Engineering

Mechanical engineering student Chad Young won the Men’s A category and received 2nd place as part of the Mines Cycling Team in the Rocky Mountain Collegiate Cycling Conference Road Race Championships April 20 in Grand Junction, Colo.

When did you start cycling?

I got my first road bike at the end of 6th grade and rode it recreationally for a couple years until I outgrew it. I began cycling like I do today at the beginning of 2010, when my high school started a cycling club. 

When did you know you wanted to compete?

The high school club was a part of the "New England Prep School Cycling League." Lots of schools in the area organized races, and being a part of the club involved going to the races. I suppose I always intended to do these low-key high school races, but I had no intention at that point of racing amateur and professional cycling events like I do now. 

The first year I trained regularly, 2010, I just had a good time and got used to riding a bike daily. After that initial year was over, I decided to get involved with junior racing. I figured my fitness was good enough at that point to compete. Junior racing is for anyone less than 18 years old. I was relatively successful in my first few races, and I was hooked. 

What did you have to do as part of the competition?

The Maverick Classic Race, hosted by Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction, involved a team time trial, a criterium and a road race. The team time trial is a timed course with a set distance. Up to four teammates complete the course as quickly as possible by using drafting techniques. 

The criterium is a fast, downtown circuit race, which typically lasts 60 minutes. 

The road race was a 24-mile circuit around Palisade, CO. The Men's A race lasted four laps, or 96 miles. 

How did you prepare?

I train about 15 hours a week (which ends up being around 250 miles), with long rides on the weekends, usually less than 80 miles if there are no local races. Weekdays I tend to do shorter, more intense rides. This helps me maximize available time and get both long, endurance rides, and short interval training rides. 

What did you win?

This particular race was the Rocky Mountain Collegiate Cycling Conference Road Race Championships. I raced the Men's A category, which is the highest category. In addition to a great experience, I got a small medal for my effort. The Mines Cycling Team got second place in the Division 2 category for the collective success of the team over the course of the season. 

How do you balance cycling and schoolwork at Mines?

Having an intense training and studying schedule is actually a bit of a benefit when it comes to managing obligations. With so little free time, I am forced to make the most out of what I have available. Thankfully, cycling is a huge stress release for me, so the 15 hours I spend each week on the bike help balance a rigorous course load. 

What's next for you in cycling?

For now, I will continue what I am doing. I race for a regional elite team in Massachusetts called CCB Racing. The support is great and my teammates are a great bunch to be around. In the future, I'd like to explore U23 specific development teams, to get a taste for higher level racing in the United States and abroad. However, at only 18 years old I have a little ways to go until I am competitive with those in their early 20s. Between now and then, I will stay in college. If I do gain enough fitness to be competitive on an international scale, I would consider postponing my schooling to travel the world and feel like a professional bike racer for a while. 

Ultimately, I'd like to take a trip with the National U23 Cycling Team. I spent a month with the National Junior Team in Europe in 2012, and ever since coming home, I have wanted to represent the country again. 

What advice do you have for aspiring cyclists?

Since day one, I had been told by my elders and mentors that the most important thing in the development of a young rider is that they were having a good time. Having fun is essential. If I thought that a five-hour ride in the winter months in Colorado was drudgery, I would be a truly miserable person. Thankfully, spending long hours outside on the bike is my definition of a good time. 

Why did you choose Mines?

I chose Mines for its engineering prestige and its proximity to the mountains. New England had good schools, but the weather left something to be desired. Colorado offered a great degree, unrivaled training grounds, and altitude training, all for less than a typical New England school. 

A huge factor was continuing my development as a cyclist, and Mines has been able to accommodate that.

 

Contact:

Kathleen Morton, Communications Coordinator / 303-273-3088 / KMorton@mines.edu
Karen Gilbert, Director of Public Relations / 303-273-3541 / KGilbert@mines.edu

Chemical and biochemical engineering student Corey Brugh is one of two Colorado students accepted into a spring cohort of University Innovation Fellows (UIFs), a program which empowers engineering student leaders to bring more entrepreneurial activity to their campuses.

The UIF program is run by the National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter), which is funded by the National Science Foundation and directed by Stanford University and the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance

Brugh joins a network of 110 UIFs from 78 schools across the country.

As a non-traditional undergraduate, Brugh managed restaurants in Austin, Kansas City, Waco, Raleigh and San Antonio before attending Mines. When he got to campus, he began to look for opportunities to use his entrepreneurship skills to benefit Mines. Chemical and biochemical engineering professor Matt Liberatore suggested the program to Brugh and he applied. As part of the UIF program, Brugh established strategic goals for the university. His biggest one focuses on creating a multidisciplinary institute on campus that addresses innovation, design, entrepreneurship and creativity.

“In the real world, I wouldn’t just work with chemical engineers, I would work with mechanical engineers and other people with specific skillsets on projects,” Brugh said. “This institute is more of a mechanism that will allow for creativity and design, as well as, multidisciplinary teams to work together. Currently there is a foundation for it, and we hope to exponentially increase it.”

Humera Fasihuddin, leader of the UIF program for Epicenter, said the new group of students is “fired up and ready to make a difference at their schools, in their country, and around the world.”

“Initially, we were providing students with a set menu of offerings to bring to their campuses,” Fasihuddin said. “Now, we are empowering the students to analyze their schools’ landscapes and drive the changes that make the most sense for their schools and ecosystems.”

Economics and business professor Mark Mondry is helping sponsor Brugh due to their similar interest in creating new ideas.

“This program is yet another step to better connect Mines with the exploding start up community, and to connect Mines with other science-based institutions,” Mondry said. “This will provide students with immense opportunities.”

Brugh will be a fellow for as long as he’s committed to increasing opportunities for students at Mines.

“Even after I graduate I’m still going to work on my goals for Mines and what will be best for Mines. I think it’s important to give back,” Brugh said.

Read Brugh’s strategic priorities for Mines.

 

Contact:

Kathleen Morton, Communications Coordinator / 303-273-3088 / KMorton@mines.edu
Karen Gilbert, Director of Public Relations / 303-273-3541 / KGilbert@mines.edu

Two College of Engineering and Computational Sciences Senior Design Program teams display the more human-oriented side of engineering

CSM FourCross

Mechanical engineering professor Joel Bach was at the No Barriers Summit in Telluride last summer when he heard about the challenges the Crested Butte’s Adaptive Sports Center faced with providing quadriplegic bikes that were safe and efficient. Bach brought this idea back to Mines, and the senior design team CSM FourCross was created.

FourCross began in the fall semester of 2013, during which the team focused on research, testing and initial designs. This semester has been dedicated to finalizing a design, prototyping, and manufacturing.

Team computer-aided design specialist Court Pietra said that he has learned that an engineer’s number one goal should be considering how design would interact with the intended user.

“We must first put ourselves into the shoes (or in this case mountain bike) of the person that we are designing for,” Pietra said. “If the design does not easily improve or make the lives of the intended users better, the design will not make the desired impact on that user. We want the design to be worthwhile for that person in order to change their life for the better.”

Currently braking methods on quadriplegic bikes consist of the user strapping their hands on the brake levers and using their body weight to activate them.

“Incomplete quadriplegics lack grip strength; therefore, they are unable to activate the traditional brakes that are on a bike,” Hixon said.

The team is also challenged with creating a new seat back that would prevent hyperextension of a user’s back during a crash.

Adaptive Sports Center Program Director Chris Read said this project could increase the user base tremendously.

“For our participants that didn’t have the best options before, this project could help them now,” Read said. “It also has cross benefits for our ski program, making our mono-ski fleet more personal.”

Colorado AdvantEdge

Mines senior design team Colorado AdvantEdge is working on creating edge detection system, which can be mounted on a wheelchair. Twelve-year-old Katherine Dean was born with Cerebral Palsy and cannot walk. Her family is working with the team to outfit Kate’s chair with a sensor system. The system will be able to detect a three-inch drop-off in a variety of light levels and ground compositions.

“Engineering decisions are often made solely with efficiency in mind. Our project allowed us to make decisions that would most benefit the user while keeping efficiency in mind,” Team liason Justin Loeffler said.

One of those decisions was adding extra sensors—at an extra cost—to allow Kate to stop her chair before the system stopped her chair. Kate’s safety and a greater level of freedom play an important role in the system the team is designing. The team is currently testing their edge detection algorithms with the sensors mounted on a robot chassis.

“Edge detection in front of a moving wheelchair is a very challenging problem and challenging problems require out of the box ideas,” Loeffler said. “Creativity has been a great asset to this project and adds a level of interest. Knowing that the project is to help another experience a level of freedom we take for granted every day creates a great drive for moving the project forward.” 

Four Cross and Colorado AdvantEdge will be presenting their projects at the Senior Design Trade Fair April 24 from 8-11 am in the Student Recreation Center, Lockridge Arena.

 

Contact:

Kathleen Morton, Communications Coordinator / 303-273-3088 / KMorton@mines.edu
Karen Gilbert, Director of Public Relations / 303-273-3541 / KGilbert@mines.edu

Over the course of seven days, 20 Mines students from the band, orchestra and choir presented 10 concerts along with a music and instruction program to underprivileged K-12 students, mining industry professionals and college students and faculty in Peru.

Robert Klimek, director of the Mines music program, said the group’s best experience was presenting a first-ever concert in the shanty towns of Lima.

“Many in the audience commented that they were grateful for the music, because this was the first live music their children had ever heard, and one said, ‘may ever hear,’” Klimek said.

Chemical engineering student Molly Groom is a soloist in the Mines choir. She shared common interests with native Peruvians, such as the “love of music and the drive to be an engineer.”

“I met several young students who wanted to become engineers, and that created such a special bond because we both knew that it’s not easy being an engineer,” Groom said.

Chemical and biochemical engineering student Ryan Czarny, who plays saxophone in the band, said the performances abroad was just one way he could use his musical talents and engineering skills to provoke change in others.

“After the trip, I have been inspired to continue to give back to my own community, not only through giving of my time and services, but also through my musical abilities,” Czarny said.

Besides music performances, the group attended a presentation on ancient Inca music, watched a few cooking classes and visited Machu Pichu.

 

Contact:

Kathleen Morton, Communications Coordinator / 303-273-3088 / KMorton@mines.edu
Karen Gilbert, Director of Public Relations / 303-273-3541 / KGilbert@mines.edu

By Katerina Gonzales
The Oredigger

The E-Days carnival provides a place to eat and be merry; however, for some, the carnival is a chance to return to old stomping grounds. The Oredigger caught up with Shamus McNutt, a Mines alum and cofounder of Belong Designs, at the E-Days carnival.

 

What inspired you to start Belong?

So we started about eight months ago at School of Mines. We were sitting through our final year of engineering classes and kind of realized, "What are we passionate about in life?" Skiing, snowboarding, helping others follow their true passions, and when you follow that passion, you "Belong", and that birthed Belong Designs. And so right now we are making apparel. We make hoodies, hats, shirts...we started to make outerwear jackets, and we'll be in full production of these in about a month and have them in August. And yeah, we have been sponsoring events: we sponsor fourteen athletes, a few Mines athletes actually, from slackliners to skiers to snowboarders. We're looking to go full-time in about a year. So we'll start our own headquarters in the Highlands, and hopefully start hiring some Mines grads. We're making long boards right now, and we'll be starting skis and snowboards in about a few months. Yeah, we're looking to expand.

How does having engineers benefit the business?

Being from Mines, you have that technical background, and honestly when people ask me "What's the most valuable thing you gained from going to Mines?", it's not the classes I've been through, you know, I don't exactly remember what I learned in Thermodynamics, but it is how to learn and how to learn efficiently, and that's why it's great for Mines grads.

Where do you see Belong going?

I see Belong going pretty big; we're hoping to grow it to a good-sized company, probably a mid-sized company from a hundred to five hundred people working for us. Eventually, sponsoring athletes, sending to the X-Games, sending to the Olympics...you know, really helping develop athletes and making sure they're going down the right path in life, and that's what Belong is about. We kind of want to keep it a clean brand in really following your true passions, with a lot of positivity coming out of the brand.

What's your favorite E-Days memory?

Oh man, favorite E-Days memory...there's too many. I would say it would be coming to see Air Dubai and we actually afterwards knew a guy from the band and were hanging out with the guys. It was cool to see that.

 

This interview originally appeared in the April 7, 2014, issue of The Oredigger.

Colorado School of Mines received high scores at the American Society of Civil Engineering Rocky Mountain Student Conference April 4-5 at Colorado State University. Mines placed first for both the Overall Conference award and the Steel Bridge competition. The “Steel Standing” bridge team will be attending the National Student Steel Bridge Competition in Akron in May.

“As always, I was very proud of the way these students represented Colorado School of Mines!” said Candace Sulzbach, Faculty Advisor of the ASCE student chapter.

Results

  • 1st Place, Overall Conference award
  • 1st Place, Steel Bridge competition
  • 4th Place, Concrete Canoe competition
  • 4th Place, Non-technical paper presentation - Ryan Logan
  • 5th Place, Technical paper presentation - Jordan Downs
  • 5th Place, Pre-Design competition - Melody Clay, Max Ransom and Peter Eisinger

 

Contact:

Kathleen Morton, Communications Coordinator / 303-273-3088 / KMorton@mines.edu
Karen Gilbert, Director of Public Relations / 303-273-3541 / KGilbert@mines.edu

Colorado School of Mines senior design team, G-Turn Ski Cores, is working on constructing all mountain, powder and terrain park ski cores for the Colorado-based company, Green Light Skis. Six mechanical engineering students and one electrical engineering student are testing ski cores for bending, shear and torsion until failure.

“One of the complications with the project is the skis are laminated, they’re not quite as straight-forward as what we learned as undergrads; we’ve had to dive in a little deeper to do a SolidWorks FEA analysis,” team leader and mechanical engineering student Shane Rumley said.

The team creates the cores by laminating wood in various configurations and cutting them using Green Light Skis’ computer controlled cutting machine. It takes three to four days for the cores to cure after the process. Once they are cured, the team cuts out the side profiles, which range from 2-12 centimeters. They measure the stiffness of the ski using a custom designed, electro-mechanical rig they built for the project.

“We use softwood for powder skis because when you are doing backcountry, you want skis that are light to carry and playful in the powder,” Rumley said.

Mechanical engineering student Ben Paley said research shows there is an appeal to having your skis custom made.

“One of the coolest things we’ve found is that people are buying around 25 percent of skis from unknown or small ski manufacturing companies,” Paley said. 

Green Light Skis owner Ben Bramer started the company out of his apartment in spring 2012. He said working with the senior design team has exceeded his expectations.

“This research is important for Green Light Skis as it allows for sophisticated research and development of both skis and snowboards,” Bramer said. “This type of testing is non-existent in the niche of custom ski and board making and it will give us a competitive advantage as we can work with our customers to produce a proven product before they purchase.”

 

Contact:

Kathleen Morton, Communications Coordinator / 303-273-3088 / KMorton@mines.edu
Karen Gilbert, Director of Public Relations / 303-273-3541 / KGilbert@mines.edu

Colorado School of Mines mechanical engineering student Katrina Bujnoch was recently selected for a remote operated underwater vehicle (ROV) engineering summer internship, during which she will be studying the seafloor aboard the Exploration Vessel. The Ocean Exploration Trust oversees the vessel and more than 150 rotating scientists, engineers, educators and students who are part of the mission.

Bujnoch will be examining the impacts of Deepwater Horizon oil spill on coral reefs and other marine ecosystems.

“I wanted to get into robotics, and I think this internship is unique because I get to be on the research side of the field,” Bujnoch said.

Bujnoch will study and maintain ROVs, Hercules and Argus. She will work with the two systems to explore, locate and describe new habitats, geological processes and cultural sites, to name a few.

“I’m hoping to have a better idea of how an actual ROV works,” Bujnoch said. “It will be exciting to learn what research is like in the field, especially in this different environment.”

Currently, Bujnoch is designing an underwater vehicle that can move around and transport objects as part of an undergraduate research fellowship.

 

Contact:

Kathleen Morton, Communications Coordinator / 303-273-3088 / KMorton@mines.edu
Karen Gilbert, Director of Public Relations / 303-273-3541 / KGilbert@mines.edu

A Colorado School of Mines Senior Design team, the CSM Oardiggers, is entering their squid-inspired canoe, named Humboldt, into the Concrete Canoe Competition at the American Society of Civil Engineers Rocky Mountain Student Conference April 4 and 5 at Colorado State University.

“The squid is part of the symbology of fighting your inner monster,” EPICS and civil engineering (CE) student Melodie Houston said. “It’s a really menacing sea creature that has its own mysterious intimation.”

CE student Alex Walker was the lead artist for the team, primarily developing and executing the graphic design. Team leader and CE student Edward Huss says the squid played a major role in the hydrodynamic design of their canoe.

“One of the main things that will differentiate us from other teams will be that our hull is shaped like a squid, which will allow us to cut through the water,” Huss said. “This, along with the smooth finish, will give us a competitive edge.”

CE student Katie Courtright is relying on the stability of the canoe. The canoe must be light enough to be competitive in the races, but still strong enough to avoid cracking and capsizing.

“We did some really advanced structural analysis this year; we were able to take more risks and feel confident in them,” Courtright said. “Our canoe is lighter and will be faster for the competition.” 

The 21-member team will be judged on their engineering design paper, oral presentation, overall aesthetics and four races in Horsetooth Reservoir. This year the top two teams from the regional competition will advance to nationals. Last year, Mines placed third in the competition, losing by a margin of one place in one race.

 

Contact:

Kathleen Morton, Communications Coordinator / 303-273-3088 / KMorton@mines.edu
Karen Gilbert, Director of Public Relations / 303-273-3541 / KGilbert@mines.edu

If you have seen the James Bond movie, GoldenEye, or played the Nintendo 64 video game, you might remember the radio telescope at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. Mines mechanical engineering student Alexis Humann was selected for a 10-week summer research program, during which she will working on building an autonomous robot to clean the world's largest single-dish telescope.

“Right now when people clean it they put on giant snowshoes to even out their weight; the weight of a person would collapse it,” Humann said. “We will need to build a robot that is really light and well distributed.”

The observatory telescope is used to study the properties of planets, comets and asteroids. Scientists who want to use the telescope are required to submit proposals for an independent scientific board. It will be a unique opportunity for Humann to work with the telescope firsthand.

“Everyone in the aerospace industry knows about this observatory and it has a great reputation,” Humann said. “I will be working with some of the top scientists in the world. I am so excited to be able to meet them and learn all about their work.”

Humman is also looking forward to the opportunity to combine her mechanical engineering skills with her interest in aerospace.

“I think space exploration is going to move away from man exploration and go into the robotics side of things,” Humann said. “There is so much technology to improve upon there, and the possibilities are endless.”

Currently Humann is working on an undergraduate research fellowship with Dr. Douglas Van Bossuyt to build a robot that can analyze its health and make its own decisions.

 

Contact:

Kathleen Morton, Communications Coordinator / 303-273-3088 / KMorton@mines.edu
Karen Gilbert, Director of Public Relations / 303-273-3541 / KGilbert@mines.edu

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