Michael Shafer

Michael Shafer

Dr. Michael W. Shafer is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Northern Arizona University. He joined NAU in 2013 after receiving his Ph.D. and M.S. from Cornell University. At Cornell, he focused on vibrational energy harvesting via piezoelectric transduction. He investigated ideal design methods, power harvesting limits, and applications of the technology to avian wildlife tracking and bio-logging. Prior to his time at Cornell, Michael worked at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory from 2006 to 2009. There he helped develop the sky crane system used to land the Mars Science Laboratory Rover (Curiosity) in 2012. Michael graduated with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Northern Arizona University in 2006.

Link to Research lab:  http://www.cefns.nau.edu/Groups/dasl/

Educational Background

  • Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, Cornell University, 2013
  • M.S., Mechanical Engineering, Cornell University, 2012
  • B.S., Mechanical Engineering, Northern Arizona University, 2006

Courses usually taught

  • Fluid Mechanics
  • Flight Vehicle Dynamics
  • Mechatronics

Employment History

Northern Arizona University - Flagstaff, AZ

Aug 2013-Present

Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering Department
College of Engineering, Forestry, and Natural Sciences
Research interests in energy harvesting systems for wireless sensor nodes, wind power, renewable energy, sustainable systems.

 

Cornell University - Ithaca, NY Aug 2009-Aug 2013

Graduate researcher, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department
Developed ideal design methodologies for piezoelectric energy harvesters for maximum power production. Theorized absolute limits on power production and efficiency. Investigated and demonstrated feasibility of vibrational energy harvesting on migrating birds for powering bio-logging electronics systems.

 

Jet Propulsion Laboratory, NASA/California Institute of Technology - Pasadena, CA Jun 2006-Jul 2009

Associate Engineer, Mechanisms and Mobility Group
Designed, developed, and delivered slack management and cable deployment systems used during the successful landing of the Mars Science Laboratory (Curiosity) rover. Organized and conducted large- scale system deployment tests, including deployments in thermal vacuum chamber.

 

Jet Propulsion Laboratory, NASA/California Institute of Technology - Pasadena, CA May 2005-Aug 2005

Engineering Co-op, Structures and Configuration Group
Updated design and analyzed structure for the Mars Science Laboratory Rover touchdown landing testbed vehicle.

 

Jet Propulsion Laboratory, NASA/California Institute of Technology - Pasadena, CA Jan-Aug 2004

Engineering Co-op, Advanced Mechanical Systems Group
Developed designs for various early stage projects: In-situ autonomous petrography device; Deep ocean hydro-thermal vent sampler; FTIR microscope proposal for Mars Science Laboratory

 

Northern Arizona University - Flagstaff, AZ Aug 2002-Dec 2003

Research Assistant, Mechanical Engineering Department
Developed novel machining processes for small-scale wind turbine blades to reduce chatter and improve tolerances. Developed and implemented a renewable energy research lab for faculty, industry, and student use. Included integration of small-scale wind turbine, photovoltaics, charge controllers, and battery banks.

Research Interests

 

  • Renewable energy
  • Wind turbine control
  • Advanced actuation technologies
  • Small-scale energy harvesting for wireless sensor networks
  • Bio-inspired engineering systems
  • Link to Research lab:  http://www.cefns.nau.edu/Groups/dasl/

 

Publications

Refereed journal articles

 

M. W. Shafer and E. Garcia. Power and efficiency limits of piezoelectric energy harvesters. Journal of Vibrations and Acoustics, (accepted).

M. W. Shafer, M. Byrant, and E. Garcia. Designing maximum power output into piezoelectric energy harvesters. Smart Materials and Structures, 21(8), 2012.

Non-refereed articles

 

M. W. Shafer, R. MacCurdy, and E. Garcia. Testing of vibrational energy harvesters on flying birds. Proc. of ASME Conf. on Smart Materials, Adaptive Structures and Intelligent Systems, No. 3063 September 16-18, Snowbird, UT, 2013.

M. W. Shafer and E. Garcia. Fundamental power limits of piezoelectric energy harvesters based on material strength. In SPIE Symposium on SPIE Smart Structures and Materials + Nondestructive Evaluation and Health Monitoring, March 10-14, San Diego, CA, 2013.

M. W. Shafer, M. Byrant, and E. Garcia. A practical power maximization design guide for piezoelec- tric energy harvesters inspired by avian bio-loggers. Proc. of ASME Conf. on Smart Materials, Adaptive Structures and Intelligent Systems, No. 8071 September 19-21, Stone Mountain, GA, 2012.

A. Schlichting, M. W. Shafer, and E. Garcia. Multi-source energy harvesting schemes with piezo- electrics and photovoltaics and system power management for an avian bio-logger. Proceedings of the ASME 2011 Conference on Smart Materials, Adaptive Structures and Intelligent Systems, SMASIS2012, No. 8130, Sept. 19-21, Stone Mountain, GA, 2012.

E. Garcia, M. W. Shafer, M. Bryant, A. Schlichting, and B. Kogan. Insight and applications in energy harvesting from bullets to birds. Proc. 4th Inter. Conf. Smart Mater. Struct. Syst., Invited Presentation, June 10-14, Montecatini Terme, Italy, 2012.

M. W. Shafer, R. MacCurdy, E. Garcia, and D. Winkler. Harvestable vibrational energy from an avian source: theoretical predictions vs. measured values. In SPIE Symposium on SPIE Smart Structures and Materials + Nondestructive Evaluation and Health Monitoring, March 11-15, San Diego, CA, 2012.

M. Bryant, M. W. Shafer, and E. Garcia. Power and efficiency analysis of a flapping wing wind energy harvester. In SPIE Symposium on SPIE Smart Structures and Materials + Nondestructive Evaluation and Health Monitoring, March 11-15, San Diego, CA, 2012.

M. W. Shafer, J. Gallon, and T. Rivellini. Umbilical deployment device. NASA Tech Briefs, 35 (12), pp. 36, December 2011.

M. W. Shafer, and E. Garcia. Maximum and practical sustainable harvestable vibrational power from avian subjects. Proceedings of the ASME 2011 Conference on Smart Materials, Adaptive Structures and Intelligent Systems, September 18-21, Phoenix, AZ, 2011.

M. W. Shafer, and E. Garcia. Closed loop heading control in the Tobacco Hawkmoth, Manduca sexta. In SPIE Symposium on SPIE Smart Structures and Materials + Nondestructive Evaluation and Health Monitoring, San Diego, CA, 2011.

M. W. Shafer and S. Sell. Long cable deployments during martian touchdown: Lessons learned. In IEEE/AIAA Aerospace Conference, Big Sky, MT, 2009.

M. W. Shafer. Passive management of deployable cordage during and after MSL touchdown. In IEEE/AIAA Aerospace Conference, Big Sky, MT (pp. 1-16), 2008.

Honors and Awards

Nature Conservancy NatureNet Postdoctoral Fellowship (declined), 2013 

National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, 2011-2013 

NASA Space Technology Research Fellowship (declined), 2011

NASA Tech Brief Initial Award, 2011

Jet Propulsion Laboratory Spot Award, for work preparation of system level deployment tests, 2008 

Outstanding Senior Award, College of Eng. and Nat. Science, Northern Arizona University, 2006 

Eagle Scout, Boy Scouts of America, April 2001

Service/Professional Activities 

Symposium Co-Chair, Energy Harvesting Symposium, ASME SMASIS Conference, 2014 

Member, ASME Energy Harvesting Technical Committee, 2012-Present

Member, NAU Institute for Sustainable Energy Solutions 2013-Present

Member: ASME, SPIE, Tau Beta Pi