Students, faculty attend national mineral engineering conference

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration (SME) held its 143rd Annual Meeting and Exhibit from February 23 to 26 in Salt Lake City, Utah, with the theme “Leadership in Uncertain Times.” The annual meeting hosted 6,722 attendees from all 50 states and several other countries, including 22 students from Penn State. 

Students attending the conference from the John and Willie Leone Family Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering (EME) in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences and from the College of Engineering had the opportunity to network with professionals in the field, present their research findings, meet alumni and learn more about the vast range of career possibilities in the mining and metallurgy fields.

Four graduate students and four faculty from Penn State authored papers presented at the meeting and Antonio Nieto, associate professor of mining engineering, chaired the Mining and Exploration session “Technology: Underground Mining Projects and Innovation."

Richard Schatz, graduate student in EME, presented “Comparative Analysis of Lead Acid, Lithium Ion, and Sodium Metal Halide Batteries for Underground Mining Vehicles,” which detailed six criteria used to evaluate battery cell safety, environmental footprint, life span, degradation, scalability and toughness.

“It was interesting to see how many of the companies I was familiar with from my electrochemistry studies were able to adapt their products to cater to mining applications," said Schatz. "I was surprised to find that battery technology was being pursued by many more companies than I was expecting."

Ali Naeimipour, graduate student in EME, Soheil Bahrampour, graduate student in electrical engineering, and Jamal Rostami, associate professor of mining engineering and interim undergraduate program chair of mining engineering, presented “Instrumented Roof-bolter for Ground Characterization and Support Optimization.” The presentation described their research, supported by J.H. Fletcher & Co., on structural support design for different sections of mines, improvement in drilling systems, and examination of borehole probing methods for estimating rock masses.

EME and the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences’ Office of Development and Alumni Relations held a reception for alumni, faculty, students, and friends. Six Penn State alumni also were honored at division luncheons and received awards for their contributions to the field.

Students greatly enjoyed the opportunity to attend the conference, Schatz said: “It was very useful to be able to talk with the engineers about their prospects and challenges they were facing. It was also interesting conversing with mining engineers and finding similarities between our two differing specialties.”

SME is a professional society of 15,000 members, representing all professionals serving the minerals industry in more than 85 countries. SME members include engineers, geologists, metallurgists, educators, students, and researchers. SME advances the worldwide minerals community through information exchange and professional development.

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Last Updated April 24, 2014