Multi-disciplinary SoCalGas Teams Conduct Real-world Research

Southern California Gas Co. teams

Some engineers work for years before one of their designs makes it out into the world. But thanks to a collaborative program between the CSULB College of Engineering and Southern California Gas Co., some students have that opportunity as an undergraduate.

Each year, SoCalGas assigns technical problems to teams of mechanical engineering and chemical engineering students who work to resolve them as part of their Senior Design Projects. The problems are challenging and thought-provoking. Rather than draw on results from other researchers, the students must come up with solutions of their own. Continue reading “Multi-disciplinary SoCalGas Teams Conduct Real-world Research”

Southern California Gas Company Teams Show Off Senior Projects

Reducing emissions from gas grills and pasta cookers. Finding a cost-effective method to detect methane leaks in residential walls. Developing a tool that can return compressed pipes to their original shape.

These were some of the technical problems that students tackled as part of the CSULB College of Engineering’s partnership program with the Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas).

“This is a win-win opportunity,” said Hal Snyder, SoCalGas Vice President of Human Resources, Diversity, and Inclusion “Students obtain practical experience, and you’re actually working on things that can help our company.”

The four-year-old CSULB program is led by Rodger R. Schwecke, SoCalGas Senior Vice President of Gas Transmission and Storage. Schwecke, a 1983 B.S. in chemical engineering graduate, said, “It’s great to see these bright engineering students take an idea from concept to physical demonstration, with supporting test data to show results.  Ideas such as addressing the ovality of plastic pipe prior to connections, that can turn into commercially viable applications to help our business.” Continue reading “Southern California Gas Company Teams Show Off Senior Projects”

Student Capstone Project Wins National Manufacturing Contest

PlaneKool prototype
The PlaneKool prototype Heinrich Gerhardt designed is half the weight of competitors.

Senior capstone projects are supposed to measure students’ experience and knowledge—and in the case of Heinrich Gerhardt, there’s a lot to measure.

A Northrop Grumman engineering designer for more than a decade, Gerhardt headed back to school part-time in order to get a promotion at work. He’s been attending Cal State Long Beach for five years now, and is enrolled in Manufacturing Engineering Technology, a major that’s no longer offered.

“The joke in my household is, ‘Will I graduate first or retire first?’” said Gerhardt, who designs mechanical systems and wind tunnel test models in Northrop Grumman’s Test and Evaluation Engineering department. Continue reading “Student Capstone Project Wins National Manufacturing Contest”

SoCalGas Sponsors Student Research and Development Program

Southern California Gas Company

The Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) and the College of Engineering (COE) have launched a capstone senior project class at CSULB that is engaging interdisciplinary teams of top-achieving students in innovative, real-world research and development projects. Each participating student team works for an entire academic year on a real-world engineering, technology or business problem selected by SoCalGas.

The selection process for this program is highly competitive, with only top-achieving seniors from the Engineering, Computer Science and Business departments being considered by a selection committee comprised of representatives from SoCalGas’ Engineering, Emerging Technologies, and Human Resources departments. Though receiving guidance from CSULB faculty and senior engineers from SoCalGas, each student team is responsible for developing its own project strategy, organization, tasks and budget, and for ultimately delivering a working prototype with commercialization potential.

“All indications thus far suggest that this is a highly beneficial experience for all of the students involved,” said Parviz Yavari, professor in CSULB’s Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering department and instructor of this new course. “Each team member is receiving vital firsthand experience in negotiating project plans, in making presentations, in adjusting to changing conditions, and in writing a final report—in short, in being a professional engineer.”

The College of Engineering is making plans to expand this program so that many more students can benefit from it. “We are hoping to offer multiple sections of a capstone senior project class that follows this innovative model,” said Forouzan Golshani, dean of the College of Engineering. “Ideally each student in our Honors program will have the opportunity to participate in a similar initiative.”

Parviz Yavari Wins ASNT Faculty Grant Award

Parviz Yavari
Parviz Yavari

Parviz Yavari, Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at CSULB, was recognized for his achievements in advancing education by the American Society for Nondestructive Testing (ASNT) at the society’s Fall Conference and Quality Testing show on Nov. 14.

ASNT President Martin Trimm, joined by Chairperson Sharon Vukelich, presented the Faculty Fellowship award for achievements related to Yavari’s work with Calif. State Univ. at Long Beach. An $8,000 stipend is a part of the ASNT’s award package.

“We are proud to recognize this distinguished group of achievers whose dedication and contributions to the nondestructive testing industry exemplify the mission of our society,” Vukelich said.

“Each one of the honorees we present tonight has made significant contributions to the advancement of nondestructive testing and our society. They truly distinguish themselves by these accomplishments.”

The educational award, bestowed at the ASNT annual awards banquet, is extended to two people in the United States for their contributions advancing nondestructive testing techniques, an area of science that examines components and systems in a manner that does not impair their further usefulness. Current areas for applying new and advanced non-destructive testing and evaluation technology include monitoring of manufacturing and fabrication processes, aging aircraft, power-plant life extension and deteriorating civil engineering structures. Along with Yavari, Piervincenzo Rizzo, of the University of Pittsburgh was also named as a Faculty Grant recipient.

The American Society for Non-destructive Testing, Inc. (ASNT) is a nonprofit corporation and the world’s largest technical society for non-destructive testing (NDT) professionals. The organization promotes a forum for exchange of non-destructive testing technical information, educational materials and programs, standards and services for qualification and certification and facilitates research and technology applications. It was founded in 1941 and involves 9,000 technical professionals from affiliated companies throughout the world. Its mission is to create a safer world by promoting the profession and technologies of non-destructive testing.