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.

The Aging Water Infrastructure of America and the Need for a New Crop of Water Scientists and Engineers

The Teton Dam failure of 1976 is one example of the need for future engineers who can address America’s ageing infrastructure. Photo credit: Association of State Dam Safety Officials.

The increasing frequency of major flooding in parts of the United States coupled with dam failures such as the breached Edenville and Sanford dams in Michigan should serve as a warning on the vulnerability of our infrastructure during extreme weather, according to Mark Anderson, an instructor at South Dakota School of Mines & Technology’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

“The nation’s water infrastructure is in need of engineering attention,” says Anderson, who previously served as the director of the United States Geological Survey (USGS) Dakota Water Science Center in Rapid City, and has spent his career working on water issues.

These challenges highlight the need for scientists and engineers trained at institutions like South Dakota Mines. Civil engineers can lead the way in innovative renovations to existing infrastructure and designs for new dams, bridges and roads that are more resilient to withstand a changing climate. Environmental engineers can help design new infrastructure that works in harmony with the natural world. Scientists like meteorologists and climatologists can lend to the understanding of what is coming and what society will need to do to prepare. 

The Un...

Last Edited 5/21/2020 09:27:37 AM [Comments (0)]

High Impact Hardrockers: Darrell J. Drickey

Dr. Darrell James Drickey graduated from South Dakota Mines in 1956 and went on to make significant contributions to the field of physics.

This profile of Dr. Darrell J. Drickey the first in an on-going series of articles describing Mines alumni who have made significant impacts on history.

Darrell James Drickey was born in Rapid City, South Dakota in June, 1934.  One of his maternal great-grandfathers, George H. Sanders, was a pioneer rancher in Dakota Territory in the 1880's.  The Sanders ranch along Rapid Creek near Caputa, South Dakota  was to be Darrell's home for the next two decades.  The Sanders ranch was celebrated in the area as having the largest private barns in the county, if not the state.  These were also known for an ingenious method of rapidly unloading hay wagons that Mr. G. H. Sanders incorporated in the hay barn.  Darrell was a typical farm/ranch boy which is to say that early on he worked in the fields, with live-stock and with machinery

He attended school from the first through ninth grades at Caputa Consolidated School.  In this school there were sometimes one and sometimes two operating classrooms.  During most of his time there, the school room was lit by kerosene lamps or Coleman lanterns.  Drinking water was hand pumped from a nearby household well and carried to the school house in buckets by students appointed to the duty by the teacher.  All daily and weekly janitorial work was done by students.  The student body numbered from 20 to 25 students in usually six or seven active grades.  On completing ninth grade Darrell, as d...

Last Edited 3/9/2020 08:25:35 AM [Comments (0)]

Developing the Spacesuit of the Future at South Dakota Mines

Dr. Zhengtao Zhu and his research team are using ordinary helmets in their work to develop wireless sensors to monitor health vitals of astronauts in space.

Researchers at South Dakota School of Mines & Technology have entered their third year of development of a wearable and wireless body sensor system – with the ability to be powered remotely  – that will revolutionize NASA spacesuits. 

NASA has set a lofty goal of human travel to Mars by 2030. In order to meet this goal, better spacesuits are essential, says Dr. Sayan Roy, assistant professor in electrical engineering at South Dakota Mines and a member of the research team. “One of NASA’s strategic goals is to send astronauts into deep space for future exploration missions. The dangerous and unfriendly space environment dramatically affects astronauts’ health status. To ensure astronauts’ health and safety, NASA is taking actions to minimize the negative effects of space travel on the human body,” he says. “There is a need for innovation in space suit design.”

Roy says the research “fits seamlessly with the priorities in NASA’s   Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate and the Space Technology Mission Directorate. This project is closely relevant to NASA’s Technology Roadmap TA 6: Human Health, Life Support and Habitat...

Last Edited 2/5/2020 09:31:34 AM [Comments (0)]

The Quest to Control the Voxel and the 3D Printing Revolution to Come

Travis Walker, Ph.D., holds an example of a 3D printed item made with two different materials. He and Katrina Donovan, Ph.D., say this object is a large-scale example of the kind of 3D printed materials now possible at scales smaller than a human hair.

Imagine camouflage that renders a subject almost invisible; prosthetic limbs that look and feel like real appendages; smartphone battery power that’s embedded throughout the thin fabric of your clothing; windows that direct light to different parts of the room throughout the day. All of these ideas and much more may be possible with a new age of material science that is now unfolding. Researchers at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology are learning to manipulate the basic properties of innovative materials to enable revolutionary new products.

“We’re really trying to enhance voxel-level engineering,” says Travis Walker, Ph.D., assistant professor of chemical and biological engineering at South Dakota Mines.

So, what’s a voxel? In photography, the sharpness of an image depends on the number of pixels per inch. More pixels in an image yield more vivid detail.

Move into three dimensions, and resolution is not determined by pixels, but voxels. Like digital photography, the resolution in 3D printing technology keeps getting better. Today, researchers are working to manipulate single voxel sizes that are smaller than the diameter of a human hair. This effort means very fine and detailed 3D printing.

The next evolution in 3D printing may involve the ability to change the properties of a material, voxel by voxel. Just as many different colored pixels make...

Last Edited 2/3/2020 02:15:48 PM [Comments (0)]