Golden, CO, United States
Golden, CO, United States

Colorado School of Mines is a small public teaching and research university in Golden, Colorado, devoted to engineering and applied science, with special expertise in the development and stewardship of the Earth's natural resources. CSM placed 88th in the 2015 US News & World Report "Best National Universities" ranking. Wikipedia.

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Colorado School of Mines | Date: 2016-08-01

Disclosed herein are methods and systems for recovery of ancylite, a rare earth mineral comprising strontium carbonate, from rare earth ore. In many embodiments, the disclosed methods and systems provide for recovery of greater than 50% of the ancylite from an ancylite containing ore. In many embodiments, the ore is subjected to flotation in the presence of an acid, for example a hydroxamic acid, such as octanohydroxamic acid. The ore may also be subjected to magnetic separation, for example wet high intensity magnetic separation.

Colorado School of Mines | Date: 2016-08-31

A hybrid additive manufacturing method that allows for precise deposition of various photo curable resins without the use of a vat has been developed. This method utilizes thermoplastics for an exterior shell and structural support. This method of resin or epoxy deposition allows for stronger parts to be printed more rapidly through hybridization of two additive manufacturing methods. This hybrid nature greatly expands material compatibilities from strictly thermoplastics to thermoplastics and any photo curable resins. Furthermore, reinforcing materials or dopants can be incorporated into the part using the method and apparatus.

Hoover E.E.,Colorado School of Mines | Squier J.A.,Colorado School of Mines
Nature Photonics | Year: 2013

Multiphoton microscopy has enabled unprecedented dynamic exploration in living organisms. A significant challenge in biological research is the dynamic imaging of features deep within living organisms, which permits the real-time analysis of cellular structure and function. To make progress in our understanding of biological machinery, optical microscopes must be capable of rapid, targeted access deep within samples at high resolution. In this Review, we discuss the basic architecture of a multiphoton microscope capable of such analysis and summarize the state-of-the-art technologies for the quantitative imaging of biological phenomena. © 2013 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: PETROLOGY AND GEOCHEMISTRY | Award Amount: 261.29K | Year: 2017

The Rare-Earth Elements (REE) are among the most critical elements used in a variety of new technological applications. The minerals xenotime-(Y) and monazite-(Ce) are common minerals that contain these rare earth elements (REE) in the Earths crust. In addition to their societal relevance, REE bearing minerals (phosphates) have proven to be important geological tracers for constraining timing and temperatures of crustal processes. The full potential for retrieving information from REE phosphates in different geological settings has just begun to be explored, and the properties of REE minerals have gained an increased economic interest in the search for critical metals, which play this major role in emerging high technology and green industries. The proposed study combines laboratory experiments with numerical modeling for building a new thermodynamic fluid-mineral solid solution model that can be applied to the study of ore deposits and metamorphic/metasomatic processes in geological settings. This research will be disseminated by implementing the resulting data in the open access MINES thermodynamic database (, and a set of educational modeling projects will be provided on a dedicated webpage. A short course on REE mineral deposits and numerical modeling will be organized at the Colorado School of Mines (CSM) to introduce the application of this database. This project will also promote an early career scientist by supporting the investigators new crustal fluid-rock laboratory, where he will train 2 graduate students and involve summer undergraduate students from CSM and/or the Brazil Scientific Mobility program.

Using numerical simulations, the team will predict the stability of minerals and fluids in the Earths crust as a function of pressure and temperature, and expand these capabilities based on experiments and new theoretical models. Our current understanding of the behavior of REE in aqueous fluids and minerals is limited by the paucity of available thermodynamic data for REE mineral solid solutions. The proposed work will combine laboratory mineral solubility and calorimetric experiments to determine the enthalpy of mixing of binary REE phosphate solid solutions, the solubility of end members and their heat capacities. This will permit building an internally consistent thermodynamic dataset that will be implemented in the Gibbs energy minimization program GEMS, and applied to study the genesis of hydrothermal REE mineral deposits. The project will attempt to cross boundaries between metamorphic petrology and geochemistry, and is expected to have an impact for the interpretation of the behavior of REE in crustal fluids. This knowledge can be extended to determine the effects of major ligands on the mobility of metals in the crust, and may be applied to systems were the composition of accessory mineral solid solutions could be used to track metasomatic stages during metamorphism.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: ROBERT NOYCE SCHOLARSHIP PGM | Award Amount: 887.45K | Year: 2016

With funding from the National Science Foundations Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship program, the Colorado School of Mines-University of Northern Colorado STEM Teacher Preparation Noyce Scholarship Program is recruiting undergraduate majors in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines and preparing them to become grades 7-12 STEM teachers. The project is funding 18 scholarships and 30 internships over 5 years. In this project, Colorado School of Mines (CSM) and the University of Northern Colorado (UNC) are collaborating with Denver Public School District, Jefferson County School District, and St. Vrain Valley School District to educate and prepare STEM teachers. This project will: provide insight into how a partnership between a strong engineering school and a strong teacher education school can increase recruitment and retention of STEM majors who consider teaching as a profession; assess CSM students perceptions of teaching as a profession; evaluate the impact of early support (e.g., mentoring and professional development seminars) on teacher retention; and, ultimately, meet the need for providing more highly-qualified STEM teachers.

The Mines-UNC STEM Teacher Preparation Program is a unique partnership between CSM and UNC that offers a path toward secondary teaching licensure in science or math for CSM students. The program plays on the strengths of the two institutions to produce highly-educated graduates through an integrated program that is part of the students undergraduate degree. CSM (a highly selective, small public research university) is fully responsible for STEM content preparation, while UNC (a strong teacher preparation institution) delivers the Professional Teacher Education Program. This project will add an important component to the teacher preparation program by making secondary teaching a more visible, accessible, and attractive career option for these students. The specific goals of this project are to: 1) increase the number of CSM graduates who become STEM teachers and teach in high-need school districts; 2) create early STEM education experiences for CSM students to encourage more to consider teaching of STEM subjects as a career; 3) provide ongoing mentoring and professional development support of STEM teachers during their induction year in high-need schools; 4) actively address ideas about teaching as a career to maintain a healthy supportive culture at CSM toward the profession; and 5) assess, disseminate, and sustain the best recruitment and retention practices. In addition to the immediate production of 18 teachers who have baccalaureate degrees in science or mathematics over five years, this project has the potential to serve as a model for similar collaborative work between institutions known for their STEM programs and those with strong teacher preparation programs.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: ENGINEERING RESEARCH CENTERS | Award Amount: 959.95K | Year: 2016

Many small communities own and operate small, decentralized wastewater treatment facilities, many of which are old and not flexible enough to adjust for treatment of variable water quality. Many of these communities do not have the resources to improve the treatment system or comply with new discharge regulations. While most wastewater treatment plants are fully automated, including small plants, their susceptibility to failure are high and their ability to quickly recover and resume operation are low. In this project the research team will be developing an innovative smart monitoring and control system to provide early detection of wastewater treatment system failure at small facilities and low-cost, remote monitoring and control systems for small, decentralized wastewater treatment systems.

Water reclamation and reuse is not new, but discussions about new paradigms in water reuse, such as direct potable reuse, are accelerating across the country. Thus, when the source of water is explicitly impaired and it is destined to become drinking water, or even water for other beneficial applications, monitoring of water quality, early warning of treatment system failure, responsive operation, and an informed public are all critical to securing future water resources and protecting the public and the environment. A smart sensor network supported by smart data acquisition/processing and system-learning programs will ensure that next generation wastewater treatment systems can operate sustainably and continuously without negative impact on people and the environment. More than ever, plant operators and the public are highly informed and must have better tools to understand water quality and economics of domestic water reuse, and the negative impacts of water contamination. The human-centered system that will be developed through this project will provide these tools and stimulate energy efficiency system behaviors.

A unique testbed will be used to conduct this research. It consists of an advance sequencing batch membrane bioreactor (SB-MBR) hybrid system treating >7,000 gal/day of real domestic wastewater. The research team will use this platform to integrate existing and new wireless sensor networks to monitor water quality and for process monitoring and control, to facilitate and test the development of a smart data acquisition/processing and self-learning control system. The smart service system will enable early warning of wastewater treatment plant failure, thus preventing long-term recovery and negative impact on community services. The testbed has five distinctive components: a demo-scale, advanced water reclamation system, a novel sensor network incorporating cutting edge analytical probes and instruments, a novel data processing and self-learning control system, energy management optimization module, and a public interaction center. It will also enable treatment of water to different end quality to produce water for different reuse applications (i.e., tailored water reuse). This new generation, smart system for tailored water reuse will have flexible and adaptable control systems that utilize new, smart sensor technologies, which interact with each other, learn from past performance, and can predict future performance and adapt the system to achieve preset objectives. After testing the new monitoring and control system at a demonstration scale, the team will work with their industrial partners to deploy, incorporate, and test the novel system at existing, decentralized treatment plants.

This project is led by the Colorado School of Mines (Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering and Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science) and Baylor University (Department of Applied Mathematic and Statistics). Aqua-Aerobic Systems (AAS), Inc. (Rockford IL; small business) and Kennedy/Jenks Consulting (San Francisco, CA; small business) are the primary industrial partners. Additional broader context partners include GE Power & Water (Boulder, CO), Ramey Environmental (Firestone, CO), and Southern Nevada Water Authority (Las Vegas, NV).

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: MAJOR RESEARCH INSTRUMENTATION | Award Amount: 576.45K | Year: 2016

CBET - 1626619
Decaluwe, Steven

This award will fund acquisition of an Environmental X-ray Photoelectron Spectrometer (E-XPS) to establish a unique regional facility for exploring behavior of material surfaces in operating and/or reactive environments and for training in advanced measurements at the
Colorado School of Mines (CSM) and collaborating institutions across the Rocky Mountain region. For many functional materials critical to our nations energy and environmental future, performance depends on material surface properties during device operation, which can vary quite significantly from surface properties under conditions typically measured by standard high vacuum surface analysis tools. For this reason, the E-XPS user facility established by this award will enable new insights into in a diverse array of material-dependent technologies and scientific fields. This E-XPS center will significantly expand access for new and interested users across the Rocky Mountain Region in engineering, chemistry, geophysics, and other disciplines to employ E-XPS to study materials and surfaces in active environments. The instrument will be installed and established as a self-sustaining user facility at CSM to advance XPS capabilities in the region for both internal and external users. The established facility will provide world-class material science research and education experiences for the next generation of science and engineering leaders from CSM and elsewhere. The facility will advance students knowledge of instrumentation, instrument capabilities, sample preparation, and data analysis relevant to their respective fields of study in undergraduate and graduate coursework and research activities.

Heterogeneous interfaces play a critical role in many engineered processes and natural systems. Active surfaces mediate multi-phase chemical reactions, often instigate fracture or failure in materials or devices, and are very sensitive to local environments. Because surface properties under active conditions can deviate significantly from bulk properties, the inability for many researchers to study interfacial chemical states during device operation or in relevant ambient conditions presents a substantial barrier to fundamental scientific insight. The E-XPS will provide invaluable non-destructive evaluation of surface and near-surface states for materials and devices in real and operating environments, thereby overcoming the limitations of conventional, lab-based XPS at UHV conditions.
The E-XPS user facility established by this award will allow measurements of solid-vapor and solid-liquid-vapor interfaces at pressures up to 25 mbar, temperatures up to 800°C, and can operate with electrochemical perturbation of non-equilibrated surfaces. These capabilities enable surface characterization in realistic chemical, electrochemical, and thermal environments for processes related to energy conversion, chemical processing, geochemistry, and materials degradation. The unit can measure lateral or depth profiles in a single spectrum, and can operate under standard XPS (i.e. UHV) conditions, thereby meeting a critical need at CSM.
E-XPS has only recently expanded from heavily oversubscribed synchrotron-based user facilities to laboratory-scale instruments. This user facility will therefore greatly improve access and throughput for E-XPS capabilities, enabling groundbreaking and collaborative interdisciplinary materials research at CSM and at collaborating regional universities and federal research labs. Expected users from numerous engineering disciplines, physical sciences, and geological sciences will employ the E-XPS instrument to address outstanding questions about material surface behavior in arenas such as energy conversion technologies, geochemistry, environmental processes, and materials fabrication. It is further anticipated that technological implications of these unique measurements in active environments will draw in industrial users in these fields.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: DMREF | Award Amount: 724.19K | Year: 2016

Soft magnetic materials have use in power conversion, conditioning, distribution, and generation technologies, including transportation (electric vehicles), renewable energy (solar inverters), and aerospace (power converters and inductors) sectors. The term soft magnet refers to a magnetic material that easily changes magnetic pole directions using small magnetic fields. With over 20 percent of all generated electricity in the US being consumed by industrial electric motor drives, a mere 1 percent improvement in energy efficiency would result in significant financial and environmental benefits. The magnetic components are a major source of energy loss in the above-mentioned applications, motivating the need for soft magnets with better energy efficiency. The design cycle for new soft magnetic materials has so far been informed mainly by direct human engineering intuition and historic knowledge and bias, with materials development occurring by trial-and-error approaches. This Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer our Future (DMREF) award supports research to establish, demonstrate, and validate a computation-guided framework for accelerated discovery of new, better performing soft magnetic materials. This approach will use computational materials science tools to guide alloy design, with the synthesis and experimental validation of properties performed for down-selected new alloys.

Recently, new alloys with microstructures comprised of an amorphous matrix and nanocrystalline grains have revolutionized advanced soft magnetic materials by enabling smaller hysteresis than has been achieved in traditional magnetic materials. This award supports research on the design of new alloys of this type using hierarchical, multi-scale, magneto-structural modeling with input from density functional theory calculations of structural and magnetic properties for single-crystals. Micromagnetic theory will provide the constitutive law for the continuum-level model for optimization of realistic microstructures consisting of an amorphous matrix surrounding nanocrystals. The continuum-level modeling represents a fundamental advancement that will provide much-needed insight into the interplay between the microstructure effects and the magnetic properties of the crystalline phase in determining small hysteresis, as well as an operational understanding of the applicability limits of the currently-prevalent random anisotropy model for coercivity. Structural considerations will be evaluated by continuum thermodynamics modeling and resulting magnetic performance characteristics will be evaluated by micromagnetics modeling. Down-selected alloy compositions - as optimized by these computational approaches - will be synthesized using rapid solidification with subsequent annealing and characterized using state-of-the-art structural and magnetic characterization tools.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: S-STEM:SCHLR SCI TECH ENG&MATH | Award Amount: 649.63K | Year: 2016

The Path Ambassadors To High Success (PATHS) project is designed to create new and compelling pathways for academically talented and financially needy students from partner high schools to study computer science at the Colorado School of Mines. The PATHS program will also strengthen current pathways for students to transition from local community colleges to the university. The project will develop and test a program that will result in an increased number of students in Colorado studying computer science, higher retention rate of these students, establishment of a strong/active community for students, broadened participation in computing of underrepresented groups, and development of a new flexible degree program that combines engineering and computer science. The new integrated computer science + engineering degree program is particularly well suited for meeting a national need to increase the technical workforce in computing. Evaluation of the program activities will provide new insights on best practices for attracting and retaining student scholars at small engineering universities. The project will also include a comparative evaluation, to compare students involved in the program with similar (but not participating) students. By leveraging an existing synergistic state program, the PATHS program expects to sustain the activities and outcomes after the grant period ends.

The program will offer between 10 and 21 NSF-funded scholarships per year to PATHS Scholars and will build the infrastructure to recruit, retrain, and enable the scholarship students to succeed. Key program activities have been chosen based on the current literature of data-driven best practices for recruitment and retention of low-income students and for future career success of program participants. The project will (1) create a new pathway for students from partnering Colorado high schools to attend and succeed at the university; (2) strengthen an existing pathway for students from a local community college to transfer and succeed at the university; and (3) establish an on-campus support community (cohort) required for all students on PATHS scholarships with activities and best practices designed to maintain high retention rates for these students. To help students overcome known barriers to college access and success, the program will form cohorts that utilize an array of existing target resources at the university to engage the students in career services, outreach for program recruitment, and best practices for academic success. In recruiting efforts, the PATHS program will engage the PATHS Scholars as Ambassadors in outreach and recruitment (at their home institutions, if possible).

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 399.26K | Year: 2016

Increasingly, a robust cyberinfrastructure (CI) is the foundation for advanced research opportunities. Investment in personnel resources is no less important, and the role of cyberinfrastructure engineer (CIE) is a critical component in ensuring a comprehensive approach to providing research support services and advancing the research agenda. The addition of the CIE role at the Colorado School of Mines is a key element in efforts to provide comprehensive support services through an integrative approach to the Mines research community. The CIE serves as partner, architect, integrator, and catalyst to advance efforts in scientific inquiry. Positioning the CIE within the central IT organization provides opportunities for strong collaboration and partnership between operational units that implement and support the various components of CI and faculty researchers.

Direct engagement by the CIE in specific activities with researchers, the library, and students through multiple approaches (such as providing resources to manage data as an institutional asset) will have a positive impact on scientific inquiry at Mines. This approach will facilitate increased utilization of existing cyberinfrastructure as well as ensure a strong focus on researcher needs when designing the next generation of CI. Impacts include increased partnership between researchers and cyberinfrastructure architects and implementers that advances scientific inquiry within the institution and across the scientific community, as well as learning opportunities for the next generation of STEM researchers. Additionally, by sharing the experiences and successes of the inaugural CIE, Mines will contribute at the regional and national level to the growing professional community of cyberinfrastructure engineers.

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