Seven faculty honored with named appointments
An impressive group of MechSE professors were recently honored with a named appointment:
- Associate Professor Gaurav Bahl, Kritzer Faculty Scholar
- Associate Professor Elif Ertekin, Andersen Faculty Scholar
- Associate Professor Randy Ewoldt, Kritzer Faculty Scholar
- Professor Tonghun Lee, Kritzer Faculty Scholar
- Associate Professor SungWoo Nam, Andersen Faculty Scholar
- Assistant Professor Kelly Stephani, Kritzer Faculty Fellow
- Professor Amy Wagoner Johnson, Andersen Faculty Scholar
Bahl’s research involves optical and mechanical systems, particularly the mechanisms by which light interacts mechanically with photonic microdevices and how mechanical devices can affect and manipulate light. Applications of this research include inertial sensors, microfluidic bio-chemical devices, microwave frequency references, and harsh-environment physical sensors.
The Ertekin Research Group focuses on materials physics and mechanics, where they use computational methods to design and understand new materials and structures. Ertekin recently worked on a computer model to determine how much energy it takes to bend multilayer graphene.
Ewoldt studies fluid mechanics and rheology (the deformation and flow of matter) of complex fluids, measuring nonlinear viscoelastic properties and creating mathematical models to represent materials and their properties. Recently, he published a paper on Hagfish slime, and how it allowed them to survive for such a long time.
Lee’s Laser Diagnostics Laboratory for Energy and Propulsion Research looks at energy conversion in advanced propulsion and power generation systems. He is also the academic lead for the Center for UAS Propulsion, launched by the Army Research Laboratory in 2018.
Nam and his research group pursue innovations in controlled deformation of atomically thin, 2D materials to explore how unique shapes of these materials enable new functionalities. Specifically, they study the mechanical self-assembly of folded and crumpled graphene as well as two-dimensional materials for strain-tolerant and flexible/stretchable forms of sensors with applications in biotic and abiotic investigations.
Stephani leads the Computational Kinetics Group, which utilizes direct simulation of molecular dynamics for improved modeling of nonequilibrium and noncontinuum flows, fundamental transport processes, and material response within multiscale, multiphysics systems. She also works with NASA vehicles, developing simulations of heat loads when they enter the earth’s atmosphere at hypersonic speeds.
Wagoner Johnson was recently appointed as the first Head of the Department of Biomedical and Translational Sciences in the Carle Illinois College of Medicine (CIMED). Her research focuses on biomaterials and biomechanics with applications in bone and coral regeneration. Synthetic materials are attractive candidates for the repair of bone defects, as transplantation of human tissue can be difficult.
The benefactors of these appointments are Ralph A. Andersen and Richard W. Kritzer, both alumni of Illinois.
Ralph A. Andersen earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering in 1950. Upon graduation, he took a position in the accounting department of John Deere's Spreader Works Division in East Moline, Illinois, where he worked for 11 years. After leaving John Deere, he worked for Turpin and Associates in California, before moving to Montana, where he worked for Big Sky Fabricators before founding Andersen Engineering, Inc. in 1983.
Richard W. Kritzer earned a degree in commerce from the University of Illinois in 1916. After World War I, he joined the Peerless Ice Machine Company in Chicago, founded in 1912 by his father, Charles Conrad Kritzer. There, he expanded the company when he became president in 1933, and it was renamed Peerless of America, Inc in 1937. Extruded aluminum tubing for heat exchangers, condenser and evaporator heat exchanges, oil coolers, coils for vending machines, dehumidifier coils, and special application heat exchangers were the company’s main products until Kritzer’s death in 1984. A prolific inventor, he held 75 U.S. patents.