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Videos Recognized with Runner-Up award at IFPE 2014

March 2014

Best of 2014

Hydraulics & Pneumatics hosted their inaugural Best of Industry Awards at the 2014 IFPE show in Las Vegas, March 11th. The CCEFP was a Runner-Up in the category for Best Technical Application Videos. Also recognized in this category were Bosch as the other Runner-Up along with the category winner Balluff, Inc.  

Hydraulics & Pneumatics created this award and others dealing with the use of new media in order to " recognize those in the industry that have done a great job evolving to help provide engineers with the critical information they need." Some of the other categories included Best Website, Best Training and Education, Best Supplier Social Media and Best Supplier Industry Blog. A full list of the winners in each category can be found on the Hydraulics & Pneumatics website here.

The CCEFP is honered to be recognized for our hard work in creating informative and compelling videos.  We would like to thank the sponsors of this award and also our industry members, students, faculty and staff for providing the content and inspiration for many of these videos. 


UMN Students win First Prize in Dow-sponsored SISCA Competition

December 9, 2013

Free piston engine project team

Left to right, Chen Zhang, Professor Zongxuan Sun, and Ke Li alongside their Free Piston Engine Hydraulic Pump.

Congratulations to Ph.D graduate students Ke Li and Chen Zhang for winning the $10,000 first prize in the Dow Sustainability Innovation Student Challenge Award (SISCA)!

Ke and Chen work with Professor Zongxuan Sun on the hydraulic free piston engine project at the University of Minnesota. The hydraulic free piston engine stores energy in hydrocarbon fuel and converts it to fluid power in real time as the main power unit for on-road vehicles or off-road heavy machinery.

The Sustainability Innovation Student Challenge Award, a program of IonE and the Dow Chemical Company, recognizes and rewards students and universities for innovation and research that encourages and promotes sustainable solutions to the world's most pressing social, economic and environmental problems.  More information about the competition is available on the University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environment website.


December 17, 2013

Following the announcement of the SISCA prize, Chen and Ke were featured in an article about the competition in USA Today entitled "SISCA asks students to innovate sustainable solutions". Congratulations again to Chen and Ke for their success and recognition on a national level!

NFPA Fluid Power Challenge Workshop comes to Minnesota

December 3, 2013

FP Challenge

The NFPA Fluid Power Challenge is a 2-day, skills-based competition for eighth grade students that challenges them to solve a real life engineering problems using fluid power (hydraulics and pneumatics). The first day of the event, Workshop Day, took place on the University of Minnesota's St. Paul campus.  Students were given an introductory presentation from PhD candidate Ben Adams and then began building a pneumatic lifter. The participants returned to their schools with Challenge supplies where they are now working on designing and building a prototype. On Challenge Day (Day 2), the teams will come together for a second time to build their fluid power mechanisms and compete in a timed competition. Over 80 eighth graders are participating from Orono Middle School, Washington Tech, Osakis Public, North Branch Middle School, and Capital Hill Magnet School. All of the students were engaged and energized during the Workshop Day. This was a very successful event and we look forward to the Challenge event taking place on January 14!

CCEFP Research Articles in Design World

November 22, 2013

Two new research articles were recently published online as part of Design World's Mobile Hydraulic Tips:

"Hydraulics and Free Piston Engines" by Ke Li, University of Minnesota.

"Researchers Develop High-Inertance Liquid Piston Engine Compressor" by Michael Jermann, Assistant Editor for Design World.

If you're interested in submitting a short article on innovative CCEFP research to MobileHydrualicsTips, an affiliate of Design World engineering magazine, please contact Alyssa Burger at for further details.

Mobile Hydraulics Tips online --

Design World online --


CCEFP Debuts Promotional Videos

October 16, 2013

Two new videos made their debut with much fanfare at the 2013 CCEFP Annual Meeting in Sarasota, Florida last week. The videos were created to showcase the Center's goals and achievements, as well as highlight the workforce development efforts of the Center and its industry partners. 

The videos can be viewed in the Videos section of our website located here.

We would like to thank all who gave of their time and energy to appear in these films and especially the crew at Wide Angle Studios who filmed and produced them for us.


CCEFP featured in the June issue of Dynamic Systems and Control

July 2, 2013

The CCEFP is featured in the June issue (Vol. 1, No. 2) of Dynamic Systems and Control, an ASME publication. This is just one more example of impact and visibility our research is achieving. Click on the image below to download the file.

Cover Image

© 2013 ASME. This document is posted here by permission of ASME for personal use only. Additional reproduction, redistribution, or transmission in either print or digital form is not permitted without ASME’s prior written permission.

"Fluid Power University Profiles" debuts online at MobileHydraulicTips Website

June 18, 2013

A new online series "Fluid Power University Profiles" has recently debuted a the MobileHydraulicTips website, a subsidiary of Design World.  Three of the 7 CCEFP member universities have been featured so far with more apparently on the way.

In addition to the university profiles, there is a blog written by Paul Heney, (Editorial Director of Design World) as well as numerous articles in each of the categories on the site including, Engineering Basics, Components, Hydraulic Fluids and others.  Looks like a great resource! 

You can get started by reviewing the University Profiles here:



Pneumatics Kit on the Road in Portland Oregon

June 17, 2013

5th Grader Tyler Mapes of Portland Oregon is fascinated by fluid power. Having had some experience building a hydraulic robotic arm from syringes, dowels and tubing for last year's school science fair, he was ready to try something different this year.  After finding information on the CCEFP website about the Hands-on Pneumatics Workshop, Tyler's mom contacted the CCEFP.  Tyler wanted to know if he could get a parts list to build his own Pneumatic demonstrator. Given that some of the components are difficult to acquire in single quantities, Professor Will Durfee instead sent Tyler one of the demonstration kits that had been built by the graduate students working on the original Pneumatics Workshop project.  Once received, Tyler had to assemble all of the parts into a working model. When the assembly was complete, a switch connected to a circuit used a pneumatic cylinder to send a ball into the air, while a second cylinder simultaneously extended a cup to catch the ball. Tyler successfully demonstrated the pneumatics kit at the 2013 Atkinson Elementary School Annual Science Fair.

Through the CCEFP's Education and Outreach Program, the Center strives to expose learners of all ages to the simple and fascinating technology of fluid power. Hydraulics and pneumatics is most easily understood when explanation is accompanied by hands-on demonstration. The CCEFP has designed several hands-on apparatus to demonstrate the principles of fluid power, one being the pneumatic ball and cup kit that Tyler used.  The premise of the device is to understand how a pneumatic circuit works by assembling a series of hoses, valves, cylinders and gauges. By making devices like these, it is our goal to ensure that like Tyler, other students will experience the excitement of hands-on fluid power experiments.  

Tyler demo 3

Tyler demo 2

Tyler demo 1

Tyler Mapes

When not building hydraulic robots or pneumatic demonstrators, Tyler enjoys building Legos and learning about robotics, as well as being on both the swimming team and the soccer team. He has also been learning Mandarin Chinese and playing piano under the National Music Syllabus system.  Tyler has a keen interest in math and science, wants to be an engineer and is exploring engineering careers through a Saturday Academy camp over the summer. 


UIUC wins Parker Hannifin 2012/2013 Chainless Challenge

April 2013

Chainless Challenge Team

A team of students from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign was the overall winner of the the 2012/2013 Parker Hannifin Chainless Challenge competition.  The event was held in Irvine, California on April 11-12. The UIUC team competed against nine other universities that had functional entries. These included the University of Minnesota, Purdue University, Illinois Institute of Technology, University of Akron, University of Cincinnati, Western Michigan University, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Murray State University, and Cleveland State University. Additional schools were entered into the event but their bikes were not functional at the time of the competition.

The design consisted of an adult tricycle, a Parker fixed displacement pump (F11-5) connected to an 8-speed internal gear hub that allowed for variable gear ratios another F11-5 was used as a motor at the back wheel, and a one gallon Parker accumulator (BA01B3T01A1). A Hydaforce valve manifold, which was controlled remotely from handlebar switches, was used to operate through one of four hydraulic circuits (Direct pump drive, Accumulator charge, Regenerative braking, and Coasting).

The competition included three performance races, evaluations based on midway and final oral presentations and written reports, as well as team interviews on competition day.

Illinois was the only team to place in the top 3 in all three performance races:

  • 2nd in sprint (200 meter straight course)
  • 3rd in efficiency  (maximum distance traveled after stopping and restarting from full stops at 100 m and 200m + efficiency rating based on bike and rider weight and accumulator pressure & volume)
  • 3rd in time trial (8 mile endurance race, four laps around 2 mile track). (anecdotally, only 4 teams finished the time trial race – all others had some failure that eliminated them from finishing)

There were also a number of award categories with cash prizes to the university and/or students. Illinois placed in the following categories:

  • 2nd in Reliability & Safety ($2000 – 25% for 2nd)
2nd in Best workmanship ($1500 – 25% for 2nd)
  • 2nd in Cost Analysis for Prototype vehicle and a Production cost estimates on a volume of 500 vehicles annual ($1500 – 25% for 2nd)
  • 1st in Best Presentation and Paper  ($3500 - 50% for 1st, 80% to student team)
  • 1st in Best overall score ($5000 - 50% for 1st , 80% to student team)

The UIUC team was sponsored by Parker Hannifin, UIUC, and the CCEFP. Donations of valve manifold and valves were also received from Hydaforce.


Durfee interview on Robotics

March, 2013

Prof. Will Durfee was interviewed for an article about robotics used to augment human abilities.  Both the CCEFP and the ankle-foot orthosis testbed are mentioned in the article.  Read the article here:


Student Retreat heads to Sauer-Danfoss

August, 2012

Student Retreat

Students and Staff attended the 2012 CCEFP Student Retreat, held at Sauer-Danfoss in Ames, Iowa on August 7-8.  In attendance were 11 student participants for this two day event.  The group was given an overview presentation on Sauer-Danfoss -- the history, the company as it is now, the technology and its products.  HR representatives then lead our students through a series of team-building exercises with examples of scenarios commonly found working in teams in the real world.  Students were given a facility tour followed by lunch with engineers who are closely aligned and familiar with CCEFP research.  After lunch, the student group left Sauer-Danfass for tours at the Picket Fence Creamery and White Oak Vineyards, both about 30 miles outside of Ames, IA.  Students had an opportunity to learn a bit about dairy farming, milk bottling and the craft of wine making.  That evening, the group met up with Sauer-Danfoss engineers for a group dinner at a local restaurant.  

The following morning, Prof. Jim Van De Ven presented a challenge to students to create and design problem sets for the Fluid Power System Dynamics mini-book, authored by Professors. Durfee and Sun.  Students embraced the challenge and successfully submitted 20 problem sets for consideration into the curriculum module.   The students participated eagerly and also recommended that the Center host a similar exercise on a larger scale, possibly with some sort of competition.  These student submitted problem sets will enhance the existing mini-book and perhaps motivate use by instructors.  In addition, with this model in place, future mini-books may enter the fluid power curriculum pipeline more readily.  Finally, the students got to try out a few CCEFP hands-on outreach activities such as the Science Museum of Minnesota's straw rockets (targeted at younger, school-age kids) and the TeacherGeek Hydraulic Pet Racer (intended for middle school classrooms).  These activities are examples of hands-on demonstrations that CCEFP students and faculty can use when leading K12 outreach events at their home institutions.

This was absolutely a productive event for CCEFP students and Sauer-Danfoss industry members alike.  Partnering with an Industry member is a terrific opportunity for students and in this case, Sauer-Danfoss was also very pleased to host the CCEFP.  It was a rare occasion to have so many students visit their facility and we are certain other member companies would welcome a similar opportunity to showcase their companies.  With continued faculty / student engagement and commitment, more of these events will be possible in the future.
If you would like to host CCEFP students for a company tour / workshop in the future, please contact Alyssa Burger.

Director visits Mesabi Wind Turbine Project

December, 2011

Wind energy researchers from UMN visited Mesabi Range Stelson at Wind TurbineCommunity and Technical College (MRCTC) in Eveleth, MN.  The purpose of the visit was to inspect the Vestas V27 225 kW wind turbine that MRCTC recently installed and to discuss its use for potential collaborations.  Both UMN and MRCTC are interested in installing a hydrostatic transmission (HST) in the wind turbine and conducting research. 

MRCTC offers a two year training program for wind turbine technicians and installed the V27 to offer their students hands on experience.  The turbine was purchased used directly from Vestas in Denmark and is designed to operate at 50 Hz AC output.  Some method of converting the output to the 60 Hz power used in the US is needed and an HST accomplishes that plus offers a test bed for research in applying HSTs to wind turbines.  UMN is soliciting support from its industry partners to build, commission, and perform research on the HST.

Participating in the visit from the UMN ME department were Prof. Kim Stelson, Dr. Feng Wang, Rahul Dutta and Brad Bohlmann.  The Saint Anthony Falls Laboratory’s Eolos team was represented by Matt Lueker and Chris Feist.

The photo shows CCEFP’s Director, Prof. Kim Stelson, exiting the tower of the V27 wind turbine at MRCTC.

REU Students' Research Results in new ASTM Standard

November, 2011

On November 30th, ASTM International released ASTM D 7752-11 for publication. The published document is titled “Standard Practice for Evaluating Compatibility of Mixtures of Hydraulic Fluids.” 

Research for this new standard was conducted at the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) by REU students Emily Schultz (2011), Cedric Harville (2010), Kelsey Whittaker (2009), Daniel Schick (2008) and Ricardo Rivera (2007).  This standard is beneficial when determining the compatibility of fluids, an important consideration when planning to convert to energy efficient and/or biodegradable fluid. 

The standard practice includes a flow chart that prescribes the number of system flushes required as a function of the compatibility test results.  The flow chart was developed by Kelsey Whittaker, the lead author on the publication. Paul Michael, Research Chemist at MSOE,  was the advisor for the students on this research.

More information about ASTM publications is available at their website:

MSOE hosts Fluid Power Course for NFPA Staffers

November, 2011

Course Attendees

Milwaukee School of Engineering has partnered with the NFPA to provide fluid power training to NFPA staff members. The one-day course entitled “An Overview of Fluid Power Systems”, was presented to staffers in order to improve their overall understanding of current fluid power technology.  Knowledge gained during the course will enable them to better serve the NFPA membership.  

According to Eric Lanke, NFPA CEO, “The introductory course to fluid power systems was informative and helpful--exactly what the NFPA staff was looking for to give us a better understanding of fluid power components and systems.”

Leading the course, which took place on Wednesday, November 30th, were Dr Medhat Khalil, MSOE Director of Fluid Power Education and Research Development and Mr. Tom Wanke, Director of MSOE's Fluid Power Institute.

Topics covered during the course included:

·         Pros and cons of hydraulic systems
·         Generic structure of hydraulic systems
·         Energy transmission efficiency using hydraulic systems
·         Source of inefficiencies in hydraulic components
·         Hydraulic systems for mobile versus industrial hydraulics
·         Fluid power technology, knowledge map
·         CCEFP & Current researches in fluid power
·         Valve-Actuator control versus Pump-Actuator control approaches
·         Basic hydraulic components and circuits
·         Basic pneumatic components and circuits

Attendees were also given a tour of MSOE's fluid power research area and spent some time exploring the capabilities of the Universal Fluid Power Trainer.

GT Student Awarded ARCS Fellowship

September, 2011

Nick Earnhart

Nick Earnhart has been awarded an ARCS Fellowship for the 2011-2012 academic year. The award is granted by the ARCS (Achievement Rewards for College Scientists) Foundation and continues for up to three years of support. Nick is a Ph.D. Candidate at the Georgia Institute of Technology and is working on Project 3B.1: Passive Noise Control in Fluid Power.  

His studies are focused on developing compact noise control devices for fluid power systems. He is an author or co-author on seven conference papers, two journal papers currently in review, and eleven invention disclosures related to his work.

Congratulations to Nick on receiving this award.


Fluid Power Surgery Project to present at IROS 2011

September, 2011

MRI compatible schematic

Professor Jun Ueda and Ph.D. student Melih Turkseven will present at the International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS) taking place September 25-30 in San Francisco where they will discuss research from Project 2G: Fluid Powered Surgery and Rehabilitation via Compact Integrated Systems. Their paper, entitled "Design of MRI Compatible Haptic Interface" was one of 790 papers selected from over 2500 submitted.

The team, which resides at the Georgia Institute of Technology, will present their paper first during the Symposium "Haptics Interfaces for the Fingertip, Hand and Arm" currently scheduled for 8:00am Wednesday, September 28th.  Another presentation will follow during Interactive Session VI, scheduled for 10:00am the same day.  

More information about IROS 2011 can be found at the IROS conference website.

REU Student wins Top Research Talk Award

September, 2011

test rig

CCEFP REU student Nicholas Louis received the "Top Research Talk Award" for his presentation entitled "High Pressure Water Hydraulic Test Rig for Education and Research Experiences" at the Purdue 2011 SURF Research Symposium. Nearly 200 SURF students competed for this award during the symposium. The water hydraulics test rig featured in his presentation is shown above. Nicholas was advised by Professor Andrea Vacca and mentored by Tim Opperwall.

Congratulations Nicholas!

SLC Elects Officers for 2011-2012

September, 2011

During the 2011 student retreat, the Center's Student Leadership Council met to discuss and accept changes to the bylaws and voted on new officers for the next year. The changes to the SLC bylaws consolidate all of the officer responsibilities into four core offices (President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary) and reduced the representative requirement to one per university.

These changes will streamline the SLC organization, making it better able to serve as an integrator within the CCEFP. The 2011 – 2012 SLC officers are: 

President: Tim Deppen, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 
Vice President: Jonathan Meyer, University of Minnesota
Treasurer: Ken Marek, Georgia Institute of Technology 
Secretary: Andrew Schenk, Purdue University 

Congratulations to all of the new officers!

Center Moves into New Offices

August, 2011

ME Building

After 5 years housed just off-campus at the University of Minnesota, the Center has relocated it's administrative offices to the Mechanical Engineering building in the heart of the U of M Campus.  The administrative component of the Center will now be more fully integrated with the Mechanical Engineering department and will benefit from the close proximity to essential departmental services. 

Our new mailing address is:

Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power
111 Church Street SE, 1100 MechE
Minneapolis MN, 55455

Our physical location is:

111 Church Street SE,
Mechanical Engineering Building, Suite 325 and Room 331

All phone numbers for Center staff and faculty will remain the same.

Student Leadership Council Update

July, 2011


In an effort to improve the effectiveness and focus of the student leadership council (SLC), a student committee has been working this summer to propose changes to SLC operation and structure.  Headed by former SLC president Tim Deppen, the committee has focused on the tasks of proposing new activities and streamlining the SLC structure. Currently the SLC runs the biweekly webcasts which provide students, faculty, and industry members with updates on all sponsored projects, as well as occasional educational and administrative presentations.  In addition, the SLC organizes a student retreat for all CCEFP students each summer to facilitate cooperation and innovation in research and outreach activities.

This year, a proposal has been submitted for education and outreach funds to increase the SLC's effectiveness and participation in the center. First, the committee has asked to have a travel grant fund which will be awarded to students travelling to another university or industry site for project collaboration.  Since travel budgets have been decreasing and are usually prioritized for CCEFP meetings and conference travel, this will help to ensure that student collaboration can continue. Second, the SLC would administer a student project grant program, which would fund education, outreach, or social activities proposed by CCEFP students.  The third proposal is the development of a new student orientation program, under which each new CCEFP student will meet with their appointed SLC representative and also receive information about the center and how his or her project relates to the others in the center.  Further activities are also under discussion for future years.

In addition to these activity changes, the committee has recommended slimming the SLC from two to one member from each university, and compensating four officers with a fund usable for training, equipment, conference travel, or other research and professional activities.  The reduced SLC size will help with meeting scheduling, and the activity fund will both encourage more officer participation, as well as compensate for the increased officer workload.

We are excited about the new opportunities that the SLC will be undertaking!  Finalized plans and organizational changes will be adopted by the SLC when it meets at the annual student retreat August 15th and 16th in Schaumburg, Illinois.

MSOE offers Hydraulics Training to U.S. Navy

July, 2011

Khalil at Navy

Dr. Medhat Khalil (front row, center), director of professional education and research development at CCEFP member institution Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE), travelled to the National Maritime Intelligence Center (NMIC) in Washington, D.C. where he taught the "Introduction to Hydraulics” course to sixteen members of the U.S. Navy.

Dr. Khalil offered the class at the NMIC because the attendees wanted to learn more about hydraulics, control systems, and the relationship between hydraulic systems for use in U.S. Navy systems for improved reliability and operation.  Introduction to Hydraulics is a 32-hour seminar designed to acquaint individuals with the fluid power field and provide a practical working knowledge of this important and growing industry.

As a result of completing this course, those naval members are able to identify the distinguishing features of hydraulic systems; apply industry standards to hydraulic and schematic symbols; analyze hydraulic circuits from a schematic drawing using animated schematics modeled by Automation Studio; explain the operation and applications of valves, cylinders, pumps and motors using animation and video clips; identify the chemical and physical properties of fluids as they relate to hydraulic system operation; utilize continuity and energy balance equations; and understand the basic configuration and operation of hydrostatic transmissions.

In commenting on the skills or techniques learned in the course, attendees noted that they “learned how to understand schematics and different types of system components, and how they operate.” Another said they “learned about the workings of and relationships between valves, pumps and accumulators.”

Introduction to Hydraulics is just one of many professional education seminars offered through MSOE’s Fluid Power InstituteTM (FPI) which are endorsed by the National Fluid Power Association (NFPA) through sponsorship and educational partnership. The FPI is one of the leading academic fluid power research laboratories in the U.S., and it conducts research and testing for some of the largest hydraulic companies, as well as system evaluations for the U.S. military. By offering this course at the NMIC, the FPI further expands its relationship with the U.S. military.

Poclain visits University of Minnesota

June, 2011


Engineering personnel from CCEFP industry member Poclain visited the University of Minnesota on June 23 and 24. The visitors were Gilles Lemaire and Guillaume Charrier from Poclain in France and Nadim Chalhoub from Poclain Hydraulics, Inc. in Wisconsin. The focus of the visit was to have Poclain and the University learn more about each other and with the goal of finding potential areas of collaboration.  Several opportunities were identified and future visits will be planned.

CCEFP Students Graduate from Center

May 2011

The CCEFP would like to congratulate the following students on the completion of their degree work and graduation from the Center.  These students have had a tremendous positive impact on the many projects conducted within the Center's seven member institutions. In addition, their knowledge and future contributions to the fluid power industry holds great promise in helping to fully realize the Center's goals of making Fluid Power compact, efficient, effective and ubiquitous.

Thank you for your hard work and congratulations Graduates!    

Kelly Burgess, Milwaukee School of Engineering
Received MS, 5/2011
Mechanical Engineering

Aaron Enes, Georgia Institute of Technology
Received Ph.D., 12/2010
Mechanical Engineering

Jose Garcia, Purdue University
Received Ph.D., 5/2011
Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Fluid Power

Khaliah Hughes, North Carolina State A & T University
Received Ph.D., 5/2011
Industrial & Systems Engineering

Heather Humphreys
, Georgia Institute of Technology
Received MS, 12/2010
Mechanical Engineering

Adam Leslie, Milwaukee School of Engineering
Received BS, 5/2011
Computer Engineering

Emily Morris, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Receiving MS, 8/2011
Mechanical Engineering

Marc-Antoine Pare, Georgia Institute of Technology
Received BS, 12/2010
Mechanical Engineering

Alex Pedchenko, Vanderbilt University
Received MS, 5/2011
Mechanical Engineering

Alex Shorter, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Received Ph.D., 5/2011
Mechanical Engineering

Azam Thatte, Georgia Institute of Technology
Received Ph.D., 12/2010
Mechanical Engineering

Brenen G. Thul, University of Minnesota
Received MS, 5/2011
Mechanical Engineering

Longke Wang, Georgia Institute of Technology
Received Ph.D., 5/2011
Mechanical Engineering

Gabriel Wilfong, Purdue University
Received MS, 5/2011

Andy Willhite, Vanderbilt University
Received Ph.D., 12/2010
Mechanical Engineering

Bo Yang, Georgia Institute of Technology
Received Ph.D., 5/2010
Mechanical Engineering

Adam Young
, Georgia Institute of Technology
Received MS, 5/2011
Mechanical Engineering

AISES Rocket Team takes Top Award in Launch Competition

May, 2011


The CCEFP giiwed'anang Northstar Alliance co-sponsored the University of Minnesota's AISES (American Indian Science and Engineering Society) Rocket Team and their rocket, Spirit Dancer, in the Second Annual First Nations Rocket Launch Competition sponsored by NASA and The Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium. The UMN team, The Northstars, took first place in the contest which was held at the Richard Bong Recreation area south of Milwaukee on May 7. 

The objective of the competition was to design, build, fly, and recover a high powered model rocket so that the altitude at apogee was as close to 5280 ft as possible. The U of MN rocket, Spirit Dancer, achieved an altitude of 5169 feet as measured by an onboard altimeter. The students used deployable air brakes actuated by an altimeter to achieve the desired altitude.

As a key component of it's outreach and education efforts, the CCEFP is coordinating, sponsoring and hosting events and participation for the giiwed'anang (North Star) AISES Alliance.

Congratulations to the Northstars Team on their victory!

Full article available here.

See onboard footage from the rocket. 

Scholars Program gets underway for 2011

May 2011

Eight Fluid Power Scholars have been named for the summer of 2011, the program’s second year following its very successful launch in 2010. Each scholar is participating under the sponsorship of a corporate supporter of the CCEFP.

Congratulations to the following 2011 CCEFP Fluid Power Scholars and their corporate sponsors:

Alex Allaby, Purdue University - Case New Holland

Jeremy Couch, Case Western Reserve University - Parker Hannifin Corp.

Stephen Featherman, University of Florida - Sun Hydraulics

Phillip Gaffney, University of Minnesota - HUSCO International

Jeffry Jones, Clarkson University - Caterpillar

Matt Lynch, Georgia Institute of Technology - Case New Holland

Robert Margherio, University of Missouri-Columbia, John Deere

Alex Mooney, University of Missouri-Columbia - Deltrol Fluid Products

The Fluid Power Scholars Program is a collaborative effort between the Center and member companies within the fluid power industry. This highly selective program identifies and connects outstanding undergraduate engineering students with the fluid power industry for the purpose of training the next generation of fluid power leaders.

Scholars begin their summer internship with an intensive three-day instructional program in fluid power technology at the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE)’s state-of-the-art component and systems laboratory. Topics covered include identification of features of hydraulic and pneumatic systems; application of industry standards to hydraulic and schematic systems; analysis of circuits from a schematic drawing; understanding of the operation and applications of valves, cylinders, pumps, and motors; identification of the chemical and physical properties of fluids, etc. Following this instruction, each scholar begins a paid 9-10 week internship at a sponsoring company. 

Additional information about the Scholars Program can be found in the Get Involved section of our website.


CCEFP Faculty Researchers recognized with Awards

May 2011

Several CCEFP Researchers at member institutions have recently been recognized for their outstanding efforts in teaching and research.

Will Durfee (UMN, outgoing CCEFP Education Co-Director) received the 2011 President's Award for Outstanding Service.  The President's Award for Outstanding Service recognizes exceptional service to the University, its schools, colleges, departments, and service units by any active or retired faculty or staff member. Durfee has served as the Center's Education Co-Director for the last 5 years.  

Paul Imbertson (UMN, incoming CCEFP Education Co-Director) was honored by the College of Science and Engineering and its undergraduate students as one of two 2010-2011 Outstanding Professors for his teaching and service to students and student organizations. This is the eleventh year that Prof. Imbertson has received this award.  Professor Imbertson will be assuming the role of CCEFP Education Co-Director from outgoing Co-Director Will Durfee.

John Lumkes
(Purdue, Associate Professor of agricultural and biological engineering) was recognized with the 2011 Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award in Memory of Charles B. Murphy.  Lumkes was one of 5 Purdue faculty to be so honored.  Within the CCEFP, Lumkes is the lead researcher for project 1E.2: High Speed On/Off Valves to Enable Efficient and Effective Fluid Power Systems, and for project 1E.3: High Efficiency, High Bandwidth, Actively Controlled Variable Displacement Pump/Motor. More information about this award and comments from Lumkes can be found on the Purdue website.

Paul Michael (MSOE, Research Chemist, Project 1G.1) received the Karl O. Werwath Engineering Research Award. Recipients are chosen based on criteria including their contribution to engineering, scientific research, consulting, the engineering profession and scholarship, promoting research at the Milwaukee School of Engineering, patentable concepts and publications.  Read more about this award at MSOE's website.

David Saintillan (UIUC, Assistant Professor ME, formerly of Project 1G.2) was awarded the Pi Tau Sigma Gold Medal for outstanding achievement in mechanical engineering. The award was created in 1938 by Pi Tau Sigma and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers to recognize young professors. Previously, Saintillan worked on CCEFP Project 1G.2: Nano-Additives to Improve Pumping Capacity (now graduated) with Professor Eric Loth.  A profile of Saintillan's research is included in the official award announcement.

Zongxuan Sun (UMN, Professor ME, Project 2B.3) received the 2011 SAE Ralph R. Teetor Educational Award given by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). The award recognizes and honors young educators who are successfully preparing their engineering students to meet the future challenges of society.  "I am very honored to receive the Teetor Award and this will help to further strengthen our collaborations with practicing engineers in the automotive industry on research and education." said Sun.

Center Welcomes new Education Co-Director & new Industrial Liaison Officer

May 2011

The Center would like to welcome our new CCEFP Education Co-Director, Professor Paul Imbertson and the new CCEFP Industrial Liaison Officer (ILO), Duane "Dewey" Tinderholm.

Professor Imbertson will take over from Professor Will Durfee who has served very ably as Education Co-Director for five years.  Paul received the BS (83) MS (94) and PhD (97) in electrical engineering, all from the University of Minnesota. He has worked in power electronics for military avionics and is currently a Teaching Professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Minnesota, where he has been voted Best Professor eight times. His current interests include the wide ranging topics of energy and deciphering the minds of electrical engineering students.

Duane "Dewey" Tinderholm joins us in the position of ILO, assuming the role previously held by Mike Gust who left the Center in December. Dewey has thirty years of experience in the fluid power industry. He has held many responsible positions at MTS Systems Corporation and has been very active in delivering high-tech testing solutions to the automotive and aerospace industry.


Please join us in welcoming both Paul and Dewey to the Center!

Paredis to give Keynote Address at PLM Road Map 2011

May 2011

Chris Paredis

Professor Chris Paredis (GT, Project 2E) will be a keynote speaker at the Collaborative Product Development Association (CPDA) annual PLM Roadmap, October 4-5 in Plymouth Michigan.  Paredis will present "The Payoff for Model-Based Systems Engineering with SysML: Targeting Tight Integration of Software and Hardware". 

From the CPDA website:
"PLM Road Map™ is a strategic conference focusing on the transformation of product development approaches to serve a new value proposition involving the detailed reconciliation of data and processes across global engineering functions."

For more information about Professor Paredis' keynote and conference registration information, see the news release.

Illinois Prof Awarded NRC Research Fellowship

May 2011

Andrew Alleyne

Professor Andrew Alleyne (UIUC, Thrust 2 Leader, Project 1A.1) has been awarded a National Research Council (NRC) Research Associates Program fellowship to study advanced thermal management systems for current and future generations of stealth aircraft.  Alleyne will collaborate with the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) located at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.  More information about this award is available on the UIUC website.

UIUC's William King Discusses Surface Microstructures

May 2011

Bill King
In an interview for the University of Illinois Mechanical Science and Engineering website, Professor William King, (UIUC, Project 1D) explains how machining microstructures onto surfaces can change the properties of those surfaces to improve performance in machines.  With the advent of this technology, King says that consumer products are already being dramatically enhanced with better performance and new properties.  Among the examples given, King cites reductions in the amount of energy needed to run some machines due to increased surface area provided by the micro-structured surfaces. Commercialization of this technology is underway through a company co-founded by King in 2008, Hoowaki, LLC.   

Professor King is also the lead researcher on CCEFP Project 1D: Micro- and Nano-Texturing for Low-Friction Fluid Power Systems which fits squarely within the larger context of research in the area of surface microstructures that King is pursuing. Additionally, Hoowaki is an industry member of the Center.

King’s innovation was recently selected by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers as one of the "2011 Innovations That Could Change the Way You Manufacture." This award is given to new and emerging technologies that are making a difference in manufacturing.

Click to read the full interview.

Stelson presents at STLE Industry Insight Webinar Series

April 7, 2011

Kim Stelson

CCEFP Director Kim Stelson presented "The Role of Fluids in Future Compact and Efficient Fluid Power Systems", as part of the STLE University, Industry Insight Webinar Series.  The presentation included an overview of the CCEFP and discussed the Center's work in fundamental tribology research. 

For additional details, download the PDF Webinar brochures below:

Webinar Flyer
Webinar Advert


CCEFP attends IFPE

April 5, 2011

IFPE logo

The CCEFP was well represented at the 2011 IFPE Conference held March 22-26 in Las Vegas.  In addition to conducting it's NSF Site Visit at IFPE, the Center hosted a booth and presented over 40 technical papers in the 52nd National Conference on Fluid Power. 

Co-located with IFPE, the Center held its 5th annual NSF Site Visit, welcoming NSF officials and the accompanying site visit team comprised of experts in various disciplines of fluid power.  Normally held on the campus of the CCEFP's lead institution, the University of Minnesota, the annual site visit allows the NSF to review the progress of the center's overall management as well as its research projects.  However, owing to the impact that the Center's work can and does have on the fluid power industry at large, as well as a bit of fortuitous timing to coincide with IFPE and CONAGG, this year's site visit was shifted to Las Vegas to allow NSF officials the opportunity to witness firsthand the vast industry that the Center's work benefits.   

The CCEFP booth featured hardware displays of the High Efficiency Excavator (TB1), Compact Rescue Robot (TB4) Fluid Power Orthosis (TB6), Hot Gas Vane Motor (Project 2A), Free Piston Engine Compressor (2B.1), Portable Water Hydraulic Excavator (E&O) and the Tiny Fluid Power demo which is associated with Test Bed 6.  The Orthosis was particularly well received by IFPE attendees as the team had prepared a working demonstration both on a test stand and with a human subject.  Prof. Geza Kogler wore the device and walked the show floor, attracting much attention to the project as well as to the Center's booth.  The Excavator and its accompanying informational video also drew quite a bit of traffic and was well staffed by the Purdue student researchers who fielded questions and comments from IFPE attendees.

Additionally, students and faculty of the Center were on hand to present over 40 of the 120 accepted papers for the 52nd National Conference on Fluid Power.

A few photos of the Center's activities at IFPE are available in the Conferences / Events section.

Universal Fluid Power Trainer Updated

March 29, 2011

Universal Fluid Power Trainer II
Dr. Medhat Khalil with the Universal Fluid Power Trainer #2

A new, modified version the Universal Fluid Power Trainer has been developed at the Milwaukee School of Engineering and was displayed at the IFPE-2011 show in Las Vegas. The new trainer received much positive feedback from industry professionals as well as significant international demand for purchase.  The new version features built-in pressure gauges, proximity switches, a hydraulic motor and rpm sensor, a better industrial computer and numerous mechanical modifications that make it more functional and reliable. Three units of the modified version have been built.

Director Stelson Featured in Fluid Power Journal

March 29, 2011

Fluid Power Journal Cover

CCEFP Director, Professor Kim Stelson is featured in the Notable Words segment of the March/April edition of Fluid Power Journal.  Stelson's article "Saving Energy by Advancing Fluid Power Technology", discusses the results of a joint study conducted by Oak Ridge National Laboratory, NFPA and 23 industry partners to quantify the the impact of fluid power on U.S. Energy Consumption.  Based on the study results, Stelson advocates for an ambitious plan to develop energy efficient fluid power. 

The full article is available via subscription to the Fluid Power Journal, viewable at the Fluid Power Journal website.

Project 3C Article among Top 10 Most Downloaded

March 29, 2011

Steven Frankel
Prof. Steven Frankel, Purdue University
Lead Investigator for Project 3C

Project 3C: Simulation of Cavitation and Noise in Fluid Power (Purdue) reports that their recent article "Large Eddy Simulation of Turbulent-Cavitation Interactions in a Venturi Nozzle" was one of the top 10 downloaded articles for December and January on the ASME Digital Library.  The article was published in the December 2010 issue of the Journal of Fluids Engineering.  Read the article abstract here.

Awards Presented for top Research Posters at IFPE Poster Show

March 22, 2011

Three graduate student researchers were awarded prizes for "Best Poster" during the CCEFP Annual Meeting held March 22-23 at IFPE.  The judging panel was comprised of several CCEFP Industry member representatives and the CCEFP Scientific Advisory Board.  Points were awarded based on content, design, presentation skill and overall effectiveness, with prizes of $100, $250 and $500 awarded for 3rd, 2nd, and 1st places respectively. This was the first time that awards were given during the Center's annual poster show.

The winners were:


Josh and Andrew Plummer
Graduate Student Presenter: Josh Zimmerman, Purdue University
Testbed 1: Heavy Mobile Equipment - High Efficiency Excavator
Faculty Advisor: Professor Monika Ivantysynova

Poster Abstract: The excavator test bed serves as a platform for demonstrating research advances throughout the CCEFP.  It is a 5 ton Bobcat 435 excavator, but the stock hydraulic system (load sensing) has been removed and replaced with a displacement controlled hydraulic system.  Results for side by side fuel testing of the new displacement controlled hydraulic system and a standard machine of the same model found 40% fuel savings on average for a truck loading cycle and will be included in the poster presentation.  With the new system architecture all functions are controlled electronically allowing the use of advanced control strategies.  An advanced machine power management control strategy has been implemented on top of the displacement control platform to minimize the fuel consumption of the machine according the working cycle performed.  Simulated and measured results for this control algorithm will be presented.  The improved efficiency offered by displacement controlled technology has led to lower working temperature for the hydraulic fluid.  A thermal model of the hydraulic system has been developed to simulate working temperatures and to aid in specifying the cooling requirements for the new hydraulic system.  Finally, a feasibility study for a hybrid displacement controlled hydraulic system, allowing energy recovery and engine load leveling, will also be presented.


John Tucker and Andrew Plummer

Graduate Student Presenter: John Tucker, Vanderbilt University
Project 2C.2: Advanced Strain Energy Accumulator
Faculty Advisor: Professor Eric Barth

Poster Abstract:  Hydraulic accumulators are energy storage devices commonly used to provide supplementary fluid power and absorb shock. One particularly interesting recent application of these devices is regenerative braking in hybrid vehicles. The purpose of this research is to investigate a new method of storing energy particularly suited for use in Hydraulic Regenerative Braking (HRB). Specifically, this project’s objective is to design a low cost, minimal maintenance, high energy density accumulator for implementation in a fluid powered automotive regenerative braking system in a hydraulic hybrid vehicle. The advocated technique involves using strain as the mechanism for energy storage, as opposed to the compression of gas in typical gas-charged accumulators. However, by using a high energy density elastomer and a geometry that differs from conventional spring-piston accumulators, the proposed accumulator addresses some of the weaknesses of its traditional counterparts.


Kelly Burgess and Andrew Plummer

Graduate Student Presenter: Kelly Burgess, Milwaukee School of Engineering
Project 1G.1: Tribofilm Structure and Chemistry in Hydraulic Motors
Advisor: Paul Michael, Research Chemist

Poster Abstract: This poster presents an investigation of the fluid properties that affect starting efficiency in hydraulic motors. Starting motor efficiency is an important design consideration because it often determines the pump horsepower and the minimum motor displacement in mobile hydraulic systems.  Five hydraulic fluids have been tested and evaluated in a large-scale hydraulic dynamometer.  The boundary friction, mixed-film lubrication, thermophysical, and pressure-viscosity properties of these prototype fluids have been characterized. These hydraulic fluids have been evaluated in geroler, axial piston, and radial piston motors under starting conditions in accordance with the ISO 4329-2 standard test method.  Correlations between starting efficiency and fluid boundary friction, traction,thermophysical and pressure-viscosity coefficients have been identified.  The results indicate that startability improves with decreasing boundary friction coefficient, decreasing pressure-viscosity coefficient, and increasing thermal conductivity. The relative impact of these fluid properties varied with motor design.

Congratulations to the three winners and to all the students who produced very high quality posters for this year's show!

Fleets and Fuels highlights CCEFP Hydraulic Hybrid

February 25, 2011

F&F Logo

The January 31st issue of Fleets and Fuels contained an article on the Center's Hydraulic Hybrid test bed and it's collaboration with Ford Motor Company and Fulsom Technologies International.  Discussed in the article is the Center's hydromechanical powersplit transmission approach and the superiority of regenerative braking using hydraulic accumulators rather than the ultracapacitors or batteries used in electric hybrids.

The Fleets and Fuels Newsletter is available to subscribers at:

TLT Magazine features CCEFP Faculty members in Hydraulics Article

February 20, 2011

TLT Cover January 2011

The Center and several of its faculty and students were included in an article entitled "Hydraulic Systems take Center Stage" published in the January 2011 issue of TLT (Tribology and Lubrication Technology), the magazine of the Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers (STLE).  The article is an in-depth examination of how improved fluids can impact the overall efficiency and longevity of hydraulic systems. In addition, the Center's efforts to impact system efficiency in other ways is also covered.  Featured in the discussion were Paul Michael, Ashlie Martini, and Scott Bair as well as mentions of other members of the CCEFP. 

Back issues of TLT can be purchased from the STLE website.

Portable Powered Ankle Foot Orthosis (PPAFO) Demonstrated

February 12, 2011

Test bed 6, the Portable Powered Ankle Foot Orthosis (PPAFO) was recently successfully demonstrated to provide functional assistance on two individuals with lower leg weakness. One participant suffered from plantarflexor (calf muscle) weakness due to a spinal injury and could no longer generate torque at the ankle to push his toes down. This impairment affected his ability to propel himself forward while walking - thus making extended walking an exhausting task. The other individual had a form of muscular dystrophy, a disorder that caused weakness in both the calf and shin muscles, i.e., both plantarflexor and dorsiflexor muscles. Dorsiflexor impairment can limit the ability to pull the toes up during swing - thus creating a potential tripping hazard.

During testing, the PPAFO was able to provide functional assistance to both subjects. Although the PPAFO was not capable of providing enough power to fully restore normal propulsive torque, it was able to generate modest power for propulsive assistance. For the individual with plantarflexor weakness, this added plantarflexor torque resulted in increased single leg support time on the assisted side and demonstrated a more normal ankle motion. For the individual with dorsiflexor weakness, the PPAFO also successfully controlled the motion of the foot during swing. This assistance eliminated a potential tripping hazard by keeping the toes from contacting the ground. These experimental results demonstrated that the PPAFO was capable of providing untethered functional assistance for people with walking disabilities.

Researchers at several of the CCEFP institutions (University of Illinois, University of Minnesota, Milwaukee School of Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, and North Carolina A & T) are working on the development of the next generation AFO that will push the limits of fluid power technology. These innovative projects will lead to the development of a miniature and integrated power supply, actuators, valves, transmission lines and housing, while also addressing specific issues related to the development of novel powered exoskeletons to assist persons with disabilities.


The Gen1 portable powered ankle foot orthosis (PPAFO) is shown in the right panel assisting an individual with spinal injury. The rotary actuator (A) was powered using a compressed CO2 bottle (B) worn by the subject on the waist.

CCEFP group visits NREL Wind Technology Center

October 22, 2010

wind turbine

As announced in previous news, the CCEFP is actively pursuing research into the use of fluid power applications for wind energy.  Specifically, the CCEFP is proposing the use of hydrostatic transmissions for wind energy turbines. In support of this interest, on September 30, a group from CCEFP and the University of Minnesota visited the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's (NREL) National Wind Technology Center (NWTC) in Boulder, Colorado.  Included in the group were Dr. Kim Stelson, CCEFP Director and University of Minnesota (UMN) Professor; Dr. Arne Kildegaard, UMN-Morris Professor; Mike Gust, CCEFP Industry Liaison Officer;  Brad Bohlmann, CCEFP Sustainability Director and UMN Adjunct Associate Professor.

The CCEFP group met NREL and NWTC researchers to learn more about their program, discuss topics of mutual interest, and tour the facilities.  Dr. Stelson gave a presentation to NWTC personnel on CCEFP and UMN's interests in wind research.  The presentation covered the $8M wind energy grant that a UMN-led team recently received from DOE and provided an overview of our interest in doing research on applying and optimizing an HST driveline to a wind turbine in order to improve wind turbine reliability and efficiency.

NREL has approximately 10 turbines from different manufacturers ranging in size from 2.25 MW to 600kW which are used for testing, research, and commercialization.  Some are from manufactures who no longer produce wind turbines, so NREL is free to make changes to them without restriction.  In addition to turbine blade testing facilities, NREL has a 225kW dynamometer and a 2.5 MW dynamometer in place, with an additional 5 MW unit planned for installation.  NREL also instituted a "gearbox reliability collaborative" approximately 2 years ago, with membership available by monetary or in-kind commitment.

The group also met with faculty at Colorado School of Mines and University of Colorado at Boulder.  These schools, along with Colorado State University and a number of industry members, formed the Center for Research and Education in Wind (CREW) in 2009.  The potential for future collaboration in wind energy research will be explored by both parties.  Dr. Stelson was invited as a guest presenter to a group of CREW researchers, PIs, and members. Approximately 20 people attended either in person or via webcast.

CCEFP Director Presents at GlobalSpec Educational Forum

October 20, 2010

Kim Stelson

Professor Kim Stelson, (Director, CCEFP, UMN) presented "Saving Energy with Fluid Power" as part of the GlobalSpec free online event Fluid Power & Fluid Handling. GlobalSpec's online events are one-day, live, interactive events connecting the worldwide community of engineering, technical, and industrial professionals for the benefit of interactive learning, knowledge sharing, and networking. 

Professor Stelson's presentation took place Wednesday, November 17th, online at the GlobalSpec website.  Additional presentations took place throughout the day including an interactive session with all attendees, presenters and exhibitors in the Networking Lounge.  From the GlobalSpec website event description:

"GlobalSpec's FREE online event, Fluid Power & Fluid Handling, is a cost-efficient way to learn of the latest developments in hydraulics, pneumatics, pumps, and valves. Also on display: new technologies impacting flow control and fluid transfer. Join key manufacturers and industry professionals, chat directly with suppliers, and attend key educational forums - all from the convenience of your desktop. GlobalSpec's Fluid Power & Fluid Handling online event allows you to share ideas and business strategies with industry colleagues from around the globe to remain competitive in today's rapidly changing marketplace."

More information about this event is available at the GlobalSpec site.

Professor Salant invited to lecture at Tsinghua University

October 15, 2010

Richard Salant

On September 6-10, CCEFP Professor Richard Salant (Georgia Institute of Technology) traveled to Beijing at the invitation of Professor Yuming Wang of the State Key Laboratory of Tribology, part of Tsinghua University's Department of Precision Instruments and Mechanology.  

Salant presented a series of 4 lectures to graduate students and faculty on sealing and tribology research in the US, rotary lip seals, reciprocating lip seals, and reactor coolant pump seals.  Additional sessions were presented of the graduate students' research after which Professor Salant offered comments and questions.      

Professor Salant also met with Professor Wang, Associate Professor Dr. Xiaohong Jia, and other faculty members following the lectures and research presentations. Of note, Dr. Xiaohong Jia has recently returned to Tsinghua University after spending one year at Georgia Institute of Technology as a visiting scholar studying elastomeric seals with Professor Salant.  Before returning home, Professor Salant was escorted to several dinners and sightseeing activities by the graduate students from the Department.    

Salant in China

Salant with students

GT Student wins Best Paper at MPM 2010

October 12, 2010

Alek Kerzhner     Chris Paredis

    Alek Kerzhner           Prof. Chris Paredis

Georgia Institute of Technology (GT) Ph.D. student Alek Kerzhner was awarded "Best Paper" at the 4th International Workshop on Multi-Paradigm Modeling (MPM 2010) held in conjunction with the MODELS'10 conference in Oslo Norway, October 3 -10.  The paper is entitled "Model-Based System Verification: A Formal Framework for Relating Analyses, Requirements, and Tests".  A PDF version of this paper is available from the library of Publications of the Systems Realization Laboratory at Georgia Tech.

Alek's CCEFP advisor is Professor Chris Paredis on Project 2E: Component Integration for Compact Fluid Power Systems (now retitled Model-Based Systems Engineering for Efficient Fluid Power). Professor Paredis noted that recognition at this event is significant given that work in this field is dominated by computer scientists rather than mechanical and systems engineers.  Additionally, as a best paper, it will also be included in a special issue of Springer's Lecture Notes in Computer Science (LNCS) series.


CCEFP E&O Director organizes ERCs at National SACNAS/AISES Conference

October 5, 2010

Alyssa Burger, CCEFP Education/Outreach Director, took the lead in organizing a joint ERC Education & Outreach booth at the SACNAS/AISES Conference held in Anaheim CA, (Sept. 30 - Oct. 3) with 8 ERCs sponsoring displays to advertise their outreach offerings to prospective Hispanic and Native American participants. Some 4,000 prospective students and 1000 E&O professionals attended. 

Alyssa was recognized by the NSF for her significant efforts in organizing the ERC E&O presence at this event. Plans are currently underway to include representatives from all the ERC E&O programs at the 2011 SACNAS/AISES national conference.  


ERC Education & Outreach representatives at SACNAS/AISIS: (left to right) Alyssa Burger (University of Minnesota), Dr. Paula Reese (UMass Amherst), Dr. Arlene Maclin (Morgan State University), Dr. Devdas Pai (North Carolina State A & T University).

MSOE Project 2D Team Updates

September 24, 2010

  Doug Cook            gervasi

 Douglas Cook             Vito Gervasi

Douglas Cook (Project 2D Co-PI) met with the TB6 team at UIUC for a systems-engineering workshop, led by Professor Chris Paredis of Georgia Tech.  The goal of this workshop was to introduce the tools being used for systems-engineering analysis and to help define the components of a high-pressure hydraulics system that need to be considered in order to confirm fluid power as a better choice over electro-mechanical systems in like applications.  A systems-engineering analysis will be critical to clarifying this issue.

Vito Gervasi and Douglas Cook (Project 2D Co-PI's) attended the 21st Annual International Solid Freeform Fabrication Symposium in Austin, Texas to present several papers on their Center-related activities, as they pertain to additive-manufacturing technologies.  Two papers, "Custom, Integrated, Pneumatic, Rotary Actuator for an Active Ankle-Foot Orthosis" (Richard Remmers, Douglas Cook, and Vito Gervasi) and "Automatic Generation of Strong, Light, Mutli-Functional Structures from FEA Output" (Douglas Cook, Brad Knier, Vito Gervasi and Douglas Stahl), will be published in the conference proceedings.

CCEFP summer REU students at MSOE joined members of MSOE's Rapid Prototyping Consortium for a tour of Trane Inc. in LaCross, Wisconsin.  Shawn Bongiorno (Project 2D, REU) had the opportunity to meet with Trane's engineer for their anechoic chamber regarding Shawn's research on using foam-like lattices for attenuating noise.

Purdue Researchers Join Eaton Corporation for Engineering Knowledge Share

September 12, 2010


CCEFP researcher Professor Steven H. Frankel (Purdue University) and his Ph.D. student Kameswara Anupindi participated in an online Engineering Knowledge Share with close to 30 engineers from Eaton Corporation connecting from Minnesota and India by video conference.  The topic of the presentation was related to Frankel and Anupindi's work on "A High-Order Large Eddy Simulation Method for Cavitation in Fluid-Power Components" part of Project 3C.  A lively question and answer session followed a technical presentation of the work.  The webcast was arranged and moderated by Dr. Srinivas Patri of Eaton Corporation.

The underlying numerical model described in the presentation is to appear in the November issue of the Journal of Computational Physics under the title "High-order incompressible large-eddy simulation of fully inhomogeneous turbulent flows" by Shetty, Fisher, Chunekar, and Frankel.  Aditya Chunekar received his MS degree working on large eddy simulation of venturi cavitation supported by the CCEFP.

SLC Elects New Officers & Representatives

September 7, 2010


CCEFP's Student Leadership Council convened during the 2010 Student Retreat held at the University of Minnesoa to conduct their August Meeting and elect new officers for the 2010-2011 academic year.  Results of the election were as follows:

Kelly Burgess (MSOE) President
Stephen Sedler (UMN) Vice President
Ken Marek (GT) Secretary
Jonathan Meyer (UMN) Treasurer
Emily Morris (UIUC) Industry Liaison & Communications
Tim Deppen (UIUC) Executive Committee Representatives

In addition, new representatives were chosen to replace graduating SLC students:

Diana Cardona (Vanderbilt)
Jess Rose (Purdue)
Andrew Schenk (Purdue)
Charles Ziemer (MSOE)

Continuing their service as SLC Representatives are:

Ritson Delpish (NCAT)
Mark Elton (GT)
Khaliah Hughes (NCAT)
Andy Wilhite (Vanderbilt)

Congratulations to the new officers and representatives and many thanks to those who have and continue to serve their institutions and the Center on the SLC.

Professor Gives Distinguished Nyquist Lecture

September 9, 2010

Wayne Book

The 2010 ASME Dynamic Systems and Control Conference took place September 13 - 15 in Cambridge Massachusetts.  For this event, a selected prominent lecturer has been invited to present a distinguished Nyquist Lecture each year starting with the 2005 IMECE in Orlando. The spirit is to convey the DSCD Community a message of relatively broad interest.

This year's lecturer was Professor Wayne J. Book, the HUSCO/Ramirez Distinguished Professor of Fluid Power and Motion Control at the Georgia Institute of Technology.  

Professor Book has taught at the Georgia Institute of Technology since 1974. A Fellow of IEEE, ASME and SME, he holds degrees from M.I.T. (M.S., Ph.D.) and The University of Texas (B.S.) in Mechanical Engineering. His research focuses on system dynamics and control of fluid power and flexible systems, robotics, and haptic human interfaces. Current research is funded by industry and the NSF through the Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power where he is the lead researcher on the Center's Compact Rescue Robot test bed. Dr. Book is the author or coauthor of over 170 papers in his research. He has been the editor of the ASME Journal of Dynamic Systems, Measurement and Control and was awarded the Leadership Award of the Dynamic Systems and Control Division in 2004. 

Professor Book presented the following lecture:

Title: Cold Cases and Hot Topics

Abstract: Where are the promising research areas of today and yesterday? Surely there are the exciting areas of Bio-Nano-Info Technologies, the "hot topics" in research today, but along with them can be found some "cold cases", topics that were too hard to solve, or were thought to be solved, in the past. Some topics, such as energy supply, are solved again and again and likely will be for the foreseeable future to come. Several of these cold cases will be reviewed and explored. Can they again be hot topics? Topics that have reemerged and again matured, topics that are now reemerging, and topics that may soon reemerge will be considered. Researchers, young and old, as well as funding agencies are always looking for promising topics for their resources of time and funds. Should they consider these cold cases readdressed in light of new results from hot topics. Specific research results presented in these areas from personal experience and observation.

Past Nyquist Lecturers and Titles of Presentations

2005 - Karl Astrom: Nyquist and his Seminal Papers

2006 - George Leitmann: A Transformation-Based Optimization Method

2007 - Art Bryson: Flight Guidance and Control in Strong Winds

2008 - Masayoshi Tomizuka: Control Theory in Mechatronics, Necessary but not Sufficient

2009 - Karl Hedrick: Vehicle Dynamics Systems: From Automation to Autonomy

CCEFP Group wins NSF Grant for Windpower

August 9, 2010





Prof. Perry LiProf. Terry SimonProf. Eric LothProf. James Van de Ven

Professor Perry Li (CCEFP Deputy Co-Director) has been awarded a research grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop a "Novel Compressed Air Approach for Off-Shore Wind Energy Storage".  The four year, $2 million award is made through the Emerging Frontier in Research and Innovation (EFRI) and the Grant Opportunities for Academic Liaison with Industry (GOALI) programs.

The investigators of the research are: Perry Li (PI) and Terry Simon (Co-PI) at the University of Minnesota, Eric Loth at the University of Virginia, James Van de Ven at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Oakland CA based industry partner, Lightsail Energy. The research proposes to develop a localized method for storing off-shore wind energy before conversion to electricity in high pressure compressed air vessels.  In addition to allowing the storage of wind energy during periods of low demand, the concept will achieve load leveling so that components can be down-sized for average rather than peak power.  The concept makes use of the comparative advantages of hydraulics and pneumatics in a so-called "Open Accumulator" architecture, and an isothermal air compressor/expander design.  The interdisciplinary research involves fluid flow, heat transfer, machine design and systems and control. 

2010 CCEFP Student Retreat

August 6, 2010


Graduate, undergraduate and REU students attended the CCEFP Student Retreat in Minneapolis, Minnesota, August 4 - 6, 2010. Activities included a trip to the Science Museum of Minnesota with a behind-the-scenes shop tour and fluid power exhibit demonstrations, an industrial tour of MTS and Eaton Corporation in Eden Prairie as well as a social dinner and event at Dave & Busters in Maple Grove, MN. Over 30 students attended the meeting, the biggest turnout in Retreat history.  The Student Leadership Council held their annual Officer Elections, and visiting students also received a laboratory tour of the facilities at the University of Minnesota.  Overall, a successful meeting for the Center and its students.

GT Student Collaborates on U of M Project

August 5, 2010


Georgia Tech Ph.D student Nick Earnhart visited the University of Minnesota to collaborate with Ph.D candidates Rachel Wang and Haink Tu, team members of project 1E.1 (On/off Valve based control).  Nick works on the Passive Noise Control project (3B.1) and his Ph.D research includes performing the acoustic analysis of the self-spinning rotary on/off valve developed in project 1E.1. This collaboration focused on experimental data collection.

CCEFP Researchers Visit Japan

July 26, 2010


Professors Wayne Book, Kim Stelson and Zongxuan Sun attended the International Symposium on Flexible Automation (ISFA 2010) on July 12-14.  A special session on fluid power was organized for ISFA 2010 by Professor Stelson, CCEFP Director, and Professor Kagawa, a member of the Scientific Advisory Board. During the visit, the three CCEFP professors also made presentations to a special session of the Japan Fluid Power System Society (JFPS). Our JFPS colleagues did a wonderful job in hosting their three American guests to a wonderful dinner after the special session. Visits to Japanese fluid power companies were also arranged.


Left side, front to back: Professor Zongxuan Sun, Caren Stelson, Prof. Kim Stelson, Judy Book, Prof. Wayne Book. & distinguished members of the Japan Fluid Power System Society.

CCEFP Welcomes REU and RET participants for Summer 2010

June 30, 2010

The CCEFP will host 24 undergraduate participants of our Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Program and six teachers for our Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) Program.   Each year the Center hosts a number of students and teachers to conduct laboratory research on various projects throughout the CCEFP's member institutions.

The goal of the REU program is to expose students to the work of academic research and to encourage them to consider pursuing their studies in graduate programs.  The RET program is designed to have a multiplier effect; by teaching one instructor, it is then possible to teach many students. Teachers work on a research project and design a curriculum to take back to their classrooms.  The RET and REU programs have to date been very successful with the CCEFP hosting over 85 REUs and 23 RETs since the programs' inception in 2007. 

REUs 2010


CCEFP Papers honored at 6th International FPNI Ph.D. Symposium

June 28, 2010

At the Fluid Power Net International (FPNI) Ph.D. Symposium hosted by Purdue University on June 15-19, one-half of all papers presented were from CCEFP researchers, an indication of the increased level of fluid power university research taking place in the United States.

The CCEFP is not only producing quantity, it is producing quality. Eight papers were recognized for the Outstanding Paper Award. Of these eight, five were from CCEFP funded or associated projects:

  • Aaron Enes (Georgia Tech), "Toward Shared Control of Hydraulic Excavators"
  • Richard Klop (Purdue University), "Validation of a Coupled Pump-Motor-Line Model to Predict Noise Sources of Hydraulic Transmissions"
  • Jonathan Meyer (University of Minnesota), "Energy Management Strategy for a Hydraulic Hybrid Vehicle Using Stochastic Dynamic Programming"
  • Christopher Williamson (Purdue University), "Stability and Motion Control of Inertial Loads with Displacement Controlled Hydraulic Actuators"
  • Joshua Zimmermann (Purdue University), "Reduction of Engine and Cooling Power by Displacement Control"

Please join us in congratulating these award winners and all of the other CCEFP participants in the FPNI Ph.D. Symposium. These young researchers give us hope for the future of fluid power.

Energy Efficiency presenters


Georgia Instititute of Technology Professor to receive Regent's Researcher title

June 11, 2010

Professor Scott Bair

By approval of the Georgia Institute of Technology's President and Board of Regents, Professor Scott Bair will be awarded the title of Regents' Researcher.  Congratulations to Professor Bair for this well-deserved recognition of the sustained quality and depth of his research contributions over his long Georgia Tech career.

Professor Bair is the lead researcher on the CCEFP's project 3D.2: Liquid Property Investigations Applied to Hydraulics at High Pressure.  More information about Project 3D.2 can be found in the Research section of our website.


Industrial Advisory Board elects new Vice Chair


June 7, 2010

The CCEFP Industrial Advisory Board (IAB) elected David Holt of ExxonMobil Research & Engineering as its new CCEFP IAB Vice Chair.  David will share leadership duties with Joe Kovach (Parker Hannifin) who assumes the role of IAB Chair from Dwight Stephenson (HUSCO).  Dwight will now move on to represent industry on the CCEFP Executive Committee.

Congratulations to David on his election to this post.


Monika Ivantysynova receives Joseph Bramah Medal

June 3, 2010

Professor Monika Ivantysynova

Professor Monika Ivanysynova, CCEFP Efficiency Thrust Leader and Purdue University's MAHA Professor of Fluid Power Systems, will receive the Joseph Bramah Medal from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. The medal has been awarded to her for outstanding commitment to international fluid power research and education, particularly in the field of hydrostatic pumps and motors.

The Joseph Bramah fund was established in 1968 at the instigation of Mr Frank Towler, a Fellow of the Institution (1932- 1977), who arranged for its support by industry to commemorate Joseph Bramah, the inventor of a patent lock, the hydraulic press and other inventions concerned with pumps, water supply and the production of pipes and tubes by the extrusion process.

Please join us in congratulating Professor Ivantysynova on this honor.


CCEFP Annual Meeting to take place at FPNI Symposium

May 14, 2010


The 2010 CCEFP Annual Meeting will run concurrently with the 6th Fluid Power Net International PhD Symposium taking place Tuesday, June 15th through Saturday, June 19th at Purdue University, in West Lafayette, Indiana.

CCEFP Annual Meeting events will take place on Monday, June 14th and Tuesday, June 15th prior to the FPNI Symposium kick-off reception.  CCEFP presentations during the annual meeting will include those of the four test beds, Systems Engineering, Human Factors, and future plans for the Center, as well as Industry Collaboration and Education & Outreach.  Individual research project presentations from the Center will be delivered within the Symposium framework and alongside those of the many other FPNI presentations.

The full FPNI Symposium schedule with a list of all research presentations can be downloaded here

CCEFP Members can see the separate CCEFP Annual Meeting schedule here.

Registration is available directly through the FPNI Symposium website

CCEFP Faculty, Students and Staff can find additional registration instructions under the Events tab in the Member's section of our website.


Center Completes 4th Annual NSF Site Visit

May 10, 2010

The CCEFP completed it's 4th NSF site visit following a full day of review by the site visit team.  Comprehensive presentations on the Center's four research test beds were given along with reviews of the Center's overall research goals and accomplishments, Education & Outreach programs, and Industrial Collaboration efforts.  Graduate students presented detailed posters of the Center's research projects and made short presentations for the site visit team during the poster show. 

In addition to the posters, researchers from Georgia Tech brought along a portable version of their excavator simulator allowing users to experience operating an excavator using both traditional and haptic controllers.  Representatives from the Science Museum of Minnesota were on hand to provide interactive demonstrations of both their cutaway swashplate pump and their hydro-table.  Also on display were several other E&O hands-on displays including the Portable Fluid Power Demonstrator, Regenerative Pedicab, Hydraulic Arm Wrestling Machine, Energy Storing Orthosis, Pneumatic Haptic Interface,  Pneumatics Kit,  and Hydraulic AFO Simulator.  The Center's outreach efforts were well represented by students in the gidaa program from the Albrook School (Cloquet) who attended to showcase their interactive robotics projects.  

Alyssa  and Kim at site visitSMM  hydrotable
Steve Herzog on PedicabExcavator controls simulator

Faculty Member to receive Honorary Doctorate

May 13, 2010

Monika Ivantysynova

CCEFP Faculty and Efficiency Thrust leader Monika Ivantysynova (MAHA named Professor of Fluid Power Systems, Purdue University), will be given an honorary doctorate from Slovak Technical University Bratislava, her alma mater, at the 70th anniversary celebration of the university taking place October 2010. 

The Slovak Technical University Bratislava is the largest Technical University in Slovak Republic, located in Bratislava, the capital city.  Professor Ivantysynova studied Mechanical Engineering from 1974 to 1979, received her MS degree in 1979 and ultimately her PhD degree in 1983, all from Slovak Technical University Bratislava .  When asked about the announcement, Professor Ivanatysynova stated, "The award is a great honour, especially knowing that the honorary doctorate was given to very famous people with great accomplishments."

Congratulations to Professor Monika Ivantysynova on this award!


Researchers win FPMC 2009 Best Paper Award

April 30, 2010

Josh  Zimmerman    Monika Ivantysynova
CCEFP researchers Josh Zimmerman and Professor Monika Ivantysynova of Purdue University have won the FPMC 2009 Best paper Award for their paper entitled "Effect of Installed Hydraulic Corner Power on the Energy Consumption and Performance of Multi-Actuator Displacement Controlled Mobile Machines".  Josh presented this paper at the 2009 Bath/ASME Symposium on Fluid Power and Motion Control (FPMC 2009), which took place in October in Los Angeles. The award will be officially presented at the 2010 Bath/ASME Symposium on Fluid Power & Motion Control, September 15-17, at the University of Bath, UK. This is the third time the group has received this prestigious award since 2003.

Research for this paper has been funded by the National Science Foundation through the Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power (CCEFP).


Georgia Tech Students Win Third Award

April 16th, 2010

Nick Ernhart  with silencer     Ken  Marek

CCEFP graduate researchers Nick Earnhart (left) and Ken Marek of Georgia Tech have claimed yet another honor for their poster depicting research on noise control in fluid power.  This is the third award the two have garnered for this project.  The official announcement follows:

The Georgia Institute of Technology is pleased to announce another poster competition award for Nick Earnhart and Ken Marek. The two placed first in the General Competition at the North Carolina regional Acoustical Society of America Meeting in Raleigh. The competition was open to all topics concerning acoustics, and awarded prizes totaling $2000. The poster was based on their work for Project 3B.1 in the Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power and was entitled "Noise Control in Fluid Power: Analytical and Experimental Evaluation of a Hydraulic In-Line Silencer." 

You can learn more about the work on Project 3B.1 in the Research section of our website.

Congratulations once more to Nick and Ken!


Students host Interactive Fluid Power exhibit at UIUC Engineering Open House

April 6, 2010

Students at  UIUC

CCEFP students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) hosted an interactive fluid power exhibit during the annual student-led Engineering Open House (EOH), which took place March 12-13.  Featured in the display was the CCEFP portable fluid power demonstrator, developed by Dr. John Lumkes and Jose Garcia at Purdue University to educate the public on basic fluid power concepts. Visitors at the open house were given the opportunity to try one of the two demonstrators on hand after receiving a basic lesson on how the hydraulic cylinders worked. During the event, several hundred visitors passed through the CCEFP display ranging for small children to adults. In addition to the demonstrators, research on hydrophobic materials and the fluid power assisted orthosis was presented. CCEFP member company Festo was also on hand at the event and wowed audiences with their pneumatically powered Airmotion_ride driving simulator.

The UIUC Engineering Open House features two days of exciting exhibits and competitions that showcase the talent and ingenuity of engineering students. The exposition attracts thousands of visitors to the Illinois campus each year and stands as the largest event of its kind in the country. EOH brings together students, faculty, and corporate sponsors to feature cutting-edge innovation in the fields of science and technology to inspire the next generation of engineers through engaging hands-on demonstrations.


Georgia Tech Students Win ASA Poster Competition

March 18, 2010

Nick Earnhart  Ken Marek

Graduate students Nick Earnhart (left) and Ken Marek (right) were recognized in a Georgia Tech campus competition sponsored by a local chapter of the Acoustical Society of America.  Below is the official announcement:

"The Georgia Institute of Technology is pleased to announce that Ken Marek and Nick Earnhart recently placed first overall in the Spring Royster poster competition held by the Georgia Tech Acoustical Society of America (ASA) student chapter. The competition was open to any student, undergraduate or graduate, and awarded prizes totaling $2500 for posters addressing noise control in some form. Ken and Nick submitted their poster, “Noise Control in Fluid Power – Analytical and Experimental Evaluation of a Hydraulic In-Line Silencer,” based on their work for Project 3B.1 in the Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power. Ken and Nick will split the first prize award of $1500."

Congratulations to Ken and Nick!

Download the winning poster here in PDF format.

You can find out more about the work on Project 3B.1 in the Research section of our website.


Student Published in Tribology and Lubrication Technology

March 8, 2010

José Garcia

José Garcia (Ph.D candidate, Purdue University) was featured in a student focus article in the March 2010 Tribology and Lubrication Technology magazine.  The article is entitled "Experimental Measurement of Surface and Fluid Effects on Static Friction for Metal Contacts".  Co-authors on the article are Professors Ashlie Martini and John Lumkes.  Tribology and Lubrication Technology is widely regarded as THE magazine for researchers and professionals in tribology related fields. 

Read the article (located on pages 16-18)  here.

Congratulations José!


Partner gidaa Schools Featured in Duluth News Tribune

February 22, 2010

group shot of fluid power challenge

The Duluth News Tribune featured an article on the attendance of local students at the inaugural National Fluid Power Association's National Fluid Power Challenge, hosted by the CCEFP at the University of Minnesota.  Some of the students attending were from Cloquet Middle School and AlBrook Middle School, both of which are partners in the CCEFP's gidaa American Indian outreach program.

The Fluid Power Challenge is a skills competition for eighth-grade students intended to expose students and teachers to engineering problem-solving using fluid power technology.

You can read the full article at the Duluth News Tribune website.


Nano-Texturing Research Highlighted

February 22, 2010

Eric Loth     Adam Steele

Professor Eric Loth of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) along with his research team have created  a website to showcase their work in the area of nanocomposite spray coatings.  The website is populated with numerous videos that illustrate the results of nano-texturing applied to different surface materials resulting in superhydrophobicity and superoleophobicity.  This research is being conducted as part of the CCEFP's Project 1D:Nano-Texturing for Improved Fluid Power Efficiency

In addition, a video profile of UIUC graduate student Adam Steele highlights some of his Scanning Electron Microscope images of nano-particles as common objects.  Adam recently won second place in the Materials Research Society's "Science as Art" competition for some of these fascinating images.

You can see these videos and more at the Nano-Texturing Research Group website.

Finally, an article on the CCEFP's Project 1D:Nano-Texturing for Improved Fluid Power Efficiency at UIUC on nano-texturing of fluid power lines was published in the December issue of Diesel Progress.  The article has been made available in PDF format at our Trade Press page.

Read more about the research goals of the Center's Project 1D in our Research section.


Students on Integrated Algorithms project 1A.1 Submit Papers for Conferences

February 17, 2010

Graduate students working on Project 1A.1: Integrated Algorithms for Optimal Energy Use in Mobile Fluid Power Systems at the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign (UIUC) and at the University of Minnesota (UMN), have recently drafted papers for submission at upcoming conferences:

Jon Meyer headshot

Jon Meyer (UMN) submitted a paper to the 7th International Fluid Power Conference taking place in Aachen, Germany on March 22 - 24.  Jon's paper is entitled "Power Management Strategy for a Parallel Hydraulic Hybrid Passenger Vehicle Using Stochastic Dynamic Programming".


Tim Deppen headshot

Tim Deppen (UIUC) is currently preparing a paper for the 2010 ASME Dynamic Systems and Control Conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on September 13-15.  Tim's paper will be titled "Predictive Energy Management For Parallel Hydraulic Hybrid Passenger Vehicle".

Read more about the research goals of Project 1A.1 in our Research section.

Jon and Tim are two of many students working on papers for submission at these and other prestigious conferences. All faculty and students of the CCEFP have the opportunity to be recognized for their research efforts by submitting a news item here. -- Ed.


Robotics Curriculum to reach more American Indian Students


February 15, 2010

students with robot

The CCEFP Education & Outreach Pre-College education program reports several exciting developments in the ongoing partnership with the American Indian educational programs: 

Local schools who partner with the gidakiimanaaniwigamig (gidaa) program have launched robotics curriculum in their day curriculum and after-school programs. These programs are currently being taught at the Albrook School and the Ojibwe School.  In the future, a community robotics program for youth will be launched as well.  Information about the Albrook School's programs can be found at the following links:

Grades 3-4 STEM Lego Robotics
Grades 7-12 STEM After School Robotics
Constructing a Robot blog 

The Albrook School, a key partner with CCEFP, is reorganizing to better align with the goal of moving students towards STEM fields.  The school is piloting its day-time robotics curriculum and in the future, anticipates a formal cooperation with Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College in which students could earn college course credit for completion of robotics programs.  Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College is also in the initial stages of offering a pre-engineering program.

Also of note: The gidakiimanaaniwigamig website has recently undergone a thorough redesign.  The updated website includes information on the gidaa camps, science fairs, robotics/fluid power activities and the new manoomin (wild rice) project.

The technology-driven direction taking place in the Cloquet area is directly linked to the Center's relationship with gidaa. The CCEFP's promotion of Robotics curriculum has been key in exposing gidaa students to technology, engineering concepts, the scientific method and critical thinking skills.


Student Leadership Council Update

February 3, 2010

SLC Logo

The Student Leadership Council (SLC) recently conducted its annual SWOT analysis.  As part of this analysis, the SLC administered a survey to the center students soliciting feedback on their level of satisfaction with the center.  These results were then used to improve the identification of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats as well as to highlight possible measures for resolving any noted weaknesses and threats.

Conclusions of the SWOT analysis are submitted to the Center for inclusion the NSF Annual Report along with the Center's response to the analysis.  Full results of the SLC SWOT analysis will be available after the Annual Report has been submitted to NSF.

In other SLC news, Ms. Kelly Burgess (MSOE) has been appointed to the position of SLC Executive Committee Representative replacing Mike Rannow, who has given up his position after securing an internship position with one of our CCEFP member companies.


CCEFP Plans for Future Self-Sustainability

January 19, 2010

opportunity image

Like all ERCs, a primary challenge facing the CCEFP is sustainability, or, the continuation of CCEFP research, educational and outreach efforts after NSF funding has ended. We are currently in Year 4 of CCEFP operation. Our core funding for next year and through Year 8 (May 2014) will continue at current levels. Funding will then be reduced to two thirds of this level in Year 9 and one third of this level in Year 10. In Year 11, beginning June 2016, we will no longer receive any NSF or university matching funds.

The sustainability challenge is to continue to operate while being weaned of NSF and university funds. The track record of previous ERCs proves that approximately two thirds of them have successfully made this transition. Previous transitions, however, have always been challenging, requiring difficult choices due to the changing funding picture. The key to success is to anticipate and take actions to counteract the transition early since the funding cutoff is so drastic.

The CCEFP is actively pursuing a plan for the transition to sustainability. We recently created a new part-time position, CCEFP External Funding Director, to develop research funding opportunities and have hired Brad Bohlmann to fill that role. Brad is an excellent choice given his solid track record of attracting external research funding while working in the fluid power industry.

We have also formed the CCEFP Sustainability Task Force to create a plan which will guide us through the transition.  The task force will have it's first meeting in late January.  Members are:

  • Kim Stelson, University of Minnesota, Chair
  • Andrew Alleyne, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
  • Wayne Book, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Tom Bray, Milwaukee School of Engineering
  • Mike Gust, University of Minnesota
  • Ed Howe, Enfield Technologies
  • Monika Ivantysynova, Purdue University
  • Joe Kovach, Parker-Hannifin
  • Eric Lanke, National Fluid Power Association
  • Lonnie Love, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
  • Bill Parks, Deltrol Fluid Products

With these actions it is our goal to establish a clear strategy and move forward confidently into the future of Fluid Power Research.


CCEFP Receives Renewal and Major Funding

January 8, 2010

NSF Logo

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has announced that it will award the Engineering Research Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power (CCEFP) a four year, $16 million dollar grant, enabling the Center to continue its efforts in transforming fluid power—how it is researched and taught. Industry partners will augment NSF funding with cash and in-kind contributions, and the Center’s seven universities will contribute an additional $3.2 million.

This is welcome news to the more than 30 faculty, 300 undergraduate and graduate engineering students, 2500 K-12 students and the 57 industry sponsors who have been involved in the CCEFP since its founding in 2006 through an initial NSF grant. Their work on four test beds and over 25 research projects focuses primarily on increasing the efficiency of existing fluid power applications; expanding the use of fluid power in transportation; creating portable, un-tethered human-scale fluid power applications; and assuring that fluid power is clean, quiet, safe and easy to use. Results are already impressive with 14 inventions disclosed and over 100 technical papers published.

The Center’s education and outreach program is equally ambitious, with over 20 projects designed to:

  • attract our nation’s pre-college students to science and engineering generally and to hydraulics and pneumatics in particular
  • educate all mechanical engineering undergraduate students about fluid power, raise the general public’s awareness of the ubiquity of fluid power,
  • increase the diversity of students and practitioners in fluid power research and industry,
  • establish lasting forums where industry and academia can exchange ideas and strategize. 

“The CCEFP has already made a major impact,” according to Dr. Kim Stelson, Center Director.  “The Center has transformed hydraulic and pneumatic research in this country from isolated efforts by a few to a cohesive, strategically-directed collaborative team linking seven universities and many leaders in the fluid power industry. Recognition of these efforts continues to grow, as the Center’s work impresses academic and engineering audiences worldwide. Our efforts in education and outreach show significant results, too, as the CCEFP works with established, effective partners to maximize program impact.”    

“The synergy of the CCEFP is particularly impressive,” says Dwight Stephenson, HUSCO International, Chairman of the Center’s Industry Advisory Board.  The cooperation between the research teams and industry, facilitated through the Center’s network of researchers, educators and industry, is accelerating the rate of fluid power technology development. The CCEFP is a catalyst for  this positive change and growth.” 

The CCEFP is one of 15 NSF-funded Engineering Research Centers charged with conducting pioneering research in emerging technologies and in training the next generation of engineers to be leaders in innovation.


Center Welcomes External Funding Director

January 6, 2010

Brad Bohlmann

The CCEFP would like to welcome Mr. Brad Bohlmann in the newly created position of External Funding Director.  Some of you may have met Brad at the 2009 ERC Annual Meeting back in December, shortly after he came on board.  However, we'd like to take this opportunity to officially welcome him and tell you all a little more about his background.

Brad received a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Minnesota, a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan-Dearborn, and an MBA from the University of St. Thomas.  He has over 25 years experience in a variety of engineering areas including engines, powertrains and fluid power.

As part of the Center's goal for reaching self-sustainability by 2015, Brad's primary role will be identify and secure sources of external funding that will allow the Center to continue after NSF funding ends.

It's terrific to have Brad working with us and we invite you to connect with him and welcome him aboard!

Brad can be contacted directly by email or by phone at (612) 626-1795.

Design News Examines CCEFP Testbeds


December 15, 2009

Design News page snapshot

Design News takes a closer look at the CCEFP Test bed projects in their article entitled "Four Game-Changing Fluid Power Technology Initiatives".  Featured in the article are the University of Minnesota's research on a Hydromechanical Transmission (HMT) for the Hydraulic Hybrid Passenger Vehicle testbed and Purdue University's work on variable displacement pumps for the Excavator testbed.  Also discussed are the Center's research in the areas of chemofluidic actuation and the development of a novel Free Piston Engine.

Read the full article at the Design News website.


CCEFP Hosts NFPA Fluid Power Challenge

December 10, 2009

Fluid Power Challenge winners

The CCEFP hosted the National Fluid Power Association's Fluid Power Challenge, a competition that gets middle school students excited about fluid power. A Workshop Day for the event was held at the University of Minnesota campus on November 5,  followed by the Challenge Day on December 10, 2009.

During the Fluid Power Challenge, middle school students learn about fluid power technology (hydraulics and pneumatics) and gain hands-on experience while building a fluid power mechanism with real world applicability. The program is designed to introduce the students, and their teachers, to the world of engineering and fluid power careers.

On Challenge Day, 22 8th-grade teams (four students per team) designed and built fluid power mechanisms that pick an object from one platform, rotate and place it on another. In addition to the number of pick-and-place cycles a school’s machine completes, a review of each team’s design approach, teamwork and portfolio were used in the final evaluation.

A student from a past competition said “This opens up more opportunities for engineering and careers kids aren’t aware of. It’s get to work with other kids and learn more math and science.”

Through the Challenges, the National Fluid Power Association (NFPA) and the Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power (CCEFP) hope to encourage students to select more mathematics and science courses in their high school curricula to keep their options open for technology-based post-secondary studies.

A video of a winning team’s fluid power mechanism in action is available at the Center's YouTube site:

To learn more about the NFPA Fluid Power Challenge, please contact Carrie Tatman Schwartz, NFPA Program Manager at (414) 778-3347 or, National Fluid Power Association, 3333 N. Mayfair Rd., Milwaukee, WI 53222.


New Associated Projects Announced

December 7, 2009

Wind Turbines     Surgical Team

Two new, large-scale CCEFP associated projects have recently been announced:

  • The University of Minnesota has been awarded an $8 million wind power research center, funded by the Department of Energy (DOE). The major fluid power component of this project is the development of hydrostatic power transmission technology for wind power, a collaborative effort between the University of Minnesota and Eaton Corporation.
  • Vanderbilt University has received a major contract for new research from the Martin Companies to investigate the use of miniaturized fluid power in medical Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) applications. This research will develop miniature MR-compatible fluid-power actuation that offers no distortion to the image. Fluid power is one of only a few forms of actuation that has the potential for 100% MR compatibility.

Current CCEFP research focuses on four test beds spanning five orders of magnitude of power and weight: an excavator, a hydraulic hybrid passenger vehicle, a rescue robot and an orthosis. The Center plans to expand into even larger and smaller applications—wind power in the 1 MW range and medical micro-robots in the micro-watt range. These two new initiatives give us the ability to expand CCEFP research into the larger and smaller regimes.


CCEFP Faculty Member Awarded NSF Major Research Instrumentation Grant

December 1, 2009

Professor Sun

CCEFP faculty member Professor Zongxuan "Sunny"  Sun (University of Minnesota) was recently awarded an $800,000 NSF MRI (Major Research Instrumentation) grant. The grant will enable CCEFP to construct a hydrostatic dynamometer. Because of the superior power to weight ratio of hydraulics, a hydrostatic dynamometer will have a much lower moment of inertia than a conventional electric dynamometer. This allows the hydrostatic dynamometer to have a higher speed-of-response allowing it to simulate realistic engine transients. Understanding how an engine behaves during these rapid transients will provide important unknown information on fuel economy and emissions. The hydrostatic dynamometer will be an essential research tool for optimizing the control approach for the Hydraulic Hybrid Passenger Vehicle (HHPV) test bed.


Paper Wins Honors in Malaysia

November 13, 2009

University of Minnesota Ph.D. candidate Lei Tian attended the 2009 Small Engine Technology Conference (SETC) in Penang, Malaysia where he received the High Quality Paper award for his paper entitled "Miniature HCCI Free-Piston Engine Compressor for Orthosis Application".  Only 9 such awards were given out of 110 papers submitted at the conference.

Since the first event in 1989, the Small Engine Technology Conference (SETC) continues to be the international technology conference for small engines and related products.  SETC is jointly sponsored each year by the Society of Automotive Engineers of Japan, Inc. (JSAE) and SAE International. SETC 2009 was held on November 3-5, 2009.

Co-Authors on the paper are University of Minnesota Professors David Kittleson and William Durfee.


2009 Annual Meeting Report

November 5, 2009

The 2009 CCEFP Annual Meeting took place October 7-9 at the Alumni Foundation Center of North Carolina A&T State University.  Over 130 members including 25 industry representatives were on hand to witness the presentations and participate in the poster shows and breakout sessions.  This was the first year of a new format that included breakout sessions of smaller groups that enabled participants to more easily discuss the topic and ask questions.

Attendees took a tour of some of the engineering facilities on the campus, which included the labs used by CCEFP students and faculty.  In the labs focusing on human machine interface, we were given a demonstration of some of the work being done on interaction with the excavator and rescue robot test beds.  Students were able to demonstrate their analysis of the tasks involved in driving an excavator and showed a simulation of a virtual excavator being operated with a Phantom controller.  Also on display were some of the impressive facilities used for material science and material testing, including lab space for the new Center for Advanced Materials and Smart Structures.  Other highlights of the tour included research on driving simulations, air traffic control interfaces, augmented reality, military task allocation, and flow visualization.

Following Thursday’s dinner banquet, attendees were treated to a cultural performance of West African traditional dancing as performed by NCAT’s own E. Gwynn Dancers.  The group consists of approximately 20 NCAT students studying traditional African dance under the direction of Dr. Eleanor Gwynn.  While part of the group, students have the opportunity to travel to Africa to learn dance techniques first hand from traditional performers.  Attendees at Thursday’s dinner witnessed three distinct dances and were even encouraged to join in on for the last dance. A fair number of CCEFP members were good sports and heeded the call of the dancers to take part.

Note: Members can login to access presentations and posters from this year's meeting under the Downloads menu.

Presentation of test bed 1

Posters displayed


Conference Room


The E. Gwynn Dancers


CCEFP Student wins Best Presentation Award

November 3, 2009

Georgia Institute of Technology graduate student Ken Marek's presentation “Numerical model for a hydraulic in-line silencer,” was selected as the best student presentation by the ASA Noise Technical Committee at the 158th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, in San Antonio, TX, which took place October 26-30, 2009.  Co-authors on the paper include Nick Earnhart and Professor Ken Cunefare.

Ken Marek headshotKen Cunefare headshotNick Earnhart headshot
        Ken Marek     
  Prof. Ken Cunefare     Nick Earnhart

Title:  Numerical Model for a Hydraulic In-line Silencer

Abstract:  It is proposed that an in-line hydraulic silencer with a particular engineered lining can provide an effective alternative to other current silencing technologies.  As a first step in validating this hypothesis, and to help with the design process, a numerical model is developed for a hydraulic silencer.  The silencer consists of an annular dispersive medium with a rigid outer boundary, where fluid flow is directed through the annulus.  Silencer characteristics, including input port impedance and acoustic transmission loss, are predicted by this model.  Effects of silencer geometry and material properties, including nonlinearities, are discussed.


CCEFP Announces New Administrative Director

October 30, 2009

Lisa Wissbaum headshot

The CCEFP would like to welcome Lisa Wissbaum as it's new Administrative Director.  Lisa is a graduate of the University of Minnesota, with an MPA (Master of Public Affairs) from the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute and a concentration in economic and community development.

Lisa has prior NSF experience in that she managed an NSF nanotechnology grant at the University of Minnesota's Institute of Technology from 2005-2008.  From 2008 – fall, 2009, she coordinated industry/academic workshops, the annual meeting, and handled administrative details for UMN’s Industrial Partnership for Research in Interfacial and Materials Engineering (IPrime). 

Lisa also has extensive experience in industry account, project, personnel, and University budget management.  Prior to 2005, she worked in travel management with Navigant International (recently acquired by Carlson Companies) where she focused on the overall travel needs of corporate clients, including the implementation of new technology, procurement, and travel policy management.

Lisa's combination of University and industry experience provides skills and understanding to improve the Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power’s administrative efficiency and effectiveness.

Lisa can be contacted directly by email or by phone at 612-624-4993.

Welcome aboard Lisa!


Web Developer Highlights CCEFP Website Re-Design

September 29, 2009

AAI Logo

Minneapolis web development firm August Ash, Inc, featured the CCEFP website creation project in their September newsletter.  The article details the process undertaken to create a new look and better functioning website for the Center.  Read about this project.


Purdue Student Receives Mentoring Award

September 15, 2009

Jose Garcia headshot

Congratulations to Jose Garcia, who received the Purdue “2009 Graduate Mentor of the Summer” award, for his outstanding mentoring and support of the 2009 REU participants working in the ABE fluid power lab. He was nominated by Nikki Shrank and Phong Pham, two of the Purdue CCEFP REU students.


More coverage of CCEFP's Hydro-Mechanical Transmission in Diesel Progress Magazine

September 24, 2009

The October '09 issue of Diesel Progress features an article by Amanda Bothe on CCEFP's HMT research taking place at the University of Minnesota under Professor Perry Li.  Professor Li is interviewed extensively for the article which can be downloaded in PDF format here.


Today's Fluid Power Magazine Features CCEFP Hydraulic Hybrid Passenger Vehicle


September 23, 2009

The CCEFP HHPV project is currently featured in the latest issue of Today's Fluid Power.  Read the article online at the Today's Fluid Power website.  Coverage begins on page 19.


CCEFP Hydraulic Hybrid Passenger Vehicle research featured in Hydraulics & Pneumatics Magazine

August 3, 2009

Professor Perry Li, Co-Director of the center and head researcher on test bed 3 (Hydraulic Hybrid Car) was interviewed for an article on hydraulic drivetrains by Hydraulics and Pneumatics magazine.  Also featured in the article was work done in this area by CCEFP member companies Bosch Rexroth, Parker Hannifin, and Eaton Corporation.

Read the full article at the Hydraulics & Pneumatics website.


CCEFP Launches New Website!

March 12, 2009

Welcome to the new look of the Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power!

Our new website is designed to make navigation much easier and intuitive for a wide variety of users. It is designed with both Center members and the general public in mind. A revised layout makes finding information about our research and initiatives even easier. We’ve also adopted a much cleaner design and added animation to the home page and testbed pages for some extra punch.

In addition to the new look and feel of the site, we are also proud to introduce some new features including a search box in the navigation bar, the Highlights media center with videos and a photo album, an active Calendar and Events section, access to Sakai, our online collaboration tool, as well as a whole new member’s section with several features of its own.

After creating a new account, current members will now enjoy access to a Discussion Forum, a Downloads section where regularly used files and templates will be available, and an archive of the very popular and informative Webcast series. There is also a Boarding Pass section to get brand new members up to speed when they first join the Center.

As with any new site, some of the features are still being refined and we plan to continuously add new content and revise older content over the next several weeks. Please bear with us as we continue to improve the site, but feel free to comment on what’s already here and let us know what you think!

Start your tour of the new site right here.



2008 CCEFP Student Retreat is another great success!

IMG_1202.jpgOver 20 students welcomed five representatives from industry to participate in this year's retreat which was held August 7 - 9 at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. The theme of the retreat was Industry-Student Engagement.

The CCEFP SLC had many activities planned during the event such as a SLC overview of what has been accomplished and goals for the future. A "speed-meeting" session between industry and students which allowed for more one-to-one discussion, followed by a perfect evening for an outdoor barbecue along with fun and games! Industry's participation concluded with an open mic discussion on how students and industry can be more engaged, such as stronger collaboration with research project champions to student internships to full-time employment opportunities. Industry gave an informal presentation on hot topics within the field and welcomed student feedback and inquires. Other items on the agenda were beautiful campus tours, a formal SLC meeting and a FIRST Pneumatics Outreach activity.

A warm thank you to our industry representatives who attended the meeting, a hearty congratulations to the SLC for another fine retreat, and to UIUC for kindly hosting this event!


CCEFP 2008 Annual Meeting held at MSOE

IMG_0793.jpgThe Center held its 2nd Annual Meeting at the Milwaukee School of Engineering, May 28 - 30, 2008. The agenda included a warm greeting from Hermann Viets, President of MSOE and Tom Bray, Dean of Applied Research. Professor Kim Stelson, Director of the CCEFP welcomed over 165 industry members, faculty, staff and students.

Throughout the two and one-half day meeting all research and education projects were presented. Project presentations were informative and clearly articulated progress to this point and anticipated future work. The audience was also given an opportunity to exchange dialogue with the presenters during the question and answer sessions.

Positive critique and inquisitive questions sparked further conversation into the Student Poster Session and Reception, where all students were invited to present their research within the CCEFP. The poster session allowed for more in-depth discussions with individuals on both sides of the show.

A highlight of this year1s meeting was the Industry and Student Dinner Dine-Around. Seven industry members sponsored a dinner for students and industry to mingle together in a light-hearted atmosphere. We would like to thank the following industry members for sponsoring that event: Evonik Rohmax USA, Inc., Eaton Corporation, Gates, HUSCO, Parker Hannifin, RT Dygert and Sauer-Danfoss.

2008 Annual Meeting 52008 Annual Meeting 6Another new program agenda item was a servo-valve coloring book exercise presented by Roz Dolid of MTS. Meeting participants woke early to enjoy bacon and eggs along with a lesson on the fluid flow in a servo-valve. Following the coloring book activity, the meeting resumed with additional research and test bed presentations. Mr. Mike Gust of the CCEFP presented valuable information on intellectual property and the roles of the Center in relationship to its industry members. Prof. Will Durfee presented the Center1s education and outreach initiatives. The Milwaukee School of Engineering kindly hosted a reception at the new Grohmann Museum where attendees were able to view the rooftop sculpture garden that rose high above the building that housed many forms of industrial artwork.

The concluding day of the meeting allowed for advisory boards to meet together in person to share thoughts and have discussions on the Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power. A highly anticipated panel discussion lead by industry representatives on their personal careers paths and guidance for our future fluid power academics and industrial leaders prompted much discussion between the panel and students in the audience. This year's meeting was very fruitful and sparked more enthusiasm among the CCEFP leadership, students and the Center1s industry members. The Center invited the members of the Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) who serves as an external committee to review and evaluate the Center in its current state. The Center continues to welcome feedback on its strategic direction through the SAB and its industrial partners.


FIRST Robotics Competition Team

The CCEFP sponsored a team of 20 high school students from the Fond du Lac Indian Reservation community in the midwest regional FIRST Robotics competition held at Williams Arena March 27-29.

FIRST stands for "For the Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology", and the competition was the first of its kind ever held on the University campus.

The competition started with a 15-second programmed run around the track which each robot made unassisted. Next, the robots earned points by hoisting balls over a ladder in the middle of the track and then crossing a finish line.

After the initial round of robotic competition, alliances were formed between two or three robot groups to create teams. Groups forming the team alliances exchanged and combined strategies to develop the most efficient means of competing with other teams. The team with the most points after the match ended went on to further competition with the top rated alliance traveling to Atlanta next month for the national championships.

The CCEFP sponsored and mentored the anishinaabeg ogichidaag FIRST Robotics Team formed by students from a group of schools near Cloquet, MN. As first-time competitors, they were excited to be part of the event, and they came away from the experience with a greater understanding of how to succeed in future competition.

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