F A C U L T Y   A N D   T H E I R   R E S E A R C H


  DEPARTMENT OF MECHANICAL ENGINEERING

290 Hardaway Hall
Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35487-0276
Phone: 205/348-6324, Fax: 205/348-6419,
Web: http://www.me.ua.edu

Stuart R. Bell

Karen L. Frair

C. Bryan Graham

Carol L. Hoffman

Wendall E. Jordan

Steven P. Kavanaugh

Teik C. Lim

K. Clark Midkiff

Joey Parker

Will Schreiber

Beth Ann Todd

Keith A. Woodbury

 


Stuart R. Bell, Professor and Department Head

Office: 290 Hardaway Hall, 205/348-1644, SBELL@coe.eng.ua.edu

Education: Texas A&M University (B.S., Nuclear Engineering, M.S., Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering).

Academic and Professional Interests: Thermal systems design, combustion/internal-combustion engines, alternative fuels, coal-fueled engines and engine equipment design. Dr. Bell's research and teaching interests are focused in the area of internal combustion engines, including both experimental and numerical modeling investigations of performance, combustion and emissions characteristics of engines. Recent projects have included: studying the use of electrically heated catalysts for reduction of cold start emissions; the use of low-Btu waste gases (such as found in digesters and landfill applications) as an engine fuel; the application of various gas mixtures as engine fuels; and the use of coal-derived fuels in engines.

Currently Dr. Bell serves on the ASME Internal Combustion Engine Division Executive Board and serves as the technical chairman for a number of ASME-ICE conferences. He has approximately 70 journal and conference papers and presentations.


wpe3.jpg (6860 bytes) Karen L. Frair, Professor

Office: F301 H.M. Comer Hall, 205/348-4089, KFRAIR@coe.eng.ua.edu

Education: University of Tulsa (B.S., Mechanical Engineering), University of Oklahoma (M.S., Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering).

Academic and Professional Interests: Thermodynamics engineering, fluid mechanics, engineering education. Dr. Frair's primary research interest is in the area of engineering education. She is heading a NSF-funded coalition of seven institutions that are designing and implementing innovative engineering curricula involving course integration, cooperative learning, technology, and assessment. The goals of this research are to provide models of new pedagogy for engineering educators across the nation. Member institutions in the coalition include Arizona State University, Maricopa Community College District, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Texas A&M University, Texas A&M University-Kingsville, Texas Woman's University, University of Alabama, University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, and the University of Wisconsin.


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C. Bryan Graham, Assistant Professor

Office: 260 Hardaway Hall, 205/348-1712, BGRAHAM@coe.eng.ua.edu

Education: Mississippi State University (B.S., Landscape Architecture), University of Mississippi (M.S., Urban & Regional Planning).

Academic and Professional Interests: Computer graphics and energy management in site development and building construction.


Carol L. Hoffman, Instructor and Coordinator of Engineering Graphics

Office: 291 Hardaway Hall, 205/348-1715, CHOFFMAN@coe.eng.ua.edu

Education: The University of Nebraska (B.A., Education), The University of Alabama (M.S., Interior Design).

Academic and Professional Interests: AutoCAD and various computer-aided design applications.


 

Wendell E. Jordan, Assistant Professor

Office: 258 Hardaway Hall, 205/348-1714, WEJORDAN@ua1vm.ua.edu

Education: Mississippi State University (B.S., IA, M.Ed., IVE), Texas A&M University (Ed.D., IVE).

Academic and Professional Interests: Architectural construction, computer-aided drafting and minorities relative to engineering and industry.


Steven P. Kavanaugh, Professor

Office: 281 Hardaway Hall, 205/348-1649, SKAVANAUGH@coe.eng.ua.edu

Education: Lamar University (B.S., M.S., Mechanical Engineering), Oblate College (M.Div.), Oklahoma State University (Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering).

Academic and Professional Interests: HVAC, groundsource heat pumps, senior design clinic and heat transfer. Dr. Steve Kavanaugh is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Alabama. He has been involved with ground source (or geothermal) heat pump research and development for 18 years. He is of author of two books on the subject and has published several articles in the American Society of Heating, Ventilating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Transactions and Journal. He is the former chair of ASHRAE Technical Committee 6.8 on Geothermal Energy, has served as a consultant to many electric utilities, and has conducted over forty GSHP one-day design seminars for professional engineers.

He has also been involved with more general thermal systems research projects that are connected with HVAC. This includes development of high efficiency refrigeration components, heat exchanger optimization, fluid flow characteristics in ducts and piping, and heat transfer. He has developed several computerized design tools for engineers.


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Teik C. Lim, Associate Professor

Office: 263 Hardaway Hall, 205/348-9627, TLIM@coe.eng.ua.edu

Education: Michigan Technological University (B.S., Mechanical Engineering), University of Missouri-Rolla (M.S., Mechanical Engineering), Ohio State University (Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering)

Academic and Professional Interests: Dynamics, acoustics, machinery noise & vibration control, automotive NVH and sound quality design techniques. Dr. Lim’s research and teaching interests are focused in the general area of mechanical systems, including analytical, computational and experimental modeling of the dynamics of vehicle systems, machinery components and engineering structures. He is currently directing the Vibro-Acoustic and Sound Quality Research Lab and has also started a new sound quality design consortium to develop techniques for analyzing mechanical-based systems and products. Dr. Lim is also an Adjunct Faculty at the Center for Automotive Research (Ohio State University) where he has directed numerous automotive noise and vibration control projects. He is currently active members of ASME, SAE, INCE and ASA professional societies, and has published more than 30 journal and conference papers.


 K. Clark Midkiff, Associate Professor

Office: 165B Hardaway Hall, 205/348-1645, CMIDKIFF@coe.eng.ua.edu

Education: Yale University (B.A., Economics), University of Kentucky (B.S., M.S., Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering).

Academic and Professional Interests: Coal combustion, incineration, alternative fuels, thermal energy storage, energy conversion and conservation, heat transfer and thermodynamics Dr. Midkiff performs research in the energy area. He has had considerable analytical and experimental experience in combustion. Dr. Midkiff has performed studies aimed at prediction and measurement of coal nitrogen devolatilization and nitrogenous pollutant formation in coal dust flames. He has developed single-particle analytical models of coal devolatilization and combustion. He has measured combustion parameters in rapidly rotating flames, an environment analogous to microgravity in that buoyant effects are minimized compared to diffusion effects. He has measured emissions from internal combustion engines operated on a variety of gaseous alternative fuels. Dr. Midkiff has also participated in the design of engines, tankage and fueling equipment for natural gas fueled marine vessels. He is interested in the development of pilot-ignited natural gas fueled engines for high efficiency and low emissions.

In the energy conservation and management arena, Dr. Midkiff has participated in the design and testing of large-scale seasonal thermal energy storage systems for producing and storing chilled water aquifers for building cooling. He has analyzed various means of inlet air cooling of gas turbine engines used for electric power generation. He headed a university study to examine alternative methods of central campus district heating. Dr. Midkiff is interested in novel building energy conservation methods and in energy education.

In the area of education research, Dr. Midkiff is interested in technologies and methodologies for delivering engineering education by distance learning methods. Of particular interests is the delivery of laboratory experiences to remote students. Dr. Midkiff is presently developing a program to deliver a BSME degree by distance education, including providing laboratory experiences using a mobile laboratory.


  Joey Parker, Associate Professor

Office: 282 Hardaway Hall, 205/348-1654, JPARKER@coe.eng.ua.edu

Education: Tennessee Technological University, (B.S., Mechanical Engineering), Clemson University (M.S., Ph.D.,Mechanical Engineering).

Academic and Professional Interests: Application of computer control and instrumentation to mechanical systems: measurement of shrinkage in sand molds, natural gas fuel systems, industrial robots, electro-mechanical actuators, and assistive technology. Dr. Joey Parker’s research interests involve the development and application of microprocessor-based controls and instrumentation to a variety of mechanical systems. A current project is the development of an eddy-current inductive sensor for on-line measurements of gap formation in aluminum sand castings. A recent project involved the design and analysis of a force control system for an electro-mechanical actuator used in a space application. Past projects have developed natural gas fuel systems for diesel and spark-ignited engines, variable speed ground source heat pump systems, feeding aids for the physically challenged, and robotic end-effectors.


Will Schreiber, Associate Professor

Office: 264 Hardaway Hall, 205/348-1650, WSCHREIBER@coe.eng.ua.edu

Education: Vanderbilt University (B.A., Physics; M.S., Environmental & Water Resources Engg), Purdue University (M.S., Civil Engineering), University of Kentucky (Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering).

Academic and Professional Interests: Computational heat transfer and fluid mechanics. Dr. Schreiber performs research in the area of heat transfer and fluid mechanics. Lately, he has been applying his talents in the area of thermal-fluids to environmental and to metal casting problems. He is currently working on two problems:

  • Computer modeling of the water transport in the soil surrounding a growing melt. This process pertains to the In Situ Vitrification process wherein nuclear or other toxic wastes are remediated by melting the contaminated soil. Problems can arise when moisture becomes trapped between the growing melt interface and an impervious surface.
  • Developing a computer model of the "spin casting" process. A novel technique for rapid casting of piping consists of pouring molten iron into a spinning cylinder. The iron distributes itself uniformly along the spinning cylinder before it solidifies. A two-dimensional computer model of the axisymmetric cross-section of the pipe is being developed. The model includes free surface and rotational effects.

Beth Ann Todd, Assistant Professor

Office: 213 Hardaway Hall, 205/348-1623, BTODD@coe.eng.ua.edu

Education: Pennsylvania State University (B.S., Engineering Science), University of Virginia (M.S., Applied Mechanics; Ph.D., Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering).

Academic and Professional Interests: Solid mechanics, biomedical engineering, rehabilitation engineering. Dr. Todd’s research deals with applying principles of mechanical engineering design to problems of the human body. This includes both the design and analysis of devices, particularly assistive technology, and the study of the body itself as a mechanism. The latter work has dealt with problems in the areas of orthopedics and soft tissue mechanics. In all of these areas, non-invasive imaging has been used to gather geometric data on the body. Recent projects have included the development of a finite element pre-processor which uses MRI data as input, characterization of the material properties of adipose tissue, and modeling the human body in various positions to determine its inertial properties. Current work includes an analysis of specific exercises with respect to their ability to generate stress distributions in the musculoskeletal system. 


 

Keith A. Woodbury, Associate Professor

Office: 261 Hardaway Hall, 205/348-1647, WOODBURY@me.ua.edu

Education: The University of Alabama (B.S., M.S., Mechanical Engineering), Virginia Tech (Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering).

Academic and Professional Interests: Heat Transfer, numerical heat transfer, inverse methods, optimization and thermal systems simulation. Dr. Woodbury’s research interests are in the field of numerical heat transfer, with a specialization in inverse heat conduction problems. Inverse heat conduction problems typically fall into two categories: thermal property estimation and determination of external heating loads. Both of these objectives are met by combining accurate physical and numerical modeling of a process, careful experimental measurements, and suitable optimization methods to yield the desired information about the process.

Current work in this area is being applied to the determination of interfacial heat transfer coefficients during the solidification of aluminum castings. In this application, a suitable conduction model for heat flow in the mold is combined with temperature measurements obtained from the mold as the metal solidifies. This work is funded by the US Department of Energy and the American Foundrymen’s Society.