Lewisburg, PA, United States
Lewisburg, PA, United States

Bucknell University is a private liberal arts college located alongside the West Branch Susquehanna River in the town of Lewisburg, in central Pennsylvania, United States. The university consists of the College of Arts and science, School of Management, and the College of Engineering. Bucknell was founded in 1846, and features programs in the arts, humanities, science, social science, engineering, management, education, and music, as well as programs and pre-professional advising that prepare students for study in law and medicine. It has almost 50 majors and over 60 minors.It is primarily an undergraduate school , and 150 graduate students on the campus. Students come from all 50 states and from more than 66 countries. Bucknell has nearly 200 student organizations and a large Greek presence. The school's mascot is Bucky the Bison and the school is a member of the Patriot League in NCAA Division I athletics. Wikipedia.

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Bucknell University | Date: 2016-01-13

A screw-driven extrusion system includes a novel screw-drive extruder. The extruder includes a motor-driven screw. The screw moves solid pellets from a feed hopper into a section that is actively heated. The solid pellets fully liquefy as they pass through the heated section. A control system controls screw, heating, and optionally cooling, operations to selectively control flow of liquefied material from the extruders tip. The dynamically-controlled can continuously adjust its feed speed and temperature to keep up with continuously changing demands of a larger control system involved in monitoring and running a corresponding 3-D printer in an additive manufacturing process. In contrast to wirefeed extrusion systems that rely on the rigidity of the material in wire-formed feedstock, this screw-driven extrusion system is well-suited to use of less-rigid thermoplastic elastomers for the manufacture of objects for use in soft robotics, medical and mold-making applications.

Bucknell University | Date: 2016-05-04

One aspect of the invention provides a sensor including: one or more fiber optic emitters and one or more fiber optic receivers lying in the same plane and spaced from, but proximate to the one or more fiber optic emitters. Another aspect of the invention provides a sensor including: one or more fiber optic emitters and one or more fiber optic receivers spaced from, but proximate to the one or more fiber optic emitters. Each of the one or more fiber optic receivers have an end that lies outside of a light beam emitted by the one or more fiber optic emitters.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 113.08K | Year: 2015

The Wrangell volcanic belt in southern Alaska is situated in a complex tectonic environment where an oceanic plateau (the Yakutat block) is presently colliding with and subducting beneath Alaska at a very low angle. To the east, a large transform fault system, the Denali fault, bounds the edge of this subducting plateau and a major volcanic chain, the Wrangell volcanic belt that has been built up over the last 25 million years, marks this intersection. Such junctions are common in modern convergent margin settings and the resulting volcanic belts record both variations in relative position of the leading front of the slab and translation of the upper plate along strike-slip faults. The processes that generate lavas in these complex settings are poorly understood. Here, this research team aims to decipher the origins of the volcanic rocks in the Wrangell volcanic belt through a comprehensive study of the geology, volcanic rock chemical composition, and geochronology of the belt. The results would provide a new understanding of how volcanic chains develop in such complex tectonic settings. The project also benefits society or advances desired societal outcomes through: (1) planned involvement of students from underrepresented minorities in STEM; (2) increased public scientific literacy and public engagement with science and technology through presentations in local communities and development of interpretive materials for the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve; and (3) development of a STEM workforce through training of graduate and undergraduate students and support of early career researchers.

This project examines the geochemical-eruptive evolution of an under-sampled 25 Ma arc-transform magmatic belt, the Wrangell volcanic belt in Alaska. The belt is transected by a major strike-slip fault, the Denali fault system, and located above both the edge and leading front of the Yakutat flat slab. The researchers will collect bedrock, detrital sand/cobbles samples, and sedimentological and structural data from the Wrangell volcanic belt. They will determine major and trace element composition, whole rock Sr, Nd, Pb, and Hf, and zircon Hf-isotope concentrations, and 40Ar/39Ar and U/Pb geochronology on bedrock and detrital samples. Specific objectives of the project are to: (1) determine the temporal-spatial history of magmatism of the Wrangell volcanic belt; and (2) decipher the links between strike-slip faulting, and slab melting on the geochemical evolution of this slab edge volcanic belt. These data will be integrated with geological mapping to provide important new constraints on the development of slab edge magmatism along an arc-transform junction as the leading front of the flat slab progresses inboard and the relationship between strike-slip faults and the geochemistry of magmatic products.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: ENGINEERING EDUCATION | Award Amount: 50.00K | Year: 2016

Legacy award EEC 0530588 included a focus on teaching electrical and computer engineering (ECE) system design. To support system design thinking and learning, the project utilized student-designed interactive competitive activities. The current I-Corps L project expands on this and other awards to connect students in electrical and computer engineering programs across the country through mobile interactive competition design projects. The project seeks to create a nation-wide capstone program for ECE students, similar to exhibitions in other disciplines that are collaborative rather than competitive. Small-scale trials at Bucknell demonstrated the potential of this type of design for engaging students and teaching elements of system design across all levels of abstraction.

The intent of this project is to link these competitive activities with learning since in order to compete, students have to create hardware and software. Since the competitive activity is integrally tied to design, the project has the potential to create rapid feedback on design choices, thus leading to more effective system design skills. Additionally, the project may opt to develop a commercial activity for purchase. Initial trials conducted to date reveal unique affordances between competitive activities and engineering design. The interactive competitions depend as much upon stories and rules as the physical infrastructure (hardware and software) that supports play. Such activities have been defined as formal rule-based systems with variable and quantifiable outcomes in which different outcomes have different values to players. Players exert effort by both optional and negotiable activities to achieve favorable outcomes which brings an emotional stake. It is the player-centered and engaging characteristics of these competitive activities the project seeks to combine with the engineering design process. More specifically, the activities allow great flexibility in student design challenges so they become more adaptable to institution-specific learning outcomes and curricula. Changing the rules can significantly change the design parameters so that a large range of design projects are enabled even with a cost-effective and limited set of hardware and software. Furthermore, the activities can be placed in narratives drawn from many popular works relevant to STEM students and other learners, and thus have potential appeal to many audiences.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: National Robotics Initiative | Award Amount: 141.99K | Year: 2015

Idiopathic scoliosis is a condition in which the spine develops a strong left/right curvature, forming a C- or S-shape instead of a straight line. Approximately 2% to 3% of adolescents suffer from the disorder, with about 1 in 500 required to wear corrective braces until skeletal maturity, and about 1 in 5,000 requiring spinal surgery. A typical scoliosis brace is worn around the trunk and hips, and completely immobilizes the upper body, which substantially degrades quality of life. This project will demonstrate a hybrid dynamic brace for correcting scoliosis, while minimally affecting the activities of daily living. Compliant passive braces tailored to the treatment needs of individual wearers allow greater freedom of movement, but cannot respond to changes in posture or more gradual evolution of the wearers condition. Active braces provide dynamically responsive corrective forces, but require power-hungry motors, and greatly increase weight and complexity. This project will demonstrate a hybrid approach, providing freedom of movement and dynamic response, but without the weight and power requirements of fully active designs. The result is essentially a wearable robot that continually monitors and responds to the needs of the user.

This project will lay the scientific foundation for the design of dynamic brace co-robots, and the evaluation of their effectiveness for both quantification and treatment of the abnormal spine. These dynamic braces will be designed to modulate the corrective forces on the spine in desired directions while still allowing the users to perform typical activities of daily life. The project will investigate the hypothesis that dynamic braces have the potential to transform treatment in this field, as these can provide effective control of corrective forces on the spine both spatially and temporally. The scientific studies will characterize the spatial stiffness of the spine in a specific pose and during different functions. The studies will target treatment outcomes in subjects with abnormal spine. Furthermore, this project will train students in interdisciplinary research and will result in future workshops and courses appealing to engineers, clinicians, medical caregivers, and high school students, motivating careers in STEM.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: COMPUTATIONAL MATHEMATICS | Award Amount: 78.06K | Year: 2016

Symmetry reduces large complex systems to manageable quantities of information. Identifying those symmetries and understanding their structure helps to solve a wide range of problems, from improving engineering tasks to disrupting the mechanisms of disease. The century-old problem of deciding whether two sets of symmetries have the same structure is known today as the Group Isomorphism Problem. This problem is fundamental to both computational algebra and computational complexity, and has implications for fields as diverse as material science, particle physics, and chemistry. The primary goal of this project is to develop significantly better approaches to testing isomorphism of finite groups of symmetries. It supports a new multidisciplinary collaboration between researchers at four universities, including students and early-career mathematicians and computer scientists.

The Group Isomorphism Problem asks for an algorithm to decide whether two finite groups are equivalent. Both the problem itself, and the techniques designed to improve upon it, have implications for other computational problems, including the better-known problems of Graph Isomorphism and P versus NP. Our teams approach goes beyond existing static recursions such as working sequentially down a derived or lower central series. Using a new dynamic strategy we prioritize the optimal stages of the problem, thereby improving the performance of later stages. To achieve this we are investigating the use of nonassociative rings, spectral sequences, modular representation theory, and p-local cohomology. We are also inspecting recently developed data structures in computational algebra that seem well-suited to our approach, as well as investigating applications to geometric complexity theory.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: PARTICULATE &MULTIPHASE PROCES | Award Amount: 20.85K | Year: 2016

PI: Utter

The rheology of granular and granular-fluid systems is of significant current interest. While many studies focus on the jamming and flow of particle-fluid mixtures, there has been little work on the effects of surface chemistry, such as the relative hydrophobic or hydrophilic properties of the grains. In addition to the relevance of surface chemistry in soil mechanics and industrial problems, such as effects on erosion, water runoff, and filtration, hydrophobicity also provides a control parameter on the effective cohesion of grains. Recent applications of the jamming phase picture to colloidal systems with attractive interactions are related examples of the importance of grain-grain interactions mediated by surface properties.
This Research at Undergraduate Institutions (RUI) proposal aims to systematically study the effect of the hydrophobic interactions in both the well-characterized rotating drum geometry and jamming behavior in flow through a constriction. Rheology and dynamics are studied in systems (i) that vary by fraction of hydrophobic grains and (ii) that are submerged in solvents of different polarities to tune the importance of the surface chemistry effects. This set of experiments has direct relevance to surface chemistry of soil particulates that impact soil/water interactions. In addition, these samples can be submerged in fluids of different polarity to control the relative importance of the surface chemistry effects. The preliminary data show both a strong tendency of hydrophobic grains to segregate from water and a decreased response when submerged in a relatively non-polar liquid like isopropanol or hexane. Known particle/solvent systems relevant to work on colloidal stability will be used and then extended to miscible fluids of different polarities which will allow fine-tuned control of the effective cohesion between hydrophobic grains. We will quantitatively measure the effective hydrophobicity and correlate these with flow properties such as angle of repose, jamming probability, segregation effects, and rheological shear strength.

A final objective related to the broader impacts of this proposal is the scientific training of undergraduate research students in a highly interdisciplinary research environment. This project will directly involve the training of up to six undergraduate researchers over the duration of the program, but it is expected that up to ten will likely be impacted including unpaid research for credit during the academic year. In addition, we plan to hire a high school teacher for the summer of year 2, in order to continue one of JMUs missions of educating teachers. The students will be exposed to issues in materials science and complex systems, including rheology, dynamics, and image processing. The participants in this program will be expected to participate in activities related to the NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) sites in chemistry and materials science at JMU to become part of a community of scholars with over sixty other summer undergraduate researchers in chemistry and materials science at JMU. In summary, this program helps serve to broadly impact the pipeline of future scientists from the high school through the graduate level with students trained in cutting-edge research in multiphase flows.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: MAJOR RESEARCH INSTRUMENTATION | Award Amount: 225.00K | Year: 2016

With this award Professor George Shields from Bucknell University and colleagues Marc Zimmer (Connecticut College), Carol Parish (University of Richmond) and Maria Gomez (Mount Holyoke College) have acquired a computer cluster to be shared by a large consortium of primarily undergraduate universities and colleges referred to as MERCURY (Molecular Education and Research Consortium in Undergraduate computational ChemistRY). The cluster is used in computational chemistry research projects. These projects employ theoretical chemistry programs and algorithms or processes using principles from quantum mechanics or molecular mechanics (often called molecular dynamics simulations). The computations are used to predict and understand a wide range of properties of molecules such as their acidity, chemical reaction mechanisms such as those that lead to the production of tropospheric ozone and hydroxyl radicals, biochemistry questions such as the binding of small molecules to proteins and even the study of environmental problems such as the chemistry of steroids that are common contaminants in surface and wastewater. The consortium involves 27 computational chemists from 24 primarily undergraduate institutions. The acquisition has a broad impact on the training of undergraduate research students who are incorporated into the workforce or those who attend graduate and professional schools.

The proposal is aimed at enhancing research in areas such as those described above. Further examples include: (a) studies of defect conduction paths with applications to fuel cells, (b) understanding the molecular behavior of model compounds such as polyradicals, and elucidating biomolecular dynamics and bond making and breaking reactions, (c) computations to understand the photophysics of light-producing and light-detecting proteins, (d) studies of the conformations of small peptides and other important areas.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: Geotechnical Engineering and M | Award Amount: 384.19K | Year: 2015

Soil-bentonite slurry trench cutoff walls are widely used for seepage control, levee repair, and pollutant containment. Their widespread use in these critical applications requires a better understanding of their as-built condition and long-term behavior. Regarding the as-built condition, the in-place permeability of cutoff walls is heavily influenced by the presence of defects and by the stress within the wall. Conventional construction quality control programs are insufficient to verify backfill homogeneity throughout the installation, and commercial technologies are not yet available for non-destructively detecting defects or verifying the absence of defects. Regarding long-term behavior, several factors may cause changes in permeability of the wall over time including changes in stress and wet-dry cycling. This project seeks to address these questions regarding both the short-term (as-built) and long-term integrity of cutoff walls through the design, construction, in-situ testing, and monitoring of a fully instrumented cutoff wall to be installed near the Bucknell University campus. Society will benefit from better understanding and performance from our dams, levees and pollutant containment systems and from substantial teaching, training, and mentoring through the involvement of undergraduate and graduate students in the research, outreach to secondary students as part of the annual engineering summer camp, and exposure of students and practitioners to the state of the art/practice for cutoff walls via formal seminar presentations.

The cutoff wall will be fully instrumented to monitor in-situ conditions in the backfill (e.g., 3D state of stress, vertical and lateral deformations, and pore water pressures) as a function of time and location. Electrical resistance imaging will be investigated for locating defects placed within the wall at known locations and of known size, with the goal of developing a viable geophysical methodology for defect detection in SB walls. The monitoring will be complemented with lab tests and in-situ tests (e.g., cone penetration, vane shear, dilatometer, and standard penetration tests), also performed over time to reveal time-dependent behavior. Finally, numerical model simulations to predict the stress distribution within an SB cutoff wall will be performed and the results compared with the measured field stresses. All field and lab data will be managed within a geospatial information system framework that will be made accessible to the public via the web.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: Environmental Chemical Science | Award Amount: 333.08K | Year: 2015

With this award, the Environmental Chemical Sciences Program of the Division of Chemistry is funding Professor George Shields of Bucknell University to determine structures and energies of molecular complexes relevant to atmospheric aerosols. These complexes are formed from water molecules, sulfuric acid molecules, and other trace molecules found in the atmosphere. These complexes are important because they are relate to the fundamental basis of how clouds form, and the mechanism for cloud formation is currently not known. The project is also having a broad impact through its model of a sustained and productive undergraduate research experience involving the same students, including minorities and women, throughout their undergraduate years.

Professor George Shields and co-workers are purusing a joint computational/experimental study toward establishing the minimum energy structures and the thermodynamics for formation of hydrogen-bonded complexes. These studies allow for the assessment of the ability of state-of-the-art computational chemistry methods to model water clusters that can be directly compared, and help guide state-of-the-art microwave spectroscopy experiments. The Shields group is determining the structures and thermodynamics of molecular clusters containing sulfuric acid, bases, and water, that are believed to serve as neutral and ionic cloud condensation nuclei. These methods are expected to allow for the prediction of the relative abundance of all potentially relevant complexes, providing insight on which ones are of atmospheric importance in the cloud nucleation process. In a much broader sense, the techniques being developed here may provide atmospheric scientists with new ways to relate air quality/composition to cloud nucleation/pattern development.

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