Easton, PA, United States
Easton, PA, United States

Lafayette College is a private coeducational liberal arts and engineering college located in Easton, Pennsylvania, USA. The school, founded in 1826 by James Madison Porter, son of General Andrew Porter of Norristown and the citizens of Easton, first began holding classes in 1832. The founders voted to name the school after General Lafayette, who famously toured the country in 1824–25, as "a testimony of respect for talents, virtues, and signal services... in the great cause of freedom".Located on College Hill in Easton, the campus is situated in the Lehigh Valley, about 70 mi west of New York City and 60 mi north of Philadelphia. Lafayette College guarantees campus housing to all enrolled students. The school requires students to live in campus housing unless approved for residing in private off-campus housing or home as a commuter.The student body, consisting entirely of undergraduates, comes from 42 U.S. states and 37 countries. Students at Lafayette are involved in over 250 clubs and organizations including athletics, fraternities and sororities, special interest groups, community service clubs and honor societies. Lafayette College's athletic program is notable for The Rivalry with nearby Lehigh University. Since 1884, the two football teams have met 150 times, making it the most played rivalry in the history of college football. Wikipedia.

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Xia G.,Lafayette College
SIAM Journal on Computing | Year: 2013

Let S be a finite set of points in the Euclid ean plane. Let D be a Delaunay triangulation of S. The stretch factor (also known as dilation or spanning ratio) of D is the maximum ratio, among all points p and q in S, of the shortest path distance fromp to q in D over the Euclidean distance ||pq||. Proving a tight bound on the stretch factor of the Delaunay triangulation has been a long-standing open problem in computational geometry. In this paper we prove that the stretch factor of the Delaunay triangulation is less than p = 1.998, significantly improving the current best upper bound of 2.42 by Keil and Gutwin ["The Delaunay triangulation closely approximates the complete Euclidean graph," in Proceedings of the 1st Workshop on Algorithms and Data Structures (WADS), 1989, pp. 47-56]. Our bound of 1.998 also improves the upper bound of the best stretch factor that can be achieved by a plane spanner of a Euclidean graph (the current best upper bound is 2). Our result has a direct impact on the problem of constructing spanners of Euclidean graphs, which has applications in the area of wireless computing. © 2013 Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: MAJOR RESEARCH INSTRUMENTATION | Award Amount: 205.02K | Year: 2013


A state-of-the-art desktop scanning electron microscope (SEM) system will be purchased for faculty and undergraduate students at Lafayette College to conduct research and design projects and to expand research training in both engineering and the sciences. This instrumentation will extend the research concentrations and capabilities of the individual investigators while also facilitating collaborations between departments. In addition to its high-quality and high-resolution imaging capability, this user-friendly instrumentation is equipped with electron dispersive spectroscopy (EDS) for compositional analysis and employs a suite of software applications that provide compositional mapping, three-dimensional surface roughness reconstruction, and fibermetric analysis, all of which are integral to the described research activities. The system also includes a variety of sample holders that permit a diverse array of materials to be imaged at different orientations. The instrumentation provides analysis that is critical to the thorough understanding of the dimensions, form, and function of the objects being studied. Application areas include the study of materials, lab-on-chip or optoelectrical devices with submillimeter components, geological samples, and biological and/or bioengineered systems.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: MAJOR RESEARCH INSTRUMENTATION | Award Amount: 400.00K | Year: 2016

This award from the Major Research Instrumentation Program will fund the acquisition of a liquid chromatography/supercritical fluid/mass spectrometer (LC/SFC/MS) for both environmental and energy research at Lafayette College and proximate universities. The LC/SFC/MS will enable the quantification and identification of components in these systems. The enhanced understanding of each system would allow for the development of strategies to mediate negative implications and optimize for beneficial outcomes related to energy and environmental applications. Additionally, the use of the LC/SFC/MS by neighboring institutions will further these goals and provide outreach opportunities for training in both the use of the instrument as well as green chemistry and engineering. The instrumentation will be used by multiple groups for research and provide educational experiences for undergraduate student researchers. When appropriate this instrumentation will also serve as an advanced teaching tool in multiple classes.

The LC/SFC/MS is a combined system that will transform the research capabilities at Lafayette College. The instrument is capable of high definition and accurate analyses with sufficient versatility for use in many applications. The unique combination of LC and SFC will make both reverse- and normal-phase separations accessible to our faculty and student researchers for a wide range of target analytes. MS coupled to a chromatography system is a robust technique possessing the ability to perform unknown molecule identification and compound isolation from complex matrices while providing ample sensitivity for quantification and identification of components with a wide spectrum of volatilities that range from polar to nonpolar. This instrumentation will be used to advance high impact faculty-led research relevant to energy and environmental applications with specific projects as follows: 1) CO2 mediated reactions for selective and sustainable biodiesel production, 2) Selective extraction and recycling of valuable co-products from microalgae using green solvents, 3) Product identification and mechanism elucidation of atmospheric aerosol growth pathways, and 4) Understanding of the production and fate of thiols in freshwater systems.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: Geotechnical Engineering and M | Award Amount: 213.23K | Year: 2016

The movement of water through soil (seepage) can cause dams and levees to fail, which may be expensive to repair, cause extensive damage to infrastructure, and possibly the loss of life. Traditional methods to reduce seepage can be cost-prohibitive and create environmental concerns. Preliminary work has shown the feasibility of using biofilm-forming bacteria to reduce seepage. Biofilm-forming bacteria secrete a sticky material that connects the bacteria together, attaches the bacteria to solid surfaces, and blocks the flow of water through the soil. However, the reduction in seepage only occurred close to the bacterias nutrient source and seepage further from the source (more than five centimeters) was not significantly reduced. Uniform reduction of seepage across a distance of at least one meter will be needed if using bacteria to form biofilms is to be a feasible method to reduce seepage and the likelihood of the types of failures listed above. This project will determine whether a quorum sensing inhibitor (a chemical that prevents bacteria from forming a biofilm) can be used to control the location and timing of biofilm formation so that the biofilm develops uniformly across the length of a one-meter column of sand. If successful, further research would look at the application of this methodology to field applications. In addition, this grant will support a partnership between Lafayette College (LC) and one of the National Science Foundations Engineering Research Centers (ERCs)--the new Center for Bio-mediated & Bio-inspired Geotechnics (CBBG). The research partnership between faculty at LC (the project PIs) and the CBBG will create an exchange of information that will allow the PIs to develop their research programs in cooperation with the CBBG, and will introduce a minimum of six undergraduate students to this new interdisciplinary field of research. Because of high percentages of women students at LC, this grant is anticipated to broaden research participation with respect to this underrepresented group.

This research will develop methods to create a uniform growth of bacterial biofilm in sand by using quorum sensing inhibitors and the manipulation of flow rates and nutrients. Initially, Pseudomonas fluorescens, a known biofilm former, will be introduced to columns containing sterile sand. The manipulation of the concentration and timing of water containing nutrients and a quorum sensing inhibitor, Furanone 56--a halogenated compound known to inhibit biofilm formation, will be used to create a uniform distribution of bacterial biofilm in these soils. Once a protocol is established for the development of a uniform biofilm distribution under these conditions, columns will be constructed using non-sterile sand. Similar manipulation of the nutrient and quorum sensing inhibitor will be used to investigate whether the approach developed can stimulate native biofilm-forming bacteria to create a uniform distribution of biofilm. A final testing setup will confirm that native bacterial biofilm can be uniformly distributed along a one-meter soil column. Through a partnership between LC and the CBBG, this grant will also support innovative research by an interdisciplinary team of faculty at a strictly undergraduate institution and provide robust mentoring and research experiences for undergraduate students. The research partnership between faculty at LC and the CBBG will create an exchange of information that will allow the faculty at LC to develop their research in cooperation with the CBBG and will introduce a minimum of six undergraduate students to this newly developing interdisciplinary field of research.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: PROCESS & REACTION ENGINEERING | Award Amount: 100.71K | Year: 2014

1437965 (Zimmerman), 1437595 (Beckman), and 1437688 (Soh). Biomass has potential to meet many of societys energy and chemical needs, replacing the need for fossil fuels, while minimizing environmental impact. In this project, a biorefinery approach will be explored to achieve viable and sustainable utilization of biomass for fuels and valuable co-products. Analogous to petroleum refining for a wide spectrum of products, biorefining maximizes utilization of all fractions, reducing economic and environmental barriers. In addition to fuel, some of the components also represent a palette of higher-value, non-fuel products such as nutritional supplements and feedstocks for bioplastics. There are orders of magnitude differences in the value of products that can be produced depending chemical structure and intended end-use (i.e., fuel, fine chemicals, nutraceuticals). Advances in selective, efficient, and sustainable technologies for the extraction and conversion of lipids from crude biomass are essential to enhance a transition to a biobased economy. This project will develop separation and processing techniques that are robust, selective, and tolerant of varying biomass compositions, to gain economic and environmental benefits through a biorefinery approach.

The overall aim of this work is to fundamentally understand the system variables for extraction, fractionation and transformation of minimally processed biomass to produce fuel and other value-added co-products using a carbon dioxide and methanol mixture for efficient processing and separation. The work will model the fundamental system properties based on experiments with representative compounds and in turn the model will be used to control processing of real world wet biomass samples. The specific aims of the project are: 1) Ascertain and model the phase behavior of systems consisting of methanol, CO2, trans-esterification reaction substrates (reagents, intermediates, and products/byproducts), with or without water, to better understand the necessary operating conditions for conversion and fractionation of fatty acid methyl esters; 2) Evaluate and optimize heterogeneously catalyzed trans-esterification in CO2-methanol for selective conversion of model lipids and recovery of specific methyl ester fractions; 3) Apply experimentally determined parameters and model outcomes to optimize conversion and fractionation of real world biomass feedstocks including pre-extracted oils, waste feedstocks, and wet algal biomass; 4) Perform process design, life cycle assessment, and techno-economic analyses for informing system design to integrate this technology into a biorefinery setting. As such the efforts of this collaborative research will provide information on system fundamentals as well as the broader economic and environmental impacts of the system if implemented effectively. The project intrinsically provides student-learning opportunities in terms of high level research as well as educational resources regarding sustainability. The design approach modeled in this project provides an example of life cycle thinking mitigating the potential for unintended consequences. Graduate student researchers will have the opportunity to translate experimental results into educational materials, to be delivered on campus, in the community, and also globally via online curricula. Undergraduate researchers will be recruited through campus programs that support students from groups that are historically underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The project will be used in undergraduate process design courses, integrating sustainability and green design into the core chemical engineering curriculum. Further, a short-course will be developed between the collaborators in the topic of green engineering and sustainable design, using this project as an example platform with developed materials made publically accessible. In terms of K-12, the project will be used to expand on established relationships serving underrepresented populations. Efforts will range from greener school competitions for Grades 6-8, to a focused experience for early high school students associated with a 3-week program in residence on campus. A new course, Energy and Sustainability will be designed and implemented to reinforce scientific principles that students will have learned in their 9th grade physical science class and to prepare these students for their 10th grade biology and 11th grade chemistry classes while introducing concepts of green design.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: MAJOR RESEARCH INSTRUMENTATION | Award Amount: 527.68K | Year: 2015

A high-speed laser-based imaging system is a primary tool for researchers working in the area of fluid mechanics, combustion, and physical chemistry to illuminate the complexities of these harsh flowfields. The system is able to measure time-resolved, species-specific scalar fields and three-dimensional velocity fields to understand the initiation and propagation of combustion in high-speed flows as well as the early development of turbulent flows. This technology provides unprecedented access to the details of the physics of turbulent reacting flows influenced by mixing as well as transitional boundary layers. The new instrumentation will be utilized for both research and student training at Lafayette College, a private liberal arts college with engineering located in Easton, PA. The system will also be used to provide undergraduate students with meaningful involvement in many state-of-the-art research programs across several departments. Additionally, the velocimetry and high-speed visualization capabilities will be incorporated into junior level and senior level courses offered by both Mechanical and Chemical Engineering. Chemistry students will have the opportunity to perform fluorescence experiments and time-correlated spectroscopy measurements in new laboratory experiences. The system will significantly augment the ability to involve undergraduates of diverse backgrounds in meaningful research as well as incorporate advanced research capabilities into the undergraduate curriculum.

The proposed high-speed laser-based imaging system enables a wealth of diverse optical techniques to be applied to the study of mixing and combustion in compressible flows and the characterization of coherent structures in turbulent boundary layers. It will dramatically augment the capabilities of existing fluid dynamic, combustion, and physical chemistry research facilities at Lafayette, specifically supporting several research components: i) Examining the role of mixing efficiency and finite rate chemistry on non-premixed combustion in hypersonic flows, ii) Exploring ignition, flameholding, and extinction phenomena using time-resolved imaging of pre-mixed hypersonic reactive flow, iii) Characterizing the development and entrainment behavior of hairpin vortices and turbulent spots and the roles they play in turbulent and transitional flows. iv) Assessing the combustion properties of specialty biodiesel fuel blends, v) Measuring the phosphorescence lifetimes of organic thin film materials utilizing time correlated single photon counting, and vi) Generating reactive oxygen and measure quenching rates due to interaction with thiols to determine their detoxification capability in freshwater environments. Each of these research areas relies on the high-speed, high-power, tunable illumination and imaging capabilities enabled by this system.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: WORKFORCE IN THE MATHEMAT SCI | Award Amount: 91.66K | Year: 2016

The Lafayette College REU Site will run for eight weeks in the summer and one week in the academic year for three years. Each summer, three faculty mentors, including one mentor a year from outside Lafayette, will work daily with ten students from across the US on groundbreaking research projects in mathematics, applied mathematics, and statistics. Students will develop strong research skills as well as become effective communicators, both orally and in writing. Summer activities will include renowned guest speakers and other programming on a wide variety of topics to enhance students professional development and curiosity. The guidance provided by the faculty mentors will continue throughout the following academic year, culminating in presentations at the Joint Mathematics Meetings and the preparation of articles to submit to high-quality journals. This program will put students in very strong positions to be successful in the mathematical sciences after graduation. Further, the faculty themselves will be mentored by previous REU advisors, with a particular focus on the faculty who have limited experience in leading undergraduate research; this mentoring will run year-round. Thus, both students and faculty will grow through the REU, and they will return to their home institutions energized by the experience and ready to continue conducting research.

A diverse selection of research projects will be offered, appropriate for a combination of rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors each year and targeting a wide range of prior mathematical and statistical training. Students early in their mathematical education can engage in research on roughly half of the projects, including those focusing on permutation patterns and statistics, geometric network optimization, and block coloring problems. Other projects include research on symmetries in affine geometry, infinite groups and cube complexes, and the Kelly Criterion for investments. With close mentoring, the advisors will lead their students to greater independence and a strong sense of collegiality; this will provide an excellent foundation in the research process. The students will actively contribute to new knowledge in mathematics, applied mathematics, and statistics.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: Chemical Synthesis | Award Amount: 153.90K | Year: 2016

The Chemical Synthesis Program of the Chemistry Division supports the project by Professor Chip Nataro. Professor Nataro is a faculty member in the Department of Chemistry at Lafayette College. He is developing new compounds containing phosphine ligands having a metallocene backbone that have interesting catalytic properties. These ligands have received considerable attention in catalytic applications, which are important in the pharmaceutical industry. The goal of this research is to examine how subtle alterations to these ligands impacts the reactivity of compounds containing the ligands. Of particular interest is the metal atom at the center of the metallocene backbone. This metal atom can be altered in a variety of ways that are anticipated to increase the reactivity of the compound. The project is well suited for the education of scientists at the undergraduate level. Professor Nataros group has been successful at producing high-quality scientific papers and many of these students go on to obtain advanced degrees in the fields of chemistry and biochemistry.

Bis(phosphino)metallocenes are ligands that are commonly employed in a variety of catalytic reactions. Compounds of these ligands often behave as significantly superior catalysts and this has been attributed to both the ability of the metallocene backbone to undergo redox reactions and the unique steric constraints imposed upon the ligand by the metallocene backbone. In this project, making changes to both of these aspects of these ligands are being examined further. Oxidation of the metal in the backbone is one method of altering bis(phosphino)metallocene ligands. By removing an electron from the metal of the backbone, the ligand become less electron-donating to a second metal center. In addition, oxidation also causes the distance between the metal of the backbone and the C¬5¬ rings to increase, which causes the steric bulk of the ligand to increase. The impact of the changes caused by oxidation of the ligands on the reactivity of compounds containing these ligands is being examined. A second method of altering bis(phosphino)metallocene ligands is to force the metal of the backbone to interact with a second metal center. This interaction is very weak, which should greatly enhance the reactivity of the second metal center. In addition, the interaction greatly distorts the bis(phosphino)metallocene ligand, which increasse the steric needs of the ligand. This project is ideal for training undergraduate students in scientific practices and procedures, which benefit the students in preparing for chemical industry the pursuit of advanced degrees in chemistry.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: MAJOR RESEARCH INSTRUMENTATION | Award Amount: 158.60K | Year: 2014

This Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) award funds the acquisition of an advanced time-of-flight terrestrial Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) system to expand research opportunities, and to integrate cutting edge technology into the engineering and sciences classrooms at Lafayette College. Time-of-flight LIDAR uses laser pulses to capture the position and reflectivity of objects and surfaces in three-dimensional space. The new generation of LIDAR technology and associated post-processing software are far more capable and user friendly than previous generations. This particular LIDAR system is sturdy enough for hands-on use by undergraduate students and is equipped with full waveform processing to explore entirely new ways of visualizing and characterizing objects and terrain. The movement of LIDAR technology toward the mainstream is creating a revolution in how engineers and scientists sense, map, and record the natural and built environment. This revolution extends beyond the sciences and into fields of historical preservation, law enforcement, and art. In the foreseeable future, even personal vehicles will utilize LIDAR for autonomous navigation. Therefore, it is essential to introduce students at an undergraduate level to LIDAR, and assist them in identifying new and creative uses of this technology. The LIDAR system and the research it will enable will be used for: the training of future engineers and scientists through research and pedagogy that embraces new technology; the development of new collaborations and partnerships between academia and industry; and the significant enhancement of the capability to perform leading edge research at Lafayette College. Lafayette students involved in undergraduate research are typically inspired to pursue advanced degrees and research-related professions in both academia and industry. LIDAR is a versatile tool that will not only expand the research infrastructure at Lafayette but also provide new experimental experiences in the engineering and science curricula. The LIDAR system will support at least nine courses at Lafayette College as well as research intensive independent study and honors thesis courses, with approximately 400 student contacts per year. The high tech nature and portability of the LIDAR lends itself well to conducting outreach demonstrations for local high school students, many of whom are underrepresented minorities, to generate excitement about the STEM fields. The PI and Co-PIs have strong records mentoring women students and will take advantage of new efforts that are underway at Lafayette to recruit additional members of underrepresented groups into their research program

The intellectual merit of this project is centered on creating new knowledge and enhancing the research opportunities for faculty and undergraduate students at Lafayette College. The LIDAR system will have the immediate impact of enabling the PI, Co-PIs, research students, and outside collaborators in academia and industry to conduct research in the following areas: 1) transportation infrastructure, 2) slope stability and erosional processes, 3) hydrology and sediment transport, and 4) application of remote sensing to soil characterization. The projects in these areas directly address important issues and questions related to the built and natural environments at a local and national level. Specifically, the LIDAR system will enable research activities with the following impacts: development of best practices for using LIDAR to measure performance of Geosynthetic-Reinforced Soil Integrated Bridge Systems (GRS-IBS); movement toward consensus on how to efficiently design Column-Supported Embankments (CSEs); advancement in understanding of the complex soil-structure interaction that exists in slopes stabilized with slender reinforcing elements; characterization of the factors leading to instability of slopes near Lafayette College formed in the Franklin Formation; examination of the effects of bedrock geology and long-term dam operation on channel morphology along rivers and streams; and development of an innovative concept to characterize key properties of compacted soil by leveraging data from remote sensing instruments.

Lafayette College | Date: 2015-12-21

A summer style ski having three different types of wheels aligned to allow the ski to travel on non-snow or ice surfaces and to create the feel of carving or turning on a paved surface.

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