August 2016 ABeNotes

August 2016 Faculty News

Abigail Engelberth, Assistant Professor in ABE, was selected to receive research funding from the Ralph W. and Grace M. Showalter Trust Fund.  The award will fund her research project entitled: “Biologically Mediated Concentration and Recovery of Metals.” The objective of this project is to investigate the mechanisms by which purified lignin binds with metal ions and then demonstrate microbial degradation of the lignin from the system to enable recovery of the metals. The ultimate goal devise a systematic approach to determine the lignin/metal chelation based on lignin modification and to demonstrate the ability to form a concentrated stock of metals through microbial degradation which will result in the ability to tailor the lignin to target the metal to be removed and to then recover the metals for use in more valuable applications.  She will conduct the research with co-PI, Eduardo Ximenes, a research scientist in the Laboratory of Renewable Resources Engineering.

The Ralph W. and Grace M. Showalter Trust was established in 1975 to support research in the areas of:  environmental research, biochemistry and molecular biology, disease diagnosis and treatment, technologies for food development, and medical instrumentation.

ASABE Annual Meeting Recognition

Purdue ABE was well-represented at the ASABE in Orlando last month.

Professor John Lumkes was presented with the Kishida International Award honoring outstanding contributions to engineering-mechanization-technological programs of education, research, development, consultation, or technology transfer that have resulted in significant improvements outside the United States.

Department Head Bernard Engel was given the James R. and Karen A. Gilley Academic Leadership Award to “honor and recognize annually an ASABE member who is currently providing outstanding academic leadership while serving as department head/chair of a Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department (or similarly named department) in the United States that presently has an ABET accredited Agricultural/Biological Engineering program.

Two faculty members also received awards:

Superior Paper: L. Cai, J. A. Koziel, S. Zhang, A. J. Heber, E. L. Cortus, D. B. Parker, S. J. Hoff, G. Sun, K. Y. Heathcote, L. D. Jacobson, N. Akdeniz, B. P. Hetchler, S. D. Bereznicki, E. A. Caraway, T. T. Lim, "Odor and Odorous Chemical Emissions from Animal Buildings: Part 3. Chemical Emissions," Transactions of the ASABE 58(5): 1333-1347

Blue Ribbon award for Comprehensive Publication: N. Carroll, "Soil and Water Science," Purdue University

The Village of Hope

Dr. Bob Stwalley and graduate student Claire Haselhorst visited Haiti over the summer at the invitation of The Village of Hope, a non-denominational NGO that runs a private school and clinic near the village of Ganthier.  Stwalley and Haselhorst surveyed the property boundaries, took elevations through likely future building sites, established a local weather data station, and collected information to assist with ABE capstone design projects for the coming year.  The Village of Hope has been a capstone project sponsor for the last three years.


(left) Purdue ABE graduate student Claire Haselhorst holds the pole for a preliminary elevation survey of The Village of Hope Ganthier site. (right) Dr. Stwalley and Village of Hope Director Bill Larson collect elevation data.

August 2016 Graduate Student News

Valeria Mijares Receives Purdue Doctoral Fellowship

Valeria Mijares is an MS/PhD student in the Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering research area, working with Dr. Gitau. Mijares holds a B.S. in Biological Engineering from Cornell University (May 2015) with a concentration in Bioenvironmental Engineering, and Natural Resources. She plans to continue into the PhD program in ABE at Purdue and, ultimately, become a university professor conducting research in areas including plant science, sustainable agriculture, and eco-hydrology.

ASABE Annual Meeting Recognition

Two of our graduate students were recognized at the Annual Meeting in Orlando. Post-doctoral assistant Paul Lengemann was presented with the Robert E. Stewart Engineering-Humanities Award, which honors a graduate or undergraduate student for outstanding contributions to the profession and the humanities.

Femeena Pandara Valappil was one of the two winners in the Ethics Video Challenge. This was a competition to describe an ethical issue faced by agricultural and biological engineers in practice or research. Sponsored by EOPD-412 Professional Ethics Committee, the winning videos were used to introduce ethical scenarios at its ethics session in Orlando. See Feemena's video on Non-Point Source Water Pollution.

August 2016 Maha Fluid Power Laboratory News

Author: Meike Ernst

Maha Graduates:

On July 12th, Damiano Padovani (left - click on images to enlarge) successfully defended his Ph.D.: his work centered on developing energy-efficient architectures for the hydraulic systems of railway construction and maintenance machines. These systems include, for example, the hydraulic system used to align the train rails. The use of more efficient, displacement-controlled architectures allows for a reduction in required engine power, which, in turn, allows for engine downsizing. Congratulations Damiano!



Congratulations also go to Divya Thiagarajan (left) for defending her Prelim focused on modelling the lateral lubricating interfaces of external gear machines in the face of high and low-viscosity working fluids. Furthermore, congratulations go to Gautham Ramachandran (below) for defending his master’s degree on the design of radial piston machines running at extreme pressures.


Maha SURF:

The Maha Fluid Research Center would like to thank its SURF students--- Dan Ding, Rajith Weerasinghe, and Zechao Lu, for a successful summer. Their work included coding post-processing tools for noise measurements of hydraulic units taken in Maha’s anechoic chamber, the development of a high-speed external gear pump simulation model, and aiding in a re-coding of Maha’s pressure model for axial piston units. Thanks again to all the SURF students for their hard work and dedication!

August 2016 Undergraduate Student News

Soy competition students Andrew Cameron and Harshit Kapoor who developed SoyPods (soy based laundry detergent pod) attended the USB Biobased Stakeholders’ Dialogue in Washington, D.C. in July.

The United Soybean Board convened this Biobased Products Stakeholder’s Dialogue to discuss multiple Federal bio-based products initiatives.

Team SoyPod consisted of Purdue students Andrew Cameron, Harshit Kapoor and Xuan (Anna) Luo (ABE Student), earned a 3rd place finish in the 2015-16 Soybean Innovation Competition. ​

Harshit reported that he and Andrew had a great time at the conference and sight-seeing in Washington, D.C. and they were excited about the level of interest that was shown in their soy-based product and the Purdue Student Soybean Innovation Competition.

These students got to meet and chat with Tom Vilsack, the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture (USDA).  If you would like to see photos visit the web page at -

Professor Gary Krutz set to retire

Professor Gary Krutz is wrapping up his storied career in ABE this semester. His departure will leave some very large shoes (and rods) to fill. If you are interested in attending the retirement festivities on October 15, 2016, please contact Becky Peer for details.

Tentative Schedule:

10:00 am Tour of ABE Research and Purdue Buildings

Afternoon Homecoming Football Game vs. Iowa

5:00 pm Reception in the East/West Faculty Lounges, Purdue Memorial Union

6:00 pm Dinner

7:00 pm Retirement program (can you say "roast"?)

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