Sandia LabNews

Mechanical engineering society elects fellows from Sandia

Fellows of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers make up only 3.1 percent of ASME’s 107,895 members. Sandia engineers Cliff Ho, Hy Tran, and Kevin Dowding now are members of that elite group. Election as a fellow “recognizes exceptional engineering achievements and contributions to the engineering profession,” according to the organization.

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Cliff Ho

Cliff Ho: innovating in solar, water, and environmental research

Cliff Ho (8823) recently led a team that developed the world’s first high-temperature falling particle receiver system for concentrating solar power. Cliff’s work helped improve concentrating solar power performance and capabilities while lowering the cost for the large-scale source of clean energy. His falling particle receiver won an R&D 100 award in 2016. He won another R&D 100 award earlier in his career for a tool that mitigates hazardous glare from solar panels and was adopted by the Federal Aviation Administration and Department of Defense to improve safety near airports and military sites.

Cliff led several water programs sponsored by the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency to ensure safe and sustainable water supplies, including the US Central Regional Workshop to examine the energy-water nexus. He led research in water treatment and distribution security, including ultraviolet disinfection and modeling to predict how contaminants would move through water distribution networks, and he developed microchemical sensors to monitor environmental contaminants in wells. Cliff also led a large project to develop modeling for subsurface heat and fluid flow for nuclear waste management, and his approach has been broadly used for a variety of energy and environmental applications.

Cliff received his master’s and doctorate in mechanical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley and his bachelor’s from the University of Wisconsin. He received the National Asian American Engineer of the Year award in 2010, holds 10 patents, has published two books and serves as the associate editor for the Solar Energy Journal. He was an adjunct professor at the University of New Mexico from 1996 to 2003 and received the university’s Outstanding Professor Award in 1997.

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Hy Tran

Hy Tran: calibrating with nanoscale accuracy

Hy Tran (2500) provides technical leadership for all dimensional, force, and mass measurement science (metrology) with the DOE and NNSA enterprise. He has improved the accuracy of high fidelity measurements and standards needed for high-reliability nuclear weapons components through innovative statistical modeling. He has expanded the research done at Sandia’s Primary Standards Laboratory, and his leadership in measurement science outreach and education through professional organizations has helped expand ASME’s role in metrology.

Hy won an R&D 100 award for a three-dimensional micro-machined calibration reference standard that improves measurement accuracy in Mesoscale Measurement Machines used for high-volume parts manufacturing. His calibration reference standard is 10 times more accurate and less expensive than its predecessor, and can be used in the manufacture of miniaturized devices such as fuel injectors, watch components, and inkjet printers.

Hy received his doctorate and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from Stanford University, and holds bachelor’s degrees in life sciences and mechanical engineering from MIT. He performs educational outreach through his involvement with the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology and serves as the vice president for learning and development for the National Conference of Standards Laboratories International.

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Kevin Dowding

Kevin Dowding: computational modeling for national security

Kevin Dowding (1544) has made significant technical and leadership contributions to national security by developing computational modeling for nuclear weapon design. He has served as the technical lead to integrate computational modeling for the design and qualification of Sandia’s B61 life extension program and pioneered computational approaches for understanding and measuring margins and uncertainty in abnormal thermal environments.

Kevin is a founding member and co-author of the verification and validation standard released by the ASME Committee for Verification and Validation of Computational Fluid Dynamics and Heat Transfer. He has been a reviewer for more than 10 journals and the National Science Foundation. He earned his bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate in mechanical engineering from Michigan State University.