or lane-hopping that drivers often use to gain a few minutes in an urban rush hour. In all its variations, this behavior is a problem that appears to be increasing. The American Automobile Association estimated that 56 percent of accidents involve aggressive driving. 

“China is a good place to study competitive driving because it’s very common there,” said Haizhong Wang, an assistant professor of transportation engineering in the OSU College of Engineering. “Roads are overcrowded, there’s less traffic control, and many drivers are younger or have little training or experience.”

The problems in China as it becomes increasingly crowded with drivers, however, reflect similar concerns at varying levels around the world, Wang said. Urban areas and road networks are becoming more crowded and congested. Research such as this may help to better understand the underlying human and psychological behaviors that come into play. 

In this analysis, the researchers concluded that drivers in congested situations generally believed that the chaotic traffic state was responsible for their competitive behavior, and they had no option other than to compete for space, the right-of-way, and gain advantages through speed and spacing. In simple terms, it was right and proper that they should try to keep up with or get ahead of traffic; that was the example being set for them, and they drove that way because everyone else did.

However, the study also suggested that “personality traits draw on and are influenced by aspects of one’s social environment.” The researchers said in their report that this indicates some countries and cultures may be more susceptible due to their social environment, and that improvements in that arena would also be seen in driving behavior. 

“The choice to be competitive versus cooperative always starts with culture, by the influences around us and the way other people behave,” Wang said. “And it’s clear there’s a role for education and experience, where studies have shown the value of young drivers participating in driver education programs and receiving positive guidance from their parents and peers.”

Part of the concerns in China at the moment, Wang said, may evolve from many new drivers just in the past 20 years who drive in a very challenging environment. But, as a developing nation which until recently had comparatively few automobiles, China doesn’t have generations of experience and support systems to draw upon. The result is a high level of accidents, injuries and fatalities. 

As more areas around the world see increasing traffic congestion, Wang said, part of the psychological challenge will be to retain a sense of personal responsibility, avoid mimicking dangerous behaviors of other drivers, and strive for a level of tolerance, courtesy and personal cooperation essential for safe driving.

Story By: 

Haizhong Wang, 541-737-8538 or Haizhong.wang@oregonstate.edu; Jianjun Shi, +86-13801380862, jjshi@bjut.edu.cn

OSU Alumni Association grants high honors to three

CORVALLIS, Ore. - The Oregon State University Alumni Association has selected two alumni, Jen-Hsun Huang and Pamela Knowles, and one great friend of the university, Allyn Ford, to be honored on April 22 at a celebration on campus.

The E.B. Lemon Distinguished Alumni Award will go to Huang, a 1984 engineering graduate who is co-founder, president and chief executive officer of NVIDIA. The award, named for an alumnus, teacher, dean and volunteer leader who gave more than 70 years of service to the university, honors those who exemplify the service, generosity and success epitomized by its namesake.

NVIDIA is a global technology company that designs and manufactures graphics processing units for a wide variety of platforms, and is known as a pioneer and world leader in visual computing. The company has 9,100 employees worldwide. Titan, the world’s fastest supercomputer, is one of its recent projects.

In 2015, Harvard Business Review named Huang the fourth-best performing chief executive officer in the world in his field. He has a master’s degree from Stanford University and received an honorary doctorate from OSU in 2009, when he gave the commencement address. He and his wife, Lori Mills Huang, a 1985 OSU graduate in engineering, have made numerous philanthropic contributions to the university and to many other institutions.

The Joan Austin Honorary Alumni Award will go to Allyn Ford of Roseburg, chief executive officer of family-owned Roseburg Forest Products. Established in 2005, the award recognizes a person whose actions in support of the university have demonstrated that he or she is truly a beaver at heart.

Ford, who has an industrial engineering degree from Yale University and a masters of business administration from Stanford University, has been a staunch supporter of the OSU College of Forestry since at least the early 1980s, donating time and other resources to help keep the college an international leader in the development of sustainable forestry and wood products manufacturing practices.

He also serves on the board of The Ford Family Foundation, one of Oregon’s most generous providers of support for rural communities and need-based scholarships for students who show great promise but have limited means. He and his family have had a broad impact on many OSU initiatives.

The Jean and C.H. “Scram” Graham Leadership Award will go to Portland’s Pamela Knowles, a 1977 liberal arts graduate. Named for a former alumni director and his wife, who worked and volunteered on behalf of the association and OSU for most of their lives, the award honors individuals who give exemplary service to the alumni association.

An attorney, Knowles is a former member of the OSUAA board of directors and treasurer of the association. She serves on the Portland School Board and has been chief operating officer of the Portland Business Alliance, a partner in the Davis Wright Tremaine law firm and executive director for industry relations for the OSU College of Business.

Story By: 

Kate Sanders, 541-737-7916

Eight Oregon State engineering faculty earn $4.3 million in top awards

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Eight young faculty members in the College of Engineering at Oregon State University have received $4.3 million in prestigious awards for their teaching or research initiatives.

Six faculty received National Science Foundation CAREER awards totaling $3.3 million, which support young faculty members who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research and excellent education. Two other faculty received awards totaling $1 million through the Office of Naval Research Young Investigators Program, which are made to junior faculty showing exceptional promise for creative research.

The recipients of NSF CAREER awards include:

  • Ravi Balasubramanian, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, for his research proposal, “Restoring Musculoskeletal Function by Designing Implantable Passive Mechanisms.”
  • Daniel Dig, assistant professor of computer science, for his research proposal, “Program Analysis and Transformations of Asynchrony.”
  • Devlin Montfort, assistant professor of environmental engineering, for his research proposal, “Personal Epistemology in Engineering Education.”
  • Arun Natarajan, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, for his research proposal, “Scalable MIMO Spatial Filtering and Synchronization for Heterogeneous Wireless Networks.”
  • Stephen Ramsey, assistant professor of computer science and biomedical sciences, for his research proposal, “Deciphering the human regulome: omics-based analysis of intergenic genotype-to-trait associations, made accessible and powerful.”
  • Karl Schilke, assistant professor of bioengineering, for his research proposal, “High-Density Non-Fouling Bioactive Coatings for Processing of Biological Fluids.”

The 2016 ONR Young Investigators include:

  • David Blunck, assistant professor of thermal-fluid science, for his research proposal, “Ignition, Deflagration and Detonation Behavior of Fuel and Oxidizer Mixed with Combustion Products.”
  • Yiğit Mengüç, assistant professor of robotics, for his research proposal, “Soft Marine Robotics with Cephalopod-Inspired Dynamic Motion Primitives and Electroactive Fluidic Sensing and Actuation.”
Media Contact: 



Krista Klinkhammer, 541-737-4416