FIU has recently been on the rise after being named the second-best university in the state by the Florida Board of Governors. This ranking has a direct correlation in the amount of external funding a school receives, however, there are many aspects taken into account when schools are ranked. Along with many other factors, a major component of the ranking is the number of patents a school produces.  The Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering at FIU is proud to be a producer of several patents during 2018-19. From the development of a deicing system to bioabsorbable metals, MME is leading in research and patent production in various areas.

Dr. Arvind Agarwal, chair of the MME department and head of the Plasma Forming Laboratory, has been working towards shedding light on the importance of patent production and he exemplifies this by the work being done in his lab. Dr. Agarwal, alongside Dr. Cheng Zhang and Dr. Benjamin Boesl, mentored Ms. Jenniffer Bustillos through the process of acquiring her patent. Bustillos, now a graduate student in the MME department, developed a graphene foam−polymer composite with deicing capabilities for aircraft systems. The patent is titled “Three Dimensional Graphene Foam Reinforced Composite Coating & Deicing Systems Therefrom” and came as a result of research conducted by a grant from the U.S. Army Research Office.

Within the department, we also have Dr. Norman Munroe who is tackling issues within one of the most complex productions in the world: the human body. Dr. Munroe’s patent is titled “Polymer coated biodegradable stent material and methods of use” which focuses on a bioabsorbable alloy composed of magnesium, zinc, and calcium. It is biocompatible which makes it harmless to the body and can be used for a various array of applications. One application is for the development of cardiovascular stents which are cylindrical mesh like devices that are used to open clogged arties. In addition, this alloy also has prosthetic applications to mend fractures and limbs. For example, pins, disks, and screws are currently used for mending broken bones, however, they may cause various complications and inconveniences such as when going through an x-ray machine. This novel alloy fuses with the bone to become part of the bone structure and provides similar mechanical properties to that of a pin or disk. 

Dr. Ibrahim Tansel has also been awarded a patent titled Implementation of heterodyne effect in Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) and talking SHM systems. SHMs have been used to monitor the condition of structures to reduce costs and warn pilots about developing problems. Traditonal SHMs require a vast array of components including sensors, processors, and time-consuming data analysis. Dr. Tansel’s work is focused on revolutionizing this idea. His work is tailored towards the development of a system that propagates a first signal with a first frequency and a second signal with a second frequency through a subject structure, and analyzes the output response to determine if a third frequency has been created, according to the heterodyne effect. 

Within the department, Professor Yiding Cao was also awarded a patent titled “Heat Pipe Dry Cooling Systems”. His work focuses on the development of a cost and power effective dry cooling systems and its relation to consumption. Dr. Cao’s patent revolutionizes and modernizes current approaches to achieve power plant dry cooling. The invention seeks to “provide novel and advantageous heat pipe dry cooling systems that comprise a heat pipe evaporator section in contact with a heat source in a cooling water flow duct and a heat pipe condenser section transferring heat to air in an air duct.” This patent currently falls under the U.S Classification of “Differential Temperature Control”. 

The MME department has been paving the way for patent production and proud to be a high contributor towards meeting metric marks to guarantee higher ranking and funding for our university.