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The University of Tulsa

True Determination: TU PetroBowl team takes first place at regionals

The University of Tulsa PetroBowl team won the Society of Petroleum Engineers North American Regional Qualifier February 3 in Houston, Texas. TU competed against 20 teams in this fast-paced quiz competition, defeating UT-Austin for first place.

The TU PetroBowl team celebrates first place with its winning bracket.

As regional winners, TU team members and petroleum engineering students Juan Diego Comella, Umer Farooq, Blazej Ksiazek, Misael Morales and Luke Moran are invited to compete at the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition (ATCE) World Championship in Calgary, Canada, next fall. Farooq, captain of the TU PetroBowl team said, “We go very hard on preparation, but we know the potential is out there from the other teams as they are the best of the best from colleges all across the world. But (when we went to Houston), we did our thing, it went really well, and we were No 1.”

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The PetroBowl competition coordinates student SPE chapters to battle against each other in a series of quick-fire questions. Four-member student teams compete in petroleum engineering trivia, including technical and nontechnical industry-related questions. The PetroBowl was founded by the Society of Petroleum Engineers International.

Each member of the team studies a category of the questions to make rehearsing easier. Farooq, a-soon-to-be Ph.D. degree graduate in petroleum engineering, studies reservoir and formation evaluation. Comella focuses on drilling, production and general knowledge, in addition to SPE history. Morales concentrates on geology and geophysics and Moran on drilling and well completions. Ksiazek is a sophomore and the current alternate for the team as well as the TU SPE PetroBowl chair, concentrating on drilling and general knowledge in addition to SPE history. Mike Stafford, faculty instructor in petroleum engineering, is the SPE PetroBowl faculty adviser for the TU team.

Left to right: Team members Blazej Ksiazek, Luke Moran, Misael Morales, Juan Diego Comella and Umer Farooq

Comella explains that Farooq is dedicated to the group’s success. “Our captain is really like a coach. He writes questions for us to practice and has been doing this for a while.” The team meets once a week until closer to competition when they begin meeting every few days.

“PetroBowl is important because it gives you contact with different people – different backgrounds, different years in school, different passions in petroleum engineering,” Ksiazek said. “You learn so much at TU with a petroleum engineering degree, but with PetroBowl you can learn even more about the field.”

Farooq agrees and said, “It’s a great way to represent TU on an international level.”

For the future, the TU PetroBowl team is brainstorming to create an internal PetroBowl event for just TU petroleum engineering students, similar to an event held in 2016. They also have an idea to create an A team and B team to recruit students for future competitions. “There’s a lot of talent at TU and this is a commitment, but we are looking forward to what’s next,” Farooq said. “I believe our team is very capable of clinching the victory in Calgary this fall.”

TU receives $50,000 grant from AEP Foundation for engineering labs

The University of Tulsa has received a $50,000 grant from Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO) on behalf of the American Electric Power Foundation to bring new state-of-the-art equipment and technologies to TU’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Left to right: PSO President and COO Peggy Simmons, Applied Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Douglas Jussaume, PSO Vice President of Distribution Steven Baker, Hans S. Norberg Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Kaveh Ashenayi and College of Engineering and Natural Sciences Dean Jim Sorem

The grant will support updates to the department’s Electric Machines Lab, initiating a Power Electronics Lab and supporting physical modifications of lab space.

“I am pleased to announce this grant that will help prepare the next generation of electrical engineers to take on the challenges and opportunities of working with one of the largest, most complex machines in the world – the electricity grid,” said Peggy Simmons, president and chief operating officer for Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO), a subsidiary of AEP. “It’s vital to have highly specialized engineers working to meet the challenges our industry is facing – and will continue to face in the future – as we look more and more toward renewable and alternative energy, smart grids and other potentially transformational technologies.”

Housed in the university’s College of Engineering and Natural Sciences, the ECE department offers degrees in both electrical engineering and computer engineering. The department currently has 106 undergraduate, eight master’s and nine doctoral students.

“We are grateful to PSO and AEP Foundation for partnering with us to provide students and faculty with cutting-edge facilities. We are eager to work with industry leaders to offer hands-on opportunities that give them an advantage when they start their careers,” TU President Gerard Clancy said. “The University of Tulsa is committed to empowering students with the knowledge and experience to solve the world’s toughest problems. Educating innovative leaders and providing up-to-the-minute technology – such as the labs made possible by this grant – set our students apart.”

About PSO
PSO, a unit of American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP), is an electric utility company serving more than 550,000 customers accounts in eastern and southwestern Oklahoma. Based in Tulsa, PSO has nearly 3,800 megawatts of generating capacity and is one of the largest distributors of wind energy in the state.

TU composite research published in Advanced Functional Materials journal

In a recent article available on the Advanced Functional Materials website, researchers in the College of Engineering and Natural Sciences at The University of Tulsa have demonstrated a new composite that can indicate damage using visual, temperature or magnetic detection. The article “Multimodal Damage Detection in Self-Sensing Fiber Reinforced Composites,” written by TU Ph.D. candidate Matthew D. Crall, Samuel G. Laney (BS ’16, MS ’18) and Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering Michael Keller, discusses how the new material is a significant step forward in developing biomimetic materials that allow for rapid and simple detection of damage. This new technology has potential applications in aerospace, where inspecting composite materials (such as carbon fiber or fiberglass) for hidden damage is a complicated and time-consuming process.

composite research
a) Schematic of the active microvascular material system used to deliver the liquid constitutive parts of the magnetic particles. b) Mixing of the liquids causing precipitation of magnetic material in the damaged region. c) Schematic of three modes of damage detection: visual, magnetic, and thermal. Each mode is possible because of the high contrast between damaged and undamaged areas provided by the magnetic particles.

Damage detection is critical in these applications since even small damaged regions in composites can reduce the strength of the material by as much as half. The composite works by incorporating a small channel, such as a blood vessel, that is filled with a liquid, like blood.  Damage breaks open the channels and the fluids bleed into the damaged area where they react and form magnetic particles. These particles can then be detected by a magnetic detector, heated by a magnetic field and imaged with an IR camera, or seen visually by the color change associated with the reaction.

To learn more about this research and the published paper in Advanced Functional Materials, please contact Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering Michael Keller at 918-631-3198 or