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2014 April ABe-Notes

ABE Abroad

Author: Mike Sheehan

Graduate student Mike Sheehan has been in Arusha, Tanzania for the past five weeks studying at the Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology while working on his research. He will be there for five more weeks collaborating with researchers and collecting data on water quality throughout the region. This data will be important in designing constructed wetlands to help store and clean runoff water for drinking purposes in the rural villages of Arusha. Along with collecting river water for sand filter tests, Mike has also been on a Safari to Ngorongoro Conservation Area and will be visiting various rural villages soon.

Photos (from left): river water used for testing; Lions on safari!; Michael overlooking the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.

Ag Week Participation includes ASABE Club, ASM Club

Two of our student clubs, ASABE and ASM, hosted information booths at the annual Ag Week event on Centennial Mall April 7-11.

In an effort to inform students that engineering actually does take place in agriculture, and, in particular, south of State Street, the ASABE Club hosted a booth on Tuesday, April 8, led by Ian Hahus and Rebecca Kallal. With about 16 students taking shifts in the booth, the opportunity for interaction with students was fun and educational. Prizes such as chips, soy crayons, and ABE pens were given out after students took a quiz to see how many ABE employer logos they could identify.

The ASM Club hosted a booth on Wednesday, April 9 as part of the Ag Equipment Education. The purpose is to promote and educate the public about how modern equipment and technology are used on the form today. This was a shared event between the Ag Systems Management Club and Purdue Diesel Club.

Alpha Mu Initiation and Officer Election

Author: Dr. Dennis Buckmaster
Alpha Mu, the Agricultural Systems Management Honorary Society, held its initiation ceremony at the ADM Agricultural Innovation Center on Tuesday, April 1, 2014.


New initiates, pictured writing the Alpha Mu purpose from memory included (left to right) Salah Issa, Matthew Warstler, Caitlin Hubner, Alex Emenhiser, Clint Noyes, Dustin Echard, and Kyle Trabert. Following the initiation dinner and ceremony, some words of wisdom by the late J. Weston Hutchins were shared.

Subsequently, Alpha Mu held its officer elections and the 2014-2015 officers are:

President- Clint Noyes
Vice President- Matt Warstler
Treasurer- Dustin Echard
Secretary- Kyle Trabert
Ag Council Rep- Aaron Lupfer

A special thank you goes to past officers Kyle Barry, Aaron Lupfer, Colton Ringel, Adam Sills, and Jason Paarlberg.

April 2014 Alumni News

Mark and Abby Bowers welcomed their second daughter, Miriam Joy, on Thursday, February 27, 2014. Making her appearance at 2:44 pm, she weighed 8 lbs, 13 oz. and was 20 inches long. Mom and baby are doing well with lots of assistance from Dad and big sister Amelia.



ABE Alumni & Friends Breakfast at ASABE Annual Meeting 

The department will be hosting the annual ASABE Purdue Alumni & Friends Breakfast on Tuesday, July 15, from 7-8 am in Montreal. The location has yet to be determined, but registration is open. Please contact Becky Peer if you have any questions. Deadline for registration is July 11.

April 2014 - Maha Fluid Power Laboratory News

Author: Natalie Spencer

Awards & Degree Milestones

Congratulations to Rohit Hippalgaonkar for his successful PhD Defense on April 3rd. Rohit joined Dr. Ivantysynova’s systems group at Maha in 2010 and was principle to the achievement of several projects including the creation of the world’s first hydraulic hybrid excavator with DC actuation systems for boom, bucket, and arm. This excavator has an expert-operator-measured 35% fuel savings. Dr. Hippalgaonkar’s defense was entitled, “Power Management Strategies for Hydraulic Hybrid Multi-Actuator Mobile Machines with DC Actuators”. Congratulations to Rohit; all the best in your future endeavors!

As mentioned last month, Davide Cristofori, a recent ABE PhD graduate of Dr. Vacca’s, received the Aachen HP award given for “outstanding studies in the field of fluid power” for his thesis entitled, “Advanced Control Strategies for Mobile Hydraulic Applications”. Dr. Vacca presented the award to Dr. Cristofori at the IFK2014 banquet during the International Fluid Power Conference in Aachen, Germany Marcy 24-26. IFK is the largest international fluid power conference in the world with over 700 participants each year (see the list of the 2014 Maha presenters in “Maha Abroad” below). Here we update this fantastic news with a picture of the award presentation.

Promotion News

Hearty congratulations to Dr. Andrea Vacca for being promoted to Associate Professor not only in ABE, but also Mechanical Engineering beginning in Fall 2014! Andrea’s major research interest in fluid power began in 2002, so Maha is quite proud of his accomplishments as a leading fluid power researcher and now Associate Professor in his relatively short time at Purdue. Congratulations, Dr. Vacca!

Maha Abroad

Papers presented at IFK2014 by Maha Researchers:

Naseem Daher- “New Steering Concept for Wheel Loaders”

Guido Ritelli- “Experimental Auto-Tuning Method for Active Vibration Damping Controller: The Case Study of a Hydraulic Crane”

Andrew Schenk- “A Transient Fluid Structure Interaction Model for Lubrication Between the Slipper and Swashplate in Axial Piston Machines”

Mike Sprengel- “Investigation and Energetic Analysis of a Novel Blended Hydraulic Hybrid Power Split Transmission”


The International Journal of Fluid Power, with Dr. Ivantysynova serving as Editor-in-Chief, is now published by Taylor & Francis and current and all part articles can be viewed for free by the Purdue community at

The journal publishes 3 times annually. To submit an article, contact Dr. Ivantysynova or Susan Gauger (Purdue University).


Multidisciplinary Team takes on Chainless Challenge

Event Date: May 1, 2014

In addition to the ABE capstone team design in the Parker-Hannifin Chainless Challenge, a team comprising Mechanical, Multidisciplinary, and Agricultural and Biological Engineering students has built a hydraulic bike and traveled to Irvine, California, this week to demonstrate the use of fluid power on a small scale as well as to compete against other universities from around the United States. The team, led by Professor Andrea Vacca, will be holding a casual demo ride on May 1, 2014, at 3 pm, around the engineering fountain. All are welcome to attend.

Student Soybean Product Innovation Contest

This year's 2nd-place winners are from the College of Agriculture with two members from ABE, Evan Anderson and Sara Richert.

Congratulations to all teams that successfully completed the Purdue University Student Soybean Product Innovation Competition.

This competition covers almost two semesters and requires that student teams come up with new and innovative ways to use soy in products.

Students who participate come from all degree areas and many are from Agricultural & Biological Engineering. 

Team Soots produced a 100% organic leather boot conditioner and polish by the same name. The product comes in two forms: One, made from soybean oil and beeswax, is a thick, more solid polish for genuine leather such as boots and reins and also serves as a waterproofing agent. The product is safe for the environment and not harmful to animals. The second product is a much lighter conditioner, in the form of a spray, that can be used on faux leather items. It is used more for cleaning and improving appearance than waterproofing.

Members are Sean Anderson of Churubusco, Ind., a junior in forestry; his brother, Evan, a sophomore in agricultural engineering; and Sara Richert of Oak Park, Ill., a sophomore in agricultural engineering.

 Here are two teams composed of all ABE students.

Team Naoleym

Team Members:              Srishti Khurana, Ziyang Zhou, Evan Wibawa and Xun Zhou

Team Advisors:                 Ganesan Narsimhan & Corinne Alexander

The objective of this project is to make soy-based blotting paper with higher oil absorbing ability. The product is called Naoleym, which is a combination word from Latin.  “Oleum” is “oil” in Latin, ‘na” means “no”.  Combining “Na” and “Oleum” together gives the name of the product “Naoleym”, which means oil-free. Unlike current paper making processes, soy straw, a byproduct of soy production, will be used to replace wood or grass fiber to make the paper.  Soy proteins are embedded to enhance the oil absorbing and retaining capacity. Lab experiments illustrate a 5 – 30% improvement on the amount of oil absorbed per unit mass of paper sheet when compared to regular paper and commercialized blotting paper. 

Team SoiaTek

Team Members:              Lauren Summers, Reid Bonner, William Waterstreet & Daniel Paladino

Team Advisors:                 Martin Okos & Eric Holloway

With the ever-increasing consumer base in electronic touch screen devices, has come an increase in demand for screen protectors that both protect the screen and do not limit the functionality of the device. This increased need for screen protection has created a large number of discarded petroleum-based screen protectors, which take an extensive length of time to break down. Our goal was to reduce the amount of plastic refuse by utilizing soy components that are non-toxic to the environment. Additionally, we wanted to maximize the usage of soy in order to minimize component waste. To accomplish this task, we employed the use of soy protein isolates, soybean oil, soy lecithin, glycerin (a byproduct of soy biodiesel production), and water.  By varying the amounts of each component, we were able to optimize the properties desired in a screen protector made purely from soy.

Other Students from ABE who participated:  David Rokhinson, Stephen Tucker, Chandler Keown, Matthew Pharris, Evan Anderson, Sara Richert, Amanda Kreger, Lingyu Yang, Lanchen Wu, Kristen Hector, Sarah Cox, Isaac Chavez, Barron Hewetson, Stephanie Schramm,Yi Wen, Jiayun Yu, Leyla Kahyaoglu, and Necla Eren.

Faculty from ABE who served as Advisors for the competition:  Nate Mosier, Ganesan Narsimhan, Bernie Engel, Natalie Carroll, Klein Ileleji, Jiqin Ni, Martin Okos, Abigail Engelberth, and Jenna Rickus.  Thank you to all advisors for their help and support.

The Purdue University Student Soybean Product Innovation Competition celebrated its 20th anniversary this year with a record fifteen teams competing for the top prize of $20,000.  The runner-up earned $10,000 for their soy based entry.

For additional information visit the competition web page at  -

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