Summer Bulletin

R E S E A R C H D O U G L A S B E N E D I C T / A C A D E M I C I M A G E Developing Bio-Inspired Underwater Vehicles An interdisciplinary team of researchers led by Keith Moored, associate professor of mechanical engineering and mechanics at Lehigh, has been awarded $7.5million from the U.S. Department of Defense to help develop fast and efcient schools of bio-inspired underwater vehicles. As part of the prestigious, fve-year Multidisciplinary University Research Initiatives (MURI) award,Moored and colleagues fromtheUniversity of Virginia and Harvard and Princeton universities aim to discover and demonstrate the hydrodynamic principles behind high-speed, high-efciency fsh and biorobotic schooling. “It’s important, particularly from the Navy’s perspective, in order to build the next generation of underwater vehicles,” Moored said. “If you look at how the military operates in the air, we have drones that can do all sorts of things … but we don’t have that same kind of equivalent underwater. The Navy has been trying to invest in underwater drone technology that can serve a lot of purposes— where you can keep people out of harm’s way and do things like surveillance and reconnaissance, but also underwater mine detection and removal.” Moored said a deeper understanding of fuid dynamic interactions will enable bio-inspired robots to perform these tasks more efectively and with less energy as a group, just like fsh in a school. “We know that there are some benefts by having fsh swim together, from a performance standpoint,” he said. “They can actually swim faster when they swim together. They can actually swimmore efciently as a group than they can individually. What we’re looking at is, really, understanding this better … so that ultimately we can design a school of bio-inspired robots to swim together in a benefcial way. “And when [the bots] are deployed for a mission,” he said, “they can go do distributed tasks, so that it’s not just one bot going to do something, but they can spread out and go map an area, do reconnaissance or surveillance on other underwater vehicles, sweep for mines, or other missions along those lines.” In addition to Moored, principal investigators on the project are Daniel Quinn, Haibo Dong and Hilary Bart-Smith, all from the University of Virginia; George Lauder of Harvard University; and Radhika Nagpal of Princeton University. —Mary Ellen Alu The project team is currently working with two types of robotic devices: tuna bots, about 8 inches long, and blue bots, about 5 inches long. INTERDISCIPLINARY COLLABORATION Lehigh Materials Science and Engineering Ph.D. student Evan John Musterman was awarded a prestigious grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to conduct research at Brookhaven National Laboratory. The award through DOE’s Office of Science Graduate Student Research program enables Musterman to spend nine months at the lab in Upton, NewYork, advancing his research, which is at the forefront of laser-fabricated single crystal architectures in glass. Musterman works with advisors Himanshu Jain in materials science and engineering and Volkmar Dierolf in the physics department, making his work an interdisciplinary collaboration. “I’m thrilled to be in residence at Brookhaven to advance a key area of fundamental importance to crystallization, which is to better understand the structural transformation of the glass phase preceding crystal formation,” Musterman said. Through world-class training and access to state-of-theart facilities at DOE national laboratories, the program prepares graduate students to enter jobs that are critically important to the DOE mission and secures the U.S. position at the forefront of innovation. Musterman said he will work on a newmethod of studying how glass transforms just before crystallization. His work at the lab started in June. 1 2 | L E H I G H B U L L E T I N