The Grainger College of Engineering and Carle Health demonstrate working prototype of emergency ventilator for COVID-19 patients

A team led by Dr. King has produced a prototype emergency ventilator to help address the expected surge in the need for respiratory care associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. The Illinois RapidVent, as the emergency ventilator is known, would plug into the oxygen source available in most hospital rooms or could plug into a tank of oxygen. The prototype has run for more than 75 hours, which is more than 125,000 breathing cycles. Over this time, the device delivered the amount of oxygen necessary and the pressure that patients would need when they are unable to breathe well enough on their own. So far, focused testing in the laboratory shows equivalent performance to commercial products—which are in very short supply. Press available here.

MechSE researchers demonstrate new capability for electronics cooling using additive manufacturing

Researchers at Dr. King’s group have demonstrated a new type of air jet cooler that overcomes previous barriers to jet cooling systems. Using additive manufacturing, the researchers created an air jet cooling system in a single component that can direct high-speed air onto multiple electronics hot spots. The researchers manufactured the cooling system from strong polymer materials that can withstand the harsh conditions associated with high-speed air jets. The paper, “Air Jet Impingement Cooling of Electronic Devices Using Additively Manufactured Nozzles,” was published in the journal IEEE Transactions on Components, Packaging, and Manufacturing Technology.

Weisensee making big strides early in academic career

Dr. Patricia Weisensee, formerly of Dr. King’s research group, earned her PhD in mechanical engineering from Illinois in December of 2016 and just one month later she had joined Washington University in St. Louis as an assistant professor. Now leading her own research program, Weisensee studies the interactions of liquids and solids for energy applications. Focusing on experimental study, most of her research is fundamental and in turn has a vast array of possible applications. In this past year, many exciting developments have taken shape for her research group. The lab has had two papers published, with a third in review – and one of those papers even made the cover of the journal, Soft Matter. Weisensee also won National Science Foundation funding to study droplet nucleation and condensation on lubricant infused surfaces, a NASA Early Career Award for the development of a liquid metal heating switch to use on spacecraft, and a grant from the American Chemical Society to study the effect of heat transfer on the development of flow fields in microporous media.

King’s company only “Lighthouse” honoree in U.S.

Fast Radius, for which MechSE professor Bill King is Chief Scientist, was named a Manufacturing Lighthouse by the World Economic Forum. There were only nine companies worldwide selected for this honor, out of 1,000 companies considered. These Manufacturing Lighthouse companies are using digital manufacturing technologies at scale. Fast Radius was selected because of its ability to accelerate new product development and production, using additive manufacturing and data analytics. It was the only company selected in North America; the others are in Europe and China.  Press available here.