ME Facilities & Capabilities

Facilities and Capabilities in Mechanical Engineering

The following list outlines the state-of-the-art laboratory facilities and research capabilities within the Mechanical Engineering department, including labs and capabilities within ME’s affiliated interdisciplinary graduate programs. The list is organized alphabetically. To view facilities and capabilities within a specific research area, visit our Research Division pages.

The shaded section includes an alphabetical list of centers, research groups and programs led by ME faculty.

Advanced Manufacturing Teaching Lab

The Advanced Manufacturing Teaching Lab hosts high-end additive manufacturing equipment capable of printing in various materials. Students in the Advanced Manufacturing program get hands-on experience with relevant equipment used in industry.

  • 3D Systems ProJet 6000: Industrial-grade high resolution stereolithography (SLA) printer that offers a wide variety of resins with cured properties that meet or exceed their standard engineering counterparts. The ProJet 6000 can also print transparent parts. It has a build volume of 250 x 250 x 250 mm and feature reproducibility as low as 0.050 mm.
  • ADAPT Modular Powder Bed Fusion Education and Research Environment (AmPERE): Student-built powder bed fusion (PBF) printer designed for studying the effects of process parameters that cannot typically be varied by users of industrial PBF printers. These parameters include scan strategies, laser power, laser spot size, and material spreading. It was designed to print steels, nickel-based super alloys, aluminum alloys, and titanium alloys. The build volume is 100 x 100 x 40 mm, and minimum layer thickness is 0.040 mm.
  • Direct Ink Write (DIW): Student-built DIW 3D printer designed for testing viscous additive manufacturing materials and studying the effects of process parameters on the additive manufacturability of these materials. The printer is equipped with several pressurized dispensing heads that allow it to print a variety of materials, including two-part (2K) mixtures, ranging in viscosity from 1cP to greater than 150,000 cP. Customizable print parameters include dispensing and slicing strategies, machine feeds and speeds, dispensing pressure, filament/nozzle diameter, and material curing methods. The machine also incorporates print monitoring equipment, including thermal and high-speed cameras. The build volume is 500 x 300 x 100 mm, with a minimum layer height of 0.040 mm.
  • EOS M270: Industrial-grade, research-focused powder bed fusion (PBF) printer that is equipped with in situ imaging capabilities for studying the physics of the PBF process and how they are affected by printing process parameters.
  • HP MultiJet Fusion 580: Multi-agent binder jetting system capable of full-color functional parts in nylon (PA 12). It provides voxel-level control of material appearance and properties and can produce parts a up to 10x the speed of other traditional polymer additive manufacturing systems.
  • Lithoz CeraFab 7500: Produces high-performance ceramics that possess equal or better material properties as those achieved using conventional manufacturing processes. By eliminating the need for tools and by keeping the level of material consumption throughout the production process to a minimum, it is possible to economically manufacture prototypes and small batches of high-performance ceramic parts.
  • MARK-10 ESM 1500 Electromechanical Load Frame: Small benchtop electromechanical load frame with a variety of fixtures for applying tensile, compressive, and bending loads to standard and atypical geometries. It is positioned on an optical breadboard to allow for image acquisition and analysis, such as digital image correlation (DIC) strain measurements. These are particularly important for complex printed geometries where the failure locations can be unintuitive. It has a force capacity of 6,700 N, resolution as low as 0.02 N, and a stroke of 800 mm.
  • Markforged Mark Two: High-end desktop material extrusion printer with a variety of easily adjustable parameters, making it well suited for everything from educational to industrial applications.
  • Shining 3D EinScan Pro 2X: Handheld 3D scanner that generates full-color digital files, which can be easily imported into commercial CAD software or directly to a printer. The Geomagic software can perform feature recognition and create solid files. The scan is 30 fps with 50,000 points per frame, and accuracy of 0.04 mm.
  • Stratasys Objet Eden260VS: High-resolution material jetting printer compatible with a broad range of proprietary UV-curable resins. The spectrum of cured resin properties include thermally stable, high strength, high stiffness, high ductility, rubber-like, variable color, and easily removable support material.
  • Stratasys F170: Industrial-grade material extrusion printer that can produce service-ready components as well as low-cost rapid prototypes. It is capable of printing PLA, ABS, ASA, TPU 92A (a durable elastomer), and soluble support material.

Contact: Dr. Garrison Hommer (ghommer@mines.edu) or Dr. Craig Brice (craigabrice@mines.edu)
Website: manufacturing.mines.edu/lab

Advanced Multiscale Building Energy Research (AMBER) Lab

The Advanced Multiscale Building Energy Research (AMBER) Lab consists of a 16 x 18 x 12 ft3 state-of-the-art environmental chamber with its own air handling unit (AHU) that supplies filtered and conditioned air that can be used for future laboratory validations. The chamber serves as a piece of equipment that provides specific environmental conditions necessary for ventilation experiments, indoor air quality assessments, thermal performance of wall assemblies, and environmental perceptions of occupants. Some of the unique characteristics of the chamber are:

  • Supply airflow rate range: 50–900 cfm
  • Percent of outdoor air: 0–100 %
  • Hydronic wall system: 1.6 kW glycol wall on one 18-ft walls with its own dedicated cooling and heating system
  • Control system: able to communicate with MATLAB and EnergyPlus via Modbus RTU communication
  • Chamber: controlled with a 6-core workstation
  • Seven-speed ceiling fan: bidirectional flow (up and down) and remote control

The chamber is equipped with laboratory-rated sensors to measure chamber air temperature, relative humidity, air-flow rate, and the chamber wall surface temperature. Chamber control system can be constant, or one can dynamically change these variables following a programmed profile or numerical calculations. The chamber also has separate data acquisition (DAQ) for collecting all data related to heat flux and temperature measurements. The AMBER Lab has more than 50 thermistors, 8 hot-sphere omnidirectional anemometers, 4 heat flux meters, 2 infrared temperature sensors, 1 infrared camera that can be controlled remotely, and 8+ plug load meters.

Contact: Dr. Paulo Tabares-Velasco (tabares@mines.edu)
Website: amber.mines.edu/lab

Center for Space Resources

The Center for Space Resources has experimental and computing laboratories located in several departments on the Colorado School of Mines campus (Mechanical, Electrical, Civil, and Chemical Engineering, Materials and Metallurgy, Geophysics, Geology, Computer Science, Physics), as well as its own dedicated Space Resources Laboratory. Click here for details on the labs used by Space Resources researchers.

Contact: Dr. Angel Abbud-Madrid (aabbudma@mines.edu)
Website: spaceresources.mines.edu/facilities

Colorado Fuel Cell Center

The Colorado Fuel Cell Center (CFCC) develops electrochemical devices to address our nation’s needs in electricity generation and energy storage. Batteries, fuel cells, electrolyzers and membrane reactors are all active topics of research and development. The CFCC has equipment and capabilities in the following areas (see cfcc.mines.edu/capabilities for complete details and specifications).

Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFC)

  • SOFC component fabrication
  • SOFC testing and characterization
  • Separated-anode reactor
  • System integration: kW-scale SOFCs
  • Proton-conducting ceramics

Fuel Processing

  • High-temperature flow reactor
  • Catalytic stagnation-flow reactor

Modeling

  • Detailed kinetic modeling
  • SOFC modeling
  • Partial oxidation and catalytic combustion modeling

 

CFCC researchers also use other facilities on campus, including

Contact: Dr. Neal Sullivan (nsulliva@mines.edu)
Website: cfcc.mines.edu

Computational Biomechanics

The Computational Biomechanics Group (CBG) applies biomechanical simulation to improve the quality of life for patients who suffer from musculoskeletal conditions. Areas of emphasis include spine, knee, and hip mechanics in both amputee and non-amputee populations. CBG research aims to improve the ability to predict musculoskeletal function in meaningful activities of daily living for both (1) individual patients (subject-specific) and (2) realistic patient populations (probabilistic modeling).

CBG researchers employ a broad range of parametric modeling techniques and statistical methods to better quantify the normal variations in anatomical shape, tissue properties, and surgical parameters that affect clinical results. The goal is to improve long-term outcomes and decrease the incidence of revision surgery following orthopaedic procedures.

Contact: Dr. Anthony Petrella (apetrell@mines.edu)
Website: cbg.mines.edu

Computational Materials and Mechanics Lab

The Computational Materials and Mechanics Lab (CMML) is focused on developing and integrating computational modeling tools and performing large-scale parallel simulations to predict and study nano- and microstructures, properties, and failure of advanced materials, including light-weight, 2D, and energy related materials. A special interest is to create advanced integrated computational models that enable the study and design of materials at different length scales to find structure-property-processing relationships. Examples of these advanced computational modeling techniques include

  • Density functional theory calculations and ab initio molecular dynamics simulations
  • Large-scale classical molecular dynamics simulations implementing second nearest neighbor (2NN) modified embedded atom method (MEAM) potentials
  • Quantitative phase-field models

CMML researchers perform large-scale parallel simulations utilizing supercomputers that allow single simulation with multi-thousand CPUs and GPUs (petascale computing). To calibrate and validate modeling efforts, different experimental techniques are employed, such as  optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy (SEM-orientation image mapping) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM).

Contact: Mohsen Asle Zaeem (zaeem@mines.edu)
Website: zaeemlab.com

Computational Materials Science and Design Lab

In the Computational Materials Science and Design (CMSD) lab, researchers integrate high-performance computing and theory to discover the fundamental structure-property relationships of materials that will enable the predictive design of advanced materials with tunable properties. Of particular interest are materials where defects and interfacial-driven properties can be effectively tuned or controlled to enable property enhancement, such as nanostructure alloys and ceramics, multicomponent laminates, shape memory alloys, materials for energy storage, 2D materials, and hierarchical metals.

CMSD uses a number of developed materials modeling tools, including: atomistic modeling methods, density functional theory, phase field modeling, crystal plasticity, and other advanced computational modeling tools in the following areas:

  • Multiscale polycrystalline metal alloys
  • Interfacial (e.g., grain boundary) structure-property predictions in metals and ceramics
  • Discovery and design of nanostructured materials
  • Modeling multi-functionality in emerging materials
  • Microstructure damage initiation and structural health
  • Fundamental deformation mechanisms leading to high strength, stability, and hardness

Contact: Dr. Garritt Tucker (tucker@mines.edu)https://extreme.mines.edu/
Website: extreme.mines.edu

Continuous Casting Center

The Continuous Casting Center (CCC) is a cooperative effort among industry, university and government to conduct fundamental and applied research on the continuous casting of steel, a process that produces 95% of the world’s steel. Founded in 1989 by its director, Professor Brian G. Thomas, the CCC's objectives are (1) to develop computational models of continuous casting of steel and related processes, and (2) to apply these models to problems of practical interest to the steel industry.

Roughly 10 companies related to the steel industry contribute annually to the CCC, in addition to grants from the National Science Foundation, and collaborations with researchers in several other universities, including the Continuous Casting Consortium at the University of Illinois and the Steel Center at Colorado School of Mines.

The CCC features:

  • About 10 researchers and visiting scholars, and high-performance computer (HPC) workstations, housed in W470-I Brown Hall
  • Access to the HPC system, MIO, at Mines
  • Advanced computational software, including Fluent, through a university partnership with Ansys, Inc.
  • Abaqus, by Dassault Systèmes, and other computational tools for conducting simulations of fluid flow, heat transfer, solidification, thermal stress analysis and other phenomena related to the continuous casting process
  • A physical water model of the continuous casting process, housed in W160 Brown Hall, for Senior Design and research projects
  • Metallography equipment and access to advanced microscopy, (in both Hill Hall and Brown Hall), for analysis of defects in steel samples

Models of various aspects of the continuous casting process developed and licensed by the CCC are in use at many companies. These models undergo rigorous verification with analytical solutions and validation with measurements conducted on the commercial process at the steel companies, as part of student research projects. By understanding the fundamental mechanisms of how defects form during the casting process, CCC research results help to improve the efficiency and safety of the continuous casting process and the quality of steel products.

Contact: Dr. Brian Thomas (bgthomas@mines.edu)

Data-Driven Advanced Manufacturing and Materials Lab

The Data-Driven Advanced Manufacturing and Materials (DDAMM) Lab is dedicated to developing high-throughput, data-informed manufacturing and mechanical behavior research and development technologies.

  • Digital Image Correlation System: DIC is a non-contact full-field optical strain measurement technique used in conjunction with various mechanical testing techniques. Samples are speckled and a series of images is captured at a fixed frequency using high-resolution cameras synchronized with the load frame. The VIC 3D and ARAMIS software packages are used to analyze the images and compute strain measurements.
  • Extensometry: Extensometers provide high-resolution, 1D strain measurements during mechanical testing. These measurements are necessary for accurate determination of material stiffness and strain-controlled testing. Special extensometers are used for internal (e.g., environmental chamber) and external (e.g., induction furnace) high-temperature testing.
  • MARK-10 ESM 1500 Electromechanical Load Frame: A small, benchtop load frame that is easily configurable for tensile, compressive and bending testing of samples. It is well suited to characterize 3D-printed compression cylinders imaged with the Zeiss Xradia Versa. By combining the tomographic imaging capabilities of the Zeiss and the mechanical testing abilities of the Mark 10, we can get a unique glimpse into the mechanical properties of a 3D-printed sample as well as the structure responsible for those properties and the process that produced that structure.
  • MARK-10 Series TSTM-DC: Small benchtop torsion load frame with a torque capacity of 11,500 Nmm and resolution down to 0.2 Nmm.
  • MTS 370.10 Uniaxial Servohydraulic Load Frame: The MTS 370.10 provides high-fidelity uniaxial mechanical data on additively manufactured standard tensile test specimens for larger, structural materials. When combined with the composition- and orientation-related degrees of freedom available in metals 3D printers, this load frame provides an invaluable comparison of tension, compression and fatigue test data for AM parts with the extensive test data available for traditionally manufactured parts.
  • MTS 370.25 Uniaxial Servohydraulic Load Frame with Environmental Chamber: The MTS 370.25 provides high-fidelity uniaxial mechanical data on additively manufactured standard tensile test specimens for larger, structural materials. When combined with the composition- and orientation-related degrees of freedom available in metals 3D printers, this load frame provides an invaluable comparison of tension, compression and fatigue test data for AM parts with the extensive test data available for traditionally manufactured parts. It is also equipped with an MTS environmental chamber for low and high temperature testing from –129 to 315 °C.
  • Keyence VHX5000 Optical Microscope: Optical microscopy is a cornerstone of metallurgical materials analysis. The advanced image processing capabilities of the Keyence VHX-5000 enable 3D surface reconstruction. When combined with metallurgical analysis, the library of 1D and 2D measurement tools can be used to quantify phases, voids and other structural features. Differential interference contrast and polarized light microscopy expose features in polished and etched metallurgical samples that reveal details about grain growth, microstructural evolution and compositional segregation.
  • Malvern Panalytical Empyrean X-ray Diffractometer: Provides crystallographic and compositional information critical to understanding part mechanical performance. Through small- and wide-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS/WAXS), the ability to test samples at temperatures ranging from −200 °C to 1100 °C, and the capture of information on texture, residual stress and pair distribution functions, the Panalytical Empyrean demonstrates how the crystal structure of 3D-printed metals changes during operation at high and low temperatures. This piece of equipment is located on the ground level of CoorsTek.
  • UltraFlex UltraHeat SM Induction Furnace: The UltraFlex induction furnace is coupled with load frames for in situ thermomechanical monotonic and fatigue testing. High temperature mechanical property measurements are critical for aerospace applications, Ti alloys, and Ni-based superalloys, among others.
  • Zeiss Xradia Versa 3D X-ray Microscope: Offers cutting-edge, nondestructive tomographic imaging and grain reconstruction. X-ray tomography allows for the collection of both surface and internal renderings, which are used to distinguish between phases and identify defects such as porosity. Nondestructive diffraction contrast tomography (DCT) provides direct 3D crystallographic grain reconstructions for crystalline materials. This piece of equipment is located on the ground level of CoorsTek.

Equipment located in the Mechanical Testing Lab and the Electron Microscopy Lab in Hill Hall is also essential to high-throughput, data-informed characterization and analysis.

Contact: Dr. Garrison Hommer (ghommer@mines.edu) or Dr. Craig Brice (craigabrice@mines.edu)

Energy Conversion and Storage Lab

The Energy Conversion and Storage Lab provides fabrication and testing equipment for a range of systems related to clean energy and water. Lab capabilities include:

  • Spin coating
  • Controlled temperature and humidity chamber for device testing at precisely controlled conditions
  • Controlled environment furnaces for heating under controlled gas composition
  • Low-oxygen and low-humidity glove box for battery testing
  • Quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation monitoring (QCM-D) for highly resolved mass uptake and viscoelastic properties
  • Electrochemical test equipment for batteries and fuel cells

The Energy Conversion and Storage Lab is shared by two research groups: CORES and the Jackson Research Group. Researchers also use shared capabilities located across campus, including the Rocky Mountain Center for Environmental XPS (https://www.mines.edu/exps), the Mines Electron Microscopy Lab (https://emlab.mines.edu), and the Mines NEXUS facilities (mines.edu/nexus).

Contacts:
Dr. Steven DeCaluwe (decaluwe@mines.edu) – CORES research group (cores-research.mines.edu)
Dr. Greg Jackson (gsjackso@mines.edu) – Jackson research group

Extreme Structures and Materials (X-STRM) Lab

The Extreme Structures and Materials (X-STRM) Lab houses state-of-the-art equipment used to investigate material and/or structural behavior across 10 orders of magnitude in strain rate, with temperature and electrical coupling capabilities, a wide range of full-field optical diagnostics, 2W Coherent laser and white light illumination, and ultra-high-speed imaging (5 Mfps).

  • Two-stage light-gas accelerator (rebuild in progress, ETA summer 2021)
  • Single-stage gas accelerator (rebuild in progress, ETA December 2020)
  • Patented impact fatigue device
  • Unique long-bar striker system for dynamic fracture investigations
  • Compression Kolsky (split-Hopkinson) bar systems for both low and high impedance material investigations
  • Tensile Kolsky bar (coming in 2021)
  • 50-foot shock tube (in collaboration with Dr. Veronica Eliasson, coming in 2021)
  • Standard material load frame with thermal chamber
  • Ultra-high-speed imaging systems (5 million fps) with LED, strobe and laser illumination setups
  • Optical microscope
  • Wide range of optomechanics and lens systems, electromechanical coupling ability with high voltage power supplies, etc.
  • Complete material preparation setup, including a diamond saw, an Allied High Tech Multiprep material polishing system, a precision micro-balance, charge amplifiers, oscilloscopes, and hot plates
  • High-performance computer workstations with Abaqus, MatchID Digital Image Correlation software, AutoCAD, and MATLAB

Contact: Dr. Leslie Lamberson (les@mines.edu)
Website: dynamic-lamberson.com

Functional Biomechanics Laboratory

Researchers in the Functional Biomechanics Lab investigate whole-body biomechanics with experimental and computational approaches. We use gait analysis techniques including motion capture, ground reaction force measurement and electromyography to quantify walking mechanics. We combine these efforts with detailed musculoskeletal models to generate movement simulations. Through these methods, we can determine the biomechanical effects of physical therapy, surgical and device interventions and optimize interventions for individual patients.

  • 7-camera Qualisys Oqus 300+ Motion Capture System, 1.3MP, 500Hz frame rate at full resolution
  • 4 AMTI OR6-7 Force Plates
  • 16-channel Delsys Trigno wireless surface electromyography system including tri-axial accelerometers and two foot switch sensors

Contact: Dr. Anne Silverman (asilverm@mines.edu)
Website: fbl.mines.edu

High-Pressure Flow Reactor Lab

The high-pressure entrained-flow reactor is a laboratory-scale research vessel designed for coal, biomass, and solid waste gasification or combustion. The reactor can reach a temperature of 1650 °C and pressures to 50 atm. At the heart of the reactor is a 1 m long, 5 cm diameter silicon carbide heated tube. There are four heating zones along the length of the reactor providing uniform heating of the SiC tube. Nine optical ports provide access for optical diagnostics at three axial locations.

The gasifier is equipped for solid (fine particulates), liquid, or gas injection. The gasifier is capable of co-injecting steam, oxygen, and other gases with liquid or solid feedstocks. Gases are extracted from the bottom of the reactor and analyzed using gas chromatography and FTIR spectrometry. Unreacted particles are filtered from the exhaust stream for characterization and determining carbon balance. The gasifier facility also includes equipment for grinding, sieving, and injecting fine particulates.

The gasifier is ideal for characterizing carbonaceous materials for gasification, testing syngas processing technologies (e.g., hydrogen separation and sulfur removal), and studying gasification kinetics. The compact size of the reactor reduces operating costs and allows for rapid testing of diverse feedstocks over a large range of operating conditions. In addition, the reactor is suitable for demonstrating optical diagnostics in the harsh environment typical of gasification.

Contact: Dr. Jason Porter (jporter@mines.edu)
Website: modes.mines.edu/facilities/

Hildreth Lab

The Hildreth Lab encompasses 1,320 square feet of chemical lab space dedicated to nanoscale to centimeter scale additive manufacturing research.

3D PRINTERS

  • Microfab Jetlab II Precision: Drop-on-demand materials printer that can print up to four inks/materials serially
  • Nordson Pro4 3-Axis Dispensing Robot: Used to metallize photovoltaic cells and investigate the impact of reaction kinetics on the morphology and materials properties of printed reactive inks
  • EHD Nano-Drip Printer: Lab-built electrohydrodynamic (EHD) printer for nanoscale additive manufacturing

FURNACES

  • Lindberg Blue M 1200ªC 3" Tube Furnace: Single-zone (24" heated length), 5440 W, 3" tube furnace with digital controller used to sensitize non-ferrous alloys in inert environments
  • Deltec Inert Gas Furnace: Front-loading atmosphere envelope vacuum laboratory furnace

METROLOGY

  • Ametek Parstat Multichannel Potentiostat Chassis with EIS: Equipped with eight PMC 1000 potentiostats (±12V, ±2 A, 2 MHz EIS) and one PMC 10A booster
  • Ametek 616A Rotating Disk Electrode: High-precision, low mass rotator that performs well with virtually any potentiostat
  • Pine Jacketed Corrosion Cell: Jacketed corrosion cell with drain used to measure the electrochemical and corrosion response of sensitized metals and printed reactive inks
  • Pine Instruments WaveNow Portable Potentiostat/Galvanostat: Potentiostat with ±4 V, ±100 mA range.
  • TA Instruments Q20 Differential Scanning Calorimeter (DSC): Used to measure enthalpy of reactions, heat of vaporizations, and reaction kinetics of new reactive ink systems
  • TA Instruments Q50 Thermogravimetric Analyzer (TGA) with Gas Evolution Furnace: Used to measure solvent partial pressures, reaction temperatures, reaction product vaporization temperatures/rates
  • Thermo-Fisher Nicolete IS-50 Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) Spectrometer: This FTIR with TGA-IR and ATR modules is used to monitor/measure reaction products, reaction rates, and partial pressures
  • Mettler-Toledo S470 pH/Conductivity Meter: pH/conductivity meter for fluids
  • Elveflow OBII MKII Microfluidics Controller: Two-channel microfluidics control with flow meter for both positive and negative flows
  • Rheosense microVisc Rheometer: Portable rheometer for viscosity measurements of reactive inks
  • Motic BA310MET-T Trinocular Optical Microscope: Trinocular optical microscope for transmission and reflection optical imaging

ELECTRONICS

  • Signatone S-302-4 Four-Point Probe Station
  • Keysight 34420A Nanovolt/Micro-Ohm Meter
  • Trek 10/10B-HS-L-CE High Voltage Amplifier
  • Keysight 33510A Waveform Generator
  • Keysight DSOX3023A Oscilloscope
  • Keysight N2790A High Voltage Floating Probe
  • Keysight N5752A 600 V Power Supply
  • Keysight U3606B 30 Watt Power Supply
  • Keysight 34411A Multimeter

FABRICATION, SYNTHESIS & LAB SUPPLIES

  • Glowforge Laser Cutter
  • World Precision Instruments PUL-1000 Micropipette Puller
  • World Precision Instruments MBS Microbeveler System
  • Plasma Etch Venus 25 Plasma Cleaner
  • IKA RV10 Rotary Evaporatory
  • Purelab Flex 3 18.2 MΩ-cm Deionized Water Polisher

SOFTWARE

  • Comsol Multiphysics
  • Apple's Xcode Integrated Developer Environment
  • SwiftVISA

Contact: Dr. Owen Hildreth (ohildreth@mines.edu)
Website: hildrethlab.mines.edu/equipment

Intelligent Robotics and Systems Laboratory

Researchers in the Intelligent Robotics and Systems Lab seek to develop artificial intelligence techniques to improve the flexibility, adaptability and robustness of robots and complex systems so they can deal with changing or new problems and situations.

Toward this goal, IRSL researchers develop cognitive architectures to achieve a relatively high level of robot autonomy. These architectures allow robots to understand high-level, abstract, implicit knowledge and use this knowledge in a flexible way to generate behaviors that compensate for limitations or changing conditions or to handle new situations or tasks.

Teleoperation Zone:

  • Free Hand Teleoperation through Optitrack IR cameras and RGBD cameras paired with a VR headset to infer human hand pose and user intent
  • Tool Use Teleoperation through a 3D Systems Touch haptic joystick and Tobii eye gaze tracker to provide feedback to a user during cooperation tasks

Robots:

  • 6 DoF Kinova MICO arm to complete teleoperation and autonomous tasks
  • Softbank's Pepper/Nao to mimic human motion in remote environments
  • Hummingbird Quadcopter high payload capacity, used for maneuver learning
  • Turtlebot: lightweight easy to use mobile robot. Used for teaching and introducing students to mobile robotics
  • ROSbot: lightweight differential drive mobile robot
  • Magni: High payload(100kg) differential drive mobile robot

Contact: Dr. Xiaoli Zhang (xlzhang@mines.edu)
Website: xzhanglab.mines.edu

M3 Robotics Laboratory

Researchers in the M3Robotics lab perform fundamental and applied research to enable transformative technologies in the areas of medical robotics, mining and GPS-denied robotics, and magnetic manipulation. Examples of ongoing work include applying probabilistic methods to enable magnetically manipulated flexible catheters for incision-free surgeries and simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) for navigation or augmented reality display in underground environments. Students make contributions in the areas of model development, system identification, and experimental evaluation.

Software:

  • Extensive in-house library of C++ codes to support the application of Markov process estimators and real-time control of complex dynamic systems
  • Efficient codes for the modeling and calibration of DC magnetic fields from multiple sources
  • Analysis packages: COMSOL, MatLab, SolidWorks

Hardware:

  • 2x Quadrotors for autonomous navigation experiments
  • ClearPath Husky for ground navigation experiments
  • 4 LiDAR scanners and 3 mmWave radar scanners
  • 6-Coil Helmholtz magnetic system (10 cm workspace, 30 mT fields)
  • Clinically sized permanent magnet system (60 cm workspace, 50 mT fields)
  • ABB industrial 6-DoF robotic arm

Contact: Dr. Andrew Petruska (apetruska@mines.edu)
Website: m3robotics.mines.edu

ME Instructional Machine Shop

The Mechanical Engineering Instructional Machine Shop is located on the first floor of Brown Hall, room W130. The machine shop is used to teach students to machine and fabricate metal and plastic components for projects. Undergraduate ME students learn the basics of hands-on machining and creating components for projects through their senior design semester. The shop also supports graduate students and researchers with its ability to fabricate custom parts unique to the research frontier.

The Instructional Machine Shop includes:

  • Bridgeport mills
  • Manual lathes
  • Haas MiniMill2 CNCs
  • Waterjet cutter
  • TIG and MIG welders
  • Drill presses
  • Bandsaws
  • Hand tools

Contact: Casey Bernal (cbernal@mines.edu)

Modeling and Advanced Visualization Studio (MAVS)
The Modeling and Advanced Visualization Studio (MAVS) is designed to provide mixed-reality visualization experiences to users enabling enhanced education and knowledge transfer through immersive demonstrations. MAVS was started by Dr. Garritt J. Tucker primarily to aid in the improvement of both learning and collaborative environments for students from different STEM backgrounds. Accordingly, collaborations with Dr. Sebnem Düzgün (Mining Engineering Department), and Dr. Tod Clapp (Human Anatomy, Colorado State University) enables broader partnerships and effectiveness of immersive technologies.
 
MAVS currently houses multiple linked virtual reality machines, using software designed by colleagues from Colorado State University to showcase cutting edge research at Mines. Some of the demonstrations that MAVS currently exhibits include:
 
  • Atomic-scale chemical segregation maps from atom probe tomography (APT)
  • Metallic microstructures from FIB-sectioned scanning electron microscopy (SEM)
  • Deformation mechanistic maps from molecular dynamics (MD) simulations
  • Dislocation and grain boundary structure and properties from computational modeling

Contact: Dr. Garritt Tucker (tucker@mines.edu)

Nuclear Science and Engineering Center

The Nuclear Science and Engineering Center (NuSEC) tries to support faculty engaged in research related to nuclear science and engineering at Colorado School of Mines by combining resources and creating infrastructure. NuSEC also manages the research relationship, the space and the infrastructure occupied by Mines researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) TRIGA Reactor on the Denver Federal Center in Lakewood, CO. At this point participation in the center includes faculty from  Applied Mathematics and Statistics, Chemistry, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, and Physics. Through its research the center supports undergraduate and graduate students in the programs of the mentioned departments as well as the interdisciplinary graduate program in nuclear engineering.

Contact: Dr. Jeff King (kingjc@mines.edu)
Website: nusec.mines.edu

Operations Research with Engineering Lab

The Operations Research with Engineering lab focuses primarily on computational modeling, specifically, mixed-integer (nonlinear) optimization, in the following areas of application:

  • Combined heat and power system design and operation
  • Distributed energy generation
  • Concentrated solar power design and dispatch
  • Open pit and underground mine design and operation
  • Continouus steel casting
  • Sports analytics
  • Petroleum engineering

Active collaborators include faculty in Mechanical Engineering, Applied Math and Statistics, Economics and Business, Computer Science, and Petroleum Engineering at Colorado School of Mines; Mining Engineering at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology; the Business School and Engineering Faculty at Universidad Adolfo Ibanez; the Industrial Engineering and Operations Research Department at the University of California at Berkeley; and the Industrial Engineering and Management Sciences Department at Northwestern University. There are also active collaborations with researchers in several groups at the National Renewable Energy Lab.

State-of-the-art hardware includes 9 machines (primarily Dell PowerEdge Servers) with up to 192 GB of RAM and two hex core server grade Intel Xeon CPUs.

Contact: Dr. Alexandra Newman (anewman@mines.edu)
Website: orwe.mines.edu

Optical Diagnostics Lab

The Optical Diagnostics Lab is a 2100 ft2 space that houses laser diagnostic equipment, optical tables, burners, combustion chambers, furnaces, fuel injection pressure vessels, and pulsed and short-pulsed lasers. The lab also has several research-grade cameras and a host of optical detectors, optics, and filters as well as a variety of spectrometers, detectors, optics, and other laser sources. To support research, the lab is outfitted with chemical hoods, liquid and gas storage, a wet lab, and a controlled low-humidity and oxygen glove box. Specific equipment includes:

Analytical equipment

  • Keithley picoammeter/voltage supply
  • Gas chromatography
  • Micro GC
  • Mass spectrometer
  • Potentiostat/galvanostat

High-speed data acquisition equipment

  • National Instruments 8 simultaneous analog input, 2 MS/s/ch
  • Gage CobraMax 4 GS/s, 2-channel, 8-bit digitizer

Optical sources

  • Continuum Nd:Yag Leopard picosecond pulsed laser
  • Nd:Yag nanosecond pulsed laser
  • Nd:Yag CW laser
  • CO2 CW laser
  • HeNe laser (IR & Vis)
  • Argon-Ion laser CW
  • Deuterium, halogen, tungsten, and xenon lamps.

Optical cells/accessories

  • Heated liquid cell (25 °C to 200 °C)
  • Variable pathlength liquid cells (KBr, CaF2, UV quartz windows)
  • Long pathlength gas cells
  • High-pressure optical cells
  • Attenuated total reflection (ATR) stage (diamond and germanium)
  • Temperature-controlled diamond ATR

Optical diagnostic capabilities

  • Ballistic imaging
  • Raman spectroscopy
  • FTIR spectroscopy (gases and liquids)
  • UV/VIS spectroscopy
  • LIF, PLIF, Mie scattering for droplet size
  • Spray imaging
  • Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS)
  • Tunable diode laser absorption spectroscopy
  • Cavity ringdown absorption spectroscopy

Contact: Dr. Jason Porter (jporter@mines.edu)
Website: modes.mines.edu/facilities/

Shock and Impact Lab
Shock and Impact Lab: Our research interests are multi-disciplinary and range from shock wave dynamics to fracture mechanics — all explored relying on a strong foundation of experimental mechanics coupled with different types of ultra high-speed photography techniques.
  • Exploding wire setup that can explode a single wire or multiple wires simultaneously, in 2D or 3D test sections
  • Square cross-section area horizontal shock tube
  • Shock tube that can be tilted from the vertical to the horizontal direction in 1-degree intervals
  • Single-stage gas gun, 7-ft long, 2-in. diameter barrel
  • Z-folded optical system (10-in. diameter) that can be used as a schlieren system, photo elasticity system, caustics in transmission, or combinations thereof
  • Ultra-high-speed camera: Shimadzu HPV-X2 capable of up to 10,000,000 frames per second at a resolution of 250 pixels by 400 pixels
  • Digital image correlation setup
  • HAMr device to study repeated impact onto different types of materials including biological samples
  • Mechanical snapping shrimp setup
  • Wide range of sensors, strain gages, amplifiers, signal conditioners, optomechanics, and oscilloscopes

Contact: Dr. Veronica Eliasson (eliasson@mines.edu)
Website: eliasson.mines.edu

In 2024, the year of our 150th anniversary, we will celebrate Colorado School of Mines’ past, present and possibilities. By celebrating and supporting the Campaign for MINES@150 you will help elevate Mines to be an accessible, top-of-mind and first-choice for students, faculty, staff, recruiters and other external partners. When you give, you are ensuring Mines becomes even more distinctive and highly sought-after by future students, alumni, industry, and government partners over the next 150 years. We look forward to celebrating Mines’ sesquicentennial with you and recognizing the key role you play in making the MINES@150 vision a reality through your investments of time, talent and treasure. Give now