The William Smith Foundation Dean’s Professor of Mechanical Engineering
In each issue of the Journal we introduce you to members of the faculty through items they have in their offices.
My major research is to develop materials for electrochemical devices (batteries) to power portable electronics, electric vehicles, and energy storage. The black powder in the vial is the cathode materials synthesized in my laboratory at Washburn Shops.
2. Name Tags
As a faculty member, I often go to different conferences to present our research. I have collected about 100 name tags in my office.
3. PhD Thesis
My PhD work involved developing metallic bipolar plates for PEM fuel cells. However, after I finished my PhD work, there was less opportunity on fuel cells so I switched to working on lithium-ion batteries. The fundamental background for both fuel cells and batteries is electrochemistry, which is my undergraduate major.
This photo is a gift from my students. When I received tenure a few years ago, the students prepared this gift and each of them wrote some nice words.
5. Coin Cells
This is one of the coin cells that my group uses to test the electrochemical performance of synthesized battery materials. Each year my group assembles and tests 5,000-10,000 such coin cells.
The cathode materials in these lithium-ion batteries are made from recycled materials. My group is a pioneer group working on lithium-ion battery recycling, and we have successfully developed a closed-loop process. The technology is licensed to Ascend Elements, which is one of the major lithium-ion battery recycling companies in the nation.
WPI’s commercialization of a lithium-ion battery upcycling process invented by researcher Yan Wang has been awarded the Better World Project Award from AUTM, the Association of University Technology Managers.
In addition to Assistant Professor Ulkuhan Guler, three other WPI faculty members recently received the National Science Foundation’s CAREER grant, which supports researchers during the early stages of their academic careers.