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ODU's Hao and Beskok Win Conference Paper Award

Two Old Dominion University engineering faculty members were selected for the best paper award in their research division in the American Society of Mechanical Engineering 2012 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition (IMECE 2012).

A paper by Julie Zhili Hao, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, and Ali Beskok, Batten endowed chair of mechanical and aerospace engineering, was selected as the best paper in the MicroElectroMechanical Systems (MEMS) division.

The paper, "A Polymer-Based Microfluidic Resistive Sensor for Detecting Distributed Loads," was selected from among a distinguished pool of submissions from around the world.

MEMS is the technology of very small devices doing electrical or mechanical tasks, such as the control mechanism inside an inkjet printer.

MEMS technology is made up of components between 1 and 100 micrometers in size. Each MEMS device comprises a central unit that processes data (the microprocessor) and several components that interact with the outside such as microsensors.

MEMS technology is used in devices as varied as inkjet printers, pressure sensors and optical switches.

Hao and Beskok's paper discusses a tiny, polymer-based sensor for distributed loads, which can detect the resistance change in electrolyte solution by monitoring the resistance change at each pair of electrodes. Using a custom built electronic circuit, Hao and Beskok demonstrate the feasibility of using the type of sensor to detect distributed loads.

The research builds on Hao's work into MEMS resonators, which received two six-figure grants from the National Science Foundation in 2009.

Resonators, particularly MEMS resonators, are of particular interest to research agencies because of their many applications in society, such as choosing a radio frequency traveling through the air, or performing a mechanical command on a precise interval.

The IMECE 2012 conference, held Nov. 9-15 in Houston, is a premier global conference that focuses on today's technical challenges, research updates and breakthrough innovations that are shaping the future of engineering. The Congress convenes engineers, scientists and technologists of all disciplines for the purposes of exploring solutions to global challenges and for the advancement of engineering excellence worldwide.