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As Winter Rushes In, Worcester Polytechnic Institute Researcher Uses Corrosion Test Chamber to Simulate Road Salt Impacts on Future Car Designs

WPI professor Adam Powell, postdoctoral fellow Kübra Karayagiz (center) and PhD student Qingli Ding prepare to place welds inside the cyclic corrosion test chamber.

“We’re trying to show that corrosion can be much less of a problem with this new type of welding.” -Adam Powell, associate professor of mechanical engineering at WPI

WORCESTER, Mass. (PRWEB) December 12, 2019
A Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) professor—in collaboration with national laboratories and a global auto parts supplier—is testing a new type of welding that may make the joint between light metal alloys more resistant to corrosion, including salt spray, leading to future designs of durable, next-generation metal car joints used in ultra-light car doors and other vehicle body applications.
Adam Powell, associate professor of mechanical engineering, was awarded a three-year, $1.5 million grant from the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Office for the research. As the lead institution, WPI is receiving $750,000 while two other groups—Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL)—will split the remainder. Magna International will contribute in-kind time and materials to the project.
Powell said that the auto industry is seeking to reduce the weight of cars and trucks while maintaining the lifespan of a car. One of the ways to do that, he said, is to use advanced lightweight materials such as aluminum and magnesium alloys. The researchers are testing to determine if a new type of welding—known as friction stir welding—reduces corrosion in aluminum-magnesium alloy joints. Currently, any joint involving direct contact between different metals tends to suffer from galvanic corrosion.
“We’re trying to show that corrosion can be much less of a problem with this new type of welding,” said Powell, who is the principal investigator on the project. “We think that this process holds a lot of promise and could make a significant impact on energy use in motor vehicles without reducing the lifespan of a car.”
Under the research plan, Magna, a global automotive parts manufacturer and supplier of lightweight structures, provides aluminum and magnesium metals to PNNL, which welds the materials. PNNL then ships the welded parts to WPI, which conducts corrosion and mechanical testing. WPI then sends much of its tested samples to ORNL, which oversees advanced analysis on the welds.
Computer simulations then take place at WPI, said Powell, “to try to understand how the corrosion and mechanical fracture work together.”
WPI is currently conducting a series of experiments in a lab using a piece of equipment known as a cyclic corrosion test chamber, which stands about three feet tall and resembles a tanning bed. Powell and his research team place the small sections of welds—which look like tealight candles—in rows inside the chamber. The welds are then exposed to a variety of corrosive environments, including salt spray, high temperatures up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, and high humidity.
“We expose the welds to a variety of conditions that accelerate the corrosion process simulating the lifecycle of a vehicle,” said Powell. “It’s that cycling between different conditions that leads to accelerated corrosion. WPI’s goal is to use computer simulations that show with a level of confidence that the welds will last for up to 20 years, even in a harsh New England winter.”
Auto companies can then use this simulation capability to do virtual experiments and predict corrosion over the 15- to 20-year lifespan of a car. Based on the validated model, the researchers will enable design of low-cost robust welded joints that could be used in ultra-light doors and multiple vehicle body applications.
In the first year of the research, Powell and colleagues will seek to understand corrosion behaviors of magnesium and aluminum diffusion-bonded joints in the test chamber. In the second year, they plan to simulate on a computer both the corrosion of friction stir welded joints and mechanical fracture. In the final year, they expect to make the models much more accurate.
As a result of the research, Powell and his team aim to show that the new welding process will lead to more durable subassemblies made of the two dissimilar metals. Benefits include lighter vehicles, reduced fuel consumption for gas-powered cars, and longer range for electric cars.
“All of these benefits will go a long way to impacting the safety, performance, and lifespan of a car,” said Powell.
In addition to Powell, five WPI researchers are working on the project. They are Brajendra Mishra, a co-principal investigator and head of WPI’s Metal Processing Institute; math professor Marcus Sarkis-Martins and computational scientist Siamak Faal, both of whom will help develop computer simulation models; postdoctoral fellow Kübra Karayagiz; and PhD student Qingli Ding.
About Worcester Polytechnic Institute
WPI, the global leader in project-based learning, is a distinctive, top-tier technological university founded in 1865 on the principle that students learn most effectively by applying the theory learned in the classroom to the practice of solving real-world problems. Recognized by the National Academy of Engineering with the 2016 Bernard M. Gordon Prize for Innovation in Engineering and Technology Education, WPI’s pioneering project-based curriculum engages undergraduates in solving important scientific, technological, and societal problems throughout their education and at more than 50 project centers around the world. WPI offers more than 50 bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs across 14 academic departments in science, engineering, technology, business, the social sciences, and the humanities and arts. Its faculty and students pursue groundbreaking research to meet ongoing challenges in health and biotechnology; robotics and the internet of things; advanced materials and manufacturing; cyber, data, and security systems; learning science; and more. http://www.wpi.edu
Contact:Andy Baron, Associate Director of Public RelationsWorcester Polytechnic InstituteWorcester, Massachusetts508-831-5916, ajbaron@wpi.edu

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Project Lifeline Community Partner, Researcher to be Honored at NACDS Foundation Dinner for Opioid Abuse Prevention Work

There is no greater tribute to their work than to announce that the NACDS Foundation is expanding Project Lifeline to Allegheny County to help even more Pennsylvanians now, and to provide the framework model that can make a positive impact across the nation.

ARLINGTON, Va. (PRWEB) November 19, 2019
Project Lifeline – a community partnership and research program initiated by the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) Foundation to address substance use disorder (SUD) – will take center stage at the upcoming NACDS Foundation Dinner.
Two individuals who have led to the program’s effectiveness in preventing and treating opioid abuse in Blair County, Pennsylvania, will receive the NACDS Foundation’s Excellence in Patient Care Award. At the same time, the NACDS Foundation is announcing that the program is expanding to Pennsylvania’s Allegheny County.
The NACDS Foundation will present the award to Janice L. Pringle, Ph.D., founder and director of the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy Program Evaluation and Research Unit (PERU), and to Judy Rosser, executive director of Blair Drug and Alcohol Partnerships. The 21st Annual NACDS Foundation Dinner will be held December 4, 2019, at the Sheraton New York Times Square in New York City.
NACDS President Kathleen Jaeger said, “We look forward to honoring the community partnership and research of Dr. Janice Pringle and Judy Rosser. Their incredible work has helped to make a difference in Blair County and in the lives of those who have benefited from more than 4,000 screenings over the past year – in a way that seeks to remove the stigma of SUD while providing much-needed care. There is no greater tribute to their work than to announce that the NACDS Foundation is expanding Project Lifeline to Allegheny County to help even more Pennsylvanians now, and to provide the framework model that can make a positive impact across the nation.”
The awardees and their organizations, in partnership with local community pharmacies, set out in October 2018 to evaluate the sustainability and feasibility of the evidence-based practice known as SBIRT (Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment). SBIRT is a process designed to provide comprehensive care for a patient with, or at risk of developing, SUD.
In Project Lifeline, individuals with a schedule II opioid prescription are screened for opioid use disorder and SUD at the pharmacy. The results are used to provide the appropriate intervention or linkage to care. Patients are provided education and counseling, naloxone, immunizations, and HIV/Hepatitis C screenings and linkage to care, as appropriate. Project Lifeline has conducted over 4,200 SUD screenings over the past year and has distributed naloxone to over 300 patients.
Project Lifeline reflects the public-health and patient-outcomes focus of the NACDS Foundation, which funds evidence-based research, educational programs and philanthropic initiatives.
The National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization that pursues evidence-based research, and related medication management and educational initiatives, that benefit patients, improve outcomes and advance public health. For more information, please visit http://www.NACDSFoundation.org.

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Mount Sinai Researcher’s Examine the Metabolic Effects of an Oral Blood Cancer Drug

NEW YORK (PRWEB) November 12, 2019
A popular cancer drug is associated with significant weight gain and increased systolic blood pressure, researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai report in a study published in Scientific Reports in November.
The drug, ruxolitinib, was the first and currently remains the most widely used FDA-approved mechanism-based therapy for myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs), blood cancers that include myelofibrosis and polycythemia vera. Ruxolitinib is a Janus kinases (JAK) 1/2 inhibitor, an enzyme-blocker that affects blood cell production.
As cancer therapies improve, and patients are living longer on them, understanding the long-term consequences of these targeted therapies on metabolic health is increasingly important.
“Weight gain with ruxolitinib has previously been reported in clinical trials, but our study provides real-world experience regarding the extent of that weight gain,” said Emily J. Gallagher, MD, PhD, the study’s lead author and Assistant Professor of Medicine (Endocrinology, Diabetes and Bone Disease) at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, specializing in onco-endocrinology, the treatment of endocrine complications of oncology treatments. “We recommend that patients who go on this medication and do have an increase in weight get a full metabolic evaluation.”
The researchers studied 69 patients with MPNs who started on ruxolitinib from 2010 to 2017 at Mount Sinai. The patients’ medical records had data on metabolic parameters up to one year prior to starting ruxolitinib and 72 weeks after starting the drug. They found that more than half of patients taking this medication gained more than 5 percent in body weight. The weight gain was also associated with an increase in systolic blood pressure and liver enzymes.
“In contrast to the perception of many health care providers, patients are not going from being underweight to being a normal weight. Instead, a significant number of patients are developing obesity. Based on these results, physicians should be aware of the potential effects, and counsel patients accordingly,” said Dr. Gallagher.
This study is the first step in documenting the metabolic consequences of this drug. Further studies are needed to gain a greater understanding of the changes in hormones and metabolism in those receiving treatment for this condition.
About the Mount Sinai Health System
The Mount Sinai Health System is New York City’s largest integrated delivery system, encompassing eight hospitals, a leading medical school, and a vast network of ambulatory practices throughout the greater New York region. Mount Sinai’s vision is to produce the safest care, the highest quality, the highest satisfaction, the best access and the best value of any health system in the nation. The Health System includes approximately 7,480 primary and specialty care physicians; 11 joint-venture ambulatory surgery centers; more than 410 ambulatory practices throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, Long Island, and Florida; and 31 affiliated community health centers. The Icahn School of Medicine is one of three medical schools that have earned distinction by multiple indicators: ranked in the top 20 by U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Medical Schools”, aligned with a U.S. News & World Report’s “Honor Roll” Hospital, No. 12 in the nation for National Institutes of Health funding, and among the top 10 most innovative research institutions as ranked by the journal Nature in its Nature Innovation Index. This reflects a special level of excellence in education, clinical practice, and research. The Mount Sinai Hospital is ranked No. 14 on U.S. News & World Report’s “Honor Roll” of top U.S. hospitals; it is one of the nation’s top 20 hospitals in Cardiology/Heart Surgery, Diabetes/Endocrinology, Gastroenterology/GI Surgery, Geriatrics, Gynecology, Nephrology, Neurology/Neurosurgery, and Orthopedics in the 2019-2020 “Best Hospitals” issue. Mount Sinai’s Kravis Children’s Hospital also is ranked nationally in five out of ten pediatric specialties by U.S. News & World Report. The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai is ranked 12th nationally for Ophthalmology and Mount Sinai South Nassau is ranked 35th nationally for Urology. Mount Sinai Beth Israel, Mount Sinai St. Luke’s, Mount Sinai West, and Mount Sinai South Nassau are ranked regionally.
For more information, visit https://www.mountsinai.org or find Mount Sinai on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

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Researcher at Worcester Polytechnic Institute Wins Grant to Develop Analytical Tool for Asylum Cases

Andrew Trapp, associate professor of operations and industrial engineering at the Foisie Business School at WPI, will develop a model that government authorities could use to process asylum cases.

WORCESTER, Mass. (PRWEB) October 30, 2019
A researcher at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) is developing analytical tools to estimate capacities for holding sites, judges, and other resources needed to humanely process migrant asylum cases at the U.S. southern border.
Andrew Trapp, associate professor of operations and industrial engineering at the Foisie Business School at WPI, has received a $63,730 supplemental grant from the National Science Foundation to fund the research. The work builds on previous research that Trapp, colleagues, and students have done to develop analytical tools to better match refugees to communities.
Under the new award, Trapp will use queueing theory to develop a model that government authorities such as the Department of Homeland Security could use to determine the resources needed to process a proportion of asylum applicants within a specified time period. Queueing science is an established tool that allows organizations such as banks and fast-food restaurants to manage lines of customers, but it can also be used to benefit society, according to Trapp.
“A business may have servers and lines and a desire to serve 95% of its customers within a certain time period,” Trapp said. “Similarly, at the southern border, we have judges and queues of asylum seekers. The goal is to develop a tool that decision makers could use when managing those queues.”
The flow of migrants to the U.S. southwestern border has surged in recent months, with U.S. agents apprehending nearly 51,000 people at the border during August. People from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador have historically represented some of the biggest categories of asylum seekers.
More generally, Trapp is interested in using analytics to improve the lives of vulnerable populations. He spent a year of his life in urban Los Angeles, working to find shelter and services for homeless youths. He has also worked with colleagues on research to better understand illicit supply chains involved in human trafficking.
For his project on asylum resources, Trapp is working with Geri-Louise Dimas, a PhD student in data science at WPI, and five WPI undergraduates who are undertaking their Major Qualifying Project, or MQP. Goals include understanding the asylum process, the flow of people across various border sectors, and what affects that flow, Trapp said.
“There is great potential of using the tools that exist now, and developing new tools contextually, that can make a great difference in our society,” Trapp said. “It’s the right time to think about doing so.”
About Worcester Polytechnic Institute
WPI, the global leader in project-based learning, is a distinctive, top-tier technological university founded in 1865 on the principle that students learn most effectively by applying the theory learned in the classroom to the practice of solving real-world problems. Recognized by the National Academy of Engineering with the 2016 Bernard M. Gordon Prize for Innovation in Engineering and Technology Education, WPI’s pioneering project-based curriculum engages undergraduates in solving important scientific, technological, and societal problems throughout their education and at more than 50 project centers around the world. WPI offers more than 50 bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs across 14 academic departments in science, engineering, technology, business, the social sciences, and the humanities and arts. Its faculty and students pursue groundbreaking research to meet ongoing challenges in health and biotechnology; robotics and the internet of things; advanced materials and manufacturing; cyber, data, and security systems; learning science; and more. http://www.wpi.edu
Contact:
Alison Duffy, Director of Strategic CommunicationsWorcester Polytechnic InstituteWorcester, Massachusetts508-831-6656; 508-340-5040amduffy@wpi.edu

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