Research Inquiries

For inquiries related to SD Mines Research, contact:

Research Affairs

S.D. School of Mines & Technology
501 E. St. Joseph Street
Suite 102, O'Harra Building
Rapid City, SD  57701

(605) 394-2493

Research@Mines

Research@Mines

Research at Mines happens every day of the year, involves faculty and students at every academic level, and frequently includes collaboration across the state, the nation and the globe.

$540,000 NSF Grant Boosts 6-12th Grade STEM Teaching Efficacy

Teachers at Mines this summer taking part in the SD-RET program.

Teachers in South Dakota now have the chance to work side-by-side with faculty at SD Mines and bring what they learn back to the classroom.

The Sustainable Development-Research Experience for Teachers (SD-RET) program helps integrate new engineering and science technologies into 6-12th grade classrooms in rural America. The program is thanks to a $543,466 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). It gives teachers new tools and resources to improve Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) curriculum aligned with state standards. The grant increases collaboration between South Dakota teachers, industry partners and Mines faculty..

The SD-RET program helps integrate new engineering and science technologies into 6-12th grade classrooms in rural America. The program is sponsored by a $543,466 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). It gives teachers new tools and resources to improve Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) curriculum aligned with state standards. The grant increases collaboration between South Dakota teachers, industry partners and Mines faculty.

“STEM education and research are a significant part of our mission and strategy, and therefore this NSF grant will have a significant impact on future education of South Dakota 6-12th grade students in scienc...

Last Edited 7/18/2017 02:34:48 PM [Comments (0)]

SD Mines Researcher Leads CASPAR At Sanford Underground Lab

This is a photo of CASPAR (Compact Accelerator System for Performing Astrophysical Research) now in operation at the Sanford Underground Research Facility.

Nuclear astrophysicists, led by principal investigator and SD Mines professor Frank Strieder, have successfully created the first low-energy particle accelerator beam deep underground in the United States, bringing them one step closer to understanding how the elements of our universe are built.
 
The project is called CASPAR (Compact Accelerator System for Performing Astrophysical Research).  The team of scientists working on CASPAR will recreate the nuclear fusion processes inside stars. The project’s principal investigator is South Dakota School of Mines & Technology associate professor Frank Strieder. “CASPAR can help us answer some basic questions like: How do stars run? How do they produce energy? How elements are made?” says Strieder. “Where are we from? What is our cosmic heritage? I think it’s exciting to know all of the heavier elements inside our bodies were once produced inside stars,” he adds.     

CASPAR is one of only two underground accelerators in the world. The other is in the Laboratory for Underground Nuclear Astrophysics (LUNA) located near Gran Sasso mountain in Italy, where Strieder worked prior to coming to Mi...

Last Edited 7/14/2017 08:02:20 AM [Comments (0)]

SD Mines Professor Helps Invent New Tool to Better Prevent and Fight Wildfire

The 2016 Storm Hill Fire burning near Mitchell Lake in the Black Hills. Photo by Incident Commander Rob Lehmann. Thanks to Great Plains Fire Information.

State Fire Meteorologist, Darren Clabo, Ph.D., at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology is helping create the Fire Risk Estimation tool (FiRE). The tool gives land managers and firefighting officials a more detailed look at fire potential across the Missouri River basin.

Smokey Bear signs that indicate overall fire danger are common along roadways in the western United States. The FiRE tool uses satellite and metrological data to create a much more detailed understanding of fire danger. The tool can give firefighters a critical edge. Fire managers say the “initial attack” phase during the first few hours of any of any wildfire is the most important time to gain control. When officials know the areas where fire danger is increasing ahead of time they can position resources and better prepare to quickly respond to any small fires before they grow into large incidences.   

“We can narrow this onto a 10-kiliometer grid scale, says Clabo. Previous tools only assessed fire danger on a wider scale, such as across national forest districts or across a county. “If the western two thirds of Pennington County is wet because they’ve gotten a series of thunderstorms, but some of the eastern areas are dry, we will know where a fire is more likely to start and spread.” Clabo adds.

Clab...

Last Edited 6/30/2017 12:49:24 PM [Comments (0)]

SD Mines Researchers Hope to Sanford Lab Extremophiles to Create Low-Cost Renewable and Biodegradable Polymers

Courtney Carlson, a senior majoring in Chemical Engineering at SD Mines (right) and researcher Navanietha Krishnaraj Rathinam, Ph.D., (left) work in the Chemical and Biological Engineering and Chemistry (CBEC) building at SD Mines. Carlson and Krishnaraj Rathinam are using benchtop reactors in the lab to perform CNAM-Bio research that seeks to optimize and scale-up the manufacturing of biopolymers from lignocellulosic biomass using extremophiles. The center is a scanning electron microscope image of the bacteria the research team are studying.

A team of researchers with the Composite and Nanocomposite Advanced Manufacturing – Biomaterials Center (CNAM), led by David Salem, Ph.D., at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology are using microbes that were discovered deep underground in the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF) in an attempt to make low-cost plastics that are renewable and biodegradable.

“Most commercial polymers, or plastics are petroleum based which is a non-renewable resource,” says Salem. The team is working to find ways to mass manufacture low-cost plant based plastics and composites. “A problem with bio-based polymers is they are expensive, and one goal of this center is to use genetically engineered microbes to help reduce the cost of manufacturing these kinds of plastics,” says Salem. “Another goal is to engineer the properties of the biopolymers and biocomposites to serve a wide range of commercial applications.”

There is a huge potential for new green-based manufacturing jobs in the area if the center succeeds in developing mass manufacturing techniques for turning plants into low-cost bio-based polymers.

“The top ten petroleum based polymers make up about a $500-billion global market,” says Salem. “These biopolymers potentially can cover the whole range of properties of those.”

A group, led by Rajesh Sani, Ph.D., from SD Mines’ Department of Chemical & Biological Engineering, have isolated th...

Last Edited 6/20/2017 10:39:43 AM [Comments (0)]