Ultra-Cool Research Earns SCE Ph.D. Students GAF Fellowships

SCE  Ph.D. students Mahrukh Khan and Mayanka Chandra Shekar have been awarded 2016 UMKC Women’s Center Graduate Assistantship Fund (GAF) Fellowships.  The competitive fellowships provide financial support to post-baccalaureate students for their research, travel to professional conferences to present their work and to engage in educational opportunities beyond the classroom. Our school congratulates our students selected for a 2016 award.  Read on to learn more about their research and its significance.

Mahrukh Khan is working on her Ph.D in electrical engineering.  Dr. Deb Chatterjee is her faculty advisor.  Her project, Design and analysis of Ultra wide band microstrip patch antennas, earned a GAF Outstanding Merit award. Her project’s research focuses on the design and analysis of wideband U-slot (UWB) antennas that can be used for microwave imaging of breast cancer. Using a new empirical design method named “Dimensionally invariant resonant frequency method” (DIResF) to design U-slot antenna makes is more feasible in cost and time than other existing design methods. The UWB antennas have vast application in the area of wireless communication especially in biomedical industry.  Mahrukh will use the GAF award to attend the prestigious 2016 IEEE International symposium on antennas and wave propagation (APS/URSI) in Puerto Rico and do conduct additional experiments and fabrication of antennas for her research.

Mayanka Chandra Shekar is working on her Ph.D in computer science.  Dr. Yugyung (Yugi) Lee is her faculty advisor.  Her project, Hierarchical Multi-class Distributed Learning, proposes a new approach to handle large scale real-time data that can improve their classification and categorization as well as performance and accuracy. Mayanka will use the GAF award to attend the August 13-17, 2016 premier ACM’s SIGKDD Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining in San Francisco. 

 

New Research Award to Dr. John Kevern!

Congratulations are in order for Dr. John Kevern on the notification of an award from the Federal Highway Administration via the National Academy of Sciences’ National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) for the three year research project “Entrained Air Void System for Durable Highway Concrete.   Dr. Kevern is teaming with the National Concrete Pavement Technology Center (CP Tech Center) at Iowa State on this project which will bring $200,000 in research funding to UMKC (one-third of the $600,000 total project budget).   Siamak Riyazi is the UMKC PhD student working on this project. NCHRP awards are highly competitive, as the agency typically funds 100 projects per year and of those only 1 is related to concrete.

The objectives of this research are to (1) identify the characteristics of the entrained air void system required for freeze-thaw durability of highway concrete, (2) identify/develop new or modified test methods for measuring these characteristics, and (3) identify/develop new or modified test methods for evaluating freeze-thaw durability. We look forward to hearing about their research results. This information will help highway agencies prepare specifications for concrete procurement that will provide the air-void characteristics and freeze-thaw resistance needed for enhanced durability and thus ensure longevity of highway structures and pavements.

Background:  Laboratory testing and long-term field experience have shown that highway concrete must be properly air-entrained if it is to resist the action of freezing and thawing, particularly in wet climates. Experience has also shown that the effectiveness of air entrainment in providing resistance to freezing and thawing depends on the characteristics of the air void system. These characteristics are influenced by the materials used in producing concrete (e.g., cement type and composition, supplementary cementitious materials, air-entraining and other admixtures, and aggregate size); the practices for proportioning, mixing, and placing concrete; and field conditions. However in some situations, air entrainment has shown adverse effects on other concrete properties (e.g., strength).

Laboratory methods are currently available for characterizing the air void system in hardened concrete and for evaluating the freeze-thaw resistance of concrete. However, the parameters associated with this characterization and the results of these laboratory tests do not always reflect the observed field performance nor do they consider the possible effects on other concrete properties. There is a need to identify the characteristics of the air void system that relate to field performance and develop improved test methods for evaluating the freeze-thaw resistance of highway concrete. Ideally, these methods would evaluate the concrete mixture immediately before placement to allow adjustment of mixture if necessary. This information will help highway agencies prepare specifications for concrete procurement that will provide the air-void characteristics and freeze-thaw resistance needed for enhanced durability and thus ensure longevity of highway structures and pavements.